A simple litmus test for how much merit one might find in Sparrow’s Hotel can be done by the brief uttering of one of its jokes: “Cute girl with large breasts is good at fighting”. Now, if you are presently convulsing in laughter with tears in your eyes and a pain in your sides at the mere thought of that “joke”, boy are you in luck, Sparrow’s Hotel uses that joke repeatedly! Hell, it’s the only joke it has! None of that pesky “variety” garbage to encroach on your love affair with that perfect, solitary joke. As such, Sparrow’s Hotel’s doubtlessly masterful sense of humor will remain laudable for as long as one finds this lonesome joke funny. For most of us, however, that moment will arrive mere seconds into the first episode.
Sayuri Satou, a busty and overly capable bouncer for a successful hotel, is somewhat renowned for her eccentricity and her overzealousness. She tends to go overboard and treat the simple task of calming the guests as that of an assassination or something of comparable severity. That is the entire premise. The meat of Sparrow’s Hotel rarely strays from this barebones scenario. Various quirky characters occasionally enter the fray, but they are similarly marred by being one-note affairs. For instance, the sis-con is characterized entirely by his unhealthy affinity for his sister, and the grizzled biker character never diverges from his trite archetype. This isn’t necessarily an inherent flaw – better comedies such as Cromartie High School have thrived on this sort of characterization – but the jokes associated with these characters are just as banal as their cardboard cutout personalities would suggest. It’d be a stretch to even consider incessant reoccurrences like Satou fervidly beating up gangsters a joke, but Sparrow’s Hotel sure tries its darndest to frame it as one. And as one might expect, the results are invariably poor.
In terms of presentation, Sparrow’s Hotel started out as something unique. The show had an art direction straight out of the early 90s, but even by those standards, it would’ve been hopelessly deficient. The animation was choppy and innumerable corners were cut, resulting in a product that the director even had to apologize for on account of how shameful it was. While this would have looked bad in the 90s, it feels entirely alien in 2013. Being remarkably bad is hardly commendable, but it made the show almost worth watching just to marvel at the fact that this was a show that existed in today’s modern anime climate. “Almost” being the operative word there. “Was” being the other, because Sparrow’s Hotel abruptly changes its art direction to a rounder style that is more in line with modern sensibilities halfway through the series. While it might sound like a positive turn of events, it takes away the only thing that made the show noteworthy: all we’re left with is the comedy, and we already know how that turned out.
And that’s the long and short of it. Sparrow’s Hotel is an abject failure of a show in every respect. Avoid like the plague.