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Sasami: Mahou Shoujo Club: Episode 25

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Episode 25 (The Warm Dream) is the next-to-last installment in this anime, and it covers some important ground. First, it brings to a close the plot thread dealing with Misao's difficult progress from painful insecurity to a confident acceptance of herself and others' opinions about her. But another conflict enters when Sasami invites her magical idol, Amitav, for a visit to the human world. She learns unconfortable facts about his connection with her father, and the episode ends with an emotional standoff that is only half resolved by the final episode that follows.

I was lucky enough to nab several sketch sets from this episode, including some important moments. AIC took extraordinary care with this episode, knowing its crucial place in the series.

Scriptwriter: Mari Okada
Episode Director: Hiroshi Ishiodori
Animation Director: Masayuki Fujita

Okada, who also did series composition, is a rising star in anime scripting. Previously she had contributed to Rozen Maiden (first and second season, 2004-06), and Sasami was her first turn at managing a series narrative arc. Her success on this front led her to several more visible assignments, including scripting the cuddly Sanrio anime film Cinnamon and taking on series composition for much darker stories, including Vampire Knight and Black Butler (both 2008+). In 2011 she received the Individual Award at Animation Kobe for the screenplay and series composition of Anohana.

Hiroshi Ishiodori began as an animator on the 1980 remake of Astro Boy but quickly moved to the director’s post. Among other assignments, he was co-director of the Bubblegum Crash OVA (1990) and chief director of Peach Girl (2005). Since his work on Sasami, his most visible assignment has been as chief director of Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino (TV and OVA).

The animation director was Masayuki Fujita, one of the Sasami regulars. He had previously taken the same role for two episodes of Tenchi Muyo! GXP, and was sakkan for four other Sasami episodes (3, 9, 13, and 18). His sketching style shows a distinctive finish even in the roughs, which are nearly identical to the gengas worked up from them. This is likely because Fujita was (and still is) in high demand as a key animator, contributing to a huge list of animes, some well-known (Naruto, Yu Yu Hakusho, Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee) and many others quite obscure.

Peeking behind the scenes at the rejected images and the many second and third thoughts gives us a good view of how a major studio makes an important episode work, scene by scene. Because I have so many scenes from this episode, and because the sketch sets are often very interesting, I've been generous about scanning and posting examples. Normally only 24 examples are visible, in a gallery, but I've expanded this to two pages so you can get a fuller view of the behind-the-camera side of this interesting production.

 Misao Back Home 1

 Misao Back Home 2

 Sasami Welcomes Misao Back to School: Layouts

 Sasami Welcomes Misao Back to School: Gengas

 Misao in a Cap 1

 Misao in a Cap 2

 Misao in a Cap 3

 Happy Misao 1

 Happy Misao 2

 Happy Misao 3

 Happy Misao 4

 "I get to sleep with Tsukasa again!"

 "I get to sleep with Tsukasa again!"

 The Shining Team

 A Flustered Sasami 1

 A Flustered Sasami 2

 Tearful Sasami

 Tearful Sasami: Animated Dougas

 A Flustered Sasami 3

 A Flustered Sasami 4

 A Flustered Sasami 5

 Sasami Gets Her Head Scruffed

 “We Weren’t Doing Anything!”

 “We Weren’t Doing Anything!”
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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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