Ever since early 70s, every single shoujo ai/yuri story looks the same. A lot of drama all over the place, overwhelming sadness of main characters and complexes that nobody but the precious love interest can cure. Throw in the occassional problems of ethical nature, namely: "If I were a boy I'd marry you, but I'm not, so the world can't know we love each other" and you got yourself a classic shoujo ai title. Nowadays, however, with gender all over the place, creators can finally perceive girls' love as something normal, and so Sakura Trick was born - a light comedy with a huge accent placed on the love between main characters. "Finally something fresh", one can say. The end of sad and beautiful stories like Strawberry Panic, the beginning of a new era, where typical romcoms can also feature exclusively women. The thing is... after watching this show, I'm sure of only one thing - I miss Strawberry Panic's subtlety and delicate approach. Along with the loss of drama, the aspects that described yuri are also gone, stripping this anime to a simple 'brainless comedy with a lot of kissing'.
DON'T CALL IT A PARTY, CAUSE IT NEVER STOPS
For a 2014 anime, the visual aspects of it are nothing new. Just some candy graphics there, blurred effects elsewhere, shiny lights all over the place and the constant light color on screen as the final filter to make it soft and fluffy. It's fitting and does its job well at accenting the atmosphere of the whole anime. The thing is... sometimes you can see the creators were experimental about some things. Wanted to make it more artsy, mildly trying stuff from Bakemonogatari or Mawaru Penguindrum. It's pretty cool, okay, doesn't really fit with the premise but you can live with it... that is, until episode 8 comes around.
From then on, the amount of insane close-ups doubled and they started experimenting with SHAFT-esque neck-snapping. Like above!
NOW ONE IS TOO MANY, BUT IT'S NEVER ENOUGH
While the change that this anime is meant to symbolize is noticable just by reading the synopsis, creators weren't really afraid to show it off even more - by adding the best feature it has to offer to the opening. Namely - kissing. Having the kissing scenes that should be subtle, considering the genre, in the opening is pretty obnoxious alone, but additionally having the anime start with 'KISS! KISS! KISS!' made me cringe every single time, so it's no wonder I decided to opt out and skip the opening for what it's worth. Sadly, since I watched it for reviewing purposes, I had to complete the opening at least once... and it was namely the worst 90 seconds of my entire life. Even Boku no Pico doesn't compare to the torture.
The rest of the soundtrack stands on a rather standard level, which is a heavenly feeling after having your ears tortured by the opening. The only thing I'd have any problem with would the the voice actors - they all have pretty soothing voices, but because of that, I sometimes had trouble differentiating between Haruka's and Yuu's voice... which caused a little confusion.
DON'T TELL ME YOU'RE HAPPY
Haruka and Yuu, our main characters, have been friends forever. By the time of the first episode, they decided to join the same high school, which is meant to close down after they graduate. And as soon as they find out they're in the same class, the first drama ensues - and it's not about something trivial like the school closing down... it's because they can't sit next to each other. Instead of committing suicide, however, they decide to find a cure for this - and they do, in the very same episode. This cure turns out to be a kiss, but not a friendly one, rather - the full-fledged french kiss. To prevent from feeling down ever again, they take this miraculous medicament in every single episode, and I'd be damned if the final ratio was lower than 3 per episode.
Now, to take things a little more seriously - this anime is episodic, consists of 12 episodes, each of them split in two small stories, each of them loosely tied to the other. It's nothing new by any means, but for something without a clear target audience it should offer something more for the time you spend watching it. And it does - the redeeming value of this series is the signature kiss, which is pretty much the only reason you'd watch the series in the first place. Had a kissing withdrawal? Watch this. Didn't have it? Pick something else.
CAUSE THIS ISN'T LOVE
For a shoujo-ai series, I expected the characters to have any kind of depth to them. Turns out, I was wrong. All of the characters are thin as paper, the most interesting one being the thinnest - because of how little attention she was given during the show. Haruka is all lovestruck about Yuu for virtually no reason other than their long-time frienship, Yuu is trying to act cool about it but proves to be helpless in the end... Sounds like your typical seme-uke split? Not really. Unlike the other shoujo-ai series, this one breaks up with the long-known scheme and decides to give each character an equal standing. Sorry fanfics, no seme-uke in this one.
For the other characters, the first spot gets Shizuku (the one I called the most interesting, namely because she pretty much dropped her engagement to flirt with a female classmate) and Kotone (said classmate), whose relationship is similar to the main couple. Then there's Kaede and Yuzu, who prove you can have a normal, healthy relationship as classmates no matter how long you've known each other, and Mitsuki, Yuu's older sister, who for absolutely no reason is interested in Haruka.
SO BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
All in all, the lyrics I used as titles for each paragraph describe this anime pretty well. No actual plot can be observed, so it never seems to stop, even after the last episode, which can be considered a conclusion of the series, in this case just doesn't cut it - which is nothing new either. One would wish there were more lighthearted shoujo-ai series, but at the same time, we all look back on the old ones and feel the nostalgy for the subtle series where kissing meant something real. The kissing scenes, visible everywhere in this anime, are enough to keep you watching the show - but is it really enough to make the watch satisfying? And who again thought that instead of a gradually built up relationship, the one with no backbone or sense will suffice?
It's all just a token of the past, though. Seeing yet another overdramatized shoujo-ai title made people wish for something lighter, and ultimately, after it happened, we can't help looking back.
To address one, final issua, which is probably the most important one of this anime, it doesn't really know who to appeal to. The aura that making problems out of nothing creates makes you think it's directed at women, while the overwhelming fanservice (come on, there's even an episode titled "Swimsuit Fanservice") is clearly there to appeal to the male audience. In the end, it's just like any other shoujo-ai, being way too subtle for the male audience but not that appealing to the female side and fujoshi, so no big news there... but I still felt ripped off for what it's worth. Like the creators used the kissing to make it stand out for you, offering absolutely nothing less.
Total score: count dem flowers/100
Judgement: KISS OF DEATH-LY