The Disastrous Life of Saiki K Series Review: Increasingly Diminishing Returns

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Right, so we know I don’t like comedy anime and I’m not a big fan of anime set in a high school, but I do like supernatural stories or stories about characters with some sort of power. Hmm. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K really is one of those anime I just had to watch to decide whether or not I liked it.

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Review:

I’m going to save some people some time and just come out and admit I didn’t like this anime and I won’t be watching the second season. And yet, I did watch all of the first season because as much as I didn’t like this anime, there was something quite interesting about it. The problem was, none of the jokes ever landed for me so I was never particularly amused by the show and as interesting as the premise is and as each new character who is introduced is, unless the humour is actually working for you it isn’t as though there is some grand plot of the like to keep you hooked. So once you’ve figured out what each character is doing and how they interact with the rest of the cast, you’re just kind of waiting for the next character to come along.

That isn’t really fair to the show. Some people find this very funny and entertaining and that humour manages to carry them through the whole season. But it’s kind of like a story that relies on being able to distinguish colour and being colour blind – a show relying on zany humour when you don’t find it funny is kind of just bland.

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What got me through the show for the most part was the title character. Kusuo is an interesting guy in that he’s incredibly powerful but become entirely jaded by life because of it. He spends his days avoiding interactions with others and generally trying not to get too annoyed by the mundane world and fails miserable at doing so. Being able to read people’s thoughts he generally has a low opinion of humanity in general and while he isn’t on the path to being a super villain, he’s certainly become fairly dispassionate towards everyone including his parents.

One of the things I really appreciated about Kusuo is that he hasn’t given himself needless and petty restrictions about not using his powers in general. Kusuo uses his powers whenever it suits him, however because it would be a bother he does make sure to keep it low key as he doesn’t want it to become public knowledge. There’s no rule breaking or guilt about using his powers against his parents or classmates when it suits his current purposes. This allows him to also walk a morally grey line without the whole is he good or bad coming into the discussion. It isn’t about right or wrong. He’s a teenager making choices and mostly working off of self-interest. It makes for a change and is kind of refreshing that someone with powers isn’t forced to decide whether they’ll be good or evil. He’s just living his life on his own terms.

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However, as much as I appreciate Kusuo as a character, the support cast only work in that they give Kusuo obstacles and interactions to deal with. While some people might enjoy each of these characters, for me each one was progressively more painful than the last and the episodes where lots of the support characters converge were particularly painful. My biggest issue being that because we only see these characters through Kusuo’s lens they really are all one note characters who exist to bring one specific type of conflict into Kusuo’s life. Potentially less characters and giving each character more depth would have worked, but I kind of realise that doing so would kind of undermine the entire point of most of these characters and kill the humour that they are supposed to be a part of.

I will also note I wasn’t the biggest fan of the art or colour scheme on this one. It all works and is consistent enough, but it just wasn’t to my general taste. The music is functional but outside of the OP I don’t really remember any of it after the fact so it didn’t leave much of an impression.

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I kind of knew going in that The Disastrous Life of Saiki K was unlikely to work for me given what I had read about it. Still, despite thinking that when I started it, and despite not laughing once while watching, I don’t feel bad that I watched this. It was an interesting enough series for what it was and there were sufficient interesting moments with the main character to feel that it was worth the time. Still, I won’t go on to another season and I’ll never revisit this series.

Over to the readers: What are your thoughts on this one?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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