Sarazanmai - more than an anime about jokes below the belt (Topic)

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Sarazanmai - more than an anime about jokes below the belt


Not too long ago I called "Sarazanmai" an anime about ass and nothing else. However, it is always worth giving the works a second chance, and having pulled myself together, the series was screened. He leaves a double impression behind him, but many still find hidden genius in him. For example, Christopher Lee Inoa with Kotaku just found it, and did a good analysis of the painting.

When it comes to Kunihiko Ikuhara anime, there are only two options: you either watch it or you don't.

Ever since this provocative director left his mark on Young Revolutionary Utena in 1997, he has been making exceptionally surreal films, in which he constantly leaves social commentary on what is happening in Japanese society. And "Sarazanmai", which came out four years after his last film, was no exception.


What is Sirikodama and why does it excite the mind so much

The anime "Saradzanmai" tells the story of three boys, each of whom hides a certain secret.

For example, Kazuki, who recently left the high school soccer team, disguises himself as a girl named Sarah Azuma, a local TV presenter and idol. In her image, he constantly takes selfies and sends them to his younger brother, who loves Azuma very much and thinks that he is really communicating with her. By the way, the real Azuma performs in the series with a Greek chorus, which is typical for Ikuhara's work.


The Greek choir is a collective character in the drama of ancient Greece. Usually he stood on the stage for the entire action and explained to the audience some of the points of the performance. Was a link between actors and audiences. Sarah Azuma also tells us from TV screens about events that will happen in the future, and only when this happens, we will understand the essence of her words.

Ent's second character, Kazuki's best friend. He is offended by him for leaving the football team where they constantly played. Enta is also secretly in love with his friend.


Once Kazuki, disguised as Azuma, takes a selfie and the third character, the young robber Toi, breaks into the car. Toyi demands to give him a smartphone. A pursuit begins, in which they smash the sacred statue of Kappa. Kappa are creatures from Edo period Japanese folklore.

From the statue appears Kappi - the prince of the Kapp Kingdom. Outwardly, it looks like a huge marshmallow with a mania for cucumbers. The heroes jokingly say that he is a toad and that out of anger he takes Sirikodams from them. Now attention, if you are not confused yet, good, because further there will be a stream of consciousness, coupled with folklore.


Sirikodama is a spiritual organ of a person, which supposedly contains his soul. The kappas are constantly trying to kidnap them. And you can get them only through the anus.

As a result, the boys are left without their Siricods and turn into kappa. Soon, hitting the wrong place and at the wrong time, Enta suffers the same fate.

Keppi says he will only make them human after they defeat the Zombie Kappa. These are the people who were taken away from Sirikodama and killed, after which they turned into monsters. Behind this, by the way, are two police officers Reo and Mabu, who work for the kingdom fighting against the kappa.

To win, the heroes must extract the monster's Sirikodama, consume it, and then shout "Saradzanmai".


After, they merge with each other and begin to have shared memories [so the other two heroes find out that Kazuki is dressing up as a girl], and Keppi gets the monster's Sirikodama and eats it. After the victory, the boys become people again, and Keppi gives them a silver plate as a reward. If you collect five of these plates, then Kappa can fulfill one wish.

Something like that. Strange enough, right? However, this is all part of Ikuhara's design and vision.

A Story about an Evil Society

The main reason we’re discussing Sarazanmai right now is that among all the rotten anime of the season, it is the most striking and unusual picture, [after Attack on Titans of course]. It's not even about whether I liked the show or not - no one just did the kind of work that Ikuhara did.


In each of his works, Ikuhara examines social systems of oppression. In Utena it was adolescence, while the director was talking about a toxic patriarchal society. In Penguindrum, he touched on the importance of family values and the direct attacks of capitalism on them.

In his 2015 work Yurikuma Arashi, he showed love between two women in a society where this is not accepted. This is a society that recognizes love between a man and a woman as the only one, and everyone who thinks differently should be expelled.

In Sarazanmai, he emphasizes the relationship between people and desires. All of the main characters have problems with interconnection.

Kazuki believes that he is generally unworthy of any kind of relationship with people. Anto cannot confess his love to his friend, as he is afraid that Kazuki will consider this abnormal and will not reciprocate. Toy with all his might wants to find his brother, who is on the run. And Reo is angry with Mabu because they can't connect anymore like they did before.


In general, this time Ikuhara is fighting materialism. The emergence of a new zombie is always somehow connected with objects: boxes, noodles, soccer ball. Ikuhara was inspired by the second largest disaster in Japan since World War II - the 2011 tsunami, which resulted in an explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

As the director said: “Then we learned that material things tend to break down and ruin our lives.”

The desires of the heroes cannot be fulfilled precisely because of materialism and problems with interconnections. And if you want to get closer to someone, you must not let fear take over that desire. Yes, you can get hurt or heartbroken, but it's worth it. Desires are not a product that you can buy online or in a store. When you fulfill your desires, you feel that you are human and that you are alive.


The "Sarazanmai" title is a step forward for Ikuhara, especially after the dirty "Yurikuma Arashi". And although his new series is one episode shorter than the last, it is clear from the first episodes that he is trying to convey pretty good thoughts to people.

I think he will be able to make a cool 20 series again someday. After all, he has his revolutionary spirit, and not in his ass, but in his heart.

The Topic of Article: Sarazanmai - more than an anime about jokes below the belt.
Author: Jake Pinkman