It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone what a guy who has the main characters of Sakura Trick as his avatar would think of its premiere episode. Aside from some issues too obvious to ignore, I have to say that I really liked this first episode.
As far as the objectives of this anime are concerned, I must say that the anime handled them just fine. The anime did a better job of establishing the main plot of the anime than I expected. In fact, I’m willing to say that if you’re looking for a better Sakura Trick experience, the anime is definitely the way to go. It’s well animated where it counts, and the overall atmosphere is mellow and relaxing.
Because of some of the staff here are from Shaft, there are obvious similarities between Hidamari Sketch’s style and this one, and it’s a choice that I neither like nor dislike. It definitely adds to the anime’s mood more than it takes away. However, these sections are a bit distracting, not to mention that they also act as blatant time-fillers, which is kind of annoying when you think about it.
The first episode told us of Haruka and Yuu’s relationship before high school, and how they suddenly became more than friends. Nothing much else happens in the first episode, but given that it covers the first two chapters of the manga and the short chapter 0, I can’t really complain. Most of Sakura Trick is composed of ordinary, if not silly, conversations that add more to characterization than they do to the overall narrative. It’s not really a bad thing per se, as this is still technically a slice of life show.
And of course, there are kisses. Lots of it. I wasn’t expecting the kiss scenes to last as long as they did, but they’re welcome surprises all the same. But what really impressed me was how they handled the kissing scenes. Normally, kissing in anime is presented as a still moment after lips lock, but here, they are definitely animated better, with Haruka and Yuu’s heads and bodies moving throughout the scenes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anime kiss scenes better animated than the ones here, but given that this is one of the anime’s main selling points, I shouldn’t have expected less.
Sakura Trick is not without its shortcomings, though. For example, there is simply way too much fanservice than I had anticipated, especially in the opening sequence. It’s like the staff felt the need to sexualize their characters even more than they already are. Maybe this is just me, but I found this to be more distracting than titillating. The anime would be better off with less of it. There’s also the lack of animation in between key events, but that’s probably just a consequence of the veranda jump scene which looked even more ridiculous animated. I really have to question the physics behind this feat:
All in all, Sakura Trick had a solid first episode, and is probably my favorite among the five or six preview episodes I’ve watched so far. But yeah, the only thing left to say here is that it’s DEFINITELY better than Pupa.
P.S.: Regarding the use of CGI in Sakura Trick, or any anime at all, I advise everyone to not watch your anime in tiny PC monitors. Go ahead, try it.
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