It's been seven years since an unusual saucer mysteriously appeared in the sky above Kiriya Lake. With no one knowing what this strange object was or where it came from, concern and panic spread amongst the people. But as time went on this occurrence went from oddity to tourist attraction. Before long, the world lost interest entirely, and the saucer remained nearly forgotten in the sky. Now, former resident Nonoka Komiya returns to the small town after seven years in Tokyo. With only vague memories of her time in the town, the appearance of a spritely girl named Noel causes Nonoka to slowly remember wishes she and four of her friends made in an old observatory.
When a person first starts out in the world, the only connections he or she makes are between the immediate family. The mom feeds, the dad protects, and the siblings watch over the new addition to the house. But at a certain point, new bonds must be made, not within the household but within society itself. These new, usually different people that are met more often than not become "friends." A friend is a confidant, a buddy, a guy or girl with which things are less serious and more fun. Sadly, even if such friends are found, they can just as easily be lost. In Sora no Method, the idea of friendship is tested, and by the end, it becomes nothing more than a stranger.
Method begins with Nonoka, a middle schooler who is moving back to her childhood hometown after being away for some time. Upon arriving, a happy little girl named Noel appears to have been waiting for her for years, in the hopes that they can hang out once more.
Something went terribly wrong as Method was being produced. Imagine a river, flowing endlessly and consistently. Eventually, it reaches the open ocean after much trekking and hardship. This is how drama is usually handled; stuff happens, drama ensues, build-up, and resolution. Now, imagine if every mile or so, a dam was built, providing less and less water the further along it went. And in the end, instead of reaching the ocean, it was funneled haphazardly toward a ravine to forever become lost. That is how the drama of Method is handled.
Analogies aside, Method tackles its drama in a "stop-and-go" fashion. A problem is usually found from among the group, Nonoka tries to address it, and eventually solves the controversy. But it's always give and take. Where one set of issues is taken care of, a whole new set arises. It never feels as if any of the drama or any of the resolution amounts to anything significant. Characters employ physical abuse, miscommunication, avoidance, and literal refusal to unnecessarily ramp up the drama. What results is a plethora of melodramatic scenarios in which it is never quite clear if anything is ever truly being resolved. In fact, on multiple occasions, seemingly finished plot points are reinstated. The exact same drama unfolds as it had before, making the audience quite aware of the awkward repetition.
In order to exacerbate the problems further, Method leaves many rather important questions left unanswered. Despite it being small in terms of a contextual universe, there are particular events that either receive no explanation or, for what is given, it isn't enough to justify what happens. Characters being able to find one another on a whim, how the saucer works, and how certain characters are able to remember certain events can be guessed at, but it's not so much clever interpretation as it is misplaced confusion.
Even the overall theme receives a blow. Throughout the entire show, it runs with the idea of what being a friend and having them really means. A friend doesn't always have to be around; while they may go separate ways, two friends are usually so for life. Stuff can appear along the way that tests the waters, but good friends, no matter what may have happened in the past, remain so. That is to say, it's not the memories that matter but rather the relationship that does...or that is what we are lead to believe. The final two episodes reverse the message Method was formulating and sending. It instead latches onto the opposite venue; the memories are more important than the actual bond that is shared. The apparent shift in focus comes about due to another melodramatic moment and only serves to solidify how misguided the anime truly is.
The only feature of Method that is praiseworthy is in its art and animation.
The art is rather gorgeous. The backdrops are varied and filled with great lighting effects and detail. Colors are fresh and vibrant, giving the show a rather appealing look no matter where the situations are taking place. The locations vary nicely as well, with scenic beaches and gloomy lighthouses. It's always a feast for the eyes.
The character designs are not as impressive as the art itself, but they do their job. The main cast is simple in appearance, with normal haircuts and normal outfits, usually resorting to their school uniform. Only Noel is given any uniqueness, with her light-blue hair, black and white attire, and child-like stature.
The actual animation follows the art. The characters move quite fluidly at all times, whether alone or with multiple others on screen. Animation also exists for background and foreground objects, making the world look that much more alive.
Where the art excels, the characters plummet. Method's cast range from inconsequential to infuriating, and not even Noel's infinite cuteness can save them.
One of the worst "main" characters I have ever seen lies with Koharu. While kind, she acts as a literal fifth-wheel to the brother and sister combo and the other two best friends. Outside of working at the local tourist shop or being nice to the other four, she serves no purpose. Without any amount of character development or usefulness besides being the last "friend" needed to summon the saucer, any other person could replace her.
As the only male friend, Souta stands out slightly. A bit more rational, he has a need to escape his current life and try something new. He cares a lot for his sister and the people around him, despite his often mellow attitude. He works hard, no matter the subject, but is rather easy to tease. In the beginning, he appears to look out only for himself, not wanting to deal with any of the drama taking place around him. However, he learns through Noel that sometimes the best things in life are right next to you all along. Sadly, after the halfway point in the show, he loses what little relevancy he had, becoming almost as much of a side character as Koharu did.
Yuzuki is an energetic young girl. When she sets her mind on a goal, she strives to accomplish it with as much gusto as she can muster. Overreacting, protesting, and simply having fun is what she is known for. Being the first real obstacle that Nonoka must overcome, Yuzuki almost always runs away from her problems. Her refusal to deal with anyone or at least listen to what others have to say makes her out to be quite difficult to deal with, and even more so to watch. She exemplifies the notion that a friend sometimes needs more than just words to get through.
Arguably the most ridiculous cast member, Shione has her name shouted more times than one cares to hear. With a stoic appearance and a simple beauty about her, she remains entirely standoffish for nearly the whole season. Her signature headphones give her a literal and personified way to drown out the "noise" around her. She avoids the other members, especially Nonoka, as much as possible, causing an inability in any of the friends to rectify the situation with her. Shione's wishy-washy behavior manifests near the end, and her development causes her to completely contrast with who she was all along. And not just by a small amount; so much so that she becomes almost too sympathetic.
Taking the lead, Nonoka is the childhood friend who is seen as ruining everything. Determined and kind, her mother taught her to always smile to spread happiness where needed. She hates seeing the people she held dear succumb to sadness, so she takes it mostly upon herself to fix the ties that were made between the four of them seven years ago. Even as the star, she never improves much as a character, with her feelings being known and shown at all points without much difference. She starts off being caring and thoughtful towards her friends, and she ends the exact same way.
The only memorable cast member is potentially Noel. Innocent and cute beyond measure, she constantly seeks to be with the five kids who called her. Rather carefree, she simply wants nothing more than to see Nonoka and the gang happy. Impossible not to like, mysterious to a degree, and always there at the right place at the right time, Noel is "a diamond in the rough." Sadly, her character is treated rather lazily, making the impact of her inclusion within the story diminished due to the ending of the tale and her rushed transition from pure cuteness to emotionally aware.
What's interesting is, with the exception of Noel, the more difficult the person was for Nonoka to befriend, the more development that character received. While this makes sense logically, it causes the problem shown here with the characters: some of the friends do close to nothing useful in regards to the narrative. Koharu and Souta receive little attention because they're stable, whereas Yuzuki and Shione are compromised. This doesn't work, because half the cast becomes unimportant. Yuzuki's and Shione's evolution as characters could have meant something, but the overextended drama relative to the events taking place outlined them as being quite irrational. What are left are both underdeveloped and unlikable characters.
The OP's beginning piano and singing start it off on the right note. When the generic beat kicks in, the rest of the song falls flat, except for the final lyrics giving it a rather touching feeling.
The ED is slightly better. Again, it starts off with instruments only, and is quite pleasant to hear. Following the beginning, the vocalist works well with the violin and trailing effects. While the beat usually leaves much to be desired, the singer does her best to make the song out to be better than what it is.
The soundtrack is actually quite good. The little humming tune, the tapping-and-vocal arrangement during uneasy scenes, and the harp-with-tingling-chimes piece for the more melancholic ones are performed well. They add more to the show than the story and characters are able to produce.
Voice-acting sees mostly average performances for the cast. A special shout-out goes to Inori Minase as Noel.
One of the reasons why I picked this up from the beginning was partly due to it being an original and being a new studio's first work. It's unfortunate that the end product isn't as good as it could have been. The story and characters seem to be pieces to a puzzle. Yet, watching Nonoka get slapped (more than once, too) was less dramatic and more hilarious. Seeing Yuzuki run away every chance she got was annoying, not endearing. Watching Shione be good friends with Noel and nobody else was continuously perplexing. There are just too many moments jumbled next to one another to call the puzzle correctly put together.
The only aspect making the anime tolerable was Noel. Her cute faces, constant smiling, and precious way of speaking provided some laughs and grins along the way. She in no way is capable of keeping the entire show afloat, but if she were not present at all, there would be absolutely nothing worthy coming from this one.
As a new venture, Sora no Method was a gamble that failed miserably. The story and characters are nonsensical without a doubt. While the music and art are refined, there just isn't enough present to call this one anything but forgettable.
Sora no Method is a nice show that's probably overlooked by many people and didn't attract a lot of attention as a notable anime. While this isn't a groundbreaking show that will leave a lasting impression with me at least, it was a good watch that's worth picking up.
Story - 7/10
The story of this anime has a definitive fantasy/sci-fi feeling to it, as those themes are present throughout the 13 episodes. However, they're often just part of the background that gives way to the character-driven story. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however when things turn a little more fantasy during the last few episodes, it may come a bit as a surprise that detracts from the previous impressions of the show. I wouldn't say that this is a bad thing, but it did come a bit late into the standard 13 episode run time, forcing a rather rushed and simple ending that could have been given more effort (this is mostly an issue of timing) and the final plot element/problem to overcome mostly just solves itself.
Regarding the heavy character-based storytelling, it was certainly interesting to watch. One thing is important to remember when watching Sora no Method however. The main cast of characters consists of young teenagers (with the exception of one, which I will cover later) and therefore they behave and respond to their challenges and problems as such.
To some it may be irritating to see the irrationality and overly emotional responses of the protagonists, but it's accurate for the given circumstances. While many of the problems that the characters face could be solved fairly easily and quickly by more mature adults, the responses of the cast show an entirely different, less effective but interesting approach.
A lot of anime fails to achieve this, by creating either overly mature or childish characters, that don't deal with their problems the way they realistically would. Sora no Method handles this well, for better or for worse. I liked it personally.
Art - 7/10
As it often is with anime of this calibre, the art is executed to a fairly high standard, with few flaws, but it also doesn't stand out as a visual masterpiece. I was a fan of all character designs (especially Noel, Shione and Koharu)
The background detail was also well done, and I enjoyed a lot of the rural scenery.
The OP and ED animation was also fairly fluid and pleasant, if a little different from the reminder of the episodes.
Sound - 8/10
Both the OP and ED songs were enjoyable to listen to through all the episodes. They fit with the feeling of the anime and are fairly good music on their own.
The background music was fitting for the scenes in which they were used, adding a lot to the more emotional parts.
Character - 7/10
As previously said, the age of the characters had a strong impact on the way they dealt with their problems. This means that in many cases they acted overly emotional, rather immature and unreasonable. This isn't a bad thing given the story and themes, but has to be kept in mind when watching certain parts.
As individuals, all characters are likable in their own ways, and were developed enough to be at least a little relatable and deserving of some sympathy in their challenges.
Initially, I wasn't overly fond of Shione (her character design being an exception) but as the story progresses, her side of things are better revealed, making her more deserving of some sympathy and appreciation.
Also, it would take a man with an exceptionally cold heart to not like Noel from the first time she's shown, and Sora no Method may very well be worth picking up just because of her.
Enjoyment - 7/10
I watched every episode soon after it was made available and was looking forward to seeing how the show progressed. The story, concept and characters were all interesting enough to keep me involved, and I feel that this may be the case for most viewers. While the ending wasn't exceptional, and could have been given a little more effort, it was in no way bad, and didn't take away from the overall enjoyment.
It's just important to remember that we're watching the lives of fairly young characters in this show, so childish drama is to be expected and shouldn't be judged too harshly.
Overall - 7/10
Sora no Method may be more enjoyable to some than others, but I'd suggest at least trying it. It shouldn't be treated with overly high expectations, as it isn't outstanding in any category, but is also one of this season's nicer shows, both production, character and story-wise. read more
When a giant saucer appears in the sky above a small town, what sort of events would you expect to follow?
Sora no Method poses this question, and then follows with the most mundane answer it could have gone with: a slice of life drama that spends about five minutes of the whole series actually talking about the saucer, despite it being the source of many troubles the characters face. The fact that someone thought it would be a good idea to through in such a large supernatural element and then treat it like it was nothing worth acknowledge subsequently succeeded in creating a very frustrating chain of events.
From the same anime industry that brought you enormous headed children with trouble making friends (looking at you, Haganai), this season, this same industry introduced more enormous headed children with trouble making friends.
The story does begin in a grabbing way; our main protagonist, Nonoka, is on her way to her new home with her father. This is obviously a basic scenario, but once Nonoka's car passes through a tunnel and into her new life, attention is drawn to the great glaring object in the sky.
And it all goes down hill from there.
After throwing the saucer into the plot, rather than choosing a story line to make Sora no Method unique from other anime, the main focus of the show becomes how badly Nonoka wants to make friends. She doesn't seem to give much of a damn about this thing that's hanging over the town constantly, but she will relentlessly bother another girl until she engages in conversation.
Most of the episodes out of the thirteen are back and forth nonsense consisting of 'will they be friends or won't they', only briefly mentioning the anime's unique, floating characteristic when its convenient to make the 'will they, won't they' business continues with petty argument.
It's terrible to admit, but most of the episodes in Sora no Method could probably be skipped over, as it's mostly the same mundanity--Nonoka goes somewhere, tries to make friends with someone, it doesn't work until she applies willpower, it suddenly works, on to the next potential friend.
Nonoka may also be a problem here, as I've noticed one of the downfalls of many anime for me is an irritating main character, and to me, Nonoka is incredible irritating. It isn't her voice or her appearance, but the fact that she blindly assumes she can change everyone's opinion of her if she bothers them enough times. In fact, Nonoka pushes for all the other characters to change and accept her, when she does nothing to change herself. Nonoka experiences no character development and remains presently the likable moe factor, remaining the same desperate from episode one to episode thirteen.
There are times where she would even blatantly prevent other characters from interacting with the saucer, which was perhaps the most frustrating part of her personality--physically watching her prevent any developments outside of her personal relationships nearly warranted a drop of the series halfway through.
If the main goal of Nonoka was to make her cute and charismatic, that base was already covered by part of her supporting cast, Noel, who exhibited a much rounder version of whatever Nonoka was trying to supply. I believe other characters like Noel were made more likable because they weren't trying too hard or forcing their personality onto one another. Where the protagonist failed, the supporting cast strongly marched onward in the shadows.
Being an anime new this year, as expected, the art and sound were cleanly done, and most of Sora no Method's soundtrack was very relaxing. Toward the very end of the series, there was a strange change in art style that startled me, but it may have worked to leave somewhat of an impact. That is to say, it was startling, but it wasn't bad. I especially liked the color palettes used.
In the end, I suppose Sora no Method is a simple case of a plot in the hands of the wrong genre, where there are many exciting and innovative paths to choose in response to the saucer, but none of them were taken. As a drama in its own genre, the show was still a bit indecisive and wishy washy, though with so many other anime out there it isn't right to set expectations to high.
As a final warning, I believe the personality of the main character takes high tolerance to watch, and if tolerated, she is compensated for by the characters that surround her. Why the title focuses on the sky is something of a mystery, because no one else seems concerned with it at all. That aspect may take high tolerance as well.read more
Bland. Frustrating. Disappointing. These are just a few words I would use to describe Sora no Method. These days, original anime are a bit more scarce than they were about 6 or 7 years ago so hearing about the release of this, and by a new studio, excitement and anticipation welled up within me. These feelings were quickly dashed within the first few episodes.
The story itself, albeit nothing particularly ground breaking, appears solid and, on the surface of things, rather interesting. In short, a girl named Nonoka returns to her home town from Tokyo. Upon arriving, she discovers that a huge saucer has been present over the town ever since she left. The story progresses with her regaining lost memories, concerning her old friends, with the help of this shows poster girl, Noel. As things further progress, she soon realises that not all will be as happy compared to her first time in the town and thus she starts to walk down the path of pain and anguish. Now at first, this seems interesting and I must admit, I was thoroughly intrigued by the saucer itself but my intrigue was quickly cut down. Why you ask? Simply because the story wasn't as promising as it was set out to be. Yes, there were certain parts to the anime that weren't terrible and provided a good watch but the overall story itself quickly became predictable and boring. Watching it almost became a challenge. Not only did it become predictable, it also became quite annoying in stages. Without spoiling anything, certain plotlines just seemed out-right pointless and, in the grand scheme of things, not really an issue in the first place. These 'issues' were then solved quite easily which again proves my point. This is the classic case of drama being created for the sake of it. What didn't help the series was its array of uninspiring characters, which segways me into my main issue with the series, the characters.
Never have I seen a bunch of uninspiring set of characters in my life. What I want to clarify is that they aren't horrendous in any specific way, apart from Shione, they are just boring to watch. None of them make you feel anything. You don't sympathise with them, you don't feel angry for them. There wasn't one part of the anime that made me feel anything towards the characters. Even when the anime hinted at big story lines concerning character relationships, such as the one about Yuzuki and Souta. You got yourself geared up for a big reveal only to be left disappointed. Poor character writing surrounded this anime. As mentioned earlier, there is also a typical 'poster girl' in this anime called noel. She has all the traits that make certain people fall head over heels for her type such as the childish and friendly nature, the 'unique' look and so on but does this make the character memorable and lovable? Not really to be honest. All the ingredients were present to make a memorable character that whenever you think back to the series, you immediately think back to her and smile but like all characters within the series, she was like a hollow shell. I wish I could elaborate further on why, but I simply can't. The whole situation just baffles me as the ingredients were there, but they weren't used properly.
Art & sound 7/10
I give credit where credit is due. Considering this was the studio's first attempt at an anime, the art was pretty darn good. The backdrops looked beautiful and the saucer itself looked stunning. The music though was where they truly hit the right notes. Both opening and ending fit the atmosphere the creators were trying to create. On top of that, they were both memorable and stayed in my head for a number of weeks after the series finished airing. The ost was pretty good aswell, both concerning the sound and timing. I must say, I was rather impressed with these two aspects.
Overall, this anime was a disappointment. It wasn't terrible, like some series out there, but, for me, it is far from being considered a 'good anime'. Maybe it was because of my anticipation for the series that led me to expressing fairly harsh views but one can only speculate. Some may think though that the score 6 isn't actually too bad, but considering the way I personally score anime, this is quite low. Maybe if one goes into this not expecting much and with a very open mind, this might actually be considered a good watch. Who knows. read more
A bento is a famous home-packed meal that can be seen very often in anime. It holds a special place in Japanese cuisine because it is prepared and arranged with love and care, therefore symbolizing an intimate connection. Let's take a look at 20 of the most delicious bento anime has to offer!