Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

6 July 2016: Sansha Sanyou: I don't think that bit about three girls each having the same kanji (葉) in their names ever comes up

Youko announces her departure to her empty little apartment.

I sort of like the idea of "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" anime, but I have such a low success rate with them that I tend to avoid such shows as a matter of general principle. I'll check in every once in a while to see if my impressions of them has changed, but I usually end up dropping these shows relatively quick. This was the case with the well regarded Kiniro Mosaic despite Karen being an appealing nutjob, and was the case with Girlfriend (Kari) despite, um, the Tange Sakura character being an appealing nutjob. It's also why I've never started Yuyushiki and why I never watched Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? (Is the Order a Rabbit?) even though I'm intrigued by the one who apparently carries a pistol for some reason I don't understand.

"Tacticool Girls Doing Cute Things."

In light of this, I wouldn't have expected to enjoy Sansha Sanyou (Three Leaves, Three Colors), but it turned out to be a pretty enjoyable show, probably mostly thanks to its beautiful animation and the charisma of its poor little rich girl, Youko. Now, the "poor" in "poor little rich girl" doesn't normally reference poverty, but it does here as the newly indigent Youko was a wealthy ojou-sama her entire life (and otherwise meets most of the more conventional "poor little rich girl" metrics).

This is basically Futaba from the alternate universe where motorcycles
don't exist and Raimu-senpai has a beard.

Youko is super nice and somehow cursed with frightfully excessive mabushii, even if you are watching Sansha Sanyou with the correct gamma settings and white levels. Youko's desu wa use also remains quite fierce even though she's not technically a member of that Exaggeratedly Proper Rich Anime Girl class anymore. She still has a steadfastly determined following of loyal straphangers and thankfully makes friends quickly, blotting out her introduction as an involuntary loner. This is not to say Youko carries Sansha Sanyou, as the other corners of the main trio are quite entertaining in their own rights, as are the assorted side characters, including one voiced by Momokawa Rika doing her best Satomi Arai impression. These are not complex characters, but they're fun enough to watch, in any case.

Futaba, Mitsugu, Youko, and Teru
Eh, he didn't have it coming, but I'm okay with it.

Ultimately, I can't identify any particular facet of Sansha Sanyou that differentiates it from the "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" shows which I don't enjoy. Possibly its just dumb luck. Possibly it's the animation, as Sansha Sanyou does have beautiful animation—way better than I was expecting and probably way better than is necessary—and I'm not just referring to its eerily fluid cats, either. Would I say Sansha Sanyou is a better "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" show for other people who also don't normally enjoy "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" shows? Um, probably not, but it might be a good match for those who do like poor little rich girls who don't let misfortune dim their preternaturally excessive mabushii powers.

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