Reviewby Chris Shepard, Jan 9th 2002
Underachiever Touma, straight out of the country, has come to Tokyo in hopes to get into a good college. However, in Tokyo is Urara, an old friend of Touma who seems deeply in love with him yet Touma can't remember her and wants nothing to do with her. After Touma fails his first two attempts to get into college, he has one last chance, Keio University. When he feels there's no hope left for him, he runs into the girl of his dreams, the beautiful Meiko. Now Touma must pass this exam, especially to impress Meiko, who refuses to date anyone from any other school. But when good old Touma fails this exam, what's he to do in regards to Meiko? Lie of course! How is Urara going to take this though, who's completely engrossed Touma? Especially knowing how shallow Meiko is with guys.
U-Jin, known in Japan for his controversial hentai, has actually created a story with a fair amount of depth. While this late night 12 episode TV series still has it's fair share of perverted jokes and fanservice, it's also an involving romantic/comedy series as well.
ADV Films has put together a nice cover. Urara graces the front, giving just a tiny peek of the fanservce that lies within. As far as the menus go, they look fine and work great. Unfortunately, except for the ADV previews, no extras are present. What's even more disappointing is that ADV unknowingly used Japan's TV version (as opposed to the video release) on this disc. All of the nudity that was originally intended was removed. While this doesn't hurt the plot much, for a show that tries to be different by adding fanservice into an already entertaining anime, the uncut version would have been preferred. For the fans interested in an uncut version, ADV later released an uncensored and retranslated subtitled DVD boxset.
The dub of Sakura Dairies is a mess. Characters overact, voices are high, and everyone sounds like a moronic goofball. Stick with the sub.
Sakura Dairies plot is a standard love triangle. There are a few little odd twists and turns here and there but you pretty much know what you're getting into from the beginning. What keeps this series from falling straight on its face from inducing too much boredom is that the characters are actually captivating. I found myself wondering whether or not Touma would actually get with Meiko, if he'd ever stop being ignorant and realize how much Urara cares for him and how Urara would ever cope with this entire mess. The cast isn't so developed that viewers will be falling in love with them but they remain interesting for the entire duration of the show.
Of course there's the fanservice, the second major element this anime has going for it. The female characters are well designed and cute. They all show off a lot of skin, even if it is just in Touma's fantasies. Sakura Dairies never turns into a straight-up sticky hentai anime but just enough skin is present to keep the fanboys happy. Since most relationship stories like this have next to no action and rely almost solely on dialog and character expressions, it's a nice temporary change to have something more eye pleasing to look at.
While the characters themselves look good, the actual animation isn't the greatest. But that's almost irrelevant since the characters rarely do anything more then walk, talk, and remove articles of clothing. Don't expect any exciting action here.
Sakura Dairies is a sexy anime series. It has all the relationship struggles and love triangles you'd expect yet it never gets too sappy and serious with all the female characters half-naked most of the time. If it weren't for the attractive characters, Sakura Dairies would have no edge at all with its run of the mill plot. The fanservice really does spice the series up in this instance. If you're looking for a relationship story with a twist, Sakura Dairies may be one to check out.
Overall (dub) : D+
Overall (sub) : B
Animation : C+
Art : B+
Music : B
+ Combines an interesting plot with a reasonable amount of fanservice.
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