The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou anime cover art featuring the students of Sakura Hall
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou Cover Art

Overview

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is a high school romantic comedy, however, the big twist here is that the main character doesn’t sit in the back of the classroom by the window. Okay, so the real twist is that one of the main characters is basically a pet because she can’t take care of herself.

I’m all for the innocent characters who don’t understand anything like Violet from Violet Evergarden, so I really enjoyed the first cour of this series when it focused on Mashiro’s daily life in Sakura Hall. However, the second cour quickly went down hill.

The series shifted the focus away from Mashiro and onto the other residents of Sakura Hall. This alone isn’t terrible, except all they do is blame Mashiro for their own misfortunes. You might think that’s fine for a source of conflict, but it happened so repeatedly that it became predictable and boring to watch.

The second cour of the series doesn’t just include some failures of the other residents of Sakura Hall, it completely revolves around their failures. Every single episode they fail at their dreams and blame Mashiro, even to the very end.

Characters

So who is this Mashiro I spoke of? She’s the Pet Girl of Sakurasou (Sakura Hall) the title refers to, most likely because caring for her is like having a pet that needs 24/7 care. She can’t get dressed or do any other standard things for a high school girl on her own.

However, she does have one talent: she’s a professional artist who has had her paintings shown in international galleries. That said, she’s given up the life of a famous painter to focus on drawing her own manga. While her artwork is still exceptional, her stories have a way to go.

The protagonist of the series is Sorata, a first year (I think) high school student who was sent to live in Sakura Hall because he refused to give up the stray cats he took in (Sakura Hall is where all the problem students are sent to live). Upon Mashiro’s arrival, Sorata was given “Mashiro duty,” meaning it’s his job to care for her.

The high school the characters attend is for various kinds of art students, and as you may have guessed, Mashiro is a standard art student. Sorata, on the other hand, is trying to become a video game designer, although we don’t learn this until possibly the second cour.

Nanami is Sorata’s best friend(?) who moves into Sakura Hall because she can’t afford to live in the regular dorms anymore, not because there’s really anything wrong with her. She’s training to become a voice actress and has a crush on Sorata.

The last Sakura Hall resident in the same grade as these previous three (whether that be first or second year since I can’t remember) is Ryuunosuke. He’s a shut-in who I don’t think we actually see until the second cour of the series.

Ryuunosuke is a pro hacker who accomplishes everything he needs to from the confines of his dorm room. He also developed an AI named Maid-chan who automatically responds to messages for him.

There are two third year students in Sakura Hall, Misaki and Jin. Misaki’s dream is to make anime, and Jin is aspiring to be a writer. Although these two have feelings for each other, they both have very different ways of showing it. Misaki is hyperactive, while Jin is distant.

Misaki was the first current resident in Sakura Hall and seems to have been put there simply because she didn’t fit in anywhere else. Later on, her childhood friend, Jin, was also sent to Sakura Hall, probably due to the fact that he has multiple girlfriends who are all married women.

Mashiro Shiina in a cat kigurumi from the anime The Pet Girl of Sakurasou
Mashiro Shiina

Conclusion

If the series continued on like the first cour, I probably would have rated it at a 7, but because of the direction the second cour took, I think it turned out to be a 6/10. It would have been fine to have a mini arc where there was conflict between Mashiro and the other residents, but a whole cour of it was too much.

I found that I was no longer rooting for any of the characters in the second cour in the same way I had been during the first. Mashiro’s screen time decreased, and the rest of the characters (with the possible exception of Misaki) became less and less likeable as they bullied Mashiro.

While Mashiro’s personality may be more like Violet Evergarden‘s, the way she was treated by the other characters reminded me of Nishimiya from A Silent Voice, which doesn’t make the other characters likeable in any way.

If you’re looking for an enjoyable high school romantic comedy, I’d only suggest watching the first half of this series, not because the second half contains conflict, but because the second half is extremely repetitive and predictable as I mentioned earlier.

The first OP of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is available here.

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