Sarazanmai is a series that is hard to explain; however, I will try anyway. After a series of very strange events, the three eighth grade boys—Kazuki, Toi, and Enta—are transformed into kappas and forced to prevent zombie kappas from endangering the world. They do so by removing a fictional organ called the shirikodama from a person’s anus. Yes, that is a sentence I wrote. They do so through the use of a magical sound called “Sarazanmai” that is usually accompanied by a song. The zombie kappas are created by others and appear to embrace their inner, secret lusts, which pour out into their actions.
In addition to the secret zombie kappa lusts, our main cast members have secrets which are revealed each episode. Here are some examples:
- Kazuki cross-dresses as an idol to send pictures daily to someone.
- Kazuki stole a cat.
- Toi is involved in some form of local, organized crime.
- Enta is in love with Kazuki and kissed him once while he was unconscious dressed as the idol.
New secrets will be revealed each episode. One of the core concepts for the series is that everyone has a secret.
I wonder, though—is this true? Does everyone have a secret? I know I am not necessarily ready for the world to know everything about me, for them to see me at my messiest or when I react poorly in anger at home. While my secrets may not be as complicated or involved as the characters in Sarazanmai, they exist.
Things may be kept in secret, but they cannot be kept there forever. Christ reminds us of this in Luke 8:17 when he says so very plainly. Sometimes, the secrets are suddenly revealed to the world, as when a friend arrives at my house unexpectedly and the messes of my house are on full display. For the characters in Sarazanmai, secrets are revealed slowly over the course of the series through forced revelation while they are kappas—kappa inspired sunlight bringing the lies out of the shadows. This phenomenon can be comforting; finally having a secret revealed can be a huge relief as you no longer have to hide it. Yet, with each reveal on the series, there is also a sense of embarrassment. These secrets were held in secret for a reason.
As his fellow kappa-boys discover Kazuki’s secrets, he feels an immediate sense of shame about them. Yet, over the first few episodes of the series, there is also a sense of freedom. He can dress as Azuma Sara around them without fear. He can openly protect his stolen cat and even ask for help. He does not need to sneak in the shadows; there is freedom in such honesty.
In the kappa-filled world of Sarazanmai, this honesty is being forced upon our main cast. They have no say in the revelation of their secrets. And ultimately, neither do we. The Bible tells us that all will be revealed eventually. It also tells us that we have a Father in Heaven who literally knows everything we do in secret. You cannot hide from an all-mighty, all-powerful, all-knowing God.
Even though God does know all our secrets and loves us anyway, being exposed and vulnerable can feel scary. Nothing is truly a secret. Yet knowing that can also be freeing. Be free to be yourself. Be free to let your truth be heard. Be free to let the world know who you truly are. This is not to say to go out and sin or commit acts of evil. Those are still problematic. However, if you are super into anime, who cares if that comes to light? If you are a slob at times, all will be revealed so be prepared. Letting it all come out into the light, allowing for that freedom allows you to be your true self and, also, allows you to change if you need to. Others seeing my messes at home shames me into correcting that bad behavior. Perhaps shame of his criminal behavior will make Toi change?
Or perhaps not, I have no idea where this series is going.
Sarazanmai can be streamed at Crunchyroll. A warning—there are a lot of mature themes in this series, so viewer discretion is advised.
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One thought on “Newman’s Nook: Secrets Revealed”
I will be extremely interested to see where this goes. If only because Ikuhara is famous for series with incredibly bizarre surface premises that actually turn out to be about something intricate and difficult. This might not be the case here, but it could be, knowing his body of work.
I mean, this is the same guy who created a show about a girl who dies who can only be revived by a magical talking penguin hat, which instructs her two brothers to find “the Penguindrum.” Which I will add is never directly identified in the show. Also they’re being followed around by a Greek Chorus of adorable blue penguin caricatures. (The guy loves his Greek choruses…). Yet this same show ends up being about the entire concept of Fate and whether it is a good or evil thing, about whether it is truly possible to move on from the past and let go of the sins of one’s parents, about obsession and co-dependence and abuse (and how these three things are related) … all layered with a healthy and gigantic helping of allusions to everything from Night on the Galactic Railroad, to a famous Japanese terrorist attack, to Christianity.
Actually as crazy as this is going to sound, the series could reasonably be interpreted as taking place during an elaborate argument between God and the Devil over fate and justice….if there were obvious erotic tension between them (see Foe Yay and the Homestuck concept of kismesis). And this isn’t even mentioning the discussion of self-sacrifice and guilt. Basically, Ikuhara is a genius, and he has a lot to say, but he’s absolutely out of his gourd. XD So if he is genuinely writing something lighthearted and silly, it’d vaguely surprise me.