I’m doing this in 2 parts. Part 1 I wrote when I was in my initial excited fangirl stage after watching the first 7 episodes, Part 2 I wrote upon completing the series and is hopefully more rational and helpful.
Okay. First impression upon watching seven episodes: KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Ayatsuri Sakon is the newest show over which I am fangirling. HUH? It doesn’t seem like the fangirly type show… but let me explain why I find it so awesome.
1) It’s obscure. In my opinion, obscure is usually good. It’s different, and original.
2) IT’S WEIRD. The main character is a ventriloquist who carries around a puppet all the time. I think that alone would send most people packing.
3) After Ayashi no Ceres, I seem to have developed I strange obsession and love for 90’s style anime. The bright colors… the still frames where the camera is just panning while a soundtrack plays… the sharply drawn bodies and pointy facial features… the lack of CG… I LOVE IT ALL!
4) The music. Both the OP and ED are awesome and fit very well with the series. The OP is so catchy! It’s so 90’s anime like, too. Reminds me of Kenshin; and it helps hype me up for the following episode.
5) Sakon is the best teen detective ever. He’s just ridiculously unusual and cool. Plus I love his aunt.
6) Umm… it’s like a combination of Rurouni Kenshin, Ghost Hunt and Ayashi no Ceres. What more could you ask for?
More rational it is. One of these days I’ll write an essay-style review, but for now I’m gonna continue doing it the easy way.
Or plot…s. Ayatsuri Sakon is indeed a mystery, arc-based show; and there’s no real ongoing background story. However, I think for this show at least, that worked out just fine. While the quality of each arc varies – both in animation and plot – the characters are lovable and odd enough to keep you from losing interest. All the arcs are murder mysteries, most of which involve some sort of curse or supernatural seeming element. But are the curses REAL or are they all just a hoax? I dunno… *wink wink* So anyway this feel of “MAYBE it’s really a ghost” makes Ayatsuri Sakon reminiscent of Ghost Hunt. My favorite arcs were the one at the House of Puppets and the last one, of course. The House of Puppets one I actually had no idea who was doing it. Other than that – barring the first arc – I usually had a pretty good guess at what was going on. Jesus, the first arc I was like “Whaaa…?” But I’m the type who likes being able to figure it out every so often, so that was nice. I definitely wouldn’t say the mysteries are simple or childish, though. Definitely not. Well, this brings us to the REAL plot…
Yes, the characters! In arc-based shows I always find that I’m more interested in finding out more about the characters than the arc (not to say that the Ayatsuri arcs were anything less than fascinating). So the characters are basically the plot for me. And let me say that Ayatsuri most definitely surpasses Ghost Hunt in filling out a bit of character background story.
1. Sakon is amazing. I’m not sure why, but he totally won me over by the second half of the first episode. Maybe it’s just that in America he would be SO WEIRD. Like the outcast of the century. But in this show, he’s not. He solves murder mysteries and he performs with puppets and he has a double personality. I think if you want to watch this show, you have to accept Sakon as one eccentric character and just not give a damn. Anyways, as a combo he and Ukon may be one of my favorite pairs.
2. All the minor characters that show up for one arc are quite believable. They have little stories and their personalities aren’t completely cardboard cutouts. Or maybe they are but I didn’t notice because I was distracted by Sakon being cool. Plus you get the feeling that they don’t just disappear or walk of the screen into some other world when the arc ends; like some people reappear or have prior relations with Sakon. So I never lost interest with these characters either.
3. Sakon’s aunt. Um, best side character ever.
I think I’m biased. There are definitely some people who would be bored by this or over their heads in eccentricity. I guess I am just not one of them.
I think I mentioned this before, but the OP is super fabulous and Rurouni Kenshin-esque. God, I miss that show. Everytime I clicked open a new episode, that song would just get me all hyped up for the next story. I also found the BGM to be quite effective. It was pretty normal and all, but it had a sort of traditional sound, which fit in with the idea of all the Japanese puppets. The ending was also pleasant. Very calming after an episode of intrigue and murder.
Well… it was basically a 90’s anime that was aired a little late. So we know what that means, right?! YES! My favorite! Pointy faces!!! Ahhh I love it. It’s so nostalgic feeling. But yeah, it’s old school.
In conclusion: Is this anime right for you?
Ayatsuri Sakon just had this charisma, this je ne sais quoi; something about it that made me immediately fall in love with it. And I’m still not sure I can put my finger on exactly what that was. But I think I can safely recommend this to you if you enjoyed Ghost Hunt and you’re up for some old school style murder mysteries. And are prepared for a little eccentricity… However, I wouldn’t watch this expecting a lot of fighting action, romance, insane character development, or beautiful animation.