The Sakamoto death theory (Sakamoto Desu ga?) and why it’s wrong

The Sakamoto death theory states that the reason why Sakamoto leaves at the end of “Sakamoto Desu Ga?” is because he’s dying and his time is up. Not wanting to leave his friends in misery he uses the excuse of going to NASA so that he can die in peace. People have a lot of ideas and points to support this argument. I will list the points in order and then explain why each and every one is wrong or not nearly as conclusive as it seems.

You can point to all of the brilliant stunts Sakamoto uses as evidence but I’ll put that aside and take down the following points. I understand that this post is long and some of these things can be obviously disputed without any work on my end, so if a number doesn’t have an * next to it, it’s skip-able (Even though I would love for you to read them all).

  1. *In the last chapter of the Sakamoto desu ga manga Sakamoto is seen in a school locker as if he’s a corpse representing his death. This would explain why he was the speaker for the graduation class who’s older than him.
  2. *The mars landing project is a lie. In episode 10 Sakamoto even claims himself that it’s impossible in his life time. He wouldn’t be called for an impossible project and even if he did, they would have waited for his graduation.
  3. *it’s implied that he’s been in the nurses office often and he also doesn’t deny it when somebody asks if his trip is fake.
  4. He never wanted people to know about his personal life, could it have been because he was dying?
  5. He covers his face with pie so his class mates don’t see him crying at the end.
  6. *He said he’d never seen snow before, implying he was in a hospital bed the whole time.
  7. His speech shows that he’s facing death by living.
  8. It explains why he never accepted girls; he didn’t want to break their heart by dying.
  9. In the opening he puts his jacket on a human mannequin, as if passing on the baton.
  10. *The song Sakamoto sings in episode 10 is called Der Erlkonig, it’s a song where a father carries his song to medical aid only to have him die in his arms on the journey, and this represents Sakamoto’s death because it has a guy who dies in it.
  11. *Some lyrics of the OP hint at Sakamoto’s death.

“Raise your head and elegantly judge the gloom that grabs your gaze.”

“Go with the flow as you defy with a cool looking face.”

“Hardship is a bouqet that decorates your days.”

“Open those eyes wide and don’t look away, from the shining superior new world.”

“As those feelings overflow, be yourself until the end.”

“It will take you to a warm reception in HEAVEN.”

These are all the reasons I could find and I’ve got huge problems with all of them, as well as my own counter arguments. In a similar way the reasons were listed, I will list the reasons why I disagree with the points, to show why Sakamoto is actually on a mars mission with NASA like the show suggests.

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  1. The locker picture: Chapter titles and panels are the least literal part of the plot. The story happens in the panels and not the openings. That being said, Sakamoto is more literal than most in its last volume with its chapter cards; having 4 literal (19, 21, 22, 23) chapters showing Sakamoto in the scenario which takes place with his friends from the chapter. Despite this, chapters 18, 20 and 24 aren’t literal so it’s fair to conclude that the panel is more likely to be a visual metaphor.

In less literal panels it shows representations of similar events but not the literal story. We can apply this logic to the final chapter panel. I’ll take another chapter from the same volume. Chapter 18:

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It says “won’t ever let your friend feel sad!” and “I dare you to lay a finger on him!” which reflects the content of the next chapter. In sed chapter three girls explain the story of how they came to know sakamoto, and then Kubota comes in and says a story more romantic than all of them. It’s not really a contest or a fight, Sakamoto’s not even defending anyone like the chapter title describes. The title card comes from an implied one-upmanship which is sonly ort of taking place. So the chapter card doesn’t really mean what it says it means.

So let’s look at the opening chapter panel again and the truth is soon revealed. It’s clear that this is a visual representation / metaphor and not a true representation. Have a think about it, if you were the manga author and the chapter was about to end what would you draw? Bear in mind that the ending is very sad and emotional, you’d want to communicate the sadness yet still keep the stylish nature of Sakamoto.

We can’t show the classmates because the manga is Sakamoto orientated and theirs a massive pattern of only having small amounts of characters in each panel, mostly focussing on Sakamoto. So if we’re focusing on Sakamoto we want a panel that communicates his separation from the rest of the characters, not being emotional character-wise and yet sad to look on. When you realise that Sakamoto needs to look cool in every shot it becomes very apparent that the Sakamoto image is a metaphor/ symbolism for his leaving.

By showing Sakamoto in a coffin-like position the shot communicates clearly the emotion everyone has towards him. Every one of his class mates is sad as if he’s died. This is also shown by the characters not being in the shot. There is no greater distance between people than life and death, and by reinforcing this by showing Sakamoto alone it shows his distance from friends and how tragically they will react to him leaving. It doesn’t mean he’s going to die. It’s great imagery and subtly communicates the sadness of everyone whilst keeping Sakamoto cool.

It’s difficult to start by disproving the most damming evidence but please bear with me. This is an image which is open to interpretation, other points have less interpretation and are so much easier to disprove. By the time you finish this, the chapter panel will seem very trivial. This theory also started from more convincing arguments before spiralling out into utter stupidity, it’s how most terrible theory’s start.

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  1. The alleged reason why Sakamoto leaves is to join the NASA project even though he says in episode 10 that it’s impossible in his life time, meaning he’s lying. (Each point is going to start with the description of the point so I can disprove it in the next sentence) Nobody interprets this piece of information correctly. The anime never states that he’s going to become an astronaut and even if I’m missing something and he is an astronaut, for a college student the mission to mars is likely to happen in his life time. Go on Wikipedia and you’ll find the numerous mars missions which have been planned. Not all of them are going to happen but the most recent, technologically advanced, plan to send humans to mars as soon as 2030 and this is NASA: The place where he’s moving too.

What people should have been taking into account was when Sakamoto said “My lifetime”, after-all if he was going to die he’d be unable to go on this project. So I went back to this scene to asses for myself. Sakamoto brings this point up when asked about his aspirations and what he wants to do. He says that he wants to take part in a mass immigration project to another planet, not mars, not anything in this solar system. Sakamoto wants to find another earth like planet. Not only this, its Sakamoto’s friend nearby who says it’s impossible in his lifetime not him. So we’ve basically established that this point is incorrect since Sakamoto himself disagrees with this and says nothing about his own lifetime.

The mars landing project is possible in his lifetime and Sakamoto expresses no doubts about his ability to go on it. This point is wrong and based off of people’s memory of what happened instead of what happened in reality.

You might think a mass immigration project to another earth like planet is impossible in his life time but if one was going ahead it would take many years of planning, which is why Sakamoto is leaving. Migrating (at this time) 7.5 billion people or a large portion of this to another planet would take a massive amount of time meaning that research would need to be starting now at the latest if you wanted to get anywhere any time soon.

This then brings up the argument of why they’d bother employing Sakamoto who’s younger than 18 (we know this from the episode where Sakamoto buys porn) so I checked the NASA employment statistics. 1.2% of employees come from Asian decent (which includes japan) and three percent of employees are aged 29 or bellow. This isn’t promising since less than 29 isn’t helpful for viewing if it’s possible for Sakamoto to join NASA. Well let me introduce you to Moshe Kai Cavalin who’s 17 and works for NASA. Let me also introduce you to Kim Ung-Yong who was a Korean super genius who got invited to join NASA when he was 7.

The point here is that young people do join NASA and not just Americans. Sakamoto certainly has the skills to work for NASA since he’s a super genius and NASA like inviting child prodigies to join them. All of these people had graduated university at this time but I don’t believe NASA would pass a guy with like Sakamoto without offering him a job of some kind despite his lack of a degree. After-all a degree isn’t as practical as actually working in the field. 4.2% of NASA employees don’t have a degree so it’s possible to make a special case for Sakamoto since he’s so cool. 0.1% of these people didn’t graduate high school either.

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  1. In the last episode he says to Hayabusa that his only regret is that he doesn’t know the number of holes on the ceiling of the nurses office, implying that he’s been there often. This actually implies the exact opposite. Since Sakamoto never spent much time there it was the only room where he didn’t know the number of holes on the ceiling. We see Sakamoto doing impossible feats which would injure many people and he doesn’t end up in the nurses office so it’s hard to imagine him being there off camera. Also I think if Sakamoto really wanted to know the number of holes in the ceiling I reckon he’s good enough at math to count them anyway and he’s just joking.

The most damming thing that the theory suggests is that Hayabusa is the only one who realises that he’s not going away but Sakamoto doesn’t even deny it. That’s incorrect, if you go back to the scene these are the lines that are spoken.

Hayabusa: “You’re not really going to America are you?”

Sakamoto: “I haven’t any idea what you mean.”

This is Sakamoto’s cool way of denying what Hayabusa is claiming. So the whole basis for this point is completely wrong.  The massive cracks in this theory are already showing and we’re only three parts in. Even this early the creators of the theory are lying to you.

(lying is a bit extreme but you know what I mean)ametps1

  1. He never wanted people to know about his personal life. What? That’s not true. Anyway, I don’t want people to know about my personal life, it doesn’t mean I’m going to die soon. Every single time Sakamoto is asked a personal question he more or less answers it. People constantly ask for help, guidance or friendship and the stories are told through other people by giving us access to their internal monologue. The story isn’t about Sakamoto, it’s about the story around him and how others react to his presence.

Since Sakamoto’s so cool people don’t tend to ask him things and instead remark about his coolness. When he starts singing people don’t ask how he learned to sing, they’re amazed at how good he is at singing! A classic example of Sakamoto revealing information about his personal life is when he’s asked about his ambitions at the mixer in episode ten, we know about his personal life because people ask him. The show wants to keep Sakamoto as a cool mysterious figure. Not because he’s going to die, it’s to make him cool. Who can think this fact when he obviously answers any personal question asked too him?

sakmoto-desu-ga-12-32

  1. He covers his face at the end to stop him from crying. This is completely unrelated to his death. I really like this scene because it shows that Sakamoto was crying, not because he’s going to die but because he’s sad that he’s leaving his classmates behind. Just because you cover your face with pie doesn’t mean you’re going to die. This fact should be obvious but I guess I was wrong.

The emotion of Sakamoto highlights his connection and sadness with his class. How selfish to suggest that Sakamoto’s crying because of his death and not because he might actually like his class mates and be sad to see them leave. As well as this, it’s a mars trip – he’s most likely not coming back if he becomes an astronaut.

sakamoto-desu-ga-11-12

  1. Sakamoto says he’s never seen snow before. I don’t remember where this part came from but let’s just assume it’s true. There are many explanations for why somebody in Japan might have not seen snow before in their lifetime. Not all areas of Japan snow very often, he could have been living abroad. But let’s just look at the scene as it takes place and comment on any things that might be interesting.

The show opens by saying that “snow accumulated in our town for the first time in a few years” since Sakamoto recently moved in he wouldn’t have been around when it was snowing. The reason why he’s new to the area is that nobody knows Sakamoto from a nearby lower school meaning he most likely moved in at a point where he would have missed this snow.

Regardless the idea that he’s never seen snow before because of illness is just as likely, if not less plausible as living in a southern country. Even if he had previous health problems it’s obvious that he’s still alright currently since he is outside in the snow.

It’s definitely possible but it’s an extreme suggestion when theirs much better options available. To not see the snow would mean that Sakamoto’s unable to leave his bed which is completely stupid when you see that at the time when he should be most ill, he’s fine in the snow. If Sakamoto has an illness that could kill him it’s not one which permanently immobilises him since he’s clearly moving in snow so the explanation that he was in a hospital every time it snowed is completely ridiculous.

In fact he’s never ill or immobilised so he would have been able to get up to look at the snow. At worst this shows the nature of his deadly illness (if you want to stubbornly believe your close minded opinion) and at best completely ruins the argument.

  1. The speech shows that he’s approaching death and the reason Sakamoto’s allowed to take the speech is because he’s going to die soon. Well wouldn’t the teachers say if he was? No, they instead seem proud that one of their students might become an astronaut. The reason why Sakamoto took the speech is because he’s cool and Nami Sano (the manga writer) wanted her cool character to deliver a motivational speech. Sakamoto does his speech as the “non-graduate representative” so it would have to be a first or second year anyway.

In a world where Sakamoto can create air currents powerful enough to open curtains and ride umbrella 50 metres into the air why is it so hard to believe that this is just another cool thing Sakamoto can do?

So let’s address the speech which has been misinterpreted. By saying believe in your friends and confronting problems head on it somehow alludes to his death. Here’s why it’s not about Sakamoto’s death at all. Atsushi outright tells Sakamoto to die and he denies him by humiliating him in front of class.

As well as this when Atsushi want to fall off the balcony, Sakamoto holds on and doesn’t let him go, showing that he can’t die that easily. The speech is very uplifting and is clearly about everyone else and not Sakamoto. It’s about overcoming obstacles you’ll face in your life. Sure, death is the biggest obstacle in “life” but that doesn’t mean much when you stop and consider that the whole speech is about overcoming problems so you can be alright later, Sakamoto’s speech implies that it will get better for you and if you applied this logic to Sakamoto’s life post anime you can tell that he’s not dying anytime soon.

sakamoto-girls

  1. This death theory explains why he didn’t go out with any girls: he didn’t want to start a relationship, die, and then break the girls’ heart. The only problem is that this is already explained in the show. The reason why Sakamoto won’t go out with anyone is because he’s going on Massive mars landing project and knows he can’t keep the commitment up. Could that be the reason? Could the most simple, easy, well-known reason be the correct one? I think yes.

There could also be other reasons but this idea is explained in the anime many times.

SAK BOY

  1. In the opening he puts his jacket on a body, metaphorically passing the baton on. He also has a walking stick, sings into a sweeping brush, eats a meal, surfs, throws romantic flowers, shoots a fake gun and plays chess with a cone. So this basically shows that the scenes in this mean nothing. If you however want to avoid this logical line of discussion and avoid the other evidence present then I can show that this means Sakamoto’s death won’t happen.

The most notable thing is that the shot before the mannequin scene shows Sakamoto without his normal uniform on and instead his P.E clothes. The next scene shows Sakamoto partially dressed from this P.E lesson realising he’s not got his jacket on (it’s on the mannequin). This then transitions to Sakamoto holding his jacket to a scene where he has his jacket on. It shows Sakamoto realising he’s not changed properly because it’s impossible for anyone to throw a jacket on the mannequin from that position.

Let’s also factor in the possibility that this interpretation is incorrect. If anyone could throw a jacket on a mannequin from that position it’s Sakamoto and it also brings up the question of how his jacket got on the mannequin in the first place. Theirs three points I’d like to say. The first is that the scene is stylish and isn’t ominous, you’d have to read a lot into it to draw any interpretation.

The second point is that even if the mannequin represents death, it doesn’t show Sakamoto’s going to die. The guy isn’t worried in the slightest and is facing away from it with the mannequin facing outwards, slouching in fear. The lack of worry presented in this scene makes the idea of death pretty strange.

The final thing is that the shot actually shows how good Sakamoto is at studying. He’s great at science and studying which is shown by the biological mannequin which he trusts with his jacket. He has such a passion for the sciences that he’d leave his jacket on it –what a hero.

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  1. Der Erlkonig, the song at karaoke represents Sakamoto’s story and his death and Sakamoto chose that song specifically for this reason. This is not the case at all and one clear inspection of the lyrics Sakamoto says disproves this notion.

The anime puts a great deal of effort into making the song last such a long time. Sakamoto nearly finishes the song. Emphasis on “nearly” The song is one of hope and love until the final verse when the father learns his son is dead. All of the parts Sakamoto sings about are to do with the love. Sakamoto ends the song early on the line (translated into English) “And if you’re not willing, my force I’ll employ.’ “And what happens after this? Sakamoto’s force of women spill out into the karaoke and take over the entire place (They are employed). So no, this story isn’t about death, it’s used to conveniently signal all the women to walk in making a brilliantly funny scene.

So yeah, it’s far more likely that Der Erlklonig was chosen for this line over anything else. The story of a dying prince also doesn’t make sense because Sakamoto has no prominent father figure. Another thing is that Sakamoto doesn’t sing any of the death lyrics and all of the ones which show the promise of him being alive, meaning that he is.

sakamoto_op_06

  1. If you don’t remember the lyrics in the opening that were written I’ll put all of them here again:

“Raise your head and elegantly judge the gloom that grabs your gaze.”

“Go with the flow as you defy with a cool looking face.”

“Hardship is a bouqet that decorates your days.”

“Open those eyes wide and don’t look away, from the shining superior new world.”

“As those feelings overflow, be yourself until the end.”

“It will take you to a warm reception in HEAVEN.”

Even when I search “Sakamoto Desu Ga Op” followed by the quotes from above I find nothing with these exact quotes in them. All I see is the reddit post and the thing that stole from the reddit post (and hopefully my website once this gets uploaded) which means the original place where the people got the lyrics from doesn’t exist anymore.

Instead you can google the actual op for yourselves and find that it contains similar lyrics, with completely different meanings. Since only the short version is shown in the anime I will only talk about similar quotes from the short version.

The 2nd lyric is pretty inaccurate and the only similar thing I could find is “Stand up and confront even raging torrents. Flow! Defy! With a cool FACE” meaning that Sakamoto if anything is defying death,  and not dying.

The 3rd lyric is closer to “The plan is to adorn the days like a bouquet of flowers” which is about improving every day, not dying.

The line close to the 4th lyric is “unable to avert the eyes, dazzling heart of the new world” which is actually about other people and not Sakamoto. It’s clear that the new world is Sakamoto and its others who can’t avoid entering it. Even if this interpretation is false, new world doesn’t mean death. That much is clear.

I don’t know how the 5th lyric was translated at all because the only similar thing is “Take out the chart, ride along the heaven wave” which is about enjoying life as if it was heaven, not going there.

Sorry, anything close to the other lyrics not mentioned aren’t there. However In case I googled incorrectly I’m going to talk about what each lyric would mean if they were in the actual song just in case it turns out they’re in the full version.

The first 4 don’t actually allude to death, some sound ominous but nothing on the level that people think the lyrics mean so they’re a non-issue. The first thing that could be used in the 5th lyric is “be yourself until the end”, the “end” referring to death. Whilst that may also be true this is just a common phrase that means “be yourself no matter what” so it doesn’t exactly condemn him to death.

The last line “it will take you to a warm place in heaven” isn’t actually very helpful. Sure it’s about death but let me draw your attention to “it” which is the first part of the lyric. I can guarantee you that as soon as these lyrics are found (which they won’t be) the “it” this is referring too doesn’t hint at death, never mind Sakamoto’s. Even if lyrics 4 and 5 follow on from each other it still doesn’t show his death because of the fact that the 4th line doesn’t reference it completely.

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So there you go. The Sakamoto death theory is completely and utterly false. This whole thing was spun up by some idiot conspiracy fans that spin phrases that imply incorrect things. The chapter title and apparent impossible mars mission led to a whole load of random coincidences which really got out of hand, ruining the show for some people.

I want to leave this section here as I want to use this space to just disprove other people’s claims and answer questions/disagreements that others may have.

 

 

52 thoughts on “The Sakamoto death theory (Sakamoto Desu ga?) and why it’s wrong

  1. Hello, your post is bery good. I think it is very reasonable and i think you have well refuted the theory about Sakamoto death. It is even very fun to read how it is poossible to ridicule various things abount that crazy theory just by thinking a little.

    Like

  2. There’s one more piece of evidence I found that you may have not seen yet. The bonus episode of Sakamoto desu ga that comes with the Blu Ray is called “Haven’t you heard? I was Sakamoto.” suggesting that he died.

    Personally, I have no idea which theory is right, but I don’t think we should leave out the death theory. There’s gotta be some reason they put in so much content that could contribute to a death theory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The special where they all speculate about what he’s doing in NASA? That episode? It seems largely for the NASA thing…

      In terms of the title itself, well it can also refer to the anime ending, Sakamoto leaving the school, or just him changing identity to an astronaut. Also remember this is just the anime, whereas the anime is actually an adaptation from the manga, and it therefore has little bearing on the theory at all.

      That’s a point worth thinking about actually. Maybe a lot of this post needs to be changed to fit with the manga and not with the anime. As the manga is the original and the other is just an adaption, only really stuff from the manga has any bearing towards the theory.

      So that means all those points say about the music and etc seems irrelevant now haha.

      Like

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