I love figure skating. My childhood was full of attempts to copy Yuka Sato or Surya Bonaly before I was told — admittedly in the kindest way possible — that I would never be a professional figure skater. Since then, I’ve followed competitive figure skating casually for years. These past two years I’ve followed it more closely as ladies figure skating finally is having the same (admittedly obnoxious) discussion that the men have been having for years with quad jumps and whatever PCS means to the judges on that day.
As an aside, if anyone else wants to rant and rave about the “three As” (Alena Kostornaia, Anna Shcherbakova, Alexandra Trusova) and what they’ve brought to ladies skating over the past year, I’m on Twitter.
Before Yuri!!! On Ice ever aired, I watched director Sayo Yamamoto’s short, Endless Night, and wished for a figure skating series to come along some day.
Then Yuri!!! On Ice aired and it surpassed all of my expectations.
Hyouka has always meant a lot to me for myriad personal reasons. It aired at a time when I still didn’t know who I was or what I wanted from life, and ended up inspiring me in more than a few ways. This year, after the Kyoto Animation fire, I reposted one of my posts on the series from my previous blog, and then decided to rewatch it. My Hyouka rewatch wasn’t part of reviewing “favorite of the decade” series, but a simple return to my personal favorite of Kyoto Animation’s works.
I was on board with Sarazanmai as soon as I heard it existed. If Kunihiko Ikuhara (Sailor Moon S, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Mawaru Penguindrum, Yuri Kuma Arashi) is attached to a project, it’s a guarantee that I will not only watch it, but likely have a lot to say about it because he’s a director who never does anything without something specific to say. Sarazanmai is no different.
That being said, Sarazanmai is (spoilers, but not really if you’ve read anything on this blog ever) the lowest-ranked Ikuhara series on this decade list. A lot of it is an inherent course-correction against recency bias. I mentioned this in the Honorable Mentions post when talking about Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight, but it’s more difficult to rate more recent series with less time between an initial viewing and this write-up, as well as less time to rewatch it.