‘Sasaki And Miyano: Graduation’ Review: “Refreshing Romantic Developments Abound”
Studio DEEN’s Sasaki and Miyano was one of the stand-out favorites of the Winter 2022 anime season. So, it was no surprise when the finale confirmed a follow-up project was in development. But rather than tackle an entire second season, the project is in the form of an original video animation (OVA) film. Sasaki and Miyano: Graduation returns to the titular characters as they navigate a new stage of their relationship while Sasaki prepares for his graduation.
As fans of the first season will remember, the finale ended with Sasaki and Miyano becoming a couple as they both accepted their feelings for each other. With this in mind, the OVA was already exciting since most romance anime adaptations end right after the couple gets together. So, seeing them further their relationship and grow closer was a welcome change of pace for a Shoujo fan.
The OVA opens up with a short featuring Hirano and Kagiura, who were both introduced in season 1 of the anime. The anime teased the two characters’ potential relationship forming, and the OVA short offered an excellent glimpse into their dynamic. As for the rest of the OVA, the focus is squarely on Sasaki and Miyano, who are still in the early stages of their relationship as they tackle new experiences and explore their feelings as a couple. The story adapts a handful of events from the manga, which may make the OVA feel short to some viewers, but it still crafts a decent overarching plot.
One of my favorite aspects of Sasaki and Miyano season 1 was the animation, which featured a vibrant color palette and made use of the “shoujo bubbles,” to my delight. This carried over to the film and made it easy to be drawn into the young couple’s world thanks to the warm colors and bright design. The palette helps to show how at ease and comfortable the two have grown with each other as their relationship has developed and thus served a vital role in the film’s storytelling.
Another highlight of the film was the music which Kana Shibue scored. The light and airy score illustrated how relaxed Sasaki and Miyano have become with one another as their relationship has grown. Additionally, the film’s theme song March, performed by Miracle Chimpanzee band, fit the tone perfectly.
As I mentioned earlier, as a fan of romance animes, I always appreciate seeing a couple’s relationship develop past the first season. Sasaki and Miyano had just confessed to each other during the season 1 finale, so there was a lot of room to grow. Thankfully, the film gave them plenty of room as they not only grew more comfortable expressing their feelings with one another but also began to explore new levels of intimacy with one another.
With all that said, I feel that the OVA could have been stretched into an entire season, along with additional content from the manga. Some aspects of the story featuring the film’s supporting cast felt like they didn’t have time to develop fully, so having the chance to do so would have been appreciated.
Overall, Sasaki and Miyano: Graduation will surely please fans of the series eager to see the young couple’s relationship grow further. Featuring the same charms as the first season and some exciting new developments, the film will surely leave viewers very happy.– Jacob Campbell
Sasaki and Miyano: Graduation is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.