Sakurai is enjoying his college life. He has all the time in the world to relax and enjoy his alone time… Well, that was until his junior from high school started college and decided to shake things up a bit!
What did you watch?
When I was picking my shows to cover for the Summer 2020 schedule, this was one that I was considering, however, I ultimately went with the two that I thought I would get the most enjoyment out of. Well, we all know how that went, so now I’m getting through the other shows that made it to the shortlist to see if I could have made some better choices. Ultimately, it’s impossible to know exactly what would have been good and the fact that I’m now binge-watching them may change my perception altogether. Anyhow, first up is Uzaki-Chan which I was expecting to be similar to Magical Sempai. Let’s dive in, but don’t forget there will be spoilers.
Sakurai is a bit of a loner, but he likes it that way. He can relax and enjoy his private time playing games and watching movies. He’s got a nice job in a calm and relaxed cafe. Everything is just how he wants it. Then, his junior from high school, Hana Uzaki starts at the college and watches him lounge around as a loner. The following year, she resolves to help him by hanging out with him whenever she can.
Before he realises it, Uzaki has all but taken over his life. She now has a job at the same cafe and comes over almost daily to play games. But then, is Sakurai happier now than he was before? It’s hard to tell just from his appearance as he has menacing eyes and spends a lot of time yelling at Uzaki who in turn spends a lot of time ridiculing him and laughing at him. It’s not a normal relationship, but it seems to work… maybe…
What did you think?
I was expecting this to be a bit of a goofy ecchi series with lots of gags and awkward situations. What I got, however, was a really engaging story about two college students finding themselves and one another. The ecchi was pretty minimal and almost faded into the background fairly early on, leaving the focus on the blossoming romance between Sakurai and Uzaki… they’ll argue that there really isn’t anything there, but we could all see it. Unlike a lot of characters in shows like this both seemed to show a maturity that is rarely seen. Sure, they bickered and fought, but that was their thing, their way of not openly admitting that they liked one another. I ended up really enjoying this series and would rank it above both the shows I ended up covering.
What was your favourite moment?
This is actually a pretty hard decision. On one hand, I really enjoyed the scenes in the cafe with the owner and his daughter watching over Sakurai and Uzaki. Their internal thought process was hilarious, especially when he decided to give Sakurai a pay rise just to make sure he could continue to enjoy the show!
However, I’m going to go with the fireworks episode. It was one of the more mature moments in the series with some comedy thrown in. Uzaki was embarrassed after vomiting on Sakurai’s futon after drinking too much for her birthday. However, Sakurai was determined to bring back the old Uzaki so when the cafe owner gave him a coupon for the fireworks festival he invited Uzaki. Of course, she showed up in a Yukata and looked incredibly cute, but things still weren’t quite normal. Ami, the cafe owner’s daughter had told Sakurai to shower her with compliments and that would bring her back. Of course, he went too far and she ended up getting more embarrassed and hit him with her purse, knocking him out.
He woke up with his head on her lap, staring up at her large chest. However, rather than scream or overreact he calmly asked her what happened. She also didn’t overreact or get flustered. Uzaki explained what happened and they both made up as the fireworks went off. It was a nice moment and not something I was expecting to see in the series. There are lots of great funny moments, but this is the point where I was completely sold on their relationship.
What was your least favourite moment?
I like a good cliffhanger as much as the next person, but I really don’t like pointless ones. At the end of episode eleven, Uzaki arrived at Sakurai’s door. Standing in the rain, she told him through teary eyes that she couldn’t see him anymore. The episode ended with that bombshell. Luckily, I was binge-watching the show and jumped straight into the next episode, desperate to see what had happened and how it might get resolved. Well, it turns out Uzaki had not done her summer homework and her mother was mad at her. The only way they could continue to hang out was if he helped her do it. They’d built some incredible tension and then threw it all away with this ridiculous reason.
Who was your favourite character?
It goes without saying that I loved Uzaki and Sakurai. They are the focus of the story and I bought into their relationship. So, with that being obvious, I want to talk about the cafe owner and his daughter. They were great and I loved the way they evolved as the story went on. At first, they watched from afar, but as the story progressed they got more and more involved and failed to hide their enjoyment. When they discovered that Sakurai and Uzaki had woken up together in the same futon, they instantly closed the cafe, slid a couple of pieces of cakes across the counter and asked them to go on. There really weren’t that many characters in the series, so it’s great that the side characters are so interesting.
Who was your least favourite character?
That only really leaves Sakurai’s friend, Sakaki, but even he was pretty entertaining and just about the best wingman anyone could ask for. The only other character was Uzaki’s mother and her misunderstanding of the conversations she heard between Sakurai and Uzaki were hilarious. Actually, I think the only character that I found a bit odd was that damn cat that kept showing up everywhere with its shocked expression. I have no idea what that was all about, but it was a little weird.
Would you like some more?
I would love some more. At the moment, excluding Fruits Basket which is playing in a different league to most, this was my favourite series from the Summer 2020 schedule. I still have some more to watch, but I really did enjoy this one. This is obviously great news as a second season has already been announced. The fact that I liked this series this much comes as quite the surprise, but then I have been surprised at a lot of my favourite shows so far this year.
What have you learnt?
Once more I find myself drawn to a show with relatable characters. Now, I’m not a complete loner like Sakurai, but I do enjoy my alone time. Sometimes, it’s hard to step away from that and Uzaki is the ideal catalyst to push Sakurai out of his comfort zone. In reality, we should all be so lucky to have a friend like Uzaki. Sure, she can be loud and obnoxious from time to time, but her heart is in the right place and she means well. Not to mention, she seemed like a lot of fun. What this means in terms of writing is that when you have characters that people can relate to it’s a good idea to put an opposite character in the story too. This gives the audience a chance to think about how they might react to someone like that in their life, furthering the connection.