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Sakura Diaries Volume 1: Secrets & Lies (DVD)


Urara likes Touma. Touma likes Mieko. Mieko might like Touma, but Mieko will only date a college man. So what’s an underachiever like Touma to do?


Well, why not lie and say he got into the most prestigious college in Tokyo? Now all he has to do to win Mieko’s affection is show up for classes he’s not enrolled in and take tests he’ll never pass. But man-about-campus Mashu’s gunning for Mieko too, and he’s not buying Touma’s excuses. And then there’s Urara. She knows Touma’s no intellectual genius. Will she keep his secret or let the cat out of the bag? What lengths will she go to, to get her chosen man? The only way to find out is to take out your key, open the lock, and sneak a peek into Sakura Diaries.


It’s nice to see reprints of older anime for the “younger” generation of otaku. I personally own one of the earlier prints of this series, but haven’t watched it in about 3-4 years. Thankfully, this version is the unedited version that only those who bought the boxed set got to experience. So, those owners of the single discs or those new to the series would be happy to pick this one up. For those unfamiliar with the series, it’s a romance series that deals with some rather prickly issues through the course of its 12 episodes. Unlike most “romance” anime, it’s very adult at times with both nudity and the ways that young men and women think naively about relationships.


sakura diaries vol 1          sakura diaries vol 1


Episode 01: Tokyo Success

Country-boy Touma comes into Tokyo and is getting ready to take a series of college entrance exams. He’s staying at a hotel for the week and his first night, he is visited by a beautiful high school girl who claims to be a prostitute. The rather stressed out and straight-laced man is off-put by the situation and is having a hard time deciding which head should lead in this situation. Despite the extremely good looks of the girl and her amazing body, his conscience wins out and he kicks her out. The girl seems upset that he doesn’t recognize her, but he doesn’t respond. The girl is actually Urara, a distant cousin who harbors strong feelings for him. She feels a deep connection to Touma, and is upset that he cannot remember her.


The incident left Touma with a nasty cold right before the bulk of his exams are due to start, and as such, he cannot perform up to par and fails all of the exams that he thought he should have passed. All that remains, is the exam for Keio, a prestigious school that he has no chance of getting into and he only wants to take the test as a gauge of his abilities and to say that he tried. The day before the exam, he goes to the orientation and runs into an



absolutely gorgeous redhead named Mieko. The girl is so beautiful that she could be a model, but for some reason the two seem to click and cling to each other in this stressful time.


The day of the exam, Touma is running a tad late (and is stressed out doubly now) but Urara is waiting for him at the entrance to the school. He sees her as the cause of his failures (catching the cold from her), and lashes out at her. Urara 


still cannot believe that he cannot remember her and is shocked at his cold and rude attack on her, especially when she brought him a homemade bento. She runs away, leaving Touma looking like a jerk and he sheepishly sneaks into the room for his exam. In the room, he runs into Mieko once again and the pair seem to be getting along rather well in preparation for the big test.


Episode 02: My Cousin Is a High School Call Girl

Touma has made it to the half-way point of the exam and he ends up eating lunch right next to the lovely Mieko. The short break is a great time to see the intensity in Mieko and how she thinks that college is an important step in her life, and that Keio is her main goal in life. Touma sees the closeness a bit more than he should and quickly enters a fantasy dream of their future life together… and is brought out of it just in time for the 2nd half of the exam. The next day, he heads back to the school campus to read the results board and see if he was accepted into the school – Mieko is already there, and as he approaches the board, she has discovered that she’s been accepted. In her excitement, she looks around and sees Touma – she runs up to him and hugs him. Once she’s calmed down, she insists that he go check the results himself. Standing in front of her, he checks the board but cannot find his number… but the anticipation of the situation, he doesn’t want to look as though he failed, so he lies. The excitement rises once again, and Mieko ends up wiping his face with her handkerchief – he uses that as an excuse to get her phone number and return it to her later. The whole proceedings were witnessed by Urara who was watching from the perimeter.


Having failed, he returns home to his family’s hotel and is put to work. But he cannot get into the labor and continues to re-hash his failure in his mind. He decides to fixate on getting Mieko’s phone number, and plans on returning to Tokyo to study at a cram school – he’s going to stay with his uncle (Urara’s father). His trip back doesn’t go particularly well – he misses his train and Urara is stuck waiting at the station for him to arrive. While there, she sees Mieko kissing some guy and learns that Touma actually failed his exam; so she decides to comfort him. Arriving later that night, Touma gets to the apartment and upon ringing, he’s beckoned inside. Urara is preparing dinner for him… but she’s decided to do so wearing only an apron. Touma is shocked to find out that the call girl was actually his cousin, and thinks the worst possible things about her. Despite the INTENSE sexual tension, Touma manages to not do anything bad and decides to call Mieko. Urara is interested in seeing what he’s up to, but the phone number that he tries is apparently not in service. He tries to blame the situation on Urara, but once he focuses, he learns that he wasn’t wrong – the phone number won’t work.


Episode 03: Is The Fake Student A Slave of Love?

Touma wakes up and breakfast is already made for him by Urara. He inquires about his uncle, but Urara insists that he came home late and left early this morning. He’s a bit upset about not being able to see and thank his family for their help. Urara keeps him from thinking too much about that and gets him out the door and headed for his first day at cram school. After meeting some of the other students at the school, Touma has a sudden inclination to go see Mieko and tell her the truth about the schooling situation. So he takes the train onto the campus and searches for her; she’s holding court and is surrounded by men interested in her. They keep asking questions about her interests, and she replies that she would only date a guy going to Keio; Touma hears this as he approaches, and it takes the wind out of his sails and he loses his momentum. Immediately after, Mieko sees him and uses him as an excuse to escape the swarm of men. Now on the run with Mieko, he’s caught in her beauty and cannot act.


Urara and her best friend Komi are going to go check up on Touma and so they visit the campus to see how he’s faring; but the pair are stopped by campus security. Despite their pleading, the security refuses to let them look around but Mashu (a really handsome man) acts like their guardian and sneaks them away from the security. Komi is really boy crazy and seeing such a handsome man (especially one with such a great educational pedigree) makes her a little impulsive; so she gives him a card and asks him to give her a call. Urara drags her friend away and continues to search for Touma, and eventually finds him talking to Mieko. They stay hidden, and watch as Touma fails to tell the truth and instead weaves an even more elaborate lie – that he decided to not attend a different school and instead come to Keio to be with her.


The next morning, Touma continues to lament that he hasn’t seen his uncle yet – Urara seems rather strong about him not worrying about it and insists that he not call him at work. After a day at school, Touma has a date with Mieko so he heads into Shinjuku; at the same time Urara and Komi are there shopping. Urara sees Touma hand in hand with Mieko.


Episode 04: The Love Hotel Of Temptation

Touma is at a student outing for people from Keio, and Mieko introduces him to everyone as an economics student (part of the earlier lie). Everyone is drinking rather heavily and Touma is no different, so when Mashu comes up to him to size him up – he’s rather defenseless against his prying questions. He defends against the questions by acting confused and too drunk (both of which seem appropriate considering). After the party wears down, Touma walks with Mieko to a nearby park. As the pair talk, Touma compliments her a few times and Mieko decides to kiss him on the lips (which is where Urara sees them). Urara runs away upset, but no one sees it happen. Touma continues to walk with Mieko and they accidentally end up in a love hotel district. Mieko is now feeling the effects of the booze, and she asks if they can stop for a while… so Touma rents a room. In the room, Mieko takes a shower and Touma tries to gather up courage to act – he’s a virgin and is suffering from performance anxiety. After she’s done, he hits the shower, and as he leaves, he finds her asleep in the bed. When trying to softly wake her up fails, he decides to leave her alone.


Back at the apartment, Urara has prepared a dinner for the two of them and waits anxiously for Touma to return. As he doesn’t come home that night, she falls asleep at the kitchen table waiting for him. Urara talks to Komi, who suggests that the only way to cement her position in Touma’s heart is to sleep with him. Urara seems reluctant, but doesn’t want to lose Touma. At cram school, Urara visits him – she doesn’t let on how upset that she is at him but has laid plans to get closer to him. She has enrolled at the cram school as well and will now attend classes with him. Touma feels bad at having let her down, so he agrees to spend some time shopping with her; with some more alone time he starts thinking more of Urara as a female… which is this case isn’t particularly honorable, he’s thinking of using her as practice towards Mieko.


Episode 05: First Time In Bed?

At the grocery store, Urara tells Touma to pick up a few things for himself and that they are going to have a small party tonight to celebrate going to school together. Touma’s mind is still stuck on sex, and so he picks up a pack of condoms. Urara doesn’t notice them in his cart and is unaware of them until she’s paying at the register. The sight of them brings her to a loss of words and the pair walk home in an awkward silence. Touma thinking that Urara is freaking out inside, and Urara is continually thinking about Komi’s advice and is unsure about how to proceed. The pair eventually make it home and Touma convinces her to play “Strip-Rock-Paper-Scissors” (apparently it’s possible to play strip variants of every game… much like the beer variants of popular athletic events). As the game progresses, both a nearly nude and Touma suddenly starts getting remorseful about what they are doing and decides to quit before he does something wrong.


At this inopportune time, the phone rings and it’s Komi to give some encouragement to Urara – she once again suggests that she sleep with him to make sure that he will only love her. The advice apparently sticks to her, as she follows Touma to his room and force a conclusion to their game. As they prepare for the final hand, Urara pauses and intentionally loses. Touma reads this as Urara being slutty so he forces himself on her and intends to have sex; Urara is shocked at his change in personality and she forces him off of her. Running back to her room, she’s now in tears and Touma is left alone to contemplate what he’s done. As an aside, we had a flash over to the school where Mashu is talking with Mieko and he’s coming on to her – she has not committed to being Touma’s girlfriend and the pair decide to organize a group date with him.


Episode 06: First Love In Kamakura

The aftermath of the evening’s stupidity looms over the morning like a death knoll. Touma is unsure of how to act, so he decides to play it off as drunken foolishness, but Urara is furious and doesn’t want to talk to him. The helpless Touma tries to ask for some help in the morning, but Urara storms out of the house and doesn’t want any part of it. That day at school, Komi corners her friend and tries to get an explanation for her behavior but Urara isn’t going to relate what happened. But instead, she tells Komi about how she lost her mother in grade 6 and that summer she met her cousin Touma. Despite his goofy personality, he was able to make her feel less alone and help her recover from the grief of loosing her mother. Learning this, Komi decides that she’s going to have to act.


At cram school, Touma talks to one of his classmates who gives him some sage advice about his current situation. He suggests to Touma that he needs to become more social with everyone and stop acting alone. When he does this, his true personality will start to make an appearance. Taking this advice to heart, he heads home but is intercepted by Komi – she’s furious at the way he’s been completely unreceptive of Urara’s feelings. She also explains how difficult it was for Urara to pull those stunts that she did to try and make him more comfortable. Touma starts to realize that he hasn’t been very fair to her and wants to correct the situation.


These six episodes make for one pretty long anime bender (especially when you have to write afterwards) but certainly are a nice blast from the past. I recommend this series to those people who want less unreality from their anime.


- Tazman

(January 19, 2006)


"Quinn? You thinking what I'm thinking?"

"About them making out? YEAH!"

"NO! The hands! Their small hands! Into the reactor?"

- Sparks and Quinn (Sealab 2021)


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