“Stray Drummer: Passion”.
Several names and epithets have been given to Masuki Satou, the energetic, passionate drummer of RAISE A SUILEN.
While it didn’t start as so, Masuki ended up being able to shoot her gun and bang bang herself into my heart (yes I know that was cringy please leave me alone). But how did she do it, exactly? Well, that’s the question I’m hoping to answer in this essay. Today, we’ll be dissecting and analysing the beauty of Masuki Satou.
Before I start explaining why I absolutely love this character with my life, I think we should start from the beginning with her general traits and attributes.
From a glance, Masuki may not appear to be the...friendliest of fellows, to say the least. From her sharp gaze to her attire, Satou definitely radiates sukeban, or female delinquent energy. Even when she speaks, in comparison to the other girls in the franchise, she has a rather imposing voice, courtesy of Natsume.
But as you continue to learn about the character under that dark gold gaze, you see there’s much more to her than meets the eye.
For one, she’s the exact opposite of someone who would fit the “delinquent” archetype outside of appearance. She loves things one might consider “girly”, like cute things and baking cakes. She also enjoys drawing, reading manga, and watching anime movies.
Personality wise, Masuki has a strong love for her fellow bandmates, valuing all of her friendships with them. Even if you don’t understand Japanese, you can see in her cards (as well as cards she makes cameos in) that she is genuinely fond of the people who surround her.
Other than that, Masuki is extremely gung ho and passionate (I know that sentence was a bit redundant), sometimes to the point where she goes a bit overboard. This can be especially noticed in her drum playing mannerisms, often being told “simple is best” by Chiyu.
Overall, the creators of Masuki did something so simple, make a character look like they’d act one way and completely flip the viewer's expectations on their heads. Something so simple, yet perfectly executed with Masuki.
While I was planning on talking about the BanG Dream! anime first, I suppose it would only make sense to go in chronological order, starting from my best girl’s origin story.
For those unaware, RAiSe! The story of my music is a two volume manga exploring the RAS member’s stories from before RAISE A SUILEN was formed. The chapter I’d like to start discussing in this essay is Chapter 5 of the manga: A Song to Let Go, the chapter where Rei and Masuki debut.
After the two finished their practice for a future gig as support members, they found themselves alone as all of the other members of the temporary band had taken their leave. After requesting for one last jam session, Masuki and Rei played their hearts out, to the former’s content. Following those events, the following interaction ensues:
While I will admit, this Masuki feels a bit different than the one we’re more familiar with in the anime and games, it still reveals a bit about her. For one, it shows she’s more than just “hype drummer girl”. She can tell that something’s a little off with Rei, knowing that Wakana was not performing to her full capacity. Instead of just brushing it off as nothing, she wants to be able to elevate those she feels as “capable”, almost as if she dislikes the thought of holding back. This scene also broadcasts a trait she carries on to her future appearances of not completing thinking about what she’s saying. Not to say that she’s dumb in anyway, just that she might say something that could be interpreted in a harsh way, and regret it at a later time.
Next, let’s move onto Chapter 7: Ballad of the Mad Dog.
And this chapter is just
This, in my opinion, is the true debut of Masuki Satou, where we get to see her true colors.
In this chapter, we flashback 3 years to Satou’s middle school days. Here she was asked by her fellow classmates if she could support them during their cultural festival. Seeing that she was starting to take a liking to this band stuff, she accepted, noting that the group was rather amateurish, but what you’d expect from a middle school band.
Finally, the night of the cultural festival arrived, and the group ended up playing just as well as you expected...just kinda...okay. Frustrated by what she deemed as a failure from the band, Masuki lashed out.
(gah...even putting the images in now, seeing the panels of masuki holding back tears is just gut wrenching ;-;)
From that point on, Masuki found herself in backup band after backup band, “throwing herself completely into it”, eventually earning herself the name “Mad Dog”.
As time passed, Masuki had been, as she puts it, “running without a pack”. Her playing style too ballistic for most, Satou still hadn’t found a band to settle in. She had a fixed mentality, believing that if she just kept bangin’ her drum, someone would have to take her in eventually! But the lone wolf would have those beliefs challenged in her second year of high school.
Asked to locate some tools by her father, Masuki ended up finding herself in his room for the first time in what might have been years. Noticing a picture out of its place, she goes to put it back, only to realise the contents of the image: her dad back in his old band...just having fun.
Filled with a series of conflicting emotions, the Mad Dog let out a stream of warm, frustrated tears.
From there, it’s how you’d expect it to go: Masuki meets up with the familiarly cocky Chiyu, drums her heart out, and is let into the still-forming band that would somehow “change the world”, RAISE A SUILEN.
Something that hits home for me is Masuki’s tendency to act on a whim here and have small, angry outbursts. While never to that point I’d grab someone out of rage, Satou’s anger is something I can relate to on a personal level, which makes me appreciate her as a character. I also relate to her tendency to regret her actions, to the point that it almost makes her bitter. Things like this really help me feel close to the character, and is just one of the several reasons why I love Satou.
While Masuki doesn’t make as prominent of an appearance as she does in RAiSe, I’d still argue that Masuki is a very important secondary character to the story, maybe tertiary character if you’re feeling extra spicy. While she is definitely more goofy than portrayed in the later released manga (because character development, and her learning how to love her fellow bandmates and loosen up), she still shares her rather serious moments with the cast, most prominently with Rei and Rokka, and she, in my opinion, shines most in the RAS “breakup” arc.along with the other members of the band. Other than that, I really can’t help but smile whenever she makes her way onto the screen. No matter how many times I watch the Bandori anime, she’ll continue to be one of, if not my favorite, characters.
The first thing I’d like to talk about in this section is just how relatable she can be sometimes. And this isn’t gonna be as comprehensive and deep as the other sections, I just need to gush about Masuki for a bit.
For one, she’s just...the most awkward person ever. Like, her first appearance in the anime, right? She wakes up from passing out, gets in Rokka’s face, calls her cute, and then just up and leaves. Like??? It was awkward watching the first time, but now everytime I watch the scene it’s like fricking adorable oh my GAHHHudhsnAIHIFWBEIAaserrt
Also, God bless Natsume. Apparently she had no prior experience voicing acting before the Bandori franchise, but honestly her delivery for Masuki’s lines just give me life, especially her signature catchphrase, “お前。。。かわいいな (omae...kawaii na)”. And she’s just a sick drummer.
Next, I want to put a more subtle detail on the table: Masuki has been attending an all girls Catholic school since kindergarten. And I mean, ok, there’s no 100% confirmation that Satou is actually Christain, let alone Catholic, and you also have the fact that Christainity has never been too prominent of a religion in Japan, but like....even that acknowledgment of Chrisitainity existing feels nice. As a Catholic myself, I’m always appreciative of Christain or implied Christian characters that aren’t portrayed as disgusting people, or people THAT WILL CONVERT YOU TO THEIR RELIGION AT ALL COSTS because guess what? Not all Christains are disgusting human beings! gently pats the heads of simon, richter, and imogen Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about any of you either
ALSOALSOALSO HER CHEMISTRY WITH REI GIVES ME LIFE AND YALL NEED TO GET OUT OF HER WITH YOUR MASUROKKA GARBAGE MASUREI IS BETTER (i’m joking please don’t hurt me please ship whatever you want)
Okay, now that I’m done being a girl, let’s get back to my more…“professional” tone.
Now to answer the question you’ve all been waiting for me to answer: why do I love Masuki Satou, MASKING, King, so much? And the answer is, in all honesty…
Like, really!! I feel like I can’t give you one distinctive answer...almost as if pinpointing my love for her to one specific thing invalidates everything else I like about her to an extent. If I say my love for her stems from her simple, goofy interactions she has with the other characters, I feel I’d be diminishing the growth she went through over the course of the franchise’s story, and just be reducing her to a joke of a character. If I say it’s her backstory, I feel I’d be saying “I don’t really care about the Masuki we have right now, just the trials and tribulations she has been through”. But that’s not the case! I speak from my heart when I’m saying this, I absolutely love Masuki Satou! From her appearance to her personality, from her interaction with the girls to her brief, heartbreaking backstory. There’s just nothing to hate about this girl!
And in the end, I think that might just be the beauty of it all. So many little pieces come together to build this amazing, passionate, loving and lovable character, Masuki Satou, the passionate, untamable king of RAISE A SUILEN.