Reviewed by: Azure
Released by: ADV Films UK
Age Rating: 15
Region: 2 - UK
Length: 264 minutes
Audio: English 2.0 Stereo
Touma is desperately trying to get into college; trouble is he’s easily distracted. He falls head over heals with a girl named Meiko whom he meets during a college application test. Meiko will only go out with college guys which places enormous pressure on Touma to pass, combine this with the over friendly affections of the younger Urara and you have Sakura Diaries.
The back of the box paints Sakura Diaries as a kind of anime O.C, so I was quite surprised when the anime began with a soft sweet melodic opening sequence. The style of the show reminds me of a typical shoujo rom-com, in fact if it wasn’t for the amount of fan service and some of the side stories I’d have sworn it was a shoujo romance title. The animation is average, and is helped somewhat by the soft music.
Touma the male lead in the triangle is the main focus of the story, and like many protagonists his reaction wavers between horror and delight in reaction to events around him, and as things get more complicated and in fact a lot darker this change becomes almost extreme and at times extremely dislikeable. The two girls involved also show this double-sided nature, this does serve to illustrate the fallibility of the characters and does a lot to tell us about them. I’m not sure though if this was always a deliberate attempt to explore the characters, it seemed more often that not an excuse for more fan service.
One major factor in Sakura Diaries favour is that the 12 episodes contain a full story, and thankfully a proper ending. Each episode usually has a problem to tackle, but they also give time to exploring bigger issues, the anime cliché of childhood friendships and romance is there but is tackled in a rather different way than a lot of dating shows do, actually exploring how dynamics change when people who have been apart meet again only to find they have changed. As is the implications of Urara’s connection to Touma.
There are some genuinely funny moments, and small but likeable supporting cast. The Sakura Diaries collection is dub only but thankfully it’s of good quality.
It’s a likeable show, but it seems like the creators had little faith that the story alone would carry it and emphasised the more adult elements to increase the fan service, especially in regards to Urara. That said it was still enjoyable, it was nice to be able to sit down and watch a full series without having to commit to an expensive multi disc release.