Sakura Diaries

October 6, 2012

A note of caution to guys. If you want to impress a girl or make a good first impression for that lady you just fall in love at first sight, please do not, I repeat, do not ever, ever, ever start it off with a lie! I’m serious. If you don’t believe me, just watch Sakura Diaries to see what I mean. I know there is this fear that if the girl finds you inferior than her then your hopes of going out with her will go up in smokes. But can you handle it once the lie becomes bigger and bigger? What will you tell her? How can you even face her? So in a simple but yet slightly complicated love story, we see a kid from the countryside coming to the big city to study (like every other kid who wants to make his/her impact in modern society these days). He falls in love with a girl but feels the need to live up to her expectations and that’s where the lie comes in. On the other hand, he also has this cousin who has a crush on him ever since young. Love triangle, love drama, unrequited love, heartbreaks and pangs of love. Oh yeah, you’ll find them here in this anime. Don’t worry. You don’t need tissues as stand by. This isn’t so bad for me to classify it as a tear jerker.

Episode 1
18 year old Touma Inaba from Izu is residing in a hotel in Tokyo as he is here to take the university entrance exams. Hey, they have porn channels in hotel rooms? He didn’t expect room service knocking on his door. Wait. Did her order any call girl? Did she have the wrong room? Don’t think so. She is going to make sure he’ll have a good time. When a cute girl like her starts stripping and teasing you, it’s going to be hard to restrain yourself, right? Yeah, that porn channel isn’t helping either. But Touma is puzzled how she knows his name. Maybe it’s his ID tag for the exams? Thinking he doesn’t believe she is a high school girl, she shows her ID and proves she is really one. Actually she, Urara Kasuga is putting up an act in hopes he will remember. No such luck. Touma is deliberating (and fantasizing) whether he should lose his virginity to a cutie like her. Fortunately he uses the right head as he kicks her out of his room. Urara calls him an idiot but what baffles him more is that she starts calling him by his childhood nickname, Tonma-chan. Urara takes the train home and despite not having much luck with that, wishes Touma to do his best for his exams. A few days later, Touma calls his mom and she knows he has flopped the entrance exams he has taken. The only university left is Keiou University but this one has very high standards. Touma wanted to sit this just for souvenir. You know, he tried but failed. Well, he already had this fail mentality… He blames the cold he has got and would have done better if not for Urara passing on the cold to him and hopes he will never have to see her again. Mommy wants him to come home to take over the family inn but he is adamant he will be going to university in Tokyo. Urara talks to her friend Komi Natsuki about Touma. Seems Touma is her cousin and she only met him once and that was 6 years ago when their family went on vacation at Kamakura. How can you expect a guy to remember something 6 years ago and only seeing each other once? Komi thought they did something naughty but Urara says he gave her something special: Eternal memories. Komi thinks he is her first love but Urara notes it’s her precious love that destiny gave her.

Touma is contemplating not taking Keiou’s entrance exam since it’s way out of his league. Till the student pass of Mieko Yotsuba came flying into his face. He is smitten by her beauty and since she is also taking the exams and will be classmates, he vows to make it into Keiou and make this babe his wife. On exam day itself, Touma overslept. How typical. He runs with all his might and at the entrance he is appalled to see Urara waiting for him. Guess what? He still doesn’t remember who she is except for that call girl who gave him the cold. As he blows her top, Urara is just cool and even made bento for him on this important day. He is not amused at what she’s plotting and accidentally hits the bento away. Poor Urara runs away in tears and probably Touma realizes everybody has been staring at him like the villain. While doing stretching in her tennis club, Urara feels guilty that it’s her fault and her over-reaction may cause him to fail his exam. She thought so long that Komi had to point out she was stretching all day. Seriously, the other club-mates didn’t call her? In the exam hall, Mieko thought Touma’s girlfriend made him a nice bento so that panicky guy had to lie it was from his sister. Seeing her so sexy and once she mentions she was stressed out all night long, it’s a cue for Touma to start fantasizing and probably help ‘relieve her stress’. Pervy. He’s acting quite confident so the examiner hopes the exam will be easy on him. Touma is all fired up to pass the exam and go to Keiou with her.

Episode 2
During the break, Touma joins Mieko for lunch. She notices the very well made bento and feels envious he has someone looking after him. Then she talks about the exam and seem not to have much confidence herself but hopes she can make it through since she has worked hard. Touma tries to give her encouragement. But I guess he went too far with his own fantasies (they got married and all) so much so he took too long and the afternoon exam is about to start. Oh, I don’t think Mieko heard him when he started ranting. Just like talking to himself, eh? On the day the results are out, Mieko is so happy that she got accepted that she hugs Touma in public. Like a celebrity, the photographers take snapshots of them. Huh? Urara is also there but wonders who is this woman hugging him. Now it’s Touma’s turn. It’s time for the truth. The harsh truth. His number is not there. His eyes are not deceiving him. It’s really not there! Oh sh*t! Dream come crumbling down. Worse, he lied when he shows Mieko the thumbs up. And you know what they say when one lie leads to another… Everyone else tosses him up in the air to congratulate him. Touma is back working at his family’s inn. He remembers Mieko wiping his tears off (I’m sure he wasn’t crying tears of joy) so he managed to get her number (an excuse to wash and return her handkerchief) and she’ll be hoping to see her at orientation day. Don’t think that’s happening. Then Touma realizes. It isn’t over yet. If Mieko gave him her number it means she must have feelings for him. He is going to return to Tokyo, call her and tell her about the truth and begin their true love story. Keep dreaming…

Urara is at the train station supposed to pick Touma up. He doesn’t show up so she calls his mother. She learns Touma misread his timetable and missed his train. Not only that, mommy said he failed all his entrance exams. Komi beckons Urara to watch a couple across the platform doing a passionate French kiss. Hey! Isn’t that girl Mieko? Touma arrives at the apartment he’ll be living in Tokyo. Hearing the voice of a girl, he remembers his uncle has a daughter but doesn’t have much confidence in her and thinks she is ugly and full of pimples. Guess what? Surprise! It’s that call girl Urara! Finally remember her, eh? Here is a bigger surprise: She’s wearing naked apron! Yeow! She has made him dinner and explains that call girl thingy was just to cheer him up. She reveals she has learnt from his mom about what happened and even though he is going to cram school, that’ll just be for a year. She is happy that if he passes this time, they’ll go to university together. I think that’s the last thing he wants to do. He is about to blame her for giving him the cold but his eyes start wandering over Urara’s matured physique. I think he is going to get sick this time. Ironically, shouldn’t Urara catch a cold too for not wearing much clothes? Touma is going to call Mieko so Urara realizes it was her whom Touma was giving the thumbs up to. However the number he dials is not in service. Touma blames Urara for interrupting him and thus causing him to misdial. Can he say that after a few attempts with the same results? He even dismisses she was messing with him. After all, they’ve hugged in public, right? So I guess when it really hit him, Touma got so depressed that he just tears up the number. Urara feels pity and tries to comfort him by hugging his back. Touma narrates he didn’t realize this unseemly act of consolation took all the strength she had.

Episode 3
Touma is worried about them living under the same roof. You know. A young boy and girl. ‘That’ may happen. Maybe it’s just an excuse for him. In case. But Urara just plays it cool. Where can you find a nice girl who makes breakfast for you and even wants to help you get dressed? On second thought, maybe he should be worried. Urara accompanies Touma to his cram school thinking as a country bumpkin he needs some guide around Tokyo. Man, he looks so out of place with his suit. Urara has made a spare apartment key for him and naughtily flirts with him like as though they’re lovers. But they’re being interrupted by some guy, Kouji Akimoto who wants Touma to remember why he failed this year and stick to this for his lover. Is he doing signs of masturbation?! A fellow student warns not to stay close to him as he is already a third year ronin and it’s getting to him. This guy by the way is in his second year. Touma goes to Keiou in hopes of telling Mieko the truth but he sees a flock of guys around her. They are asking if she has a boyfriend. Though she hasn’t, she mentions an important requirement to be one. Her future boyfriend MUST be a Keiou student. I guess you don’t even qualify, Touma. Even that otaku nerd has a higher chance of scoring than you. Devastated as he may be, Mieko spots him and flocks to his side mentioning they have some date tonight. Obviously it’s a ploy to get away from those persistent buggers. At a safe distance while catching their breath, Touma sees how pretty Mieko is and his mind starts to wander again. She extends her hand to acknowledge her fellow classmate but Touma can’t do it. He must sum up the courage to tell her the truth.

Urara and Komi are at Keiou. Seems Komi has an ulterior motive to snag a boyfriend for herself. Well, which girl doesn’t want a rich handsome guy? The security stops them since today it’s not open to public. They try to make excuses that they are seeing a friend but he’s not letting them in. A handsome hunk, Mashu Tatsuhiko pretends to know them and lets them in. Komi is obviously smitten with him and gives him her card in hopes he’ll buzz her on her pager (she’s soooo glad she’s a virgin -_-). As they walk along, I suppose any guy is to Komi’s liking. So much to choose, eh? Spoilt for choice. Then they happen to see Touma and Mieko. Touma finally blurts the truth he failed but Mieko misinterprets that he got accepted into another department. Does he look like the guy to be in the economics department? He really wanted to tell her the truth but fears she may have caught on that he has failed to gain entry. She brushes it off as a joke since he’s wearing his suit. She admits she likes smart guys and funny guys like him too. Touma is happy and sad to hear that. Happy because he’s got a chance with her. Sad because he realizes she thinks she’s talking to a fellow Keiou student. He must put this to rest and tell her the truth now! Mieko continues that she has been thinking about the incident when she threw herself around him during the results announcement. She thinks it’s love and the beginning of something. I guess that’s it. Touma starts acting cool and makes a bigger lie. He’s supposed to be accepted into Kyoto University but decided it will be great walking under these trees with her and settled with Keiou. Man, how are you going to worm your way out of this big fat lie? Touma isn’t quite interested in his cram school class. Akimoto wants him to come with him after class as there will be a gathering. However he refuses since he has plans to meet Mieko in Shibuya. That night in Shibuya, Komi isn’t thrilled to have accompanied Urara on her grocery errand. How does that in Shibuya anyway? Well, the neighbourhood grocery was closed. Komi is worried that at this rate, no guys will hit on her! WTF?! Then she sees some Keiou guys and bugs Urara to follow with them. Komi hopes she could bump into that handsome hunk at the gates again. Then Urara sees Touma and her eyes are lit with happiness. But that soon turns into concern when she sees him meet up with Mieko.

Episode 4
Mieko introduces Touma to her friends at the gathering party. Among them is Mashu who says he is in the economics department. Sh*t has just begun. Touma tries to worm his way out giving excuses he is drunk and doesn’t remember his class, etc. Then he drinks up and can’t let everyone find out he’s a fake student. Touma and Mieko are alone together outside. He is making more lies that he got dumped by a girl during middle school. Mieko kisses him. I’m not sure if she’s drunk. But… Oh Urara saw that. She turns into despair and runs away. Now that scene is stuck in her head rerunning like a spoilt video tape. But she decides not to fret over it and be her lively self. While Touma walks back with Mieko, they accidentally walk into the love hotel area. Mieko feels tired and wants to rest. Oh… As she takes a shower, Touma starts panicking. He needs to calm down but is worried Mieko would find out and tease him as a virgin. That’s his concern? So he summons his courage to bust open the toilet door and with his cheesy line “I was drinking alone and listening to the shower, I thought I heard an angel singing”. Please… From then on it gets steamier… Fortunately it’s just his crazy fantasy. With Mieko finishing, it’s Touma’s turn to clean himself. Just when he is ready and has decided to lose his virginity to her, he is appalled that Mieko is sound asleep. The night may be young but it ends here for you young man. Meanwhile Urara has made Touma a warm dinner and is waiting for him to return. She knows better but she hopes he’ll come back. It’s getting late. Very late.

Next morning, Touma leaves the love hotel by himself since he can’t bring himself to wake Mieko after seeing how beautiful she is in her sleep. Don’t worry, he has done nothing and is still a virgin. Komi teases Urara that Touma might be spending a night with a girl, the reason he didn’t come back and this obviously disturbs Urara very much. Komi apologizes for crossing the line as Urara mentions all Touma thinks about is that woman. Maybe there’s no room in his heart for her. Soon she brushes her gloomy side and returns to her perky self because she’s not out of the race yet and won’t give up. Komi notes that Touma doesn’t know her feelings at all and suggests she sleep with him. Yeah, nothing solves everything with sex for a guy. In cram school, Touma isn’t paying attention. He’s thinking too hard he needs to study hard so he’ll get to do it for real with Mieko and take the lead next time. However he thinks of losing his virginity to another girl first. WTF?! If he has time to think about this, he should be using it to study hard, right? But I suppose he needs to study hard first after realizing he doesn’t want to end up like Akimoto. After class, he is surprised to see Urara in this place. Seems she has also enrolled for cram school to prepare for next year. She wants to celebrate by cooking dinner tonight and wants him to accompany her to buy ingredients. But Touma isn’t exactly thrilled so Urara mentions she was just worried about him since he didn’t come home last night. He tries to explain he was out with his friends but I guess he decides to go with Urara since he doesn’t really want to join Akimoto. She’ll be a safer bet. Then he realizes something. He realizes he’s a fool not to have touched her. Sizing her up as a full-fledged and mature woman who is no longer a child, she might be perfect to get past his first time. What’s with that condom box he got from the supermarket shelf? Is he planning a different kind of dinner tonight?

Episode 5
Touma wonders if Urara had spotted the box since she’s still acting all cheery. Upon learning that his uncle is on an overseas trip, he thought tonight is his chance to get lucky with her and suggests they play strip baseball. Urara notices his naughty intentions when she finally sees the box at the cash register. It’s all getting clearer now, isn’t it? There’s an awkward mood between them. Urara is seemingly spacing out because she remembers Komi told her a way to a dense guy’s heart like Touma is to have sex. Mieko visits the economics department wanting to tell Touma something but Mashu pops up instead. He says Touma didn’t turn up so he teases her that she and Touma ran off together during the party. She replies their relationship isn’t as what he thinks as they’re only friends. She says Mashu may be the dream guy of every girl but Touma is different. She thought she wouldn’t have to worry about such rumours with him. Mashu jokes that she’s pretty calculative. He admits he was just a little jealous of Touma and since Mieko didn’t dismiss that Mashu still had a chance to go out with her, he decides to start off with a group date and invite Touma too. Urara asks Touma’s opinion about exam students falling in love. He thought if it could encourage each other towards their goals, that would be ideal. Urara wants to believe her life isn’t a mistake even though there will be tough times ahead. She adds that when she thinks about him, she can hear the most beautiful love song in the world. She rushes back ahead of him to prepare.

Back home, Touma and Urara are playing strip rock-scissors-paper and though Urara is down to her undies, Touma is confident tonight is the night he’ll become a man. Ever since, he’s on a losing streak and one more loss he’ll be stark naked! Then he starts thinking back on what she said earlier and feels guilty for trying to take advantage of her kindness. He doesn’t want to play anymore despite Urara wanting to continue. The phone interrupted them and it’s Komi calling to ask if she has already done it with him. The sooner the better because once it’s done, he’ll be her love slave. So if she does it on indecisive guys like him, they’ll not look at any other women. At least that’s what her sister told her. Komi is telling her out of concern as her best friend since she knows Urara wants him to forget about that Keiou woman he’s with. Touma is in his room and further sinks into guiltiness of trying to take advantage of Urara no matter how a loose girl she is. She’s still his uncle’s daughter. But then he thought as long as he has Mieko, he’d be a jerk or scumbag. So where does that leave Urara? She has nothing to do with him? She is upset he plans to use the condoms with someone who has nothing to do with him. Even if that was just his daydreaming, it’s enough to hurt him. Seeing how depressed Touma is, Urara comes into his room and intentionally lose the game to strip off her bra. However this awakens the beast in Touma so he pins her down and tries to rape her! Once Urara realizes he is going to use her as a stepping stone and had no feelings for her at all, she struggles her way out and returns to her room. She feels sad that this is how things are while Touma could only reflect on his shameful actions.

Episode 6
Morning comes and Touma remembers what he had almost done to Urara last night. Yeah, blame it on the booze now, eh? Why now only remember what your mother said about steering clear of alcohol? He tries to act cool and friendly with Urara but clearly that girl is in no mood. To show that she’s still mad, there’s no breakfast for him. So what if he starves to death? Then he starves to death. Urara tells him off after what he did to her last night, he’s got the guts to tell her he’s hungry. Such an insensitive jerk! She throws his shirt at his face and runs off. But that shirt she ripped during the struggle, she sewed it back already. And maybe Urara’s just pretending to be mad just to make that jerk do some soul searching. Touma sees his counsellor who isn’t confident in him wanting to get into Keiou considering the grades he has now. Does he have anything in particular that he wants to choose this university? Well, we all know, don’t we? But Touma’s blaming his cold that he failed the exam. And the others too. It’s not that the counsellor has anything against him being ambitious but he has to be realistic too. He needs to be honest with himself from now on. Well, he’s been on a lying spree, hasn’t he? Komi confronts Urara and demands her to spill everything. She is upset that she is depressed and refuses to tell her anything, though she knows this has something to do with Touma. Komi wants to know what happened 6 years ago so Urara starts her flashback. Her dad was always on overseas business trips and thus she always looked up to her mother. One day she returned from school and mommy wasn’t home. Her aunty told her she got into a car accident and unfortunately didn’t survive. At that point, Urara couldn’t care less if she was dead or alive. Till she met Touma and he brought her back to life. After the funeral, dad soon went abroad and Urara is taken under the care of her grandma and transferred school. One day some of her relatives thought she stayed indoors too much and brought her to Kamakura. This is where she first met Touma who taught her how to eat piping hot takoyaki. Then giving her a white pen to write whatever she wants on the wall of a statue, she drew a crying bunny (as she always see herself as one) while Touma drew a racoon next to it. He said whenever she feels lonely, she can always come back here and that he’ll always be protecting her. From that moment, Urara started getting better bit by bit. I guess 6 years is too long for him to remember, eh? Besides, no wonder he can’t remember her since she had flowing long hair then. So touching a story that Komi even cried…

Akimoto gives Touma something strong to drink to ease his woes. Then calling him up to the roof, he mentions about the annual tradition of a baseball tournament next week for all cram students to bond and whatsoever. Akimoto continues that everyone has failed to enter university and think they have to waste a year in cram school. He believes Touma is one of those people who think they don’t ever want to make friends at cram school. He doesn’t blame Touma as he was once like this too. He thought it was just a temporary situation and screwed up somewhere. But then it’s where you begin to see who you really are and your real place in the world. This tournament event helps you do that. You play baseball and get friendly with a bunch of people. So it’s either you spend your days like that or never connecting with yourself and just cramming. He is telling him this since he has met the counsellor. He doesn’t want Touma to take that guy serious because all he cares about is the school’s acceptance rate. It’s like a form of advertising. That’s why Akimoto is somewhat a thorn in his side. He hopes Touma will loosen and up and will eventually see who he really is. But seriously, they’re short on members on their team and wants Touma to take part. So all that nice speech was just for this? Well, it was a good talk nevertheless. Touma on his way home is being confronted with Komi. She labels him an insensitive jerk and speaks her mind that though she doesn’t know what happened between them, at this rate it won’t be fair to Urara. Touma thought she had told her best friend about last night and wonders if Urara sent her to talk on his behalf. She rubbishes his claims and that’s the reason why he doesn’t understand the innocence of a girl in love. In tears, she reminds him that the night he was supposed to take the exams, Urara went to his room to calm him down as a call girl. Even if he failed, she met him at the door practically naked to cheer him up.  And she did all these things even though she’s still a virgin! Wow. It must really hit Touma. Good thing that his eyes are now open and though still confused, at least he is beginning to understand what Urara means to him.

Episode 7
Urara sniffs Touma and glad he isn’t covered with alcohol. Maybe she’ll be spared from his attack again. Oh. She’s still mad. Touma regrets attacking her as he realizes she isn’t some sleazy loose girl who sleeps around. He apologizes and admits he is at fault but Urara isn’t going to be bought over so easily. But I guess when he says he was thinking about her all day long (at least just to come up with what to say), she is happy with that and returns to her old self. Now to make things up, she suggests he bring her to an amusement park and ride the Ferris wheel. Oh, how romantic that’ll be. He has to set aside the entire day for her and warns him about thinking of that Keiou woman. If he does, there’s no telling what she’ll do. Scary. Somehow this reminds Touma that he needs to call her. Looks like he has got her real number. Mieko is glad to hear from him and has been searching for him since she is worried about that incident after the party. She thought he was skipping classes since she couldn’t find him. Oddly, she went to his economics department and still couldn’t find him. But she really wants to see him and talk to him face to face. Tomorrow after class it is. Touma is so happy that he’s back in the grove with her that he starts fantasizing about her. Note to himself: I bet he learnt a very important lesson not to fantasize in the middle of a public phone booth. What are the odds that somebody will see him in his embarrassing state? Touma compares his cram school schedule with Mieko’s but it seems Akimoto wants him to hang out with them for a karaoke party. He declines since he has other plans. Akimoto knows it’s a woman so he hints cram school students are better off sticking to this (insert masturbating hand gesture here).

Komi notices Urara her happy self again so she is glad that guy did listen to what she say. As Komi is still waiting patiently for that Keiou hunk to page her, Urara wants her to accompany her after school because she wants to introduce him to Touma. Komi is glad that Urara hasn’t suspect things yet and Touma will be surprised out of his pants to see her 2 days in a row. Touma rushes his way to Keiou and makes it in time to see Mieko. But Mashu’s there too. Long time no see. Heck, this is the first time they see each other in university. Mashu teases him that Mieko was worried that night that he may have scooted off with another girl. The point he wants to make is that Touma is hardly seen on campus. But now that their little group is reunited, he brings them out on a triangle date. So this is the group date he had in mind? Akimoto tells Urara and Komi that Touma had already left after afternoon classes. He gets this idea to invite them both to the karaoke party. I’m sure girls like them won’t want to miss this opportunity. The duo have their fun with the cram school guys at the karaoke joint. As Urara takes a break outside, she is surprised to see Touma in another room with Mieko and Mashu. Touma is singing with passion his enka rendition (to show off to you know who) when he gets the shock of his life. So shocked that he dropped his microphone. Yeah, he saw Urara staring outside the window. Oh sh*t! He is so screwed this time. Remember the warning? Yeah, that. Mashu thinks it’s his girlfriend but Touma is worried that Urara may bust in here to reveal in front of Mieko he’s not a student at Keiou. Oh Touma. You’re really screwed.

Episode 8
Komi wonders what Urara is doing, catches glimpse of that handsome hunk. Wow. She’s excited. They both go in. Situation getting worse for Touma. Komi gets friendly with Mashu who doesn’t remember her till she mentions about the card while Urara mentions aloud that word: Cram school. Urara sits next to Mieko. Things looking real bad. She thinks Mieko is Touma’s girlfriend but she dismisses it and that they met each other on exam day are students of Keiou. He’s a student of Keiou? Oh sh*t. He’s sweating in his pants. He’s even turning blue! There’re tears in Urara’s eyes. I guess Urara snapped because she’s saying out loud how she and Touma played that baseball game, slept together and know every curve and crevice of each other’s body. Nobody knows him better or will love him more than she does because she is… Gulp. She is… Oh sh*t is coming. She is… His sister. Urara says she is taking entrance exams next year the reason she is in cram school to repaper and was supposed to meet her ‘brother’ from Keiou. Urara leaves putting on a smile but the rest clearly know something is wrong. Komi is a good friend because no matter how guy hungry she is, she ditches this opportunity to be with Mashu to chase after her best friend. Touma also follows suit so Mieko calls it a day. I guess Mashu didn’t remember who Komi was at first because he received quite a number of cards from high school girls too. Komi goes after Urara but Touma wants to do the honours instead. When he catches up to her, he wonders about her sister act. She doesn’t know well herself. She wanted to tell them her real feelings but got panicked and confused. There were other things she wanted to say too but I guess she couldn’t. She collapses in his arms crying that it’s all right to be his sister anyway.

Next morning, Touma calls his mom about how he has never met uncle ever since he came to Tokyo. Urara snatches the phone away to assure her everything is fine. Later Urara mentions about their amusement park date and wants to ride the Ferris wheel at exactly 7pm. Touma isn’t sure he can make it seeing he has extra cram school classes. Is that the truth? Hope so. Urara teaches him how to use a pager and thought he wasn’t listening so she makes him repeat. Guess what? He remembers them all! You expect him to flop, don’t you? Well, not in this simple area. Then she continues explaining the plan. Once in the gondola, she wants him to forget everything except her. She must be the only thing reflected in them. Even if it’s a lie, she wants him to tell her that he loves her and then kiss. At cram school, Akimoto gives Touma a message from Mieko. Do they know each other? Well, Urara and Komi never returned so he went looking for them when he bumped into this vixen who asked if he knew Touma. Don’t worry, he didn’t reveal he is his cram school mate and just said he knew her. He also didn’t read the message but notes that he has got the guts to two-time in his first year of cram school. The message reads Mieko wanted to see him privately yesterday and since that didn’t turn out well, she hopes to meet him today at 5pm. Oh. It’s that perverted fantasizing face again. He thinks Mieko wants to continue where they left off at the love hotel. Dream on… Though he feels bad for Urara, Mieko takes priority as he sends a cancellation message to Urara’s pager. Then finally meeting Mieko, he puts on a cool act. But the dark stormy clouds would have given him a hint that something is about to go wrong. First, she asks if he has told anybody about the kiss and love hotel incident. He didn’t. Then she reveals she was in a bad mood and the alcohol at the party didn’t help and things got out of hand. Now she drops the bomb. She’s in a long distance relationship with a third year at Keiou. However he is studying abroad at Paris. She felt lonely and imposed herself on him. She apologizes and was worried that he may have misunderstood her. That’s why she wanted to talk to him as soon as possible. She hopes for him to forget that ever happened. Goodbye. This not happening, right? Well, it doesn’t look like a lie. And Urara is happily making her way to the Ferris wheel.

Episode 9
Urara is looking forward to the plan even though it is starting to rain. Touma is sitting dejectedly in the rain. I don’t think it will wash away his misery. He thinks back how he tried to take the shock cool and didn’t mind about it so Mieko said goodbye and left. Well, it still ended with a lie, eh? Urara is in the Ferris wheel but Touma never showed up on the promised time. Instead he is back home thinking Urara is mad at him. After looking at the time on the video recorder, he realizes he screwed up the dialling order to the pager. Urara must still be at the Ferris wheel so once more he runs all the way there. Well, it’s already past 10pm and she may have already gone home. However she’s still there but more surprisingly, she’s waving happily at him. So why did she wait? Her thoughts were filled with him so according to her, time stopped. Hah. But she notices something wrong with him. Like something happened. She thought they were both tired and partially breaks down. Though she thought of going back at one point, deep in her heart she believed he would come. And here he is. But the other half of her heart was worried that he wouldn’t turn up. Touma realizes the importance of Urara to him. He confesses he loves her and kisses her. Urara assures that whatever happens from now on, she’ll protect him. If you thought that was the end of Mieko, apparently it isn’t. She’s spacing out back in her mansion and Touma’s face only clouds her vision. Aha. She gets a call from her boyfriend in Paris, Tashirou Kiyomichi. They have a little chat but since as he praises her a studious and good person she is. But Mieko felt guilty and denies that she is one.

Touma’s number fails to appear on the entrance exam result again! Thank God that is just his dream. But does he have to yell and scream like that right in the middle of his cram class? Embarrassing indeed. Komi finds out about Urara’s first kiss with Touma and teases her about it. She really wants to know the details. But Urara is more concern about Touma’s depression which is still evident this morning. Touma tries to focus on studying hard when he realizes it may be meaningless since he was trying to get into Keiou just to go out with Mieko. Now that dream is dashed. He accepts he is one not for fairytale or dramatic moments and contemplates to live the boring loser life and accepts who he is. Urara comes in to give him tickets to the hotspring. However this won’t do any good since he grows up in a hotspring inn. Touma realizes Urara was trying to cheer him up and that he made her worry again. So without mentioning any names of any parties involved, he reveals he was rejected (exact time and number of past rejections included). He beats himself up that he’s just a plaything for that girl and a mere sewer rat. He intends to think of nothing but studying from now on. Urara is so touched by his story that she cried for that loser. He suggests giving her hotspring idea a chance. As Touma soaks in the bathtub, Urara comes in hoping she could scrub his back.

Episode 10
Touma is worried uncle may just come in anytime but Urara assures he is on another business trip. So he’s not going to see his face ever. Then he gets distracted seeing Urara’s prized assets. What a way to forget your troubles. Komi calls while the duo are in the bathroom and thinks Urara is out. She is glad Urara is with someone she loves unlike her. She hopes Mashu could quickly call her. Fat chance the way I see it. Since Urara mentions about how he fell in love with Mieko, he doesn’t feel embarrassed to reveal everything. Telling from the time he first met her at the entrance exam, I think he is praising her too much while condemning himself that he is living in his own fantasy. I guess that’s true too. Well it’s like country bumpkin boy meets uptown girl but didn’t happen the way he hoped to be. Urara tries cheering him up with several philosophies but it doesn’t help. When a guy has been rejected, a million words won’t heal his heart. He isn’t trying to blame Urara but words are just words. Then his perverted fantasies took over and boldly asks if she could use her breasts to scrub his back since she is seemingly ‘offering’ herself. To his surprise, she actually did that without hesitation! Feeling better? All hail the power of boobs! Touma wakes up from a dream that he finally passes Keiou’s entrance exam. Too bad it’s just a dream. How cruel can reality be? And it’s only May. I guess Touma is desperate enough to try some superstitious good luck charms like putting his finger in his forehead while chanting some cramming incantation to even pulling out a strand of his pubic hair! He thought of giving it to Urara but she freaks out at his perverted idea. He explains this superstition is somewhat popular among couples taking entrance exams. They will both exchange a strand of hair and carry it in their commuter pass. Urara thinks by doing this, Touma acknowledges her as his girlfriend. Since he denies, I guess she’s not interested in following through this. She retires to her room but Touma continues to bug her he needs all the luck he can get.

Mieko is on campus and thinking back on Kiyomichi’s words. Mashu finds her and can tell she’s in a terrible mood because she’s scoffing his cheesy lines how he followed the gazes of every guy just to find her. He can tell something happened between her and Touma but she asserts nothing is going on between them. Something is definitely wrong. Mashu’s friend Choro teases him that even a hot guy like him gets rejected so he punches him and warns never to piss him off on campus. Scary. Urara skips school today just so she can pull out her pubic hair! I know, it’s not an easy decision to make what more not easy to get it done with. Touma tries writing Mieko’s name on his mock exam paper as the superstition states they’re supposed to write the name of a smarter person, then rub it off and put your own name. He’s that desperate, huh? During break, Akimoto hands Touma a bento Urara made for him. He thought she should’ve handed it personally but she seemed restless. Akimoto notices the feast the bento she made for him. The kind of food that every examinee would eat for good luck. Akimoto has just got an everyday hamburger and could even quip he’s going to get all round and fat. Haha. He’s been a ronin for too long I guess. Touma notices a paper inside the bento and to his surprise opens it to see Urara’s strand of pubic hair! To prevent Akimoto from finding out, he feigns he is not well and it’s medication. But Akimoto hands him a bunch of pills since he is the son of a pharmacist. Oh sh*t! As Touma resumes his mock exam, he sees Urara outside the window with a place card to do his best. From then on, they both kept each other’s hair in their commuter passes. For good luck charm of course.

Episode 11
Could this finally be it? Touma’s number is actually up on the result board?! Yahoo! Wait a second… Urara points out that is HER number and Touma didn’t make it. It’s another year of cram school. ARGH! Thank goodness that’s just a dream but having such bad dream isn’t a good sign, right? Furthermore, his grades from the mock exams are the worst in his life. He is probably having a crisis of can’t focusing on his studies when Urara comes in wearing a sexy bikini to cheer the pervert up. Touma is in no mood and kicks her out and reminds her she too is taking the exams next year. Touma is further worried of his cram school status and may die along the way. I don’t know how he could even think up of a news report that a stupid cram school student got hit by a truck. Even the reporter is insulting him. That bad, huh? Mashu uses Choro to get the teacher’s attendance book and the latter reports that Touma’s name is never in it. The teacher doesn’t even know who that person is. Mashu’s suspicions are confirmed on why he never sees him around. Then Mieko pops up and he reveals about what he has found. She couldn’t believe it but he asks her have they had classes together? None right? Urara is out with Komi and the latter is still anxiously waiting for her Mashu guy to page her. Maybe she’s getting fed up of Urara spewing Touma-this Touma-that.

Touma and Akimoto leave cram school so the latter reminds him he is still in their baseball team. He scoots off to the office for a while when Touma meets Erika Inamura and her boyfriend Ken. She is supposed to be his first love but got rejected and his love letters were posted all over the board as a prank. They ask which university he is going to but he is hesitating to answer and asks them back. Though reluctant, they say they are attending the third rate Teito University but it’s better than cram school. Ken shoots his mouth off about cram school being pathetic depressing. Then they realize they’re in the middle of the cram school area and all those cram school students are staring at them. Oops. Going back to the first question of where Touma is studying now, they are confident he is in Tokyo University or Keiou since his grades were good. Inamura could even joke if he really goes to such good university, maybe she would really become his girlfriend! Hey, hey. Don’t say that when your boyfriend has always been a jealous jerk. It’s a good thing he didn’t lie as he points out he goes to this cram school. And with Akimoto rejoining him, it is all the more confirmed that he really goes to this school. Touma leaves with Akimoto leaving Inamura and Ken pretty much shocked. Urara has witnessed everything and felt so sad that she cried in silence. Inamura and Ken leave but the jerk ass continues to badmouth cram school. They see Urara before them. She warns him about badmouthing others since Tokyo is a small place. Then she punches him! You deserve that!

As punishment for ignoring her swimsuit this morning, Urara forces Touma to put his hands on her breast. Praising her sexy and cute won’t help now. On second thought, maybe the groping isn’t so bad. Then he feels a letter hidden underneath it. It’s a love letter from Urara confessing he has always been her first love. Because of this, his mind is now clouded with (perverted) thoughts of Urara that he can’t concentrate studying. He tries hard to control his wild lust just to focus on studying. Probably he tried too hard that it’s wearing him out. Yeah, not enough sleep. Urara gets close to him to check and see if there’s anything wrong but I guess she was too close so Touma has to control his pervertness again. Mieko thinks back on Mashu’s words of Touma’s non-existence in the attendance book. But she thinks it can’t be because she already said goodbye to him. Touma picks up a call of a stranger. Turns out to be Urara’s dad. He is glad he could finally talk to him. However uncle wants to know what he is doing in his home. Eh? He heard from Urara he was going to cram school and his own apartment already. I guess he never would have thought Urara would lie to him because he learns his uncle works in Italy and lives apart from Urara. Maybe his premonition for once may be coming true because he had this feeling that he won’t be staying here any longer.

Episode 12
Touma further learns his uncle has been living in Italy way before he came to Tokyo and won’t be coming home so soon. Uncle thinks Touma is here to check up on Urara from time to time as he is worried some worthless guy would try to mess with her. Well, Touma almost did. He realizes Urara lied despite knowing well they’ll be living together. For both their sakes, he can’t continue to live here. Komi listens yet to another Urara’s Touma-this Touma that. She’ll go whatever college Touma goes and thinks it’s a sign of God that He made Touma study another year so they can go to the same campus and receive the same education together. Touma is so down that he isn’t concentrating on his baseball match. He talks to Akimoto about moving out to a place of his own. Akimoto thinks if he’s living with a relative he shouldn’t as it will be harder living by himself. On the contrary, Touma thinks the reverse is better since he will concentrate better. Akimoto doesn’t understand till he reveals Urara as his cousin as has been staying with her together. He advises that he needs to establish who he is first before starting to think about loving someone else. He’s such a great guy not only giving advice but he hit a homerun too! Mashu’s friends are partying at his place. Mashu sees Mieko by her own and talks to her. She notices he didn’t ask about Touma this time and notes he is prideful just like her. They admit it’s all to them. Mashu then lets her see all his trivial prides. Looks amazing all his achievements and trophies as a child prodigy but Mashu he says that is only worth as much as his parents think he is. A child’s pride is formed by his parents’ pride in him. Though he has always been rebelling against it, in the end he can’t throw away the pride his parents gave him and still relied on them. Mashu then reveals Touma was never a student of Keiou and he did what he did just to get close to her. She thinks Mashu is a kind person since he that’s why he couldn’t talk about him till now. He notes that he could’ve easily expose his rival’s weakness and turn her attention to her but it won’t make him feel any better. Mieko adds Touma is a strange person. As everyone wants to hide his fears and failures but Touma showed them from the beginning (did he? It’s not like she never noticed, right?). She continues they are like birds of the same feathers probably why they’re attracted to Touma because he lives life to the fullest without worrying about pride.

Touma confronts Urara about her lie. So now everything is out, she says she didn’t mean to trick him but if she told him her dad wasn’t around, he would have tried to get a place of his own. Of course. He will exactly do just that. Because if he had done that, then he wouldn’t have had to face all these problems. He is going to move out and thanks her for taking care of him. Urara is shocked and doesn’t want him to leave. She promises she won’t get in the way of his studies and that things can be like before. Touma has made up his mind. At least this time he uses the right head to think as he has came to realize she means a lot to him as a woman and is way different from the day they first met. He apologizes it’s his fault for being immature in the first place. Oh, the heartbreak. Mieko leaves a message on Kiyomichi’s phone. After meeting a certain someone, it made her aware of how she has been following the path her parents laid out for her. She hopes he won’t misunderstand her that this person isn’t somewhat special to her, just an ordinary person you can find anywhere. But he lives life to the fullest and feeling his way around wondering if what he has done is right. He may have made mistakes, suffered setbacks or unable to find answers but he fights to follow his own path with his own hands. She could never compare to the way he gives it his all. She apologizes she cannot be his fiancée like this. Touma is now living with Akimoto and Komi realizes the dark circles under Urara’s eyes. Sure, she may be studying for her exams and it could be that she misses Touma. Yeah, he probably moved out since he couldn’t concentrate if there’s a cute girl like her around. Komi thinks she knows her friend well enough and will recover fast but this time it may not be the case. Urara still believes she and Touma are connected by an invisible thread. Oh well, she is still able to put up her usual smile. We see Touma concentrating on his studies, Akimoto may be a hopeless case and a repeat again next year, Mashu and Mieko living out the life they want and Urara visits Kamakura and the drawing of the bunny and racoon inside a heart shape is still on the wall. Well, Touma did tell her to come back here when she’s feeling lonely and will always be by her side protecting her, right? So Urara and Touma running along the beach is just her imagination?

Sakura Blues…
Wait a minute! Wait a second!!! WTF?! I can’t believe it ended just like that?! What the hell is this unsatisfying ending!!! No way man! I won’t accept this kind of ending. Oh well, what to do. What’s done is already done. I won’t say that this is a bad ending but I would term it as a weak one. So what exactly happened here in the end? Life pretty much goes on. So? SO?! Touma and Urara in the end couldn’t live together and while that may not be an entirely bad thing, it is not what we viewers have hoped to see. I know that most viewers would have preferred them to stay together (like yours truly) and it is only baffling that Touma had wanted to move out after discovering that they have been living together alone all the time. So what you may ask? I guess from my time and point in view it won’t amount to anything much but remember, this OVA was produced in 1997 so I suppose there are some taboo stuffs which a lot of older people would have made a big deal then. A young boy and girl living together and they are cousins. What are the chances of ‘that’ happening? What are the chances of that 6-letter word beginning with “I” happening? Maybe. So if you really ask me, a young male and female related by blood cohabitating with each other? Big deal. It’s not uncommon these days.

So for Touma I guess moving out was a good decision after all. He came to Tokyo to study and he got distracted by falling in love. Touma is a classic example of what we call a character failure. He isn’t perfect to begin with and just like other boys his age, is normal to react to pervy stuff. Eventually he realizes through his mistakes that he is not cut out to lead a double life juggling 2 women in his hands. Yeah. I guess all of us men would equally face the same issue too. Haha! At least he learns from them and makes a tough stand and decides what is best for himself and others. If women will be a big distraction for his studies, it’s better late than never that he moves out on his own. So people, remember the good old lesson of lying to others. As Touma found out the hard way, he has to stop living his in his fantasy, get down from his high horse and get real. Painful but facing reality is much better and he has a more realistic chance to achieve what he can. Urara may promise this and that and even allow some naughty bits through but as long as Touma is a guy, you can’t be too careful. It just might go out of control like that near-rape case. Urara on the other hand is a cheerful and lively girl and that gloom doesn’t stick around her too often. It’s nice to have this kind of cousin around, eh? But her love for Touma is so great to the point that she is willing to lie and prevent his secret from being exposed despite his heart was still with Mieko. It’s natural to like someone who has been good or done something good to you. So it might be a little problem if that person you love is somewhat related to you. Ever heard of father-daughter love cases? She may still hold that promise close and dear to her heart but I don’t think Touma is even close in remembering it. That’s the difference between guys and girls :). So now that they are apart and not even close to being a couple, do they still keep each other’s hair? Well, just for good luck charm for exam purposes and nothing more. As for Komi, as Urara’s best friend, she is always looking out for her. It’s just too bad she can’t get a boyfriend of her own. Still hoping for Mashu to call? Well, maybe she shouldn’t set her hopes too high up as there are ‘many other fish in the sea’.

After Mieko’s confession, I felt that her appearance as well as Mashu’s is somewhat redundant. I mean, after that turning point, Touma doesn’t actually see them anymore so I was thinking what is the point of it to show them if they’re not going to have anything more to do in Touma’s life? Maybe there will be some twist in the end I thought. Heck no. Nothing happens. Perhaps it is just something to show us that they have come to realize something ever since Touma briefly entered their lives. Which brings us to the other lesson of this series other than lying to impress others. It’s about staying true to your own self and charting your own path in life. Touma’s lies aside, Mieko and Mashu realized that what they have been doing all the while was not something they really enjoyed and went ahead with it simply because of their parents’ influence. Now I’m not saying that Touma’s lying was a good thing or something we should follow because he gave a false impression to others but if you look it from a different perspective, Touma didn’t care about university pride or whatsoever. All he wanted was to be with the woman he love and will do anything to be close to her. Even if it means lying to impress. Him lying may just be a wrong method and approach but can you see that he really wanted to be with Mieko? In this sense, he was ‘true’ to himself (oh, the irony). So that’s why Mieko and Mashu came to realize instead of setting out to do what has been laid out by others, it is important what they want to do themselves. Mieko and Mashu aren’t as perfect as what others view of them. They are good people (even if Mieko denies it) who have realized and learn their own valuable lessons as well. Even if Touma was never around and lied, notice they didn’t get mad or upset. Maybe Mieko felt guilty she had just told a bigger lie to Touma when she hid the fact she was already having long distance relationship. That’s why I thought it was fair game when most of the characters here had something to hide and lie about. Touma about his university status and Urara about her father living abroad.

It’s too bad and too late that Touma never could really tell Mieko the truth but even if he did so once, remember Mieko brushed it off aside? With the open ending, maybe it is not possible after all that Touma may get to be Mieko’s boyfriend seeing she has turned down her fiancée via telephone. I thought it should be better said face to face but how can you do that when your beau is half way around the world. But that’s another story. And I thought there would be a love triangle forming between Mashu and Touma over Mieko but it ended so soon that nothing began. Same thing when I thought there’d be one when Urara and Mieko met each other (which is the only time they did at the karaoke bar) but with the ending rapidly approaching, my fears that nothing of that would amount came true. So you could say that this series ends with unrequited love for everybody, eh? Touma didn’t get Mieko. Mashu didn’t get Mieko (as well as her fiancée and any other potential university guys). Urara didn’t get Touma. Komi didn’t get Mashu. Bummer. Nobody wins in the love department here. The coolest dude in this series has got to be Akimoto. You have to agree on me on this. It may not be his destiny to get past his cram school status but after 3 years, he is somewhat like a veteran and knows his way around. That’s why his advices to Touma are like gold. Sometimes the things he says and the things he does, it makes you want to LOL (laugh out loud). I agree eating too much hamburgers can make you round and fat. Haha! Just love that line. So theoretically if I eat too many vegetables, I’ll be green and go mooing like a cow? Cram school indeed has gotten to his head. Overall he is a nice guy and doesn’t want Touma to become like him. A serial failure. Ah well, that’s what friends are for. Maybe he’s staring down at another year, huh?

The drawing and art are old school anime but I guess it isn’t as bad as those old animes in the 80’s or 90’s like Urusei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2, Marmalade Boy, Kimagure Orange Road or Maison Ikkoku whereby there is this one typical look for handsome guys, ordinary guys, petty girls, normal guys and other unimportant extra characters. Perhaps it is that evolutionary point in time whereby the drawings of animes evolve as you see as it is now today. I just want to point out a trivial note on this. There is one scene whereby Komi was sketching a profile of Mashu in her notebook. At first it didn’t occur to me that this sketch was Mashu himself as I was thinking who or rather why is she sketching the mug of an elderly English woman!!! Oh sh*t! Is that what I saw? Well, I guess this says about the drawing and art of this OVA at that point in time. Or it could be just my eyes. For the fanservice part, there are a few scenes but I won’t go as far as to say that this show is filled with them. Okay I admit. I have watched too many current ecchi animes so much so that it would put a shame to this one for labelling itself as an ecchi genre. At that time, having a handful panty shot scenes and tantalizing ones are considered bold, what more there are some scenes that shows the top nudity of the females. Later by accident, I found out that the author of this series is supposedly a master in writing hentai mangas, U-Jin. I have not read or even seen his other works but if you want to compare hentai works, then this OVA is relatively toned down a lot. No sex scenes. Even if this series was released as an OVA, perhaps it doesn’t mean you can put lewd scenes into it. Besides, it’s not classified as hentai in the first place. Both the opening and ending theme are sung by Takako Kuwata and they both feel like country blues. The opening theme Kimi No Mado Kara sounds like a slow and calming piece but the ending song, Love Rides On The Wind is more buoyant and obviously resembles more to the country tune.

So always stay true to yourself no matter how bad a loser you are because you’ll stand to lose more once you lose control when the lies turn from a molehill into a mountain. You won’t be able to sweep it under the carpet anymore because there is no carpet! Maybe occasional white lies are acceptable however you can fool some people sometime but you can’t fool everybody every time. After all, everybody has got a little secret or two to hide that they don’t want others to know. Nobody’s perfect anyway. With that, I would like to proudly announce that I am an anime otaku but not a NEET (who doesn’t know it already?). May not have got into a prestigious university and holding a decent job. So any girls out there want to be my girlfriend? Or would it be another dry year better for me to be sticking to this (imagine hand movements at lower body anatomy).

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