Sasami-san@Ganbaranai was released by Shaft in 2013 and perhaps missed by many watchers due to the Monogatari series’ explosion of popularity that appeared after it came back on air after 3 years wait.
Google Trends of the Monogatari Series(Blue) versus Sasami-san@Ganbaranai(Red)
Shaft is a studio that continually produces high quality content – at least visually, I haven’t enjoyed some particular works, but overall they’re usually a safe bet for finding a series to watch.
In this respect, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai is no different. It has it’s own unique style – accompanied of course by the famous shaft head-tilt. Sasami-san’s art is a refreshing style – very soft and subdued.
Sasami @ Ganbaranai follows the main character (Sasami) and the gods who influence her world. Perhaps it’s the fleetingness of gods or, more likely, the original novel’s superb writing, but each new chapter of the show is refreshingly unpredictable – unfortunately, an increasingly rare feature in modern shows.
The watcher needs to invest themselves for a few episodes before the world starts to make sense – In the opening episode, prepare to be utterly lost as the town starts turning into chocolate and one of the characters has rocket launchers stored in her chest – for apparently no reason. But it does become clearer as it progresses – we learn why the town was being covered, what these random characters have to do with Sasami and the viewer can finally follow the plot somewhat.
The best character (arguably) is perhaps Sasami’s brother, who throughout the entirety of the anime, hides his face from the camera, usually via a briefcase that he carries around. He is overly obsessed with Sasami and tends to her every whim – as she enjoys her hikikomori lifestyle.
An example of the plasma filter-esqe colouring
At no point in the series is there anything obviously below par, but there are several points where the show seems to meander a little or jump in logic too speedily. Generally, this is a high quality production.
There’s only two problems with Sasami-san @ Ganbaranai, the first of which is the occasional dip to mediocre quality – it’s impressive however, that this is something worth mentioning. The second problem is that it’s forgettable – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it means it’s more rewatchable than many other shows, when you know you want something reliably good, however – it seems easy enough to lose track if your viewing is sidetracked.
Yet again, Shaft deserves praise for meticulously polishing the work, which, if done by other animation studios, could have been a generic title. Shaft’s influence puts it right above many of the other shows from that season.
Fans of other Shaft productions or The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya will probably enjoy this title. For those interested in also watching Sasami’s adventures, the edition I watched was released by MVM-Films and can be found here.