First Look: Sakura Trick

MORE LIKE SUCK-URA TRICK AMIRITE?!

Alternate Titles: Sociopaths in Love
Manga Adaption by Deen
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise

Upon entering high school, middle school friends Yuu and Haruka are separated by a different seating arrangement. Hoping to make a memory that will last forever, the two decide to do something they wouldn’t do with anyone else: kiss.

Timmy’s Verdict: Dawww, Lesbians

When Jel asked me to cover Sakura Trick I hadn’t the slightest idea of what it was. A “yea ok, whatever” later, I had sealed my fate and looked to YouTube to inform myself via a crappy fan trailer. I was pretty horrified at the time, but thankfully the show itself turned out to be much better then expected. It’s not great by any means, but it knows what it wants to do and does a pretty good job doing it. Sakura Trick is about lesbians, and a pretty cute pair of them at that.

sakura trick 1 1

Unfortunately I don’t quite think it does things as well as it could have. While their first kiss is pretty cute and special, the way they instantly become obsessed with conjuring up and trying to put themselves in situations to suck on each other’s lips begins to wear. The magic is already beginning to fade, and since this seems to be what the show is all about, I can only assume it will keep going down hill — although it will probably still be pretty cute all the way. The jokes are hit or miss and the complete disregard for how physics work in certain scenes is notable, as are the copious amounts of magic skirts. Nevertheless, the camera sure seems to enjoy being pointed at boobs. In the end, if you enjoy yuri shows and/or want to see a lot of cute girls kissing, Sakura Trick is worth checking out. Otherwise, it’s probably not something you need to concern yourself with.

Aqua’s Verdict: A Kiss With A Fist

Let me tell you about Sakura Trick. Sakura Trick is an anime about girls kissing girls. Read that again. It is not an anime about girls falling in love, no, it is an anime about girls kissing. That’s it. Sure, there are an awkward lot of breast-related antics going on, but it’s mostly about kissing. It says so, shamelessly, right there in the Crunchyroll description, and in the opening credits. Sakura Trick — and a lot of the girls’ love genre, save for some brave exceptions — doesn’t care about what any sensible person would find the most interesting aspects of a romance. It doesn’t care about its characters discovering their sexuality or learning to accept it. It doesn’t care about how their personalities complement each other in interesting ways. It doesn’t care about how they grow to realize their feelings for each other or about how their love overcomes any hardship. No, all it cares about is two extremely annoying teenage girls snogging it up for half a bloody minute while their necks change length in between frames and someone throws flower petals into a fan off-screen. And of course people just keep gobbling it up.

You and me both, Yunocchi.

At its best, Sakura Trick is a mildly amusing, yet vacuous slice-of-life anime. At it’s worst, it is pornography. Family-friendly pornography, okay, but still pornography. Sure, there are some amusing gags, and nice bits of animation and directing — Hidamari Sketch says hi — here and there, but that doesn’t change the fact that just like pornography, Sakura Trick completely skips past the storytelling and characterization bits of romance just to get the money shots to its predominantly straight, male audience as soon as possible. Unrelatable and devoid of any sort of tension, you say? Hush you. Snog first, feel later. Complete detachment from any sort of emotional or intellectual value, that’s how nerds like their romance. So Yuu and her obsessive, highly punchable stalker Haruka have been friends for over three years? Now that sure is a convenient alibi. We make fun at the excuse plots pornography comes up with just to get its characters onto each other as soon as possible, but that is exactly what brings these two obnoxious fruitcakes together — only with sex replaced by something less at risk of enraging chauvinists who get off on “purity”, of course.

sakura trick 1 5

Speaking of which, Sakura Trick‘s obsessive focus on its voyeuristic deification of two girls kissing — with more melodramatic moaning, sentimental piano, flying flower petals and intertwined fingers than you can shake a stick at — is the best proof of its objectifying intentions a cynical anime blogger could ask for. The angelic ideal of lesbianism that Sakura Trick presents is simple wish fulfillment. It reduces something intimate, something emotional to yet another thing for sad nerds to get off on on. Sakura Trick doesn’t care about how its characters would feel — that is, if they had personalities in the first place. They’re just there to kiss. For us. In fact, Haruka constantly guilt trips Yuu into kissing her. How romantic! It’s vapid, disrespectful and there is not a hair on my head that even remotely considers this “cute”. You know what is cute? Two people slowly finding each other, conquering their emotional turmoils and falling in love, against all odds — whatever their gender or sexuality may be. That’s the kind of idealistic romance I can get behind.

Lifesong’s Verdict: Cute and Honest

Sakura Trick is an anime about happy young lesbians exploring romance. It’s not the deep literary masterpiece Aquagaze asks of his romance, but personally I think there is plenty of value in the way that it is as a feel-good romance between two girls. It’s one of the few anime romances to remind me of what being a teen and experimenting with feelings of love was really like. Sure I never defied physics, but I’m not really talking about physical realism so much as emotional realism. I found this first episode a pleasant change of pace from the usual “will they or won’t they cross that line?” antics we usually get from similar anime. Just when I was sarcastically thinking they should hurry up and make out, they actually did! Until they fell over because they couldn’t breathe, in fact… Know what you are getting into, but if you don’t have any issues with girls making out then you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find here.

sakura trick 1 7

Iro’s Verdict: Lesbians are Boring

There are girls. They kiss and grope each other’s breasts. They make unfunny jokes and make new friends, presumably to kiss them later. This wasn’t even that shocking or titillating, it was just boring. It almost put me to sleep, and presumably there are better avenues to pursue if you want to see girls trying to consume each other whole.

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