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First Impressions: [email protected]

12:00 PM on 01.12.2013 // Chris Walden

Shaft out of 100.

Is it possible to fall in love with a series after just one episode?

Okay, let's backtrack a little. It's a Shaft offering, so of course one of us was going to pick it up. Did I know anything about this show before going in? Absolutely not. It's pretty much a Shaft tradition at this point; go in blind, see what you get. It's my gashapon approach to Shaft anime. 

Rarely does it ever disappoint, so scouring the Internet for info on what they're animating next seems pretty redundant. Plus there's nothing like sheer surprise, right? This show has plenty of that, so before anything, it might be worth going into this absolutely blind. Your choice. 

Of course, this may be a lot (plenty?) of Shaft-loving bias, so I'm going to spill the beans on this show if you need more encouragement to watch it. 

The titular Sasami-san is a hikikomori. For those of you who haven't managed to come across that term before, hikikomori are shut-ins, refusing to go outside or socialise for one reason or another. In the case of Sasami, bad things seem to happen when she tries, though luckily for her she has a doting brother. This guy adores Sasami, pretty much taking on the role of a butler-come-parent as he obeys her every command. He also doesn't seem to want to show his face, which is pretty odd in itself. He works as a teacher at the school Sasami should go to, but he teaches her at home to make up for her not turning up.

Then things get even weirder. We meet the three Yagami sisters, who seem to be just as strange as Sasami and her brother, if not more so. The first one we meet is the youngest sister, Tama, who bursts out of a river and announces that she has become a frog. We then see the oldest of the trio, Tsurugi, who is also a teacher at the school. She apparently enjoys playing eroge in the staff room. Then there's Kagami, who doesn't seem to impressed when the older brother does the Haruhi dance, but she makes up for that mistake with ROCKET BREASTS. Yeah, this is a Shaft show all right. 

This is all fine and dandy, but this doesn't seem like Shaft's typical slice-of-life anime. It certainly has a good selection of crazy characters, and there's also things like the 'Brother Surveillance Tool' that are introduced early on to make you think otherwise. It keeps up a nice pace of showing oddity after oddity, and then, without much warning, everything turns into chocolate. 

The entire world becomes chocolate. The chocolate starts attacking. I have no idea what happened even now, but the chocolate wasn't happy.

It seems Sasami has something to do with it, especially with the first episode being about Valentine chocolate, but what happened and how isn't made clear just yet. What I do know is that even though the world was changed into chocolate, there's not too much to worry about. See, the three crazy girls we met earlier have magical powers and manage to save the world. Forcefields, magic swords and ROCKET BREASTS. 

Yes, this isn't your run of the mill slice-of-life, as there's likely going to be a nice chunk of battle action going on. It's crazy, super random, and I love it. It's easy to say that it's a typical Shaft show, but remember that this isn't an original creation. The beauty of it all is that they know exactly what to pick and how to handle it, and something like this is incredibly refreshing from the feel-heavy season that just ended.

The music thus far has been pretty great, too. The opening is performed by ZAQ, who you may remember just recently did the opening for Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, and it certainly serves its job well. Something that I don't normally mention is the insert music, but it made such an impact in this show that I think it deserves a mention. I mean, any show that plays the saxophone during battle scenes gets my seal of approval. 

I haven't had a chance to really get stuck into the anime offerings of this season, but I think I'm pretty safe in saying that this is absolutely one the shows you need to pick up. I guess if you don't like most of Shafts other work it might be another story, but this one is going to entertain just as much for the next eleven episodes, I'm sure of it. 

[Sasami-san airs on The Anime Network!]

Chris Walden, Contributor
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