207th G-View: Sakura Trick

I’ve waited a long time (Since 2010) for a 100% yuri (Grade 1) show (12-20 episode run) with as few restrictions as this one. The big question is was it worth the wait? This is Sakura Trick. I suggest grabbing some popcorn.

Sakura Trick Main Cast

 

Genres: Romance, Comedy, School Life, Slice of Life, Yuri

Themes: Lots of Kissing, First Love

Number of episodes: 12

G-Rating: 9/10

Plot Summary: Haruka Takayama and Yuu Sonoda were inseparable during middle school, but upon entering high school, they end up being seated on opposite sides of the classroom. Having to spend time with more friends, the two decide to make their relationship special by kissing each other in secret.

Thumbs up for Sakura TrickWhen I first picked up the show I was looking for an anime with yuri as its central theme with the following conditions:

  1. No drug influence/chocolate.
  2. No male interference.
  3. No sharing the spotlight with a hetero couple.
  4. No kisses solely to power up machines or each other.
  5. No Kisses of death
  6. No evil or insane lesbians
  7. No rape
  8. No stress from the possibility one or both lesbian characters could die.
  9. No subtext
  10. No doubts from either side
  11. No need to create our own scenarios

In short, a yuri anime with no strings attached whatsoever. ST delivered.

ST’s anime adaptation is very faithful to the manga adaptation with each episode covering two, sometimes three, chapters accurately with a few neat extras. Depending on the viewer this can be seen as good or bad, like most things in life.

Sakura Trick Haruka and YuuExplaining Sakura Trick’s appeal can take a while but it is very easy to understand. It is more than a show with cute and sexy girls frequently kissing each other. ST takes a lighthearted yet serious enough approach to telling a tale of first love/young love. ST does away with the process of two people hooking up and instead focuses on the progressing relationship and the growth of the girls’ feelings for one another. It does still use the classic “chase” formula the mainstream enjoys so much with a certain third protagonist but focuses on the already established relationship(s), mainly that of Haruka of Yuu.

Haruka and Yuu’s relationship starts off as one of “best friends with benefits” but as the show progresses their feelings for each other grow stronger and stronger each passing week. Haruka already has a crush on Yuu from day 1 but it doesn’t take long for Yuu to also develop a mutual attraction for”Harupopo/Haru-Poppo”.

Rescuer's kissEvery episode shows progression in their relationship, no matter how simple or mundane their activity, from making out in empty classrooms to going shopping together. Their kissing also plays a pivotal role in the storyline as each kiss shows the two growing more comfortable with one another. Their first kiss shows inexperience and as they progress they get more sensual and…into it shall we say. They don’t “cross the line” though.

Haruka and Yuu holding handsDespite all the girls following an “anime girl stereotype” all the couples’ interactions feel natural and believable. That is the key to making a good yuri rom-com imo. There can be silly moments here and there but as far as the interactions go, the viewer has to believe that the girls legitimately care for one another. THAT is key and ST pulled it off very well.

Kotone kissed a supposedly sleeping ShizukuAlthough I spoke a lot about Haruka and Yuu’s relationship, there is a second important couple on the show with their own developing romance in Kotone and Shizuku. They have a “slightly” more drama driven relationship. Unfortunately their relationship truly is secondary as they do not get as much focus as fans would have hoped. Oh they do have several great, impact making moments together but they definitely could have used some more. What we did get from them was pretty good. The manga also doesn’t cover these two as often as one would like so it’s not the anime writers’ fault.

Sakura Trick HolidaysBack on the topic of first crush/love. The show, as mentioned, presents this romance in a lighthearted yet believable way. Early on in Haruka and Yuu’s relationship it is clear that they are more like girlfriends than lovers. The show creates a sense of exploration in the field of the first crush. What does it feel like to be together with the person you like? What kind of thoughts go through the two people’s heads? Do they both understand what it means to be in this kind of relationship? Are they willing to take the next step? All of these questions and more go through the minds of both couples and the viewers as the show progresses.

Close-up of irritated MitsukiThis face pretty much defines Mitsuki. I LOVE this face! Everything one needs to know about Mitsuki’s role in this show can be explained with this single facial expression.

Mitsuki Sonoda, Yuu’s older sister is the unofficial third main character of ST. The episodes where she gets a lot of screen time are also important because of both her role as a sister to an initially unbeknownst to her lesbian sister and…her own blossoming feelings. Her perspective is that of a girl who is slowly learning what it’s like to be who she eventually becomes AND accepting this path so her role is not a waste.

Yuzu and KaedeLastly we have the “dynamic duo” of the show, Yuzu and Kaede. Yuzu’s the straight girl of the team and the one who tries her hardest to remain sane. Kaede is a prankster with very sharp eyes and senses. Aside from being the “subtext” (Fans really want these two to officially hook up) pairing their role on the show, especially Kaede’s is one of an observer. Let’s leave it at that.

I stand by this belief that if the cast were to be divided in half between boys and girls with the same premise, the story would be similar. From personal experience and knowing people who have been in this kind of relationship, heterosexual, mind you, the relationships all these girls have with each other can be applied to ANY couple with any sexual preference.

For newcomers who see this as a spoilerific review, it’s not because the EXCELLENT anime OP pretty much establishes most of the girls’ relationships on the show.

Speaking of the OP, I love ST’s soundtrack. It’s no academy award worthy masterpiece but it fills my soul with absolute joy listening to most of the tunes this show has. If one looks for the lyrics of both the OP and ED, one can see that they’re both love songs sung by girls directed towards each other.

Hidamari SketchThe presentation and animation style are like an updated Hidamari Sketch. The queues and flow of how the story is presented is vintage Hidamari Sketch. Whether that’s a good or bad thing again depends on the viewer.

Sexy Harupoppo HenshinThe last thing I want to cover is the fanservice and the controversy behind it. I mentioned in my episodic coverage that the ST viewers were divided into 4 groups in regards to the fanservice:

A: “Don’t mind it.” (I’m in this group)

B: “Makes me cringe but I’ll keep going” (Know some people who are in this one)

C: “Eww.” (Also know some people in this group. coughfoxyonecough)

D: A group that is out of touch with the times. (I’m intentionally biased against this particular group)

While I am part of group A I’ll share some minor thoughts on the subject. The reason the fanservice didn’t bother me much, besides the fact I enjoyed it, is because I knew it was coming after seeing Haruka and Kotone’s character art and because contrary to negative opinions it didn’t hinder the show much, was mainly used for its intended purpose and was not abused during serious/intimate moments.

Still, there are some who cannot stomach the fanservice, though there are shows with far worse use of titillating content but that’s not the point. Point is it bothers some and I suppose recommending the manga would be the next best thing as the anime faithfully follows the manga chapters with very minor changes.

For more details on the ST fanservice thing, check out Sorrowneptune’s post for a woman’s perspective on the matter.

Women can enjoy watching an anime about horny lesbians too

 

Awesome Sakura Trick artSource:

http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=42524053

Overall Sakura Trick surpassed the hype and gave yuri fans 4 years worth of yuri goodness in 12 episodes. Whether the show will sell well enough to green light a second season is unlikely due to yuri being a niche genre but one can hope it’ll succeed. For yuri fans who enjoy both slice of life and lighthearted fluff whose romantic content can be taken seriously, this show is definitely worth watching. Viewers who are very sensitive to fanservice in any shape or form but are still curious about the hype can check out the manga once the chapters are translated. For detracting yuri nation members, I sincerely hope (as of this writing) that Akuma no Riddle will satisfy their needs.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
This entry was posted in G-Views and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to 207th G-View: Sakura Trick

  1. Hourin says:

    Every time when I see those Sakura petals and the kisses the sound is really something.
    Make me feel like it would be major nostalgic moments for the girls.
    Wish people stop moaning about fanservice quite minor.
    Quite surprise with Mitsuki confessing but it ends nicely.
    It would be nice there’s an realistic yuri anime or an age gap one.

    Like

  2. oldcityguy says:

    I enjoyed this show because it was not the “pure” love type yuri. Also it was a nice light romantic comedy. The kissing and touching seem appropriate for two adolescents experiencing the first episode of sexual attraction. The other fanservice, my eyes mostly slid right past. However, the first time I watched, I was happily listening to the OP, when the giant barbie doll of Haruna appeared. Barbie doll nudity has a huge squick factor for me and it almost turned me off the show. I continued to watch, but skipped the pleasant and catchy OP after that

    Like

  3. Cyan says:

    I am very happy about this review, only the best for this anime.
    Pure yuri love right here everyone.
    Sakura Trick will forever stay in history. (2014-FOREVER)

    Like

  4. Doobie_Brothers says:

    Great review OG, as always. Even if it doesn’t sells well, there’s always the possibility of a S2, I mean, there’s awful animes that get more than one season.

    This anime has been a breath of fresh air for me, after several shows drowning in subtext or teasing us with yuri relationships that only end in disaster or worse I was starting to lose faith in the anime industry, the characters are lovely, likeable and a bit wacky at times, the SoL component is no different than any other but somehow it feels unique in its own way, the romance elements were beautiful and innocent with a touch of desire to spice it up, even if that “we dont understand what is love(baby dont hurt me)” with Haruka and Yuu kind of bothered me it’s reasonable since they’re still young and all that, the way the care and love each other feels like a real life relationship(even if I’ve never seen any couple defying the laws of gravity).

    Simply put, Sakura Trick is special in its own ways and is probably a gateway for more yuri-related projects, I hope the manga keep showing us the wondeful relationships of these girls.
    Peace bro

    Like

  5. asja.small says:

    Ok looking at the review and I love it. Missing this anime already.

    Like

  6. SilverFox says:

    You already know my thoughts on this awesome show. The fanservice in it didn’t bother me in the least. Like you, I enjoyed it. There are some anime that completely turned me off of watching it because of fanservice, but this show is pretty tame with it. I truly hope that a 2nd season comes from this. The girls relationships are great to see developing and I’d like to see more of Kotone and Shizuku if they ever get larger parts in the manga. If Kaede and Yuzu end up getting together that’d be wonderful, but if not they’re still a good pair.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      We had many fun Facebook conversations about this show. I agree with everything you said my friend. The wonderful tales of Team Harupopo in animated form CANNOT END just yet. The nation demands more ST in anime form!

      Like

  7. x says:

    OG I enjoy the review of ST and you where spot on everything about it and about the fanservice it doesn’t bother me and there are worst anime that do far most worst fanservice that need not be named out there

    Like

  8. Frozenrain says:

    Yes, one of the things I love it about the series is that their feelings for each other feels real and in a constantly growing, it also lacks of “but we’re two girls!”.kind of thing, like I read once it has like an “it’s okay to be gay”. Fan service, I don’t care one way or another, I had no interest if it had it or not, I just wanted to watch a relationship between two girls in a slice of life scenario with true feelings, and we received far more than just that, an anime to remember and cherish all of us in our lovely niche.
    I will treasure Sakura Trick forever.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      The “two girls” thing was used for a specific reason but thankfully not as a major obstacle.
      ST was what fans of lovely yuri goodness were waiting so long to see and it was worth the wait.

      Like

  9. ArcaJ says:

    Nice review OG. While it could have used a few (a LOT) less boobie shots, at least it wasn’t Queen’s Blade. My only problem with Haruka and Yuu, was them remaining clueless as to the nature of their relationship. High school is a confusing period for any one, but,even two people as dense as these should figure out when they’re in love.

    At least Mitsuki had her head on straight. She knew what her feelings were, acted on them, and bowed out gracefully, when those feelings weren’t returned. I hope Rina gives her extra snuggling in the future. She deserves it!

    So while Sakura Trick met your criteria, I would add one more benchmark: Both girls are mature enough to know what they’re getting into. That would be the perfect Yuri anime.

    ::HUGS::

    Arca Jeth

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if people that dense existed in the real world. That’s why it didn’t bother me as much that they didn’t know the answer yet. It being obvious to the viewer/reader was part of the show. It’s like you said Miss AJ, Haruka and Yuu aren’t mature enough to know what love is yet. Even that was intentional.

      You forget that despite being a tsundere Kaichou’s very intelligent and she would eventually discover and accept the truth. We’ll have to wait and see whether Rina will take action or remain an observer.

      I never called Sakura Trick perfect, just a breath of fresh air. I already found my perfect yuri story in Octave so I’m satisfied.

      Like

  10. mutopis says:


    someday these two will be together, someday…

    Like

  11. I will say that I greatly enjoyed Sakura Trick. However, as ArcaJ said, I found it a wee bit ridiculous that Haruka and Yuu didn’t know what their relationship was until the last episode. I went to high school- by the time you’re fifteen or sixteen, as I’m assuming these girls are, you can tell the difference between a romantic relationship and a best friends relationship (hence the reason they saw fit to hide it from the other girls). Other than that minor complaint, Sakura Trick was fanservicey and cute and wonderful!
    Also I liked Octave as yuri manga but I’d like to see a realistic yuri manga/anime that didn’t have people overreacting so much. That got on my nerves after a bit (who goes and has sex with a guy just because her girlfriend has in the PAST???? Who freaks out when someone can’t give an immediate answer as to whether or not to move in with someone after only a short while dating?) but Setsuko was hot and their relationship had ups and downs like a real one (even if the downs were kinda stupid at times) and it was awesome as a whole. Perhaps Girl Friends was more realistic in that sense- drama, but not too much.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      I’ll say this Queenie to both you and Miss AJ. Part of me agrees that Haruka and Yuu not yet knowing the meaning of love yet is silly considering their intimacy. On the other hand, I can easily picture high school preps this dense existing in the world we live in.

      On to Octave. I talked about this in my review of the manga. Yukino was intentionally written to be a confused and mislead character. Her triumphs are praiseworthy but her flaws are downright idiotic. Setsuko is not free of blame either but again it was meant to be that way to show she too had made some dumb choices. To me a realistic relationship is one where both partners make mistakes but are willing to eventually work things out and make sure to never repeat said mistakes. That’s part of why I love Octave so much. That and the “chase” part is taken care of quickly.

      Like

      • Hrithika The Shipping Queen says:

        I also love that the chase part is short and that it focuses on the ups and downs of the relationship! 🙂 all in all a great manga with some flaws. Haha and you may be right about SOME incredibly dense people like that existing. C:

        Like

      • Overlord-G says:

        I know I’m right Queenie.

        Like

  12. Shin says:

    Nice review, a great yuri anime that I already consider classic. And you are right, Sakura Trick completely reminded me of Hidamari Sketch, like the transitions and how they show emotions.

    I could see how fan service bothered some people, but its not like many other anime shows where the fan service was all that it had to offer. The character development and interaction was far more important and the featured concept, the fan service looks like it was just kind of added in, and was still not too bad.

    Like

  13. nonbi says:

    Excellent review as always.
    To be honest, I’ve never watched any of the pre-2010s Yuri anime so Sakura Trick is my first true Yuri series. I’m really glad that I got to watch such a simple and sweet show like Sakura Trick. Definitely one of my favorites.

    Like

  14. Hanneman says:

    I remember when you made that Shining Beacon of Hope post. At the time i didnt gave it much thought, but when i realized what it meant, the Hype Meter went through the roof. Its great that ST became one of the few things that surpassed my expectations.

    All characters were great, the music was really good and a great part of the jokes made me lmao. Also, i didnt knew that i could squeal so hard until now.

    I think the only fanservice shot that bothered me was the one you posted above. But the feeling was gone as quicly as it came. So, as i said in one of the episodics, i think that tlyou can bear the fanservice parts if you realize that ST needs to be successful if we wanna see other quality yuri shows.

    Overall, Sakura Trick is a classic that everyone in the yuri nation, of still havent, should watch.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      You had quite the adventure with this show I see. Glad to hear it. The world needs more Harupopo and the gang doing great things.

      I bet they’ll use the same critiques for Akuma no Riddle…”Shower scene!? BOYCOTT THIS SHOW!”

      Like

  15. yurimylove says:

    Great review my friend! You’ve covered all the bases, and provided readers (what I feel) a very fair assessment. There’s nothing I can think of that hasn’t already been stated in the previous 39 feedback posts. So I’d just add here that, no matter how slim the chance, let’s continue to root for a second season without giving up hope!

    Like

  16. Mai.Yumi says:

    I’ve yet to watch this, but by the reviews I have seen, it seems/sounds good. I can only hope I’m not disappointed with this as I’ve been with others.

    Like

  17. bluebunnygamer says:

    This show is perfect for all yuri lovers

    Like

  18. Upon perusing your review (I didn’t want to read all of it because spoilers and already stuff that my friends have told me), I’ve decided that I might give this another chance. I never got past episode 3, and while I haven’t dropped it nor plan to do so, it just didn’t grab me too much. Maybe I just got tired of all the kissing and boob groping jokes, hoping there was some semblance of a plot as well. But we’ll see. My friends are on various sides of the ST fence, so I won’t choose which one to stand on until I’ve finished it myself.

    Hidamari Sketch is another one on my watchlist…as a Madoka and (budding) Shaft fan, I should be ashamed for not having watched it yet, lol. 😛

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      I assume you’ve recently started binging yuri so maybe that’s why you do not see it the same way others who aren’t prunes or picky do. Anyway it’s your call in the end.

      Liked by 1 person

      • More like I haven’t watched nearly as much of the genre or the ‘subtext’ shows that people often bitch about being too prevalent, so it wouldn’t bother me either way. That said, I’m not bothered by the fanservice in the slightest, I just hope it’s not the DEFINING element. And my friends are also divided on Mitsuki and the love triangle between her sister and Haruka, but heh, maybe I’ll even like that too.

        I mean, for all I know, I might end up finding Sakura Trick to be a masterpiece once I finish it. I just gotta find the right time to continue it. 😀

        Like

      • Overlord-G says:

        A very important trait for a yuri nation member to develop is the acceptance of subtext because of the unfortunate fact that yuri is seen as inferior to yaoi in Japan, meaning we need to take what we can get at times and cherish the rare Grade 1 yuri that pop up every now and then.

        Ah Mitsuki. The controversy behind her character is understandable but not that big of an issue. Anyway good luck with the rest of the show.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I completely agree with you. And when it doesn’t get in the way of the show or is presented in the same way that Sailor Moon, Madoka and even Locodol do subtext, I thoroughly enjoy it.

        Alright. From the first few episodes I saw, she seemed kind of cute, but we’ll see how it goes down. Thanks!

        Like

      • Overlord-G says:

        Pretty much.

        Indeed. Drop by this post again once you’re done watching it.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. the_elevator_man says:

    HOLD IT! OBJECTION! Counts 1, 9, and 10.

    All in a good way of course. Shizuku/Kotone walks that fine balance with 10 without concluding, or dooming the relationship. And cmon, Yuzu/Kaede are the goddesses of 9. What’s the chocolate? Does the macha-bun kiss count?

    Eh, just to be cute, secondary objection to count 5: do “kisses of concussions and suffocation” count?

    Like

  20. kracensc says:

    Sakura Trick was the second full on yuri anime I watched, and it was the biggest mistake I could have made… Simply because nothing will ever compare to Sakura Trick in my eyes, nothing will ever be as good, no pairing will ever come close to Haruka and Yuu. I don’t enjoy manga, but I had to read this one purely to get every single moment Haruka and Yuu were together into my memory.
    I rewatch it constantly, I have to find something else to do/watch after rewatching it all because if I don’t I’ll watch it again and again, and when I am in the middle of rewatching it, nearly all my free thought goes to Haruka and Yuu and how much I just can’t get over them being together.
    There needs to be a second season… I don’t think I could survive without there being one, I want to see every single possible progression of their relationship, good or bad, I just need to see it…
    Okay, with my crazed ramblings about the greatest yuri pair ever to existed and to ever exist over, the rest of the cast is also awesome, Shizuku and Kotone got far less screen time than they deserved, would have liked to have seen more of it (However that’d have meant less Haruka and Yuu so maybe its best they didn’t get as much). Kaede and Yuzu, the only straight people in the entire world in this universe were also very amusing and great additions to the show.

    Words truly cannot describe how much I love this anime, I would give anything to see a second season.

    Like

  21. Grim Reaper says:

    So am i the only mitsuki fan who was supported mitsuki x haruka? Mitsuki was awesome one of my favorite yuri anime characters and the the only tsundere i can think off right now that i actually reallly like.

    Like

  22. Only thing that i bad about this is all you see is kissing. Like that’s nice and all bout it dosen’t really show much yuri other then that. normally when you think of yuri you think of girls making out or making love not that they actually have to show something like that, but they could make it obvious that something like that happened. For me this show was a complete let down in the yuri department, but yet still interesting.

    Like

  23. SomeObsessiveWeeb says:

    Thought I should highlight this to you

    Liked by 1 person

  24. SomeObsessiveWeeb says:

    The school used as a model for Sakura Trick is being demolished and I can’t help but wonder if ST is based off Tachi’s own experience. The school, Edosaki West High, stopped accepting new applications in 2005 and closed 2007.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Pingback: Yuri Talk: Japan’s Top 10 Yuri Anime List | The Yuri Nation

  26. yair says:

    I just finished watching this anime and its amazing!!
    anyone know more anime like that one, and that go with this list from the post:
    “No drug influence/chocolate.
    No male interference.
    No sharing the spotlight with a hetero couple.
    No kisses solely to power up machines or each other.
    No Kisses of death
    No evil or insane lesbians
    No rape
    No stress from the possibility one or both lesbian characters could die.
    No subtext
    No doubts from either side
    No need to create our own scenarios”

    thanks is advance!
    and this site is rock!

    Like

    • OG-Man says:

      You could check out my Beginner’s Guide to Yuri to find some more if you haven’t already based on these requirements. As far as I know though Sakura Trick is one of the few anime to meet all of these.

      Like

  27. 0101010101010101 says:

    Tachi (tabbo) the creator, hated this adaptation of her manga.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s