By Walter Pierce / December 27th, 2016
This article contains light spoilers for The Pet Girl of Sakurasou:
For this Building Character we’ll be looking at two of the main characters from a less talked about anime called The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. It follows several students at a dormitory, where the odd and troublemaking students of their school are sent. At the start we’re introduced to Sorata. The offence that had him sent to Sakurasou was keeping a stray cat, which is against the school’s policy. It appears the only thing that seems to be wrong with him is he can’t stop looking after stray animals.
For the most part, Sorata is the one who gets stuck taking care of things at Sakurasou, so it isn’t much of a surprise that he ends up having to pick up the next student to move to the dorm. The newest addition is Mashiro, who’s a girl that’s a bit quiet and seems slightly unemotional. It doesn’t take long to find out that Mashiro lacks both common sense and the ability to take care of herself. The first day Sorata finds out she barely has any idea on how to dress herself and that she didn’t understand simple things such as speaking with context.
Sorata is then given the responsibility of caring for Mashiro in a way similar to how he takes care of the cats he finds. Although, they probably are more capable of taking care of themselves than her. One thing Sorata does not realize at first is that Mashiro is an extremely talented artist. Since coming back to Japan, Mashiro’s main interest has been making manga. She of course is able to create a manga with amazing art, but is weak in other areas such as story. So of course Sorata ends up assisting her with it.
From the start Sorata is the normal one. He doesn’t cause any real trouble or have a unique personality like the others. Although that seems to a good thing, for Sorata there is a negative side to it. The other students at Sakurasou all have things that Sorata doesn’t believe he has; talent or a dream. Besides Mashiro with her artistry there is Misaki, who already created an anime which a studio purchased from her, and Ryunosuke, who is already known by different companies for his programming abilities. Then there’s Nanami and Jin, who are not at the same level as the others, but work hard to try and reach their goals. In the beginning Sorata doesn’t have either a dream or talent. The only reason he chose his school was that it was near his previous home and the closest thing to goal is him wanting to go back to the regular dorms.
Sorata doesn’t have something that he is good at like Mashiro, and for a while has no idea about what he wants to do with his life. He shows interest in game design but isn’t confident in his abilities. He expresses how it is unfair that people like Mashiro are so talented, and how ordinary individuals such as himself won’t achieve success like them. Even when Sorata decides to go for game design, he of course experiences setbacks. At times he gets angry and even seems to blame Mashiro for his failures and other troubles. He has trouble looking at and being happy for the successes of the others, especially when he does not have any himself. He isn’t a perfect person. He gets frustrated and jealous just like almost everyone else does at some time. If anything you can say he almost has too great a view of some of the others, thinking that they don’t have as a hard of a time as him. Of course they too face failure or some type of personal issue. Mashiro herself had her manga suffer setbacks and rejections.
Even though Sorata had wished to leave Sakurasou, he slowly begins to embrace all the eccentricities of the different residents. He begins to realize that being “normal” might not be as great of a thing as he thought. Although Mashiro still can’t really take care of herself, she begins to understand and experience more than she ever did before coming to Sakurasou. As much as Mashiro relies on Sorata their relationship is not completely one-sided. Mashiro wants to help him whenever she can and hopes the best for him. Though she seems emotionless at the start, Mashiro cares about everybody at the dorm (even the cats, which dislike her) in her own way. Sorata, unlike Mashiro, had trouble asking for help or would simply avoid doing things that would eventually have him seek it out. The very people that Sorata thought he needed to get away from are the one’s that truly care for him. At one point even the shut-in who isn’t seen for a portion of series helps him take the first steps toward game design. Though a few are a bit odd, the students at Sakurasou all support and believe in each other.
Author’s note: This was based on the anime and not the light novel it was adapted from.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is available to watch on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and AnimeLab.
animebuilding characterMashiroopinionThe Pet Girl of Sakurasou