Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru – 01 (First Impressions)

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The title is a mouthful (the English dub is shortened to Beautiful Bones), but Sakurado-san is a modest yet intriguing little show centered on a rich, gorgeous, brilliant, and very (justifiably) immodest young osteologist in Kujou Sakurako. She loves bones and is always on the lookout for new ones, even, nay, especially if they’re of the human variety, and even more especially if they’re of the murdered human variety.

In fact, Sakurado seems to prefer the bones of the dead to other human beings, as she seems a bit of a misanthrope. Her only regular contacts seem to be Gran, her housekeeper, and Tatewaki Shoutarou, who is the Watson to her Sherlock, only he’s not a veteran of Afghanistan, nor is he a doctor. He’s more of a student; a kohai.

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The unconventional relationship between Sakurako, who looks to be in her mid to late twenties, and the high schooler Shou, looks to be the ongoing “mystery” running parallel to the mystery-of-the-week (or weeks). Shou is our conduit to Sakurako; we know a little more about what’s going on in his head because he’s narrating, adding to Sakurako’s mystique.

Despite her being older, Shou seems the more responsible and attuned to society and bureaucracy, calling the cops when they find human remains. Yet Shou is still enough of a kid to allow the prospect of an Alaskan shrimp feast dangled ahead of him like a carrot.

Whether it’s the fact Shou’s so young and non-threatening and malleable, or that she probably doesn’t want to marry her actual fiancee (being from a wealthy family, that’s probably an arranged thing), Sakurako not only tolerates but seems to enjoy Shou’s company, and the feeling is mutual, even if she sometimes goes too far and causes trouble.

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So those are the characters, to my mind the most interesting aspect of the show. Plot-wise, the opening episode is an introduction to them and a kind of “ridealong” to one of their typical days scrounging for bones.

It’s also demonstrated that Sakurako’s analytical and investigative skills and instincts outstrip the average country detective, though she has no interest in actually entering law enforcement. There’s a great sense of occasion and drama to the moment she locks into “investigation mode”, when she’s surrounded by light and hundreds of reconstructed skeletons.

This show also has going for it: a Wednesday timeslot, so it’s more likely to be retained than if it aired during the always busy weekend. Plus, it’s a fairly pretty, undemanding show that invites you to sit back and get lost in the wake of Sakurako for a spell, as Shou obviously delights in doing, despite his protestations. Heck, I even learned a few things about bones I didn’t know. Very nice; I’ll see where it goes.

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Ore Monogatari!! – 01 (First Impressions)

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A giant boy with ogre-like features lives in the shadow of his more popular male friend, until one day the the ogre rescues a girl on a train and, despite his looks, she seems to have fallen for him.

And his friend, who has never cared for any girl, has an eye for her. A love triangle, a story of social justice, and a damn fine comedy ensues!

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You should watch Ore Monogatari!! because its protagonist is unusual and the fact that the show treats him with reverence, instead of as a joke, shows a degree of social conscience not too frequent in anime or, bluntly, Japanese culture.

As with Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun’s unstated presentation of autism, and the un-importance of that mental state in regards to a person having value, strengths, and above all else deserving love, Ore Monogatari!! gives it’s unstated mixed protagonist social justice.

It’s hella funny too, not surprisingly for the same reasons GSN-k was chokingly funny.

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If you need an excuse not to watch this show, like GSN-k, it has intentional moments of rest between the comedy, and is unlikely to present much action. Likewise, it isn’t overly pretty to look at—not ugly—just plain looking.

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OM!! can be subtle too, which I guess you may not like. Or, perhaps, you’re fried on all the high school dramas out there or find the socially awkward things teenagers do is too cringeworthy to watch?

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Honestly, all those criticisms feel like a stretch to me. The cringes were never that great and, to me, they were counterbalanced by the geniality of the three central characters.

The dialogue is tight, the humor well-timed and amusing, and it all has heart. What else can you ask for from a Grade-A comedy like this?

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