Another slice-of-life story that was originally written by Arai Cherry, the female mangaka behind Mikakunin de Shinkoukei!
Aired: Apr 2016 to Jun 2016
Also Known As: Three Leaves, Three Colors , 三者三葉
Summary: Three girls with clashing personalities become good friends and lead chaotic and fulfilling everyday lives.
I kept the summary intentionally vague because I thought it was amusing that the premesis as a whole is not too unique and could apply to many shows. If you called Sansha another “cute girls going to school and hanging out” show, you wouldn’t be wrong.
What makes the series stand out among the sea of cute all-girl shows, however, are the relationships involving the titular three girls. Odagiri Futaba is a tomboy who has a voracious appetite, Nishikawa Yoko is a formerly-rich girl who’s now barely scrapping by, and Hayama Teru is a black-hearted class rep who has a soft spot for cats and dogs.
As expected from the author behind Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, the three main characters have strong personalities which seem destined to conflict at first glance. Thankfully the studio did a good job balancing out their quirkiness to the point that none of the girls are overshadowed by each other’s eccentricness. It probably helps that none of the girls are just flat characters so their individual eccentricness aren’t overly emphasized. Futaba, for instance, is scared of ghosts while Teru shares the exact same tastes as her rival, Nishiyama Serina.
However, despite Futaba attempting to act more girly and Teru’s efforts to try to be nice to Serina for once in her life, the two girls ultimately stay static throughout the show. The one who actually changes throughout the series is Yoko. Hardly anyone would bat an eyelash if the summary of the series mentioned “Yoko and her two friends” instead of “three schoolgirls.”
Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to think of these three girls as the only characters of importance in this show. For the most part, the other characters are just as charming. There’s Teru’s aforementioned rival, Nishiyama Serina, for instance, as well as Sonobe Shino, Yoko’s former maid who now runs a cake shop.
Three (side) characters stand out in particular. Yamaji Mitsugu, Yoko’s former personal attendant is hilarious with his over-the-top antics. It’s not often that a male character is a shining point in a schoolgirl series. The other two characters that I believe should be mentioned, however, seemed rather unnecessary for the most part.
Yes, I am talking about Yu, Nishikawa’s “fiance,” and Sakura, Futaba’s cousin. It is true that Yu is a reminder of how Nishikawa used to be a rich girl (even though Yu is the only one who is taking the engagement seriously) and that girly Sakura is a good contrast to Futaba (who is entirely devoid of feminine charm). However, they’re also just elementary school students who force a silly love triangle into the show. Maybe they just exceeded my tolerance for brats? Either way, I’m glad they didn’t receive too many scenes.
The animation as a whole was pretty smooth, but there was one particular instance where Teru’s mouth did not move as her seiyuu talked. It was like I was watching old anime dubs! Oh, by the way, the original source material was published in 2003 and continues to this day. Being able to secure an anime adaption after 13 years of hard work makes for a good story, doesn’t it?
The jokes are solid, too. Unlike Anne Happy, which heavily relied on homages and how being unlucky is supposed to be funny (when it’s really not), Sansha had timeless gags that were just hilarious. Anne Happy loses in this category, and in most other categories, once again!
The instrumental OST wasn’t particularly memorable, but I did enjoy the OP and ED. The very first episode included both, by the way, which isn’t seen too often these days. It was weird watching an OP before I was even introduced to the characters since I spent the entirety of it a bit lost.
As for the yuri, Teru could definitely have something with her rival, Serina. Even though they both push each other’s buttons, they share the same tastes in almost everything and are willing to concede that each other’s pet kittens are cute. I bet there’s a doujinshi out there where the two get it on while wearing cat ears! Japan, don’t disappoint me now!
Serina also has a loyal childhood friend who sticks by her through thick and thin despite Serina acting quite stuck-up most of the time. Is Serina also on the childhood friend route? Hm. And then there’s a minor character’s crush on Nishikawa. Seriously, she has to have a crush on the formerly-rich girl. It’s the only way to explain her rampant blushing and her reaction to receiving obligation chocolate. Well, it’s not like I blame her. Nishikawa is a cute girl in a schoolgirl series, after all.
Sansha Sanyou manages to feature three schoolgirls with clashing, strong personalities without making the show an unfocused mess. The way their friendship is handled, along with their relationships with the side characters, keeps this show from being just another school girl series.
Give it a shot if you’re not against seeing a male character shining in a “cute girls doing things” show; Yamaji is just that amusing, in my opinion. That being said, the other girls keep the show fun, as well. My complaint are the elementary school characters, who enforce a silly love triangle that has no purpose.