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Page 10 - Review 5 ANIMEfringe: July 2000 - Page 11 Page 12 - Web Showcase

ANIMEfringe Reviews:
Ujin's Sakura Diaries 2 VHS
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold


When we last left Touma, he proved he was a real loser by failing all his exams, lying that he passed the Keio exam to impress a girl, and taking Urara's love for granted. The second batch of episodes take this basic ‘Tauma-is-a-loser' formula and ride with it, making it even more hopeless by adding the idea that Touma might actually ‘get some.'

Episode 4 seems, at first, to just tread water as Touma just perpetuated his Keio lies and raises the suspicion of the preppy Economics Major, Mashu, who has the hots for Meiko. But, when Touma and Meiko get wasted at a party they wind up spending the night at a sleazy hotel, and knowing Touma's imagination, this scenario makes for some great fan service.

Episode 5 shifts focus from Touma and Meiko to Touma and Urara as our favorite High School girl enrolls into the same prep school as Touma. Episode 6 covers the aftermath of a night of Strip Rock, Paper, Scissors and explores the tragic story of why Urara loves Touma so much. If I said anymore, I would ruin the entire volume for you.

For those without a clue, lets take notes of the obvious. Touma is in love with Meiko. Meiko only likes Touma as a friend. Urara is in love with Touma, who is also her cousin. A pretty simple love triangle so far. Now add the cookie-cutter bad guy, Mashu, out to expose Touma and take Meiko from him. Though Sakura Diaries sure isn't the big red-hot love triangle that makes up Kimagure Orange Road, the scenario presented more than suffices for this light hearted sex comedy.

As a whole, this volume presents some of the most suggestive lines of dialogue I've heard in an anime. You can literally close your eyes while Urara and Touma are in the supermarket buying food and listen to the audio. After Touma sneaks a box of luckies into the hand basket, Urara literally asks, ‘How do you like your chips? Plain, or with ridges?' What, you don't believe me? I'm not some pervert, just trust me on this one and hear if for yourself. Ok, moving on...

Strangely, Sakura Diaries second volume is currently available only as a Dub VHS. With no Sub in sight and the DVD release to come when the third volume is available, it seems ADV is beginning to find it more affordable to do a Bilingual DVD. This theory might just hold water because many of the new ADV dub releases, such as Nadesico, are going for more affordable $19.98 price range for the dub.

Even though Sakura Diaries is an excellent series, a lot of the shots used, especially where Urara's friend is involved, seem grainy. While other times the animation is just fine. Another problem comes from the dub. Though the series is overall excellently translated and localized, the ending dialogue from episode 5 where Urara is screaming is so loud that I felt like my ear drums, not to mention my speakers, were going to explode. It seems that the dub crew could have at least peaked the screaming so that it wasn't so glass shattering. Aside from this, there are some forgettable times when the dub voices are too high pitched as well.

I want to reiterate that this show is not a hentai title. It is a mature sex comedy that is in the vein of American shows like Melrose Place and Sex In The City. Like most late night shows, relationships and sex are what the plot of Sakura Diaries is built from. ADV knows this and has chosen to release it under its own ADV imprint and advertise it with the likes of Bubblegum Crisis and Martian Successor Nadesico. So, if you like your anime suggestive and mature like Pulp: Manga For Grown Ups, but don't like the forced sex scenes that fill hentai titles, give Sakura Diaries a try. The show is just beginning to heat up, so don't miss out.

Review Info File
Title:
Ujin's Sakura Diaries (Sakura Tsuushin) Chapter 2 (ep 4-6) VHS
Format:
Dub VHS, Bilingual DVD
Episodes 4-6
75 minutes
Production:
Yujin
Shogakukan
Shaft
Kitty Films
Victor Entertainment
A.D.Vision, Inc.
Rating:
A-
Comments:
Take everything we said about this show in the May Fringe and just throw it right in the crapper, because this show is the most hentai anime there is that isn't hentai.

Page 10 - Review 5 ANIMEfringe: July 2000 - Page 11 Page 12 - Web Showcase
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