Sakura Trick – Anime Rendition of Sono Hanabira
A lot of people, or at least, those who had experienced both franchises, had been comparing both Sakura Trick and Sono Hanabira, especially with their similarities. Even before watching the first episode, I was aware of how similar they are, but now, after ten episodes in, I can even more clearly see why.
Chances are, if Sono Hanabira is going to have non-hentai PG-13 anime adaption, it will be just like Sakura Trick, and some (admittedly, myself included) regarded it as one of the best anime of 2014. Indeed, that tumblr post of mine had a joking tone, but I was actually partially serious.
I don’t normally show it, and since my blog is the cross-blog type, expressing my yuri passion isn’t exactly common due to the large variety of topics I had to cover on my blog, but I’m a fan of yuri. Although, I have very specified tastes even when I’m looking for yuri. Cuteness, fluffiness and general light atmosphere is what I prioritized; in short, what I was specifically looking for, was vanilla yuri.
And we all know that sometimes, even simple stuffs like these can be very difficult to find. Before Sakura Trick, there were barely any yuri-themed anime, and even if there was, yuri is sometimes only added as an afterthought to the relationships of two girls in a non-yuri anime. I watched Strawberry Panic, and there is too much drama. I watched Kannazuki no Miko, and while there IS yuri, the whole anime is average at best. I watched Yuru Yuri, and the yuri element is used more as a comedy rather then for intimacy, and any presence of yuri remained as undertones. I watched Saki, and as I didn’t know how mahjong works, I didn’t know 80% of what was going on. I watched Revolutionary Girl Utena, and while it is a great anime, it is too “idealistic” and heavy for my acquired yuri tastes. As you can see, most of the yuri anime I had watched weren’t to my preferences, and I had almost given up at some point. Stumbling upon Sono Hanabira, something changes. You see, there is a reason why I added the Sono Hanabira series into my list of my favorite visual novels.
Sono Hanabira fits all my “ideals” of a yuri medium.
Sono Hanabira is a yuri visual novel – a very straightforward, literal one at that, yet also, sweet and heartwarming too. Sono Hanabira has all the qualities that I was searching for what feels like forever; cuteness, fluffiness and light atmospheres; most importantly-no subtext! The girls really do love each other and made no qualms about hiding their feelings. The great artwork and character designs is another definite plus in my books.
As far as stories go, the drama is kept to a bare minimum, and the plot is never too complex. The visual novel usually involves the girls dating and doing cute things, perhaps there may be a few dramatic moments fit in between all the cuteness “tsunami”, but these dramatic moments became a pivotal source of character developments, and makes the scenes after these drama so much more rewarding and bittersweet. Each title in the series established a very clear, canon couple straight from the get-go, and focused on the light-hearted, cute, and sometimes steamy things that these very couples are always doing.
In that regard, Sakura Trick feels exactly like Sono Hanabira. Minimal drama, light-hearted atmospheres and criminally adorable making-out scenes. As with Sono Hanabira, the anime had established the canon couples very early in the series, as early as the very first few seconds of the OP (no match for the poor Kaichou though) so most of the parts of the series features the slice-of-life events of these already established couples, which involve cute, fluffy moments and lots and LOTS of intimate making-out scenes.
Similarly to Sono Hanabira, the plot is never too complex. There are of course, significant plot points, but none which would take the seriousness too much and ruin the goodness of it’s simple, but charming yuri ambiance. Just like my ideals, Sakura Trick is almost never angsty, just emphasizing on how much fun the girls were having and how they love each other. Incidentally, you may had noticed but if you had watched till 10 episodes like I had, you can see just how oddly accepting the other characters in Sakura Trick are when it comes to homosexuality – another plus in my books. I’m not sure how accepting it is for real life but such restriction isn’t usually what I really want to see in a fictional story where the main focus wasn’t even aiming for such cold realism in the first place.
This is the reason why I adore Sakura Trick so much – it is an almost anime-equivalent of Sono Hanabira, a medium which fits all my fastidious preferences to yuri media. As the amount of yuri anime is so meager, perhaps with the emergence of Sakura Trick, all hope is not lost yet, it seems – Sakura Trick might be the saving grace the anime industry so desperately needed yuri-wise.