Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 12 (Fin)

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Edogawa Jou and Arahabaki execute a plan to summon Kuzuryuu to further her plans for world conquest. Tamamo-no-Mae uses Kagami’s natural counter to defeat her, a barrier is cast upon the island, locking out Tsurugi and her brother, and Jou drugs Tama and “eats” her. Tamamo-no-Mae appears before Tama as a golem, and through Tama implores Sasami to save innocent lives by swearing to become Arahabaki’s priestess and earthly liason in the new world they’ll create.

Sasami is only stalling for time, as she has placed her entire house within Tama and is therefore within the island’s barrier. Kagami reveals she hid herself within Tamamo’s golem. She defeats her and undoes the damage done to the island, and Sasami and her house materialize. Tsurugi’s brother stops by to defeat Kuzuryuu as he tries to escape, and Jou and Sasami are thrown into the sea. They wash up on the shore and Sasami declares them friends, at least until the day Jou kills her.

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At long last, here is our review for the final Winter finale, for a series that we’ve had trouble at times following along with due to all of the references to Japanese mythology, overt or otherwise, but this was a great episode that accomplished a lot more than we expected it to. It went in the not unpredictable direction of making Edogawa Jou a legitimate threat, while maintaining her new-found humanity, and therefore, our connection with her, right till the end. As opposed to being a random, one-dimensional evil threat, she is redeemed…mostly.

In one of her best moments, she confesses to Sasami she was a little scared of succeeding, because conquering the world would make her alone and unable to live as a normal human. Sasami’s desire to simply exist in the world she was born in, without any desire to lord over it, or any obligation to protect it; her desire to sleep in all day and goof off on the internet; her desire to make friends and share experiences – this desire is contagious. Her influence brought the Yagami sisters “down to earth”, so to speak, and it works for her would-be nemesis, too.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • We liked how the scene in which Tamamo-no-Mae corners Tama as a Golem was done in a 16-bit JRPG style. She was a boss, after all.
  • We weren’t sure who Tsurugi’s bro was supposed to be…but we probably would if we knew our Japanese gods and goddesses. In any case, his homing death beam is a nice piece of kit.
  • Two aesthetic choices reminded us of Evangelion: first is Edogawa’s arm puffing up and then popping off; second is the scene where she and Sasami wash up on the shore, much like Shinji and Asuka in that famous final shot of EoE.
  • A very nice touch with the ED: after a whole season of chatting, goofing-off and tone-deafness, the song is finally sung properly and in full. It’s actually quite a pretty song, and it was great to finally hear the whole thing! You can listen here.

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 11

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Still on their class trip, Sasami (using Tama) tries to become closer friends with Edogawa Jou, who believes she has ulterior motives. As they spend more time together, Kagami grows depressed. On the night of the summer festival, she storms off, and Sasami chases her. Kagami believes she’s broken because she isn’t happy about Sasami being friends with Jou, but Sasami assures her its a very human way to act. Switching to Tsurugi’s body, Sasami enjoys the fireworks with her brother on the beach.

This was a quiet, pleasant little episode before the finale in which Sasami continues her use of Tama to experience more of normal high school girl existence, which includes class trips. Ironically, while she’s striving for an ordinary life free of the burdens of her previous station as vessel of Amaterasu’s power, the friends she’s made thus far are anything but normal. Kagami is still coming to grips with what being a friend means (as opposed to just a “practice doll”), while Edogawa Jou sees everyone as either enemies or servants (and to her, a lover goes in the latter category).

Frankly, it’s okay that Kagami and Jou are so weird. We also like how being with Sasami has made Kagami so much more human, as she expresses jealousy and lonliness. Kagami has grown quite a bit right along with Sasami. Jou seems far denser, as everything has a meaning other than its simplest interpretation to her, but we enjoyed hearing her less-aloof servants (not friends of course!) Foxie and Babysitter try to steer her right, even if they don’t always succeed. She may consider herself Sasami’s arch-nemesis (and she may yet prove why in the finale), but for now, Sasami (and Tama) are fine with being her friend too.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We liked how Sasami’s trip was documented via strange postcards that her mom and Micchan recieve.
  • Edogawa doesn’t have a dick anymore. Good for her!

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 10

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Sasami finds out Edogawa Jou has a penis. Edogawa invites her entire class to a hot spring retreat at the Kuzuryuu (nine-headed dragon) Shrine. Sasami gets the flu and can’t go, so she disguises Tama as herself and shares all of her senses on the trip. On many occasions she helps Edogawa out, but Edogawa tells her they can never be friends because one day she’ll kill her.

Of all the series we’re currently watching, we’re just going to come out and say this may be the toughest to review. That’s not because it’s bad – most of the time it’s ver,y very good – but because it has such a unique style and intricate, esoteric presentation. Everything and everyone exists more for its own sake, but also represents some part of Japan’s rich mythology. But this week things are a bit simpler: Sasami is trying to make a friend. Ever since Edogawa Jou expressed her desire to be friends with Sasami last week, it’s been on.

Regardless of Jou’s true motives, and no matter how haughty or conceited or condescending she acts, Sasami wants to be her friend, feeding of that first encounter. She doesn’t even let the flu stop her, and uses Tama as her instrument to forge a friendship with Jou through kind deeds…and keeping her penile secret. Jou, the consummate tsundere, reject’s Sasami’s outstretched hand, mindful of her mission as her sworn enemy, but charmed nevertheless. Oh yeah, and Tsurugi sexually harassed pretty much everyone. She belongs behind bars.


Rating: 7 
(Very Good)

P.S. The “tele-divine channel” Sasami uses to stay in contact with Tama and the Yagami sisters is pretty nifty concept, combining divine powers with modern social media.

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 09

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The present Sasami, who inhabits Juju, is about to be squeezed to death by the killing stone golem, when she’s transported back to when she’s just a young girl. Tsurugi and Juju are waiting for her, and they begin traveling to the past, where mother and daughter work out their various regrets. When Sasami declares with conviction she no longer wants to be a shrine maiden, Juju accepts it. With no more regret, they return to the golem fight and with Micchan’s help, defeat it. Back in the present, Juju emerges from the obese Sasami, and Tsurugi is relieved of Amaterasu’s power. Student council president and evil occult society Arahabaki’s leader, Edogawa Jou, aims to steal the residual power from Sasami and rule the world with it.

When your opponent draws its power from regrets you have about the past, but you’re able to travel through time with the help of Tsurugi, well, it’s time to start time-traveling! It’s also an opportunity to bury the hatchet with her mother Juju, and exchange fresh insights about each other. Each time they bounce to also educates us. When Sasami and Kamiomi first flee the shrine, she still feels immensely guilty, but her brother’s ridiculous behavior kept her spirits up. When her mom tore up a picture Sasami drew, she was trying to toughen her, but still taped it back together and framed it. And we can’t help but admire Juju’s very direct manner of confessing to the guy she loves: by chasing him through the forest as if they were at battle. And lastly, Juju accepting Sasami’s choice once she realizes it was made with conviction, not on a whim.

On the tour of her and Sasami’s past, Juju comes to realize that no matter how hard she tried to prepare her daughter, she died too soon, and Sasami wasn’t ready for the weight placed upon her. She initially chalked up Sasami’s un-motivation to being spoiled rotten, but Sasami makes this more about just her and the normal life she wants. She thinks its time to give the power back to the gods and have faith that they’ll learn and adapt and be able to manage things without human intervention. It’s a plan that’s not without risk, but Tsurugi is willing to give it a try. Only immediately after Sasami’s problem is solved, a new one shows up: Arahabaki are just the kind of people Juju feared would wreak havoc if left unchecked. Sasami’s made her bed; now she has to lie in it.


Rating: 8 (Great)