The most stylish, most talented, most awesome high schooler of all time
The common, established wisdom says the mark of a terrible story is one that features a character with absolutely no flaws. Perfect at everything, unmatched in talent, and adored by all, such characters are typically seen as nothing more than idealized projections of the author and dismissed as dreck. But maybe that’s because they just haven’t heard.
Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto doesn’t hold any high regard for “established” rules of “good” writing or Newtonian physics. Marking her professional debut, manga author Nami Sano unleashed upon the world the indomitable Sakamoto: the most stylish, most talented, most awesome high schooler of all time, and nothing he or anybody else around him says or does can do anything to change that. Were this a drama it would indeed prove tiresome, but Sakamoto is a screwball gag comedy. Each episode consists of short stories in which Sakamoto’s impossible awesomeness confounds and amazes.
It starts off innocuously enough, as jealous classmates and would-be bullies attempt to take Sakamoto down a peg, only to be foiled in highly improbable ways. As high school freshman life marches on and Sakamoto grabs the attention of delinquents, girls, older girls, older middle-aged women, and even a spooky ghost who only appears in photographs, the surreal humor continues on as well.
I hate giving away jokes, but I’ll ruin one for you: said ghost attempts to push a janitor’s mop and wheeled bucket into Sakamoto from behind, but the ghost … hasn’t heard. Sakamoto effortlessly leaps up, lands in the bucket, and uses the protruding mop to skate himself down the halls while perfectly maintaining his composure. Everybody in the halls clears the way and cheers him along, declaring, “What’s that?! It’s a Segway! Changing classrooms goes smoothly on a Segway!” You may be thinking that nobody on the planet could possibly look cool riding an actual Segway, let alone a makeshift facsimile of one. You may also be thinking that nobody would ever be so impressed by the concept of seeing someone go past them on a Segway that they would stop to cheer that person on for doing so. To which I can only say … haven’t you HEARD?
The wacky antics carry on throughout the school year, and then … it ends, first on a kind of dramatic note (by this show’s standards, anyway) in its 12th episode, then on a sillier, albeit less effective one by way of an unaired 13th episode that was originally pre-empted due to natural disaster coverage. Despite being a big hit, the manga concluded after four volumes, and this anime adaptation is over in 13.
Between that and the fact that each episode tends to contain two or three stories, it’s clear that Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto always knows the importance of never sticking around long enough for its premise to wear thin, as comedies that basically hinge on finding variations for delivering what is more or less the same joke run the risk of doing. Fortunately, series director Shinji Takamatsu has a knack for these sorts of off-the-wall comedies, having worked extensively on Gintama as well as School Rumble, Daily Lives of High School Boys, and Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!
Unless it’s the most dangerous thing ever like Detroit Metal City (which is also basically just one joke, but I still demand a second season for the music festival even though it’s been almost a decade), anime comedy is typically not to my liking because I want jokes that haven’t been done to death by several other shows already. The “perfect student main character” concept of Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto has effectively been driven into the ground as a “serious” concept by other anime, but these are definitely punchlines you won’t see coming. Oh sure, you’ll always know WHAT— “Sakamoto will prevail and be the cool-cooler-COOLEST”—but never HOW. You hear?!
Studio/company Sentai Filmworks / HIDIVE