“Believe in ㋐ from the bottom of your heart.”
From the placards behind Sara Azuma in her “Good morning!” greeting
This is a continuation of notes on Sara Azuma’s scrolling text reports, lucky selfie items, and what they could be telling us about Sarazanmai‘s thematic elements and plot events.
Special thanks to Good Haro for full translations of the text crawls here. I highly suggest following her on Twitter as well for more Sarazanmai translated content and speculation.
Mild spoilers for the Sarazanmai companion manga, Reo and Mabu ~ Together They’re Sarazanmai.
Episode 5: “I Want to Connect, but I Can’t Be Forgiven”
Lucky selfie item: sachet
While waiting in line to meet Sara Azuma in person, Haruka Yasaka asks his mother what a sachet is. She responds that it’s a pouch that gives off a nice scent and Haruka’s eyes widen. Unbeknownst to his mother or older brother Kazuki Yasaka, Haruka has a special sachet in his possession: the sachet of Kazuki’s biological mother.
Much of this episode deals in the guilt that Kazuki feels because he cannot forgive himself for Haruka’s accident, but it also deals in his isolation and separation, which stems from an off-handed mean-spirited comment from his late grandfather revealing that Kazuki is not the Yasaka’s son.
The visuals of the episode reiterated the separation that exists in Kazuki’s mind. Shots like the one above show how the Yasaka family likes to wear matching outfits, but Kazuki is on the outside looking in (wearing a fake Sara Azuma costume no less).
Here, the lucky selfie item helps establish two familial groups within Kazuki’s life each tied to a sense (sight or smell).
He’s tied to the Yasakas visually, but eschews wearing the matching outfits once he realizes that he’s not their biological son. Even then, he actively chooses the Yasaka family (even if he doesn’t have a chance to express this to Haruka before Haruka’s accident). Then there’s the lucky selfie item of the sachet, which deals in the powerful sense of scent or smell. This ties him to his biological mother, who he’s happy to meet for a sense of closure, but walks away from to be with the Yasakas. Discovering that Haruka has his mother’s sachet as it floats away in the hands of an unseen kappa zombie is too much for Kazuki to handle when filtered through his own self-loathing and guilt.
As for Sara’s text crawls, there’s a particular line that stands out in her odd scrolling text this week: “There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who have a knack for it, and those who don’t, dish.” (For context, I’m going to stress that you read Good Haro’s notes on the translation of this line specifically.)
The line separates, like many things in Kunihiko Ikuhara series, those who can and those who can’t (those who are chosen and those who are not, etc.). With Kazuki unable to make connections and torn away from his family by his own self-hatred and guilt, this line hits particularly hard. One interpretation could be that Sara is commenting on the fact that Kazuki hasn’t been chosen, but as we discover in the next episode (and knew all along, really) that’s not actually true at all, outside of Kazuki’s own mental filters.
Episode 6: “I Want to Connect, So I’m Not Giving Up”
Lucky selfie item: sachet
After Sara’s lucky selfie item is announced as a sachet again, to her confusion, we see Sara’s news report repeating the incident from the previous day as well. With the boys stuck as kappa and Kazuki in complete denial, everything is at a standstill. Sara’s text crawls change, but piggyback on themes from the previous week regarding Kazuki’s feelings of isolation and which senses are tied to which family.
“Don’t smells bother you? Sara takes two baths dish a single day. One dish before sleeping and one dish after waking up. A lot of sebum is excreted while sleeping.”
The first line of “Don’t smells bother you?” while seemingly innocuous, is loaded considering the context of Kazuki’s dilemma and the sachet as a lucky selfie item. Scent and sachets for Kazuki mean his biological mother. Kazuki can’t wash that scent away, or her memory, in a bath. It bothers him. Just like the kappa zombie of both weeks, which is trying to get a specific scent out of a salamander that reminds him of a woman he’s infatuated with, Kazuki can’t physically return to the memory of his mother, nor should he let himself wallow in that memory or her scent.
During Sara’s news announcement we also see a visual preview of Reo Niiboshi’s ningyoyaki that he’s later seen eating while talking to Haruka before taking Haruka in. Ningyoyaki is a twist on taiyaki that’s specific to Asakusa, and one of the foods that Mabu made for Reo during the timespan of their companion manga.
Like Kazuki, Reo is stuck. Sara’s text crawls and news announcements tie the two together visually, hinting that Reo is doing something similar for Mabu (who is now like a doll/ningyo) that Kazuki was doing for Haruka during his Sara Azuma crossdressing days. However, at the end of this episode, Kazuki realizes important truths about his relationship with Haruka and seems to be ready to move forward. Meanwhile, Reo (and Mabu) remain frozen.