Sakura Trick: Episode 2

Much like being paranoid if people ARE out to get you, are they still Yuri Goggles if Haruka is always right about it…

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Before we tackle this week’s Sakura Trick, I want to make a brief aside regarding the controversy over this show.

Well now that that’s over!

No, honestly. Because, as someone who likes to be pleasantly surprised and avoids a LOT of fan discussion (why my KILL la KILL reviews have always been slim on the symbolism, but I have more for that in the relevant pages), the only way I have heard about this “Sakura Trick Controversy”…is through rebuttal posts. After rebuttal post, after rebuttal post.

So I will say here as I have commented several times throughout the week: I am no moral crusader. Look at this blog. It should be obvious I just don’t give enough shits about humanity to burn a lot of energy on that kind of thing. But more importantly, as someone who has been told that my existence degrades all women, as someone who has had, not internet lurking trolls, but flesh and blood people, whom I am acquainted with, in the course of conversation say that my sexuality degrades half the species for embodying too many lesbian stereotypes, with a look that for the good of Women’s Lib I will repent my life choices now that they have pointed it out to me…

Fuck you.  Fuck your self-righteous high horse. Fuck you with your self righteous high horse.  Telling a woman her sexual preferences (not orientation, as some of you may be quick to get indignant about. Preferences.) are degrading to women IS NO DIFFERENT than telling another woman she is a slut when she sleeps with “too many” guys.  It is a form of shaming based on what she likes. You should be fucking ashamed. Who are you to argue that because someone enjoys it (between consenting adults*) that it is “wrong”? Weird, absolutely. Strange, yes.  Self-isolating even, possibly.  But “wrong” is not one of those words.

The idea that female-on-female sexuality is inherently exploitation by virtue of its existence is the most ironic form of patriarchy. By adopting a stance that is knee-jerk counter to that which is considered “demeaning” without consideration of context is silly.

“But women only find bad boys sexy, and like rough sex, and enjoy submissive sex BECAUSE they are programmed that way!”  Okay. Let’s examine this. Who programmed the foot fetishist? The stone butch? The vore enthusiast? Was that programmed? Or is it…possible, I might be stretching, but is it POSSIBLE, that Human sexuality is complicated and doesn’t always have a root cause embedded into social fabric? Okay done with that part.

“Wait, Anna!” Sigh, goddamnit what? “Sakura Trick is predominantly written by men!” To me this is only an issue if they are trying to present a series that is “down with the struggle”.   Or, a series that marginalizes female homosexuality in any way.  This is only an educated guess now. But…this does not appear to be part of the genre (yes. Genre. And we are using it correctly) in Japan of raping lesbians straight.  Call it a big goddamn hunch that Sakura Trick will not end with them all hooking up with dudes. So neither of these “diminishing” qualities apply.

If that happens, then we’ll talk. Until then, you shut your mouth, and don’t waste our time with your White Knight bullshit.

Indeed, I have always felt that society can be corrected THROUGH peoples sex drives.  Cure militant Islam in the Middle East? Well, enough teenage boys who realize they don’t need to wait to see a woman until they’re 40, and enough teenage girls who realize they can actually have companions their age, and the problem will right itself! (kidding aside, such things actually HAVE been happening in Iran, for essentially those reasons).  And, in the case of making homosexuality “more mainstream”, Sakura Trick may be the way to go.  Infiltrating society not from the moral temple with safe, harmless lesbians, but with fanservice lesbians who can be connected to as REAL PEOPLE.

Let me tease that, I have been working on a lengthy essay regarding Yuri Goggles, and I will get into these topics more there (to be released by the end of Winter season), so I will be really hammering at this.  But I’m already 700 words in and haven’t talked about the episode yet. Damn. You see what happens when you piss me off? Don’t do it. It’s a storm of hate and bile.

Alright let’s actually talk about ANIME for once!

The mini-episode format has been working well for Sakura Trick.  It keeps the humor from getting stale, allowing them to lean heavily on the topical humor when Haruka’s brain can’t be squeezed out for another lesbian gag (don’t worry she only has a 60 second recharge so it keeps coming).

Now, we have to mention the overt sexuality here compared to other Yuri shows.  And I think this is part of the reason why, as someone who generally despises Yuri, I’m actually liking this show because THEY GET TO THE FUCKING POINT.  So often Yuri series rely on the “will they or won’t they?” thread, and SQUEEEEEEEEEZE that thread until you want to throttle yourself with it.

Such a dramatic approach relies not on actual drama, but on the assumption that the culmination of it IS the drama.

It is not. Two girls kissing has lost the “EDGY” suspense, and it was smart of Sakura Trick to realize this.  Besides. There are a LOT more stories you can write with a relationship than without, or with a quasi-relationship. If Yuu remains constantly in denial about liking their kiss, she turns from “reluctant friend” into “indecisive bitch”. We still see Haruka and Yuu hammering out their new dynamic, unsure and unwilling to spoil the good friendship they have, but much like real life, this is progressing fast enough that it seems like we will move into “committed” part of their story (after the full of the cast gets their day).

And that’s what the first “episode” did.  Shizuku and Kotone got the spotlight, but surprisingly, and pleasantly to me, not the -focus-.  It was still just as much about how the drama related to Yuu and Haruka as it was about Shizuku and Kotone.  And it starts with the lonely (dare we, emo or goth?) Shizuku all smiles one morning. Surprisingly, the latter pair are having a fight.  It seems Kotone is staying over at Shizuku’s place, and snuck a kiss on her cheek. The four other girls try to scold Kotone for being so forward…or so it seems, but when Kotone announces it’s only natural, Haruka is all googly eyes and on board with converting everyone into a lesbian.

Excuse me while I rubs my hands together sinisterly.

Good. Good.

I like Haruka, I really do.  One of the big reasons I have been enjoying this show is that I was that girl. Still am really.  Though in my old age, I also see where Kotone comes from, it’s easier to manipulate other girls into trying vag more comfortable to others to play it cool.  But I may have to take to calling her Pope Haruka. Ironically, the missionary position does not apply to her noble crusade.

…I’ll stop now.

So in the course of trying to compare the others to themselves, Haruka still fishes to see if Yuu liked or disliked the kissing.  It has almost certainly been some time, so I think this shows an interesting, realistic dynamic. Yuu is still paranoid about the others finding out, pinching Haruka in the most painful of ways to make sure she keeps her mouth shut.

And then, back to Yuu’s “deflection” tendencies, she tells Shizuku to be honest about her feelings or it will cause discord.

Because, it seems, Shizuku isn’t mad about the kiss. She’s mad that Kotone wasn’t being clear if Shizuku was special, or just a convenient outlet for her urge.  So after luring her into talking with her, Kotone advances in arguably the most adorable seduction ever, Shizuku backing away for reasons she’s not sure about.

I like this pair. Confident, beautiful, popular Kotone and the sour, downright mean, and safely cute Shizuku.  They match so well and their personalities are good fits.  Shizuku expresses her fears, and Kotone responds with “Alright. I’ll prove it to you with NO MARGIN FOR ERROR!”

And Haruka and Yuu catch the pair together…leading to their own make outs.

Well after this, in what is a cute, subtle fourth wall breaker, Haruka speculates that if they are a pair and Shizuku/Kotone are a pair, then naturally Yuzu and Kaede must be doing something equally romantic.  Well…reality isn’t quite as sparkly as Haruka imagined.  I think this was a deliberate, good natured rib at Yuri Goggling. I liked it. ^__^

The second mini-episode was very fun. It starts with Yuu having trouble on her studies, and Haruka warns her that this is high school. The big leagues. They might hold her back if she fails classes.

Cue Haruka Brain, and she’s suddenly all in favor of Yuu failing classes, just to have her refer to her as her senpai, or more specifically, “Haruka Onee-sama”.

The other girls point out that since the school is shutting down, Yuu may not get held back, but expelled.  Remember, this is a Japanese high school, which basically operate like American Colleges, with applications and waiting lists and the like.  People are much more committed to them there than over here, which is rooted in simple geography.

Well…everyone except Haruka it seems.  She comments, to herself, that she would have no reason to come to school if Yuu was expelled. Adding another dimension to this relationship, if you consider the seriousness of what I mentioned above.  It might suggest that Haruka goes here because Yuu is here. And why I hold to my theory that Haruka has ALWAYS been gay for Yuu, it is the latter who is just learning about her sexuality.

Well we can’t have Yuu expelled so the girls buckle down for study time.  All except Yuu…who is asleep. Wacky antics ensue. And that’s not dismissive, I have to leave some surprises though.

So Haruka tries to tie learning to kissing. Of course they appear to be going at it for half an hour straight before answering ONE question, so I can’t imagine this was very effective.  But it was important for one reason. For the first time, Yuu responds to kisses with the word “more”.  No literally, they were studying English.  It’s an important character milestone, and I think this relationship WILL mature.

Another win for Sakura Trick. Presumably next week we hook up our other pair, Yuzu and Kaede.  Let all the unbelievers bow to their desires!

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