Yet another enjoyable romantic comedy, I was recently reintroduced to this anime after spending a brief amount of time with the old anime club at my college. The Pet Girl of Sakurasou (Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo) is about a teenage boy, Sorata Kanda, who lives in the most rundown dormitory of a university chapter’s high school. As luck would have it, he is in charge of taking care of one of the cuter female residents in his dorm, Mashiro Shiina, because she can’t do any basic needs by herself; and I mean anything, from buying her own food to changing her underwear in the morning! Little does he know that this quirky but cute resident is actually a world-renowned painter! But alas, her passion is to write manga instead.
Aside from the basic romantic comedy structure (which includes a great deal of fan service), I found that The Pet Girl of Sakurasou has a great message regarding success and failure. Sorata finds himself surrounded by talent: not only from the talented Mashiro, but also from the two upperclassmen, Jin and Misaki, who work on scripts and anime respectively; his reclusive hacking next-door hall mate, Ryunosuke; or even his own hard-working classmate, Nanami. In comparison, Sorata appears, at least on the surface, to be far more level-headed than any of them, but only because he feels he has no talent of his own.
Sorata Kanda is driven on hard work, and believes that hard work is always rewarded. This is true for the first season, when the entire dorm comes together for the school’s culture festival by showcasing a video game they all created! But in the second season, Sorata and the others find hardships in pursuing their dreams, as all of them fall short of circumstances out of their control. For Sorata, his desire to create his own video game alongside his hero, a highly-reputable game designer, fails because the corporation decided to develop a game with a similar concept. He then discovers that the gaming company tries to recruit Mashiro, the artist, for their art and visuals; making him realize that hard work is not always rewarded over incredible talent.
But then Sorata takes a step back in all of the problems he faces and discovers how Mashiro feels. That’s when he realizes that despite her talents, all Mashiro ever wanted was to make her friends happy. With a little more perspective, Sorata finally gets it: that his feelings have in fact impacted how others felt as well. Sorata was not as insignificant as he thought he was. And with new-found courage, he finds a way to make at least one success in the series. What is that success? You’ll just have to watch it for yourself!
“When you put your mind to it, you can change the color of your world in an instant.”
~Sorata Kanda, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou