Here we are at Day 5 of the 12 Days of Anime. Moving on from Elias and the Ancient Magus’ Bride, today we turn our attention firmly to the grounded realities of being the unrequited love in a high school romance and handling it with as much grace and poise as a character can possibly muster.
Yes, I am looking at Sayaka from Bloom Into You today and I must admit I’m pretty happy to look at her even if her story is ongoing and she is continuing to evolve.
Sayaka was a character who at first was seemingly very easy to overlook. She was the one who walked behind or beside Nanami Touko and it seemed like she was just going to be the token friend of the main love interest so that it didn’t look like she had no friends. That was severely underestimating both Sayaka and the narrative Bloom Into You was trying to tell.
Instead of just remaining the friend, we learn fairly early on that Sayaka is interested in Nanami and wants to be more than friends, but she’s been gently put to the side by Nanami. For Sayaka, that’s an acceptable position, by Nanami’s side, because nobody else has Nanami’s heart either. However, after Yuu enters the picture we begin to see Sayaka first become a little jealous of this first year gaining too much of Nanami’s attention, and then we see Sayaka actually having to come to terms with her feelings and the understanding that they are not going to be reciprocated.
This is kind of hard position for anyone to be in, but high schoolers are fairly emotionally ill-equipped to deal with heart break. Still, in Sayaka’s case, she isn’t so much heart-broken as second guessing herself. Should she have made a more aggressive move on Nanami earlier before Yuu entered the picture? If Nanami was okay with two girls, why couldn’t it be her?
It is watching Nanami process these ideas and feelings that she really began to shine. The whole time she continued to work admirably on the student council and interact with the others in a fairly natural manner. While there was a small verbal confrontation with Yuu, the two mostly just aired where they were sitting in relation to Nanami and then continued to work together, at times joining forces to reign in Nanami’s enthusiasm.
Sayaka is a great character. She doesn’t go to extremes, she has a clear goal and motivation but she understands that just wanting it doesn’t mean she can achieve it. She deals with disappointment and while that doesn’t stop her wanting, it does allow us to see a character not succeed and still continue on.
I really loved meeting Sayaka this season and part of me wants a spin-off story where she does find her true love and gets her own happily ever after.
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Bloom Into You Original Soundtrack