Sarazanmai

Sarazanmai

Sarazanmai anime series cover art
Sarazanmai

Overview

Sarazanmai (さらざんまい) was the wildcard anime of the Spring season. Originally I wasn’t even going to watch it because I thought it sounded too stupid on the surface. Basically three middle school boys get turned into turtle-duck-frogs, known as Kappas, and must use the power of friendship to defeat ghosts born out of desire.

That’s a a really simplified explanation of what happens, but it would take way to long for me to properly explain the plot. And no matter how I explained it, I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. This anime is something you experience, not watch.

However, I didn’t really care all that much about the overall plot simply because of how absurd most of the series was. I couldn’t care less about the war between Kappas and Otters. And I rarely cared about the boys’ secrets that were revealed through the Sarazanmai process (the way in which they defeat so-called Kappa Zombies).

But to be fair, I’m generally more interested in well written characters and character relationships than plot. Luckily, this is where I think Sarazanmai shined the brightest. Each of the characters is unique and has their own motivations, strengths, weaknesses, and relationships.

It was Toi’s personal struggle that I found to be the most engaging. I’ll go into him as a character in more detail in the next section, but his whole subplot revolved around his relationship with his older brother who’s a notorious gang member.

These sections of the series which followed Toi and his brother were some of the most grounded. There was no magic, no nonsense, it was like watching a Yakuza anime. I doubt there will be anymore of this series since it’s an original, but I wouldn’t mind a prequel following Toi’s brother.

Characters

From here on out there will be spoilers!

Kazuki Yasaka is one of our three main characters. He’s a former soccer player who was one half of the Golden Duo along with his best friend, Enta. Kazuki quit playing soccer after his younger brother was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident.

Everything he does is for his brother, despite it being revealed that the two of them aren’t related by blood. He even goes so far as to take selfies of himself cross-dressing as a popular idol to make his brother happy.

Enta Jinnai is my least favorite of the three. He’s the kind of nerdy character I never like in anime because they’re wusses. At least Armin has actually developed as a character throughout Attack on Titan. Unfortunately, this series isn’t long enough for Enta to really change all that significantly.

The big reveal about Enta is that he’s gay and in love with Kazuki. That doesn’t change his character, but it does make him seem a bit more desperate. It changes the way you view his relationship with Kazuki because it frames it as a one-sided romantic one rather than a friendship with differing priorities.

Keppi and Enta Jinnai from the anime series Sarazanmai
Keppi and Enta

And as previously mentioned, the best of the three main characters is Toi Kuji. Toi is the delinquent character who’s breaking into a car the very first time we meet him. However, he actually turns out to have a much softer personality than one would first suspect.

Toi’s life completely revolves around his older brother who he looks up to despite being a murderous gang member. He’s ready to give up everything if it means being useful to his brother, even his life. Also, in comparison to his problems, Enta and Kazuki’s are child’s play.

Happy Pride Month

Have I mentioned yet that this entire series is extremely gay? No? Well it is. That’s right, Enta isn’t the only gay character, Mabu and Reo, the cops who work for the Otters, are gay too. Oh, and the entire premise of the show is also gay, so there’s that.

How do the boys transform into Kappas to perform the Sarazanmai? They get “something” sucked out of their butts by Keppi, then are swallowed hole and defecated out as Kappas. Because why not?

Also the whole Sarazanmai sequences end with the Kappas forming a human chain and inserting themselves directly into the butts of giant Kappa Zombies. They then extract the “desire” of these Kappa Zombies and swallow it.

I’ve read that when the idea for this series was originally pitched, the creator left out all the butt stuff. If that’s actually true, that’s a pretty funny considering how much of the series that encompasses. It would almost be like pitching Naruto, but leaving out the fact that they’re ninja.

This might be the first yaoi anime I’ve ever watched. I mean, it’s not actually tagged as a yaoi series, but it might as well be. From what I remember we don’t see a single straight relationship in the whole series, aside from Toi’s aunt and uncle who have about one line of dialogue.

Actually, I just remembered that there’s a straight Kappa relationship at the end. But this is still a pretty gay series.

However, I do need to point out that if yaoi anime aren’t your thing, that doesn’t mean you should skip out on this one. There are a lot of other reasons I would accept you skipping this anime for, but not that one.

Conclusion

Overall Sarazanmai is a 6/10. I almost gave it a 7, but I really didn’t care all that much about the majority of the series. It has well written characters, looks really pretty a lot of the time, and has a good OP/ED combo. And speaking of looking pretty, if you’re a fan of sakuga you should probably check this one out.

Of the OP and ED, I preferred the ED in every way. The song used is Stand By Me by the peggies, who you may remember from the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai OP. I actually think this song is even better than that one, and the visuals for this ED are amazing too.

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