Anime Spotlight: Sakura Diaries

Sakura Diaries is an anime Original Video Animation (OVA) series based on a manga by U-Jin. The OVA was released in Japan in 1997.

ADV Films held the North American distribution rights for Sakura Diaries; however, as of this writing, it’s not entirely clear whether or not any licensors in North America have the rights to this title.

Touma Inaba is the protagonist of Sakura Diaries, and he’s a high school graduate trying to get into college. He comes to Tokyo to take the entrance exams for three schools; while he’s at his hotel room, a high school girl who claims to be a call girl comes to his room. After an awkward encounter, Touma throws her out of the room. It turns out the “call girl” is actually his cousin, Urara Kasuga, whom he had only met once several years earlier, so he didn’t recognize her. Urara has feelings for Touma, but he’s too dense to notice.

After failing the first two entrance exams he took, Touma tries to take the entrance exam for Keio University. While taking the test, he meets a beautiful woman named Mieko Yotsuba, who is also taking the entrance exam. Mieko passes, but Touma does not; however, Touma lies and claims that he passed. Touma goes to live with his uncle in Tokyo, and discovers that Urara is his cousin. Touma goes to cram school, while trying to keep up the deception to Mieko that he’s attending Keio Univeristy.

Urara is interested in Touma, but Touma has his sights set on Mieko. This love triangle serves as the major element that runs through the 12 episodes of the OVA series.

Sakura Diaries focuses on a love triangle, with the potential for sexual situations to arise. Touma isn’t exactly the brightest person, and he’s very awkward when it comes to relationships due to his lack of experience. As I watched the early episodes, I found myself chuckling at Touma and his cluelessness. However, the later episodes of the series start becoming more serious in nature; while there is still some comedy involved in the story at that point, the drama aspect of the series takes over. For how the storyline progresses, this shift in tone works. Unfortunately, I found myself rather unsatisfied with how the series ended.

Overall, Sakura Diaries is a satisfactory OVA series, and its main weakness is the fact that after having a great buildup for the story, it ultimately ends in an unsatisfactory manner. While it may not be one of the greatest anime out there, it’s pretty enjoyable for what it’s trying to be.

If you decide to check out Sakura Diaries, just be aware that you’ll more than likely not get the payoff that you hope for as you’re watching the series.

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