The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. – Review
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. was awarded as a Runner-Up for Best of Fall 2016 in our Anime Awards.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.:
Original Air Dates: July 10, 2016 to December 26th, 2016
Synopsis: Saiki Kusuo was born with a wide array of super powers. From Telepathy to Telekinesis, this guy has it all. It might sound awesome, but Saiki’s found having these superpowers ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Keeping a low profile, Saiki tries to lead a normal life, but that doesn’t always seem possible.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Saiki K is great for those of you who like absurd humour that moves super fast, with characters often speaking a mile a minute. However, overall, the show is a little less hectic than others in its style and while some episodes do still suffer from light speed dialogue, there are actually several overarching plot lines, more than one might expect in a series like this. Saiki also manages in making most of its characters into series regulars rather than just one off punch lines. There is a lot of fourth wall breaking humour, so if you dislike that you should probably avoid Saiki K.
Tom: Saiki K does an incredible job of escalating situations far past where you think things might ultimately end up, providing a nice mix of meta humor, and even 4th wall breaks late in the series. Sadly, Saiki K doesn’t keep up its incredible levels of originality and humor all the way through. The series eventually falls back on tried and true jokes from time to time, or becomes increasingly self-referential. There’s a lot more miss in the series final episodes than from earlier on. That said, for anyone who grew to become a fan of the characters and setting, these diminishing returns aren’t felt nearly as strongly, still providing a chuckle or smile now and again.
Linny: Since its humour is its main and only point of appeal, you really have to take to the characters themselves to stick with the show all the way through. Thankfully, the show never takes a nosedive of no return with a good joke or episode appearing regularly enough to remind fans why you fell for it in the first place. Saiki K also does a decent job of creating extreme caricatures of characters for comedy such as Nendou and Kaido without being unusually and exceptionally cruel to them under the guise of humour.
Tom: Saiki himself is initially a bit prickly, but surprisingly grows into a pretty great straight man, gradually softening his more apathetic nature and showing a real heart of gold underneath from time to time. And despite his over powered nature, Saiki feels challenged from episode to episode as situations spin out of control and he’s backed into a corner despite his near limitless potential.
Linny: For those of you that feel that Saiki sounds like your generic overpowered lead, often harsh and cold to everyone else, he is actually rather likeable. As the show progresses, it’s easy to find yourself rooting for him, finding that there’s more to him than his trope/cliched nature. And like Tom mentioned, the show does such a good job of escalating his predicaments without making them feel extremely convoluted.
Tom: In an effort to keep the comedy coming, Saiki K introduces a handful of new cast members, even within its final episodes. It doesn’t entirely keep Saiki K’s comedy on track, and some of the new avenues of humor aren’t quite as good as the staples, who do continue to feature frequently throughout the series, either appearing in every episode or used sporadically throughout the run.
Linny: The characters that get jammed into the tail end of the show really do highlight how much the show is stumbling towards the end. These introductions feel a lot more sudden and rushed due our proximity to the show’s conclusion, and one of them in particular, feels all the more last minute due to the very nature of his role in the story, He feels like someone who should have earned at least a mention much earlier on, if not an actual appearance. Now, given that we already know the show is getting a second season, maybe this character will get featured in a ratio that feels more appropriate given his role in Saiki’s life but we seem to already have relegated him to the sidelines again within this season itself. Given how light hearted the show is overall, most of you should be able to dismiss this all as part of the show’s crazy nature.
Tom: Despite Saiki K’s charming comedy and enjoyable characters, the animation leaves something to be desired. It’s never outright bad, nor is it the series’ selling point. And unfortunately there’s even a dip in, well, whatever quality is usually offered, towards the middle of the series where it becomes harder to appreciate than normal. Thankfully the jokes are always flying by so fast, only more attentive viewers will find the artwork and animation dipping in quality.
Linny: Overall, Saiki is a fast parade of well known jokes given their own little twist that starts off strong but predictably fumbles as it continues. It never sinks to outright horrid but there’s also going to be periods when you might find yourself bored or unresponsive to the comedy. Given that the show is divided into 5 minute segments, it should be a breeze for anyone to give a segment or two a look. If you are a fan of absurd anime comedy, Saiki K definitely deserves a spot on your watchlist but do be aware that there are dips in animation and content.
Tom: Saiki K was released in two different formats this season, a rarity among TV anime, offering 3-5 minute specials each day, or a full compiled episode on Sundays. With the season over, there’s little reason to watch them in the short format, but this option was a definite boon to series, as it’s comedy works well in small doses. With confirmation that there’ll be another season, I hope the series sticks to this format. I also hope Saiki K starts to find the recognition it deserves, if for no other reason than to see the manga localized, as the anime hints at various characters and gags cut from the anime, meaning there’s some potentially fun content still to be found in the original version.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is available for streaming via Funimation.com.