Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto ?
After a slight deviation from the norm, Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto returns to form this week. As it turns out, the introduction of Sakamoto's super-capable arch-nemesis hasn't done much to shake up the show's tried-and-true formula. While I'm sure Fukase will once again grace us with his presence in the finale, it looks like we're back to business as usual until then—and I'm perfectly alright with that.
Episode 9 opens on Fujita eating lunch with two of Sakamoto's unnamed female admirers. Throughout their lunch break, the girls discuss their respective first meetings with the bespectacled object of their affections. Each of their stories serves as a lengthy lead-in to an effective Sakamoto sight gag. Although each girl's encounter with Sakamoto has quasi-romantic overtones, they soon discover that Kubota's first meeting with their mutual crush blows their stories right out of the water. Instead of relying solely on Sakamoto's perfection to carry the segment, a good portion of the humor is derived from the girls misunderstanding his intentions. Unsurprisingly, however, Sakamoto himself is responsible for the segment's funniest moments. The “rain sommelier” gag is easily my favorite joke of the week. (Unfortunately, the callback to it in the subsequent story isn't quite as funny.)
When her son comes down with a cold, Shigemi Kubota gets another chance to romantically pursue her underage love interest in episode 9's latter half. Taking advantage of her resemblance to her brood, Shigemi dons his uniform and goes to school in his place. Although she has plenty of opportunities to make a move on Sakamoto throughout the school day, Mother Kubota's efforts are thwarted at every turn. Like the first segment, Sakamoto himself is only partially responsible for this story's humor. Shigemi's the real star this time around, and despite her rampant creepiness, she comes off as genuinely sympathetic at certain points. In fact, the extended montage of her life as a young mother is one of the show's most genuinely touching moments to date.
Turning Shigemi into the central focus ensures that viewers get a glimpse into her thought process, making her behavior seem slightly (keyword: slightly) less insane. She's a desperate, lost woman who's bored with domestic life and desires to live out her K-drama-inspired fantasies. Still, she ultimately realizes that raising her son right should take precedence over said fantasies. The fact that Sakamoto shows her genuine kindness in spite of his well-documented fear of her represents a true act of bravery, even for someone as fearless as himself.
Although it was fun to spend a little time with the show's master villain last week, Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto is at its best when the stakes are low. Sakamoto being Sakamoto and positively impacting the lives of those around him in truly bizarre ways has always been the show's core strength, and little has changed on that front. Chances are good that Sakamoto will have another spat with his chief aggressor in a few weeks, but for now, I'm content to sit back and watch the titular hero do what he does best.
Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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