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Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto Complete Season 1 Collection UK Blu-ray/DVD Collector’s Edition Review

8 min read

I should hate this…and I don’t. Why? Haven’t you heard? I’m Sakam…DAMMIT!

What They Say:
All 13 episodes from the Japanese anime series in which high school student Sakamoto (voice of Hikaru Midorikawa) is the envy of all the other boys in school and is well-admired by the girls. With his effortless class and smooth sophistication, Sakamoto is somehow always able to emerge from tricky situations without a hitch, despite his male peers constantly playing pranks on him out of jealousy. Despite being mostly unaware of human emotion in others, he also ends up helping out those in need and assists a boy in getting a part-time job who was being bullied for his lack of money.

The Review:
Audio:
Set up in Stereo 2.0 in both Japanese and English instead of a 5.1 release is still an acceptable quality but a bit of tinkering of the volume was needed to make it of an acceptable quality, though there weren’t any issues in terms of the sound being out on sync with the subtitles or the video. A good dub combined with no issues with the subtitles synching also helped out a lot as this is good in both languages.

Video:
The video is as usual of a decent quality, with no noticeable issues with lag or video in poor resolution during viewing – it actually considering the series is fairly recent feels like a Blu-ray release, with its dynamic and very colourful animation, there are no delays with timing with subtitles with animation in either language or slowdown with normal rates or via pausing where the animation can become fuzzy. Indeed, the flow of the show makes the animation work a lot of ways due to how active Sakamoto is with his array of ‘special abilities.’ Whilst this also has a Blu-ray version the fact that the DVD version is so…forgive the term considering the show ‘stylish’ I’m certain that it works just as well and better there.

Packaging:
There was no packaging for this test release.

Menu:
The menu is very basic on all three discs, with the episode select on the left in bold black whilst Sakamoto is in the background either posing or doing something which makes him look cool. The sub-menus are only with languages and on disc one, extras. They move as quick as Blu-ray releases though which is something am expecting more and more in DVD releases when you make selections so glad that is working – you can return to the main menu easily from the show as well.

Extras:
The only extras are the cleaning opening and ending.

Content:
Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto (Jap: Sakamoto Desu Ga?) was a manga that ran between 2012 and 2015, with the anime airing in Japan between April and July 2016 – I will be honest that I knew very little about either the manga or anime, but the initial description was something I was wary of as I tend to not be fond of the Mary Sue/Marty Stu like characters of the very popular person that everyone loves…

…however, there are exceptions. J This is one of my surprise hits for this year because the show is so funny and it’s lead is so deadpan aiding to the comedy that his perfections are secondary – the show somehow manages to work and make its lead character very likeable despite my reservations.

The show is in essence an episodic comedy series set in high school with our lead, simply known as Sakamoto (no known first name). To paraphrase the opening, everything he does…is stylish. He is cool…cooler…coolest. And this ability to just be magnetic to people, both positive and negative is played so over the top that it is impossible not to enjoy.

There is no over arcing plot to speak of – it is basically Sakamoto and the students around him. The first episode depicts three bullies trying to make him look bad but he effortlessly manages to avoid it and somehow looking cooler for it (no desk? I’ll just take a seat on the window…literally on the window) and then he manages to befriend them after a fire experiment goes wrong. Another student Sera, tries to do the same thing but when a giant hornet enters the classroom, Sakamoto is as cool as a cucumber whilst everyone is afraid…and he battles the hornet using a compass against its sting. And not only wins but doesn’t kill it…which influences Sera to become a comedian with a bee theme.

…O.K, I never said it made sense technically but somehow the comedy just works mainly due to Sakamoto’s totally deadpan manner fighting a hornet with a compass. He manages to influence a bullied friend Kubota to work a part time job and help him out in taking out some bullies who always steal his money (here we learn about Sakamoto’s ‘secret techniques’ totally mundane moves that make things seem awesome despite their ridiculousness – think DBZ like but instead of Kamehameha’s we get jumping on chairs and swiftly hiding techniques…) which gives Kubota a shot in the arm, or one of the many Sakamoto fangirls Aina, trying to flirt with him but enraging other fangirls…to the point that they fight over an Ouija board…where Sakamoto pretends to be possessed so the girls can be friends. It’s as ridiculous as it is awesome as it sounds.

There is so much comedy throughout – whether it is Sakamoto overwhelming an upperclassman by doing his chores so perfectly it goes beyond perfection and scars the guy, or Kubota’s mother getting a rather scary crush on him so he pretends he has fled through a TV, the P.E teacher trying to catch Sakamoto breaking school rules, rescuing one of the former bullies Acchan from a fire, and even the little acts as each episode is usually divided into two or three (one lasts about 2 minutes for example, where Sakamoto has caught a cold, but instead of resting he makes a tie out of onions to try and fend it off). There’s even some character development with some of the other cast – my favourite being the bully Hayabusa – well I say bully, he was basically a co-bully of the guy that Sakamoto drove crazy due to his skills as serving, he thinks he screwed him over and is controlling his class – but when he finally confronts him in a ‘fight’ (due to them accidentally making Kubota bald) it turns into a play sumo match…which is just as intense as a real fight when Sakamoto is involved, with Hayabusa gaining more understanding of his character.

There is just something hilarious mundane and awesome on how Sakamoto helps. His ways of making a meal more popular at school?  Apparently buying porn video? Able to run cheetah style when Sera sabotage his shoes? Yep, he’s awesome. But despite the comedy and situations, it actually does get to a strange conclusion near the end. Sakamoto’s popularity brings the interest in a long time delinquent named Fukase who despite being in his 30s still hangs around the school and manipulates others for his bidding. He is able to convince Acchan to try and make an example of Sakamoto before graduation, where it turns out Sakamoto is going to study in America. Acchan tries to attack Sakamoto (who being Sakamoto, dodges and continues his speech with the crowd thinking it’s part of the speech) – it leads to proof that despite his aloofness and stoic attitude he cares for his friends, as well as dealing with Fukase (Hayabusa gets a big thumbs up for his involvement making him probably the only other truly memorable character outside of Sakamoto). It leads to Sakamoto leaving…

…with everyone throwing pie at him. ^^ Which to be honest, is EXACTLY how I expected this series to end (there is an extra episode of Sakamoto: The Movie, which is all the students wondering what he is doing now, with a final clip of Sakamoto training to be an astronaut and managing to help with a shuttle expedition) because it is that ridiculous.

The thing I love about the series is that it is almost a parody of the infamous shows where a character is seemingly perfect and everyone loves them…which in turn makes viewers annoyed by them. Sakamoto is a very strange example of this because the fact his perfection is done in various over the top ways/techniques without losing his stylish/cool aura – which in turn makes him much more likeable because it is so out of place and so comic. His interaction with the other characters, whether friendship, romance, antagonist, etc, he always has a profound affect – it is never explained how he is able to do some of the feats he can – he’s just Sakamoto. And despite the fact it is a one-note joke, it somehow manages to remain to be funny.

It isn’t a series that you can expect too much development, most of the characters outside of Sakamoto are pretty much one or two notes – Hayabusa has a few moments but outside of him, most of the cast is forgettable apart from when they are interacting with Sakamoto. But that is part of the fun, that Sakamoto is that over the top in any situation he’s in yet remains cool…cooler…coolest. It’s one of the shows that rely on a particular gimmick but in this case it works because the situations are always different and the way he deals with it is also always different which adds to the uniqueness of the comedy.

Don’t think about it too much, just enjoy how mile a minute it is, and how much fun you have. I didn’t come into it expecting much, and instead enjoyed pretty much every minute of it. It’s not a series I’d recommend for anyone expecting a details story or character development,  but for pure fun, comedy and enjoyment, it is one of the best this year.

In Summary:
Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto is a one note joke, but fortunately that joke is constantly funny. Sakamoto isn’t an in-depth character and the fears he may just be a Marty Stu are quickly overridden just by how deadpan yet over the top he is at the same time. His interactions with everything – human or otherwise – the situations are very slapstick comedy and almost in a DBZ way with his ‘techniques’ this series is something that can be easily recommended for anyone just getting into anime and just want a laugh. Recommended.

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: April 2nd, 2017
MSRP: £44.99
Running Time: N/A
Video Encoding: PAL
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 – 1.78:1

Review Equipment:
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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