Sarazanmai, Anime, Noitamina, Kappa, Yasaka Kazuki, Kuji Toi, Jinai Enta

Sarazanmai :: Kappas have never looked more interesting

Gosh, where do I start?

For most of you, I suppose you decided to start watching Sarazanmai because you have lots of time to kill (damn you, students).

As a full-time office worker, I have to count my hours like diamonds. Each hour is precious, and I won’t get it back. Each hour has to count. So, unlike 25 years ago when I was a fledging otaku, I have changed in leaps and bounds when it comes to the selection of anime series / manga works to watch and read. In fact, work + age = no can do.

I decided to catch the first 2 episodes of Sarazanmai because I am in the middle of the long Easter holidays, and because…

  • I recognise many male seiyuus within the cast
  • It’s Noitamina
  • I watched Penguindrum and really liked it, including the soundtrack
  • Because I’m a woman, so I do lean towards all-male / reverse harem type stories

Did I regret watching the first 2 episodes of this wondrously unapologetically eclectic and zany anime? Nope, not a single shred of regret there. It is well worth my diamond hours.

Did you lose yourself halfway through the utter loudness and male nudity? I certainly didn’t!

For once, I think it is a refreshing change of pace to see guys naked in mainstream anime. Yes, men are quite naked in the yaoi genre but that is a very niche area. Granted, Grand Blue gave us a lot of straight male nakedness, as well as female boobs and bikini skimpiness. I thoroughly enjoyed the series though. It was hilarious. 🙂

I just don’t know if there will be the equivalent of female nudity in Sarazanmai. I suppose that is for the straight hot-blooded male otakus to contend with.

Kappas are strange water youkais to behold in Japanese folklore. They are not exactly friendly creatures, and they’d been believed to drag innocent people to their watery deaths.

I was in the Asakusa area in Tokyo a few years ago, and I walked around the massive shopping strips where the kitchen wholesale suppliers were based. Sara in Sarazanmai means plate/dish, and it refers to the shiny patch on a Kappa’s head. Hence, the story takes place in an area where kitchenware is found. I don’t think I saw the Kappa statue during my travels, for which our Kappa prince, Keppi is based on. That means it’ll be on my watchlist for my next trip in the future.

The mastermind behind Sarazanmai, Ikuhara Kunihiko, is brilliant when it comes to combining and mashing up the serious issues of society with over-the-top imagery and exaggerated poses. The soundtrack is already sounding absolutely lit, and I have found myself rewinding the scene where Kazuki’s secret is being revealed (way too many times) because I LOVE the background music.

Our Characters

Yasaka Kazuki seemed like he had the perfect family. He had good-looking and lovely parents, plus a cute and innocent younger brother called Harukawa, who also looked like a trap. Did you realise that Kazuki has his mother’s eyes and his father’s hair, whilst Harukawa is the opposite? 🙂 Beyond the face of normality, Kazuki had to cross-dress and imitate another idol in order to lie to Harukawa, who was made to believe that the idol was communicating directly to him – but we would have to wait patiently to find out why Kazuki is going to such lengths.

Ah, what strange brotherly love.

We were then introduced to the heavy circumstances surrounding Kuji Toi‘s life. Toi came across as a delinquent young student with his older brother who seemed to be in the Yakuza. His young hands were already deftly dealing with growing and stuffing cocaine for street use, owning a gun, breaking into cars and torturing people. These scenes were factually portrayed to us. There were no undermining and zaniness to it.

I am pretty surprised by the open and easy portrayal of cocaine / marijuana use. I suppose it is jarring because Toi is obviously really young, but he is already dabbling in the serious side of crimes. They are not petty ones, that’s for sure.

Well then, I think the last main protagonist to be introduced is also the one who surprised the viewers in the post-credits of Episode 2. No, I think the relevant term was shooooked. Jinai Enta, a bespectacled boy was introduced to us as a friend that was really attached to Kazuki, and was always looking out for him. Enta seemed like any normal schoolboy who simply cared for his friend and was trying to ensure Kazuki’s safety by asking him to steer clear of Toi.

Of course, Kazuki and Toi ended up going on an impromptu, somewhat reluctant date together at this park, with Kazuki stuck in his crossdressing mode. In hindsight, I suppose we can assume that Enta would have been livid with that. 

In the end, we were presented with the real predator truth of Enta’s intentions in the last dying seconds of Episode 2. If you want to make a proper cliffhanger, take notes from this, everyone.

Hopefully that wasn’t Kazuki’s first kiss. 

In real life, I have been in Kazuki’s shoes. So, I am not exactly surprised when I see scenes where a close friend transcends gender and societal boundaries, and acts purely on feelings. A million people will have a million varied opinions and theories on such a situation, but in the end, the issue I do have with Enta is the fact that he took Kazuki’s lips without consent. Yes, I know I sound pedantic, but to kiss him when Kazuki was obviously asleep and oblivious to being kissed by Enta was just edging on cowardice on Enta’s part.

And Enta should not come up with some excuse that it was Kazuki’s fault for falling asleep in a public place in his crossdressing mode. I’ll bitch slap Enta to Antartica. 

Will Kazuki ever realise that Enta has the hots for him? I can’t wait to find out.

Finally, as if to satisfy the fujoshis, we have an official gay couple, both of whom are working in the police force. Much has already been mentioned about them, with stories being quoted from their own manga titled: Reo and Mabu.

Niiboshi Reo and Akutsu Mabu would be two characters of an adult age, and they emitted an aura of fabulousness tinged with darkness and skeletons. It was heavily hinted that the duo killed a person, perhaps in the midst of carrying out their duty. Well, that is not your normal fujoshi fodder, but I am sure it is quite hot all the same.

Ikuhara-sensei did mention that this series was going to be grown-up, adult-like and filled with men.

Well, I am SO not complaining.

I will be following this series right until the very end. I hope you do so too.

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