If you're looking for a different kind of anime, Sakura Diaries might just fit the bill. It's a clever, quirky romantic comedy spiced up with lots of goofy humor and a splash of R-rated eroticism. Tuoma Inaba is your avera... more »ge country-boy loose in the big city. He arrives in Tokyo to take his college entrance exams, but Tuoma's not too bright and he fails them all. In short order our hero enrolls in a cram school, poses as a student at the prestigious Keio University in order to pursue one beautiful girl, and moves in with another--his cousin Urara who has a huge crush on him. Then things start to get complicated. This collector's edition contains all 12 episodes of Sakura Diaries. Because it is based on an uncensored version of the Japanese original, there are several differences between it and the earlier multivolume release on VHS and DVD. The plot remains essentially the same, but there's more nudity and newly translated subtitles, and there is no English dub. If you already own the earlier edition and don't care about a few extra seconds of skin, you probably don't need the collector's edition, but for completists and those new to Sakura Diaries, this is the definitive version. --Simon Leake« less
"Since I am new to the Anime world - hunting hi and low for a series I would enjoy with real human emotion was difficult to find...but "Sakura Diaries" delivered.
Once you get past the first episode, this story line should really grab you and warm your heart with these characters. Please note: There are a few sexual situations (not graphic) and nudity here and there...so its definately more for the "16 and up" crowd.
I won't go into the plot of it, since you can read other reviews on it - but I found this series to be enchanting and emotional. Its very funny, sad in parts, and shows REAL human emotion. Don't worry - no science fiction or monsters in *this* one...But if you want a story told with care and tenderness - this is for you. You will love all these characters, even if you don't agree with them - but you can certainly understand their point of view.
The only downside is the series wraps up and doesn't seem to leave you with a final ending...but the more I think of it - isn't LIFE kind of like that ????
Excellence in all aspects. You'll love it, and it might even teach you a few things.
Average Show, but Good Value
celes_knight | United States | 12/07/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sakura Diaries revolves around three characters. Urara loves Touma, but Touma wants to date Mieko. Mieko will only data a college student, so Touma crams for the entrance exams while pretending to already be in college. The story is far more serious than anime like Tenchi and Ranma. This series was originally released as 4 DVDs. It was later discovered that two versions of the show existed, so ADV decided to release the second version as a box set. The material in this version is a little more risque than the original (i.e. it's not for kids). ADV redid the subtitles for this release, and by all accounts, the new subtitles are more accurate. However, there is no English dub on this version. If you hate subtitles, this release isn't for you. If subtitles don't bother you, this is a great value--you get over 4 hours of animation."
''Urusei Yatsura'' for ''mature audiences''
Ace-of-Stars | Honolulu, Hawaii | 04/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
If you could take the love-chasing antics of 'Lum & Ataru,' plant them solidly in the earthly realm, and smack an ''NC-17'' MPAA rating onto it, what you would end up with is ''Sakura Diaries'' (Japanese title: ''Sakura Tsuushin''). First published as a 'manga' ('comic book') series, ''Sakura Tsuushin'' (''The Cherry Blossom Reports'') follows a bizarre ''love triangle'' somewhat reminiscent of Takahashi Rumiko's ''Urusei Yatsura'' (''[Those Annoying] Planet Uru Aliens''). ''Inaba Touma'' is the ''Diaries'' version of the ''Moroboshi Ataru'' character. Less the self-proclaimed idiot and imbecile he berates himself for being, and more of a confused & misguided underachiever, Touma is obsessed with trying to pass college entrance exams in order to break away from his ''country hick'' image and to avoid returning home to operate his family's hot springs inn. Add to the mix Touma's sexual insecurities over still being a virgin, along with the constant tension and frustration he experiences in his attempt to ''preserve himself'' for the ''right girl'' (very unlike Takahashi's Ataru), and one can easily begin to empathize with Touma and his personal struggles. Touma's already complicated world becomes even further faceted with the introduction of the ''Lum'' character, ''Kasuga Urara,'' who ''first'' appears to him in his Tokyo hotel room (uninvited) as a ''schoolgirl call girl'' who apparently has some inside information on her hesitant and reluctant new ''client.'' We later learn that Urara is, in reality, Touma's ''itoko'' (''cousin'') who has had a long-standing ''lover's crush'' on him since meeting him for the first-- and only --time some six years prior, and she is devastated that he no longer recognizes her, despite the ''pact'' they made with each other way back then. The ''lover's triangle'' element is added rather unexpectedly when Touma becomes obsessed with the ''Shinobu'' character-- a tall shapely redhead named ''Yotsuba Mieko'' (some promotional materials incorrectly identify her as ''Meiko'') --whom he meets on the campus of the prestigious Keio University, where they are both taking entrance exams (even though Touma fully realizes that he is terribly under-qualified for acceptance into such a fine institution). Mieko is similar to Shinobu only in the sense that Touma frantically tries to win her approval and focuses his attentions mainly on her (as Ataru does with Shinobu, despite his lecherousness) while trying to avoid Urara and resist her affectionate advances (as Ataru does with Lum). But Mieko is really more of an ''Anti-Shinobu'' in the fact that, unlike Shinobu's long-suffering devotion to her lout of a ''boyfriend,'' Mieko's feelings toward Touma are cautious and conflicting -- sometimes bordering on ''romantic,'' but somewhat distant and devoid of any genuine emotional investment. Yet, there's always that small glimmer of hope in Touma that he may still have a shot at being the recipient of Mieko's affections. There's just ONE major drawback: Mieko has made it patently clear that as a newly accepted student at Keio University she would only consider dating boys who were also fellow Keio students -- which Touma (having miserably failed ALL tests on his entrance exam) is NOT! And so begins the deception: In between taking courses at ''cram school'' with ''career underachievers'' for classmates and trying to make sense of his cousin's sexually charged advances towards him (apparently considered somewhat less taboo in Japan than in Western cultures), Touma keeps up the pretense that he is actually a ''keizai'' (''economics'') major at Keio. And caught in the middle of this muddle is poor Urara, who is awkwardly-- and painfully --exposing herself to the sometimes harsh truths of male sexuality, of which she obviously understands so little (sometimes with unfortunate and frightening consequences), while persistently trying to win Touma's heart as her own conflict rages within over whether she should let her jealousies put a wedge between her ''Tonma-chan'' and ''that Keio girl,'' or if she should guard his precious secret and not interfere, even if it should mean ''losing'' the man she loves so dearly to another. It just so happens, however, that Touma is not the only one in this trio of young romantics who is carrying on a deception: Each of his two love interests also have something to hide -- the revelation of which having a major impact on Touma's outlook, causing him to do some serious re-evaluating of his priorities. Sexual references and images are far from being just ''hinted at'': they are expressed openly and directly, though not explicitly or graphically (which could be described as ''hentai-light''). Although there is a very disturbing [quote] attempted rape scene [unquote] at the end of Chapter 5, Touma's confrontation with Urara's best friend, ''Kohmi,'' near the end of Chapter 6 gives us a clearer picture and deeper understanding of what transpired and what contributing factors were involved -- a remarkable revelation which does much to show both parties as victims of their own misunderstanding and ignorance, while stirring up in our minds such colorful images as ''clueless airhead'' (before the fact) and ''insensitive jerk'' (after the fact) to describe each party involved. Some very lighthearted and comedic touches are riddled throughout. Much of the humor is sexual in nature: Among such memorable scene are when Touma finds Urara's panty in the laundry hamper while she's in the shower and he wonders to himself if the dainty undergarment is ''still warm'' ...or Touma's ''back scrubbing'' fantasy, which had me laughing hysterically. (Touma's fantasies often pop up unexpectedly and can be a bit confusing at times.) The conclusion to this 12-episode series (complete on two disks in this ''Collector's Edition'' set) could not have been more perfect -- signing off with just enough ambiguity that it leaves us, the viewer, either wondering how it's ''supposed'' to end or, if we dare, imagining our own ''ending'' ...or ''continuation,'' as the case may be. (In English subtitle format, the episodes alternate between English translations of the opening and closing themes and ''Roumaji'' transliterations.) If you decide to sit down with ''Sakura Diaries,'' be prepared for something very DIFFERENT ... and very ADDICTING! *"
meatwad | ur ass | 03/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"i fully enjoyed the series of Sakura Diaries, except the ending. it was very anti climatic and left me with alot of questions. i wont go into detail because that would ruin this series. the ending is horrible!! i thought that there was one more episode after it, but no i looked and looked. there was no other episode. i was left with WTF MATE^^. i was shocked and appualed that there was no extra episode and that that was the ending. overall, the series gets an A, the ending gets a F=(yes thats a double minus)"
Very enjoyable from the start!
Zach Trimmer | Berwyn, Pennsylvania United States | 04/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoyed this anime series. I picked it up on impulse, and was drawn in on the story. The story (I watched it in jap. with eng. subtitles) made me feel connected to the characters, and I wanted them to be happy. I cannot compare it to any other anime romantic comedies, for I have seen none. The first time I saw the ending I was heartbroken, but the second time through, I realized it ending with a feeling of hope for Urara and Toumi."