kunihiko ikuhara

Let’s meet again at Azumabashi, the field of desires — Sarazanmai Episode 8

Sarazanmai‘s eighth episode breaks the pattern of episodes prior. There is no “Kawausoiya” and no trio singing on the otherworldly version of Azumabashi trying to capture a kappa zombie’s shirikodama.

Yet, Azumabashi bridge — the location of Sarazanmai‘s field of desires — still plays a large and similar role in this episode. It connects people.

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In defense of Sarazanmai’s Enta Jinai (sort of)

“Damn it! Why do you keep worrying about Kuji!”

-Enta Jinai to Kazuki Yasaka, Sarazanmai, Episode 7

Enta Jinai is a disaster, both relatable and familiar.
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Days that are over will not continue to last, if you try to construct the past — Sarazanmai Episode 7

Not too long ago, I read a Final Fantasy XV fanfiction one-shot of Noctis Lucis Caelum and Ignis Scientia. You don’t have to necessarily know who these characters are specifically for this meandering exercise, but know that they have been inseparable from a very young age (think six years-old or so) through their early twenties due to circumstances of their upbringing. These are two people who should know each other very well, if not intimately, having spent the majority of their lives together. At the very least, there is no one that they know better than the other. The story’s premise was that confusion — or some other status effect brought on by a fight gone horribly wrong — caused Ignis to not recognize that Noctis is, well, Noctis.

Instead, Ignis believes that Noctis is an imposter. In Noctis’ efforts to escort Ignis back to the rest of their group hilarity, as they say, ensues while Ignis is convinced the fake-but-actually-real Noctis is leading him into a trap. The story was charming, but also had an odd dark humor that I don’t know if the author intended. Some of Ignis’ genuine confusion could have been also read as heartbreaking. The story played with a lot of our deepest insecurities — primarily what happens if someone we love fails to recognize us for who we are. It actively hurts them both.

What makes others unrecognizable to us? What makes us unrecognizable to them? Is it a slow process over time or caused by a sudden catalyst? Is it due to societal pressures or natural personality shifts?

Can we return to a time where we felt like they recognized us?

Spoilers for the Sarazanmai companion manga, Reo and Mabu ~ Together They’re Sarazanmai.

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Together they are Sarazanmai — a Reo and Mabu (and Sara) speculation masterpost

A speculation post for everyone’s favorite otter cops: Reo Niiboshi and Mabu Akutsu.

Major spoilers for the Sarazanmai manga, Reo and Mabu~ Together They Are Sarazanmai.

Translation of Reo and Mabu’s Twitter archive courtesy of Good Haro.

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SARAtto Report! — Sara’s messages in Sarazanmai Episodes 1-2

Prior to the series airing, one of the predictions I made was that Sara Azuma, local idol of Asakusa and one of the faces of Sarazanmai, would end up being the series’ Greek chorus element, similar to the Shadow Girls of Revolutionary Girl Utena or Double H in Mawaru Penguindrum. One of her duties, in addition to being a mysterious, ubiquitous presence in the series — alongside the ㋐ icon — her reports would inform us of that particular episode’s events as well as overarching themes in the series as a whole.

Although it appears she’ll likely step out from behind the screen eventually, like her counterparts in prior Kunihiko Ikuhara series, here’s an update on what Sara’s messages could mean thus far, and how they’ve informed events and themes in Sarazanmai.

The caveat is that — like Shadow Girls and Double H — there may be additional meanings hidden in these messages that won’t become apparent until the end of the series. I’ll most likely end up revisiting these in a master post after Sarazanmai is finished to see how right or how wrong these early assumptions are.

Mild spoilers for the Sarazanmai companion manga, Reo and Mabu ~ Together They’re Sarazanmai.

Full translations of Sara’s reports courtesy of Good Haro, who has compiled them on her blog here.

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