Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru – 03

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SURPRISE!!! I got you this fun-filled gift suitable for all ages!

My freezer is full of bones right now, actually……Turkey bones. I should really defrost them and make some soup. Anyways, that’s my 5-star intro talking about bones.

It’s only episode 3, but this week’s offerings already seem like stale, less inspired leftovers from last week. Sakurako and Shoutarou find a body, the police come to one conclusion, then Sakurako proves them wrong with a mixture of her knowledge of bones and some surprising sensitivity to human nature. While last week did this in an exciting way, episode 3 feels like it’s throwing melodrama at us while stalling for time until we get to a real mystery.

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After finding the body, Shoutarou thinks about how it’s creepy when you realize these bones once belonged to a living person with a family and people who will mourn their loss. It’s easy to think of them as just being a pile of inanimate objects with no attachment to the world, because then you don’t have to make the mistake of thinking about death and getting a pang of existential dread. Shoutarou is brave enough to look at the human remains from this angle, even though it shakes him up. Sakurako is also highly aware of the origin of these bones, but it doesn’t affect her emotionally as much. If it does, she certainly never shows it. From what I see, Sakurako is almost frightening in the way she links life with death so casually. She was genuinely in awe of the beauty of dead bodies feeding a host of living parasites and scavenging animals in some sort of morbid circle of life thing. Uhhh…sure thing, lady. It all depends on your perspective, I guess.

To add to Shoutarou’s discomfort at the thought of attaching random bones littered on the ground to living human beings, he is approached by Yuriko who tells him the remains belonged to her grandmother. Yikes. Oddly enough, this doesn’t do much to creep him out any further, and he recovers rather quickly. Instead, he focuses on helping Yuriko and roping in Sakurako as well. I almost wish the episode had just focused on Shoutarou feeling almost guilty for finding the remains of Yuriko’s grandmother and questioning the morality of what he and Sakurako end up getting caught up in. The characterization in this show is great and I like seeing Shoutarou and Sakurako play off of each other. Bringing in an outside factor that isn’t an adorable 3 year old didn’t work well at all, as it completely got in the way of their chemistry and introduced the ever-annoying “are you dating?” question. This plus his increasing blushing plus the camera hovering around Sakurako’s rather modest display of cleavage every now and then at the most random moments add up to me worrying that Shoutarou may be more smitten than I initially thought.

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When you try and pick up the same hobbies as the girl you like but her hobby is DEAD BODIES

Yuriko gets on my nerves real fast because most of her lines consist of self-depricating comments, whining, and sobbing. She pours her heart out to Shoutarou, a guy who didn’t even know her name on the day they “met” while burying the dead cat. It seems like they became too close too quickly, and she hasn’t been given enough time to develop as a real person instead of the Victim Of The Week. I think she should have had a little more development before dropping the drama bomb on us. Maybe I would have actually cared about her feeling bad about her grandmother if she didn’t feel like a complete stranger.

Anyways, not all is lost. This episode still spouts cool facts you can tell people at parties and Sakurako’s reasoning for the cause of death is still rather clever. I like that she was able to solve the crime because she spent so much time looking at paintings and thinking about Yuriko’s grandmother’s intentions. It takes someone with a heart to be able to understand why the sunrise would be a beautiful, motivating sight for someone to want to see. Although she frames the reason as her just wanting serotonin, she clearly put a lot of thought into the more human and sentimental aspects of this scenery. At this point, Shoutarou calling her callous almost seems like a joke – as if she’s just putting up this front because it makes it easier for her to deal with people because she’s actually far too sensitive.

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As a main character, she’s wonderful. Not too cold and weird, and not too coddling. I also appreciate that when Shoutarou asked about Soutarou, she answered right away. It’s better to address something the audience knows is true so bluntly, because what’s the point in hiding it when the opening song is so blatant about it? I like that. Now we can move on to other questions about Soutarou and Sakurako’s past without having to pull teeth just to get the most basic of information.

I wasn’t all too impressed with this episode since Yuriko made it overly dramatic with emotional outbursts. Just because someone is understandably crying over a death of a loved one doesn’t mean I know…care. I’m actually vouching for this show to give her more love so that I would care about her, but it’s a bit late for that now. At this point, I hope the show doesn’t become complacent and just rely on the appeal of Sakurako as a character to make the mysteries interesting. That’s just lazy, and since I know this show can do so much more, I want it to try harder!

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“Tears are basically blood” is the most metal thing I’ve ever heard.


A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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16 Responses to “Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru – 03”

  1. Highway says:

    I liked this one apparently quite a bit more than you. I thought that Yuriko’s reactions were plausible and authentic. I also think that she was probably a lot closer to a ‘normal’ Japanese than we usually see in anime, with the added stress and emotionality that comes from 1) having to deal with your dementia-ridden grandfather and 2) being told that your beloved grandmother intentionally took her own life, in a ruling that seems intended to wash the police investigator’s hands of the whole matter as quickly as possible. Add to that the fact that she’s probably been working herself up to asking Shoutarou about it for a couple months, which itself took a lot of doing, because it’s not a subject you bring up, especially with a person you don’t know that well, and because she’s been told constantly to just accept it. So given all that, and that we’re watching her for this brief window in her life in this episode, I think her emotionality is both earned and earnest, so I didn’t find it offputting or overly melodramatic.

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, what Highway said…

    • Overcooled says:

      Ah, I see. Her breakdowns were certainly warranted given the situation but I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s like when a stranger on the bus starts crying next to you and you just want them to stop because you feel it’s so awkward more than you feel bad for them.

      How is she closer to normal Japanese? The self-blaming thing?

      • Highway says:

        Yes, the self-deprecating and self-blaming is mainly what I was talking about, but also the struggling to accept what was, essentially, a proclamation on the part of the police that her grandmother’s death was a suicide.

        And I certainly understand that people don’t like to see others in their moments of “weakness”. But I also think that crying is not necessarily a weakness. It’s sometimes something that feels needed.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    I figured that kid in Sakurako’s flashback last episode would be a supposed deceased younger brother. Hard to imagine anyone else to get so close to her she’d emotionally call out their name given that it’s already stated she’s a loner. In turn, it explains why she doesn’t call Shoutarou by his name since it’s just her brother’s short one letter and calling it when he’s not there is most likely painful for her.

    Sakurako and Shoutarou find a body, the police come to one conclusion, then Sakurako proves them wrong with a mixture of her knowledge of bones

    She has the capacity of an excellent medical examiner but since she doesn’t like people, the odds of her becoming one are slim to none.

    and some surprising sensitivity to human nature

    That, I surmise, is from her maintaining her distance, observing people and making mental notes. She wouldn’t willingly interact with others but she’d learn enough to maneuver around them and doesn’t let emotion rule her. I’m kind of fond of those types to be honest and I like your points on her as well.

    Like previous mysteries solved, this one ends more or less in the same fashion. However, I’ve already gotten comfortable with the series. It’s nice to look at so I don’t mind if it does the same formula a couple of times. That or going out of the box are welcome either way. For Fall 2015, this will be my laid back mystery series and Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider will be the more serious one.

    Personally, it’s better Yuriko got Sakurako’s hypothesis and her grandmother’s passing as opposed to sticking to with the cold remarks of the police and her neighbors. Irritating that people would sooner bad mouth than actually say something positive.

    On a side note, saying tears are practically blood is creepy. So we’re basically bleeding out every time depending on the circumstances.

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, I can see Sakurako learning so much precisely because she listens and watches things very carefully. She’d rather absorb knowledge than spend all her time talking to people and revealing stuff about herself. I would have never thought to look at paintings on a wall for clues about the death of someone’s grandmother. She’s really interesting!

      I actually see this and Perfect Insider similarly. One laid back mystery series and one serious one!

      Yuriko was so relieved from Sakurako doing just a little bit of extra research. The police in this show really are quick to try and close cases as soon as possible without investigating properly…

      I didn’t know tears were basically blood even though I work in a lab concerned with vision and eyes. It is pretty creepy…But I’m learning so much!

  3. HannoX says:

    I liked this episode. It made Sakurako more human and she actually has a poetic side as brought out by her viewing the grandfather’s painting of the sunrise and how the grandmother’s viewing of the sunrise at the same spot would give her the strength to continue to care for him. Sure, she phrased it about how the chemical changes in brain brought about by the sunrise made people feel good, but that was just part of her armor to help distance herself from other people. The loss of her younger brother clearly effected her deeply and she’s trying not to get too close to anyone else again.

    I also liked the fact that this time the death was an accident, not a murder. After all, how many murders does a peaceful country like Japan have in a year? And there’d be even fewer in just one area of it. I’m not surprised the police would be quick to rule it a suicide (and the same with the earlier double homicide). It makes things nice and tidy for them and allows the authorities, and not just the police, close the books on a case.

    I’m still hoping we get a case that takes more than one episode to resolve. Then we could have a real mystery.

    • HannoX says:

      Damnit, I should have said “affected” not “effected.” I know better than that.

    • Overcooled says:

      I also think Sakurako phrases things in a cold, clinical way to hide the fact that she’s a lot more human. Soutarou’s death likely made her wary of getting too close to others. Thankfully, it hasn’t made her a total jerk.

      It’s already stretching it a bit how Shoutarou and Sakurako stumble across bodies so often. So yeah, it’s nice that they made this death an accident instead of usual, sensationalist murder.

      • Highway says:

        There are people with that kind of power. In the 80’s, if you saw this woman coming to your town, someone was gonna die.

        • skylion says:

          But, she had a good attorney…

        • HannoX says:

          I thought of J.B. Fletcher, too. In the earlier shows her small town was Murder Capitol, U.S.A. Which is a big reason why later on they had her traveling around.

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