English: Sound of the Sky
Synonyms: So-Ra-No-Wo-To, Soranowoto, Sora no Woto, Sora no Oto
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jan 5, 2010 to Mar 23, 2010
24 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.601 (scored by 23739 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisIn a lonely corner of the world, on the edge of No Man's Land, sits Clocktower Fortress. It's home to the 1121st Platoon of the Helvetian Army, and their newest member is a 15-year-old volunteer named Kanata Sorami, who enlisted to learn how to play the bugle. When she was a child, Kanata was saved by a beautiful soldier and found inspiration in the clear, golden sound of her trumpet. From that day forward, Kanata decided music would be her life.
As the other platoon members train her how to be a bugler and a soldier, Kanata's enduring optimism will inspire them to look for happiness and beauty, even in a world haunted by war.
(Source: Right Stuf, Inc.)
Related AnimeAdaptation: So Ra No Wo To
Side story: So Ra No Wo To Specials
Characters & Voice Actors
"Someone was saying the world is ending. But I like this world."
When So Ra No Wo To was first announced on the winter season roster, I wasn't planning on watching it. Despite reading the plot synopsis, I did not think it was a 'moeblob in the army' kind of story. That only came later when many, many people decided to put labels on it. Still, I wasn't inclined to watch the series. That is, until I saw the beautiful concept artwork by Kishida Mel. It was amazing and it made me want to see the series in spite of the much talked about art shift towards moe. (By the way, if anyone knows where I can find more of this art, feel free to tell me as I only have the two widely distributed images.)
I will say it once at the beginning of this review: this is not a moe series. It has moe character designs, it has some familiar character archetypes, but it is not a moe series. There is no pandering sexual material nor is there any outright moe or fanservice outside of episode 8 (if you consider that fanservice). There is a difference between a character like Kanata, who is inexperienced and idealistic because of her youth, and someone like Yui, who is a helpless mess of idiotball. I know that it's easy to be cynical and look down upon anybody who isn't a realistic superman with mature character flaws considering the current state of commercial anime, but if you can't recognize the difference between these two characters, you will probably never be able to enjoy this series.
I was already caught when I watched the first episode. This was the single best premiere of the new season. On the other two hyped up series of the season: Durarara!!'s first episode was only told from the point of view of one character and would need the added perspectives of episode 2 onward to develop it into the great series it is. Dance in the Vampire Bund, on the other hand, went the Haruhi route of having the first episode have little to do with the story arc of the series, instead vying to prove the premise of the existence of it's title species.
Sora no Woto, on the other hand, set up everything in the series from episode 1. Whether you loved or hated the show, very few question the sheer potential and number of possibilities that could spring from the series, especially considering it was anime original material. It set up the characters Rio and Kanata: one, a talented but cold and mature veteran, and the other, a bright and optismistic newcomer. It sets up the wonderous setting: the village of Seize, a quiet town that has become a corner of the habitable earth, and the world itself. And what a world it is.
The settting of Sora no Woto is a character in and of itself, and much of the intrigue of the first few episodes is trying to discover just what happened to the people that live here. Being a slice of life series, the series portrays the extraordinary in the mundane. Something terrible has happened to this world. There is no life left in the oceans. Entire species' have been wiped out, and humans aren't doing too well themselves. French and English objects are common place, and Japanese is a forgotten language. Technology that we would marvel as futuristic is considered ancient. In the first episode, we see something deep in a river that could not be explained by anything present in our world. Everything we find normal are leftovers of an era gone by.
And yet, the characters themselves are so fantastically ordinary. Despite the possibility and potential for this show to jump off into the land of fantasy or science fiction in the very next episode, there is a realism that permeates this series. This is no dark, dystopic vision, despite all the characters referencing a near apocalypse in the recent past. There is no police state, nor is there a heavy presence of the military. In fact, there are only five members of the military in the entire town. Two of them are women, three of them of are kids, all of them care little for war and all that comes with it. And watching the members of this village go through their daily lives, be it a glass-blower, a shopkeeper, a pair of orphans and their young guardian, or an elderly woman living in solitude in the mountains, you get the feeling that this is what it would be like. This is how people try to move on. Despite the fact that there are ongoing peace talks, there is no talk of peace in Seize, nor is talk of war. This place is so far away from civilization, you wonder why the military even have an outpost here. Then you realize that just a few miles from this town where war "could never happen," there is barren, empty place known as No Man's Land. And something terrible happened there.
When watching this series, you really get the impression that the writers and producers have done an immense amount of research. There is a strange mix of culture and history in this world, with art and architectural references abound. The story takes place in a small European town, and the architecture, landscape, artifacts, even the plantlife are portrayed correctly. There were no corners cut when they were creating the atmosphere of this series. While the animation is ordinary, it is the vivid and detailed artwork that make this series memorable. From the aging suburban buildings, to the fresh and maintained farmlands, to the lifeless desert with "modern" skyscrapers peeking out of the sand, to the untamed woods, the beautiful snowfields, and the distant mountains covered with deteriorating ruins of the futuristic technology of the old days. Everything is coloured and detailed wonderfully, and sprinkled with the anthropologic evidence of the time of war. This place was once important. Now it is not.
The show has great sound, period. Being a series where music is a big part of the plot, it is to be expected. The sound is crisp and clean, voice acting is top notch and stays in character, and the original musical composition is much more akin to "traditional" European classical music as opposed to your standard, synthetically orchestrated background music. A French vocal piece, the orchestra work at the end of episode 10, the music over the end credits of the final episode, and the numerous trumpet solos and renditions of "Amazing Grace" are some of the highlights. The opening sequence is visually stunning, with a very aged, mythological feel, and a retelling of a not-so-much-a-fairy-tale story you will hear in the first episode. The ending is a catchy song with visuals that once again serve to remind us that this series is not about moe caricatures. It is about a group of people that share bonds, experience hardships, laugh with and criticize each other. Friendship is a very important theme in this series.
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(For the remainder of this review, I will be discussing the plot, characters, and themes of the series, and there will be MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS after the break, including events from the finale episode. So, for all of you that haven't yet watched the series, I really encourage you to watch it now. If you still don't plan on it, I encourage you to read the rest of the review.)
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When I started this series, I had to admit that the characters were the weakest part of this story. The supporting and minor characters were all very well done and helped to create a rich environment, but the main characters weren't so fortunate. They were all likable, but you couldn't really deny that they were cliche, sprung from the regular anime archetypes and lacking the depth that I'd really want to see in this show.
However, Sora no Woto managed to subvert the standard cliches that befall this type of series. The characterization is archetypical -- that is undeniable. But the depth and development that these characters get is not. I attribute a lot of this success to the way the series structured its episodes. Like another currently airing series, Durarara!!, this show has character centric episodes. Episode 1 and 8 are Kanata, 2 and 9 are Kureha, 3 and 10 are Rio, 4 and 11 are Noel, 7 is Filicia, 5 is about the youngsters of our group developing a bond that will stick forever, 6 is about the town of Seize and its secrets, and 12 is about the very world itself. Now while the plot progresses from episode to episode, if you were to watch, say, episode 4 followed by episode 11, you would see all the pieces of Noel's character come together. The question she poses to Kanata in episode 4 regarding the tank and what evil could come of it now makes sense because she is looking to make up for the atrocities she made possible in the past.
More examples. Look at episode 2 and then 9. Kureha's speech about being self-sufficient, as well as that small flashback of her being powerfully embraced by Rio in 2 are given their background in 9. She needs to be independent because she is an orphan and grew up having to do everything herself, and lectures a little brat about it. She looks up to Filicia and Rio as her mother and father, respectively. Look at episode 3 and 10, where we see a young Rio looking up to Iliya, and how she avoids the townsfolk and tries to deal with thing herself. Now take episode 10, where her relationship and responsibilities as Iliya's sister are revealed, as well as the fact that she has been running away from them all her life. Episode 3 is titled "Rio Runs."
The only character that doesn't really fall into this pattern is Kanata herself. But I think we can all see by now that Kanata is a little special. While Kureha constantly derides her, she also becomes her best friend. While Rio smirks at her naivety, she also wishes she were a bit like her. Noel is so out of it that she already considers Kanata someone to look up to, or at least sleep on. And Filicia of course, with her maturity veiled behind a decieving but honest smile, already knew all of this. Kanata is a fool by there standards. She hasn't gone through much hardship. She lived on farm, happily with both of her parents. She is a kid and she knows it. She wasn't forced to grow up quickly like the other four girls of this series. She is average is just about every way. And that is precisely why she changes her companions so much.
Another reason why this series succeeds is the sheer attention to detail that it bestows upon the characters and plot. In episode 7, when Filicia runs out of the room, Noel stops Rio to go after her herself, telling Rio that she is the only one that understands Filicia's trauma. Compare this to her later mental breakdown in episode 11. During Filicia's flashback to the war, we see the reflection of a giant, unholy wing in the mirrors of a high rise building. At the end of episode 7, when the girls are sending spirits down the river, Noel sends no one because their numbers are too many to count. (Wow, a lot of these happened in episode 7.) Episode 10 featured the story of a woman living alone, waiting for the man she loved to return to her. In any other series, this would have either been a filler stretched for the length of an episode, or shoehorned into a regular episode clumsily. But in Sora no Woto, it is brilliantly used as a foil for Rio's own feelings, and both stories are poetically resolved by the end of the twenty minute episode. I must applaud the director and the writers for the skillful execution of stories like these.
It isn't just the characters. While you could say that the plot of this series was pretty simple in the present, the scope and amount of thought that went into detailing this world is immense. This series developed a beautiful mythology of its world, with concepts such as the angels, the fossil in the river, the ghosts in the abandoned school, the Takemikazuchi, the old era tanks and technology, the security system with Japanese characters out in the woods, No Man's Land, the Invisible Reaper, the political discourse going on in the capital, events of the war, and historical figures such as Princess Iliya, Desert Claus, the Demon of Vingt, and the Witch of Helvetia. Where did the fossil's head go? Were angels supernatural or extraterrestrial? Why is Japanese a forgotten language? With all this technology, why did the military use trumpets to communicate? Was it because of an A.I. virus or something else? The amount of history and cultural depth is awe-inspiring, and the open-endedness blurs the lines between science, fantasy, and reality. When combined with the beautiful visuals and emotion-filled music, it makes for a religious experience.
There were a lot of mysteries in this series, especially regarding the setting and what happened in the past. Those were the main reasons I couldn't wait to watch a new episode every week. This show didn't answer any of them. And by the end of the last episode, I didn't care.
"You have suffered enough."
Ultimately, Sora no Woto is a story of redemption and the constant hum of Amazing Grace hammers that home. It is the story of a group of people who appear cute and harmless on the outside, but are quickly shown to be haunted by a past they can not escape. Much like the world they live in. And by the end of this series, they all come full circle. At the end of episode 11, I thought there was simply too much to be resolved. But sure enough, all of the threads that were left dangling throughout the course of the series were woven together into a beautiful fabric. And that was the real miracle of this series, not Kanata's trumpet-playing at the end.
Noel wanted to be forgiven for the lives she took as the Witch of Helvetia, and she is, even moreso by a solidier of the nation she massacred. Kureha played the "bad guy" military realist all her life because she was an only child, despite having her entire family. Her mom was cheerfully aloof while dealing with her own problems in secret, her dad was the only girl she looked up to but she was long gone now, and her two sisters were both airheads, one having a reason for it and the other just being that way. And at the end, she breaks down, finally admitting that she doesn't want to be alone anymore. And she is embraced by her family, who were always standing with her the entire time. Filicia wants to put an end to war once and for all so that she is the last person that has to watch all her friends die before their very eyes, and she takes the first step in ensuring that future. Rio avoided following in her sister's footsteps all her life, but in the end, she does what she must, having been inspired by Kanata and the rest of her new sisters. And the reward is far beyond anything she ever imagined. Kanata's goal of learning how to play the trumpet quickly becomes synonomous with saving the very world itself. And she does.
"Even if no one else forgives you, I will."
Aisha says these words to Noel in the finale. But after watching the whole series and taking a step back to soak it all in, I believe these words are referring to the world itself. The people of this world have experienced a very terrible thing: a war of unimaginable proportion, so widescale that nearly everything they held dear is now gone. The people of Seize try to move on with their lives, but they can't. The soldiers don't wish to fight, yet they still do. The reality is that no one has moved on. The peace talks are deteriorating. War is on the horizon despite how quiet the world has become. Because the people of this world have not forgiven themselves.
The ending of Sora no Woto was not a miracle. As Kanata has stated time and time again throughout the series: She is just a girl who wants to play the trumpet, to communicate people's thoughts through music. She is just the messenger. And as she plays her trumpet atop the Takemikazuchi, to the armies of both Helvetia and and the Holy Roman Empire, she is doing just that. All throughout the series, she is both complimented and condoned for her innocence. And yet in the end, it is because of her pure heart that she realizes the message first: she loves this world. As does everyone else, but they have forgotten. By tragedy, loss, heartbreak, and the false idea that they could move on without forgiving themselves, they have forgotten.
A big reason why I love this show is because it reminds me of two series that I hold very dear: Haibane Renmei and The 08th M.S. Team. Both are series with heavy slice of life elements, yet manage to explore philosophical and war themes. After seeing the first episode, I knew that this series would start off as a happy-go-lucky slice of life but would eventually tread deep into darker territory. The opening sequence and the foreshadowing of the girls reliving the myth of the Fire Maidens made it even more likely. By around episode 4, I learned that this series was done by the director of Elfen Lied, at which point I had no doubt there would be a tragic ending. I thought this series would have the world reunite against the revived angel, where war would return with numerous losses. Eventually, the five girls would have to make a tremendous sacrifice and end up becoming the very Maidens they looked up to.
However, Sora no Woto gave me an ending I never knew I wanted. It was humanity itself that was its own worst enemy. It fought a war, but at what cost? It was humanity that felt the guilt of the old ages, and it was humanity that was unable to find redemption. When Yumina began to retell the legend of Fire Maidens, it was an emotional experience. The moment I saw Aisha as the angel, I realized for the first time what this show was tring to accomplish. I knew it wasn't going to come back to the angel fossil or any of the other questions they raised, because they weren't important anymore. The girls do indeed make their own Odyssey-like epic and become like the Maidens of the legend but not like I thought they would. They weren't burned at the stake like the Maidens either -- humanity has become much more forgiving.
To me, Sora no Woto is the story of a girl who makes the world remember what they had all along: forgiveness. Whose message was it? I can't answer that question. Nevertheless, it was a sound in the sky, and it was heard by five girls who, after finding peace in their own redemption, take it upon themselves to share that message with the rest of the world. But maybe that's a miracle all by itself. read more
"Amazing Grace! (how sweet the sound),
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see..."
John Newton and William Cowper (Olney Hymns - 1779).
The problem with first impressions is that all too often they are wrong, and this is one of the main reasons why a number of great shows don't get the recognition they deserve. Unfortunately, every season more anime are added to that list.
Sora no Woto (Sounds of the Skies), is one example of this mindset at work.
The series is the first production of a new initiative known as Anime no Chikara (The Power of Anime), which is essentially a collaboration between TV Tokyo's anime department and Aniplex that was established in 2009 . Part of the mandate for this project is to create and produce original anime which are not based on any previously published material (so manga, novel and game adaptations are out of the window). One of the advantages of this is that the writers have far fewer restrictions placed on them from the outset, and it seems as though this freedom has been put to good use here.
The story is about a young girl, Sorami Kanata, who, having heard a trumpet rendition of "Amazing Grace" played by a mysterious female soldier, has resolved to become a bugler. She is assigned to the 1121st Platoon, who are stationed at the Time Keeping Bastion in the town of Seize, and is taken under the wing of Master Sergeant Rio Kazumiya.
Now, one would be forgiven for initially thinking that this series is nothing more than K-On! in the army, especially given that the character design is very similar between the two anime (I thought like that too, at first). However, the differences between the two shows are palpable from the very first moments of Sora no Woto. The plot, which is more on the episodic side for the most part, is far more reminiscent of Haibane Renmei, and although there are a few points that deserved more focus, the story is actually very well crafted. The pacing is extremely good throughout the series, and the seemingly slow progression promotes a feeling of relaxation rather than boredom in a manner very similar to Aria.
The one thing that really captures the viewer though, is the bittersweet yet hopeful undertone running through the series, and nowhere is this more prominent than in the characters. While each of them are somewhat stereotypical, the show develops in such a way that the story becomes inclusive of them, rather than having one true lead while the other "leads" are nothing more than glorified support. The upshot of this is that, come the end of the series, the viewer is left with a sense of catharsis that very few shows manage to achieve, especially ones that, at first glance, fit the "moe" archetype.
One of the supposed problems with Sora no Woto is the fact that the characters are designed with moe in mind, however the show is surprising in that, while the characters are reminiscent of certain other shows, this is where much of the similarity ends. In all honesty I found the character design somewhat off-putting at first, however this perception was dispelled very quickly as, although the characters are very clearly "moe" in their design, the fact is that this allows for a great deal of expression as well - something that is put to good use throughout the series. What is most surprising though, is the distinct lack of visual hooks associated with this sort of character design, in particular things like fan service. Instead, the series uses the characters in a manner that is far removed from the norm, and the effect of this is that, come the end of the series, one really begins to wonder why everyone made such a fuss over K-On!
Animation-wise, the series is very good, especially with character and vehicle movements. There is a fluid, almost naturalistic, flow to the animation which is present even during the scenes in which very little happens. The biggest pluses though, are the backgrounds and settings. Unlike most "moe" anime, the attention to detail in this area is truly good, with much of the scenery being evocative of old European towns, villages and countryside. As well as the visual style of the settings, the show also includes a number of European references (Helvetia is Switzerland for example, the Romans speak German, etc), all of which add to the series, and allow the viewer to become more absorbed in the show.
The acting is pretty good throughout the anime, and many of seiyuu really show their talent with their respective characters. Granted there are a few moments where Sora no Woto slips into "moe speaking mode", however these become fewer as the series progresses. The real star of the show though, is the music, in particular the lone trumpet playing "Amazing Grace".
Now, one thing that should be clarified here is just how important that one hymn is to this show. Hearing it is what spurs Kanata into becoming a bugler, but it's also something that links a number of disparate threads throughout the series. The hymn is about salvation and redemption, and ultimately that's what this series is all about. To be honest though, whenever I heard it, all of that didn't matter. The image of the lone bugler playing that song is one of the most evocative to appear in anime for a long, long time, and is made more powerful because this show is effectively about the effects of war, not just on the common people or the military support staff, but also on those who fight.
In effect, this is what makes the characters in Sora no Woto so very different to what one would expect. While there is a degree of stereotype to them, the show is careful not to let these personality traits take over, and as the series progresses the characters are allowed to not simply grow, but to evolve, something which although limited at times, is laudable as this type of development is rare in anime.
Sora no Woto is, by any measure, as much a character piece as Haibane Renmei, Kino no Tabi, or any other show of that ilk. While those other shows may have far more character development, this series is no slouch, indeed some of the characterisations are extremely powerful, especially Illya Arkadia, a character who doesn't appear too often and has very few lines, but whose presence is almost tangible throughout the show.
It should be clear by now that I enjoyed this series immensely, something which I still find somewhat surprising given that I initially avoided it because I expected something extremely "light and fluffy" like K-On! To say that Sora no Woto has far more substance than the series it looks like is an understatement, and while the difference may not sit well with die hard K-On! fans, it should be noted that the aim of this show isn't simply to entertain, but to tell a story. The subject matter is open to interpretation, but the inclusion of possibly the most recognisable hymn in the world speaks volumes about how the series should be perceived.
That said, Sora no Woto does have some "light and fluffy" elements to it, but ultimately it's a tale of salvation, redemption and hope, and it's because of this that the series stands apart from many of it's visual counterparts.
Sometimes the resemblance is only skin deep. read more
I was recommended this show by a friend who has traveled much further down the moe rabbit hole than I have, so I went in with two basic assumptions: this isn't a show about war, and it's not about life in a post-apocalyptic world. While I think these were safe assumptions, I ended up being very wrong.
This is a show about cute girls doing cute things. It's also a show about those same girls reliving war trauma and debating whether they should torture war captives in the remains of a world still being destroyed by humanity. That uneasy coexistence is part of the beauty of So Ra No Wo To, allowing it to go beyond being just another genre show.
Some of the initial appeal of this show came from the idea of 'playing' with war, sort of the same way Ro-Kyu-Bu! 'plays' with basketball - taking a very 'masculine' and serious activity and making it cute. But sort of like Ro-Kyu-Bu!, the cuteness provides an entry point to a pretty substantial (if very different) story. There's still a lot of 'fluff' here - not filler, but enough touching character interactions and cute for the sake of cute that if you're not patient or into it to begin with you'll probably be drifting away from the series (and off to sleep) before you're too far in. But there is a point at which the brutal conflict and dying world intrude upon the precious way of life these characters have built - this isn't where the show 'gets good', but rather, you realize that all the sweetness of the initial episodes is in fact a fragile and embattled alternative to the ugliness of war, where those who have experienced and committed horrors can recover in a world that was denied to them.
The more general messages of 'peace' and 'common humanity' can feel heavy-handed at times, especially towards the end, sort of like a beautiful melody played a bit too loudly if not off-key. The main character suffers from a bit of the same, her spirited naivete sometimes tending towards typical moe blob problems, but overall the series creates characters that are charming while also being complicated in ways you don't often see in these sorts of shows.
Great art, incredibly catchy ED - this show far exceeded expectations, and I'd highly recommend it as a wonderful piece that's tended to get overlooked. read more
There are very few anime with as bad a case of mistaken identity as Sound of the Sky, also known as Sora no Woto or, if you’re kind of a jerk, So Ra No Wo To. Honestly most people will take one look at the art and character designs and think one thing: K-ON
And this is really a shame because other than a couple of similarities in character design, Sound of the Sky shines on its own with no relation under the surface to our favorite (or least favorite) slice of life. This issue has led to Sound of the Sky’s problem, a nice way to phrase it is to say it’s a hidden gem, a less polite term would be “sold like cold cakes.” Some skipped it thinking it would be moe SoL comedy #284, others were disappointed that it wasn’t just that, the bottom line is it was not and still is not especially popular.
It is a tragedy that preconceptions blinded many people to the merits of Sound of the Sky. However, I wager most people who seriously watch it will be surprised. Sound of the Sky is truly special, there is no anime quite like it.
It isn’t easy to pin one of our familiar anime genres to Sound of the Sky. I suppose the term “slice of life” wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate, but it’s not in a high school and the characters aren’t…ok actually they are cute girls. This does not mean Sound of the Sky is not story driven, in fact the plot helps carry the series.
Sound of the Sky is set in a post-apocalyptic world that has been partially rebuilt. It follows the soldiers of the 1121st platoon in the border town of Seize (Says). Despite being soldiers in a war, a country town like Seize doesn’t see a whole lot of violent action. The story is more focused on the characters and their relationships to their world and each other.
The story is gorgeous: thematic without being pretentious, unrushed without being vacuous and passionate without being melodramatic. The series is deceptively deep with themes ranging from duty to desire, religion, war, hope, despair and love. The most important is finding a place in the world, something almost all the characters struggle with. In this anime, the world has already ended.
But due to greatly different attitudes, the characters react to this and other problems in vastly different ways. Some characters choose to resign themselves to the whims of fate and others face it head on. Their world does not want them, or even worse, wants them to fill a role they are very reluctant to do. The characters struggle to find meaning to a meaningless world, and watching them defy nihilism in such a position is marvelous. Although the plot shines, the true beauty of this story is less the plot and more the interactions of different attitudes and worldviews.
The story really picks up in the last few episodes building up to an incredible climax. The ending is both extremely tragic and filled with hope. Sound of the Sky is a little reminiscent of something like Haibane Renmei in the regard that it doesn’t necessarily answer all the questions about the world, but still satisfies. There are a few details intentionally left open, but if anything this adds to the anime.
Finally I want to offer my praise for this anime actually having a conclusion, something growing increasingly scarce. It is not unambiguously happy but the ending was by far my favorite part of the piece.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it, Sound of the Sky doesn’t exactly have all the budget in the world. But I don’t mean to say that it’s an ugly anime, quite the contrary: it’s quite striking. Seize and the Time-Trumpeting Fort may not always be rendered in stunning detail, but they always look charming and attractive.
The biggest problem is the character designs. I’m not quite sure what A-1 was thinking when they decided to make them so reminiscent of moe anime, but it was a poor decision to say the least. Most of the anime may be “slice of life” but it hardly could be described simply as “cute girls doing cute things.” The magical story and characters are really quite undercut by this flaw.
As might be expected of an anime called “Sound of the Sky,” the soundtrack is excellent. It contributes greatly to the mood and is punctuated by liberal use of silence that effectively adds to the focus. A recurring motif in the anime is the song Amazing Grace, one of the most beautiful songs ever written. In Sound of the Sky, it represents connection between people and is the focal point of some of the most emotional moments in the anime.
The phrase “I love them, but I don’t like them” is pretty common among parents and marriages with a short future, but I can’t imagine that it is especially popular for describing fictional characters. But when describing my feelings about the characters of Sound of the Sky, I think this phrase is quite appropriate. I really don’t agree with many of the characters, their attitudes or their decisions, but I still found them some of the most compelling characters I have ever seen.
Kanata may look like your typical overly optimistic slice of life protagonist from the outside, and to be honest she does have a pretty chirpy personality. However there is a lot more depth to her than is first apparent. As the story kicks into high gear in the later part of the anime, we see that she is quite capable of acting serious and even rather assertive and aggressive, but not in a way that contrasts her established character.
But the one who really steals the show is Rio. In anime “tragic” is usually a synonym for “edgy.” The tragic hero of anime is more often a Dark Flame Master than an Oedipus. Rio is a tragic character with a backstory that doesn’t strike at all of the ridiculous, and she has a believable reaction. She has to cope world that refuses to give her what she wants, and rather than sprouting superpowers to change that paradigm, she is forced to deal with it. And she deals with it like an adult, I may not agree with her decisions, but they strike me very much as the sort of decisions an actual human being might make. It’s really a sad reflection on anime when that is such an incredible thing.
I could go on about the other characters but I think I’ve made my point: Sound of the Sky has some of the most compelling characters I have ever seen, and while it had a short run time, it fleshed them out beautifully with depth and realism.
Sound of the Sky does not appeal to everyone, and it doesn’t try to. There is a little action, but it is overshadowed by slice of life and drama. If you’re more the pre-teen melodrama fan then this may be a bit too subtle, and if you only like cute girls doing cute things then you may be put off by the somber tone. It isn’t easy to pin down what kind of person would like Sound of the Sky because I can’t make easy generalizations like “if you liked X you will like this” because there isn’t really a parallel. It’s a true hidden gem that I personally enjoyed and appreciated immensely, but I can’t deny that there are aspects that would turn some people off.
Sound of the Sky is one of my favorite animes ever. It is beautiful, powerful and emotional in all the best ways. This anime hits hard and is something I have no reservations calling truly unique.
PS: There are two specials that fit very well into the series, watch them at the same time. read more
Let's start with what they have in common. The two shows share a similar premise in that it's about five girls in an organized group who play music. The art style is remarkably similar, and the characters tend to have cute moe characteristics both in their aesthetic design and personality. Both shows spend much of their time using music as a central catalyst to develop the characters' personalities and interpersonal relationships, and this serves to demonstrate how powerful an impact music can have on peoples' lives.
But that's where most of the similarities end, as while both shows have a similar basic premise, they end up taking that premise in two completely different directions.
K-On! is a cheerful and lighthearted slice-of-life story about a girl who joins a club of girls aspiring to become talented rock musicians, and what music can do to touch the lives of others and truly bring people together into an inseparable family. Sora no Woto is also an occasionally lighthearted (but overall much more serious) military drama in a war-torn setting about a girl who joins an army regiment as a war bugler in hopes that she can learn the trumpet, and how the power of music can echo throughout time and transcend inexorable cultural divisions to heal a broken world devastated by endless war.
While both shows have slice-of-life scenes that go beyond the musical setting, K-On! spends much more of that time developing connections between the characters through liberal use of comedy, whereas Sora no Woto tends to delve into the intricate and sometimes dark past of many of the characters and the history of the war-ravaged world. Due to this, K-On! maintains its cheerful, lighthearted atmosphere throughout the course of the entire series as appropriate, whereas Sora no Woto can often switch--sometimes even without warning--between cheerfulness and powerful drama.
Both go highly recommended. Fans of one should definitely try the other, and non-fans can decide which ones to watch depending on whether they enjoy a relaxing high school slice-of-life (K-On!), a deep military drama (Sora no Woto), or both.
Main characters are very similar. Lots of moe.
the characters are quite similar
Stylistically, there is a great deal of similarity between the character designs and personalities somewhat. Even from early on in the series', you can tell that the two just match up. If the style of one appeals, chances are the other will be worth a look as well. The stories may be somewhat dissimilar, but both involve a group of girls, in one case a music club, and in the other an army regiment, and their music.
Veeeeery similar art and both have heroines playing instruments
Another show completely based on 'moe'. Also, music is a central theme in both and the art styles are identical.
Same art and deals with music a little. Basically its K-ON joins the military.
character designs very similar... and the art, too...
animation: also fluid.
K-On and Sora No Woto shares some major similarities in its content. K-On is an anime about group of girls who's playing guitar or w/e. Now, in Sora No Woto, they grabs trumpet in military setting. Art style and Character design is surprisingly similar, which makes us feel like 'isn't it a rip-off?'. Sora No Woto has possibility of becoming 'moe based' anime, like K-On did.
What more to say? Both have a really similar animations that at some angles the character between the two anime looks the same
It really reminded me of K-On! Character wise and the animation of the two really looks similar. The only difference is the military atmosphere. If you're a K-On! fan, I think this is a whole new twist to your imaginations.
Have you seen Yui in the war?
Sora no Woto is K-ON....If it was based on a music playing military platoon.
Seriously though, its a 5 member platoon. They all act and look almost exactly like one of the K-ON characters. (except Ritsu, and mio looks different)
Some characters look the same and act the same
-Rio looks like Mio and they act the same
-Katana is similair to Yui
There are others that are similair except this show is a little more serious about some things.
The artstyle is remarkably similar, as they are not made by the same studio.
Both series focus on a group of 5 girls and their day to day life. Basically its cute girls doing cute stuff. Also they center around music even though it doesn't take that much part in every episode.
The setting is very different, K-On! being a high school setting and, Sora no Woto have a Sci-Fi/Military setting.
The art was similiar
Focus on The music
the diffrent is K-on settin on school life, but sora no woto setting on military
K-On and So Ra No Wo To are both similar due to its light-hearted slice of life and music genre, and a colourful set of cute-looking female characters who you can't help but to hug, tightly. Both anime have characters with similar personalities as well as looks. Take for instance Mio Akiyama (K-On) and Rio Kazumiya (So Ra No Wo To); they are both kind and the most mature in their group. The animation styles of both anime are easy on the eyes along with its catchy opening and ending themes that won’t leave your head. Unlike K-On’s cute girls doing cute things, So Ra No Wo To has cute female soldiers doing cute things due to its military setting, unlike K-On’s high-school setting. Both of them are a must-watch especially those who enjoy and love light and fluffy slice of life anime in particular.
Beautiful art, a decorative town with a deep history, a young, eager girl and don't forget some soothing, wonderful music.
Slow paced series about girls learning to do something (sora: playing trumpet, aria: operating a gondola) in a fictional, fantastical setting. Both have an emphasis on that setting as well as quiet interactions between the main characters.
The visual art and the music reminded me so much of Aria's atmosphere. Enthralling.
Both take place in futuristic versions of modern day cities. The main characters are learning something from their seniors and some characters are kind of alike. Also, there are very few male characters, who are not extras, in both series.
Plotwise: Both shows are about a main character being trained by a superior, and her interactions with the new world around her.
Characters: Both are primarily female casts, and every character in Sora No Woto bears a resemblance to a character in Aria. Also, where Aria has cats, Sora No Woto has an owl.
Setting: Both take place in imaginary worlds around cities where the people and land has a rich history and traditions. The difference here is that Sora No Woto has a wartime setting, where Aria does not.
Artwork: Beautiful backgrounds and landscapes, stunning visuals all-around.
Slice of life set in a sci-fi, future setting. Both series play off their own worlds very well, with a strong focus on interactions between the main character and the main setting of the anime. The characters also share some similarities, the most notable being Kanata & Akari and Filicia & Alicia.
They both give off very similar vibes, and if you liked one you'll probably like the other.
Aria the Animation is about a group of young female gondoliers learning with their seniors and generally having a good time with each other in a slice of life, futuristic setting.
Sora no Woto is about a group of young female soldiers learning with their seniors and generally having a good time with each other in a slice of life, futuristic setting.
There are heavy sci-fi implications on both shows' universes, but these seem to be secondary, and almost overlooked. Both stories focus more on the girls learning about their worlds, their trade, themselves and each other, while exploring and interacting with their surroundings. There's drama, but not necessarily conflict. Both shows provide the viewer with slow pacing, relaxing music, beautiful scenery, lighthearted comedy, interpersonal relationships, character development, warm fuzzies and the occasional sappy line.
The characters are almost a direct match to each other:
Akari/Kanata - they're both pure-hearted main characters, rather awkward about their skills, very friendly to everyone they meet, easily excited about new things and very prone to sappy lines. They both say "suteki" a lot.
Aika/Kureha - they're both bratty tsundere types, very perfectionist and quick to point out other people's flaws. They constantly act like know-it-alls, though deep inside they're just insecure and eager to please and impress their seniors.
Alice&Athena/Noël - Noël is the quiet, reserved and serious type, like Alice, but she can resemble Athena a lot in carelessness when she's tired. She seems to be naturally talented at what she does, using her impressive skills with little effort.
Akira/Rio - they're both "cool big sister" types who try to enforce strict discipline, though beneath their assertive attitude they care deeply about their juniors. They both confide and share a deep bond with Alicia/Filicia, who are closer to them in age and maturity.
Alicia/Filicia - for crying out loud, not only are they a complete clone in appearance and personality, they also talk in similar fashion and even share the same quirks. Even their names are remarkably similar. And they're both #1 ranking in their groups.
In Aria they have cats, which act as mascots and represent each company's president.
In Sora no Woto they have a owl, which acts as a mascot and represents their organization logo.
Having watched Aria first, and considering the chronological order, I suppose I can say that Sora no Woto is by far the closest thing to Aria I've seen so far. The major difference is that Sora no Woto might occasionally address some disturbing war related themes, which are completely absent from the slightly more lighthearted and optimistic Aria universe. But even these, while expected in a war setting anime, are actually very rare.
Also, in Sora no Woto, embarrassing remarks seem to be allowed! ^^
Both series have fantastic element involvement yet at the same time are a piece of life shows.
The main cast are females and in both series the main character is going through training. The bigges part of attention is upon interection between main character and the world around.
The only real difference would be the fact that Sora No Woto is more dramatic and action based towards the end.
Both anime produce a peaceful environment. In Aria it depicted peaceful and soothing lives in neo venezia and in Sora no Woto it brought out gentleness of sound in a lonely corner of the world.
It has the same atmosphere - even if the heroines are cute and nice, the reality is still bitter sweet.
Seemingly unassuming slice of life shows which eventually take a more dramatic, sinister twist. The settings in these shows are fascinating and mysterious, and play a huge role in the story, as much as the main characters themselves.
Similar setting: an isolated, ancient outpost near a small medieval town with odd traditions.
Similar style: cheerful slice-of-lifeish with periodic depressing points.
Similar focus: characters and their pasts.
A friendly, yet initally immaturely self-centered protagonist: check
A highly respected, yet sometimes moody leader who takes the protgonist under her wing: check
A motherly and sedate character: check
A mechanically-inclined character: check
Sora no Woto is just Haibane Renmai with a K-ONesque art style
Both are series that have a LARGE, and more complex universe, that... really only serves to accent/fuel the actual purpose of the series: The unbreakable bonds formed through identical circumstances.
Both also have some fine art and have a legendary composer(ironically, both composers are primarily known for one or two specific series).
They both start off with simply creating their own peculiar aura as well as setting up their own way of life. It isn't until later when those commonalities serve more as an obstacle than a stimulant.
They both have wonderfully sweet casts.
Sora no Woto's world is touched upon more than Haibane's. Less mystery in that department. Still, character mystery, in addition to secondhand character growth is present. Complementary enjoyable side stories are here too. Admittedly, the topic is a bit darker.
Haibane's world serves as one BIG allegory or theory. Nothing is really answered about those things as they serve to assist with the character's ensuing destinies. The powers that be all also a bit more in control, though with better, purer intentions. Haibane's soundtrack is also more of a home-run than Sora's. Lastly, Haibane's functionality is sooo differently well done that it earns the title of "classic".
If K-on similar in music motives and character design, than Haibane Renmei is similar in atmosphere.
We have small closed society inside the city. Platoon 1121 is honorable part of towns life, but they aren't part of town itself. Same as Graywings honored within the city, they are outcasts in peaceful world.
The beginning of Kanata's and Rio's relationships resembles Reki's and Raka's.
And of course we have this quiet sensation of something hidden, but it is not dangerous, but simply unknown.
Very similar art style and characters, has the same atmosphere of a peaceful, secluded town in a very unknown world. The only key difference is that Sora no Woto tends to open it's world a bit more, while the Haibane world is only limited to both people and locales inside the wall. In fact, I was quite surprised that the two series weren't made by the same person. 0_o
Sora no woto is setting is a post-war era where the previous humanity was nearly wiped out. Very little culture and knowledge seems to have survived. Throughout the series you just try to piece together what's the world is like from the main cast daily interactions.
Similar to Haibane Renmei, it is some what of a mystery as to what the world around them is like. A female main character joins an existing group of characters to learn their way of life. Each episode is structured like a slice of life genre, and also the entire cast is female. You can expect character development to unfold slowly with each episode. You have a bunch of cute/moe moments but the over arcing story is rather tense.
Sora no Woto does have some sad moments, but I wouldn't call it a tear jerker like how Haibane Renmei built up to. But overall I think you would see similarities you might enjoy in Sora no Woto.
While both are essentially atmospheric slice of life series with a focus on world-building, there are some key differences. The contrast between the serious and the lighthearted is more dramatic in So Ra No Wo To while Haibane Renmei's tends to be subtler in all aspects. Furthermore, the post-apocalyptic setting of So Ra No Wo To is beautifully tangible and chillingly possible with the story taking place in a colorful town littered with cultural relics from our own world while Haibane Renmei's magical realist universe is more allegorical in nature with fantastical elements alongside the mundane.
Ultimately both series are wonderfully paced atmospheric pieces that forgo plot in favor of letting the characters explore and guide the viewers through meticulously crafted environments.
Minus the ecchi, So-Ra-No-Wo-To shares a lot in common with Strike Witches. As well as it shares in common with K-On and Axis Powers Hetalia.
The character design borrows most heavily from K-On. But the theme of an Occidental Japan, living among European countries and/or cultures as if a country that is European instead of Asian is a theme that exists in Axis Powers Hetalia, Strike Witches, and So-Ra-No-Wo-To. Harmoniously I might add, instead of contrasted. As well as do all share the theme of moe within the military(minus K-On).
Also as several character archetypes were borrowed in their specific form from K-On, there were also seemingly from Strike Witches. Kannagi Noel is a Kuudere/Dandere that borrows most heavily from the Dandere form of Sanya Litvyak from Strike Witches. And Kazumiya Rio is a character who works as a blend of Akiyama Mio from K-On and Mio Sakamoto from Strike Witches.
With the theme young girls in the military, Strike witches is great match for Sora no Woto. Both series take place an alternate universe, in which girls are the main characters and play the role of soldiers. While Sora no Woto takes place in a backwater town, Strike Witches' story plays on the frontline. In Sora no Woto the two nations Helvetia and the Roman Empire fight each other, in Strike Witches it's humanity against the alien race called neuroi. Both series place a heavy focus on the girls' everyday lives. The only main difference between the two series is that Strike Witches gets the most humor from ecchi scenes. If you don't like scenes with lots of pantyshots and female breasts in them, don't watch Strike Witches. But if you liked Sora no Woto you'll probably like Strike Witches too.
they both have a group of girls with special talents in the military... the main character at first joins the group and some questions "why is she here?" because of how they look (not very reliable kind of way) and soon to realise that they improve pretty fast at flying/playing... as you watch the series all the characters now trusts/likes the main characters. also, the characters have similar personalities... strike witches is more focused on fighting in the air and it's set in the past (1944) even though it looks very futuristic.. and sora no woto is more focused on music (playing brass instuments) and it's set in the future but veeery old fashioned but if u watch them you'll understand why =)
Same thing except flying. Both are military. So Ra No Wo To has some ecchi but not as strong as Strike witches though.
Both series feature lovely scenery and music, the effects of war as seen by a girl who is essentially outside of the conflict, and just generally leave you with a good feeling. Kino's Journey is more laid-back than Sora no Woto's outright upbeatness, but overall I'm definitely reminded of Kino while watching it.
"Someone told me that this world is ending. But I like this world"
Much like Kino no Tabi, Sora no Woto is a series that shares a basic message; "the world is not beautiful, therefore, it is". Despite the terrible vices, tragedies, and misfortunes that plague the world and those who live in it, it is through these adversities that the truly marvelous things in life can really shine. Both series affirm the beauty of life and help instill a desire to enjoy life, despite the darker times.
As strange as it may sound, both series can have a therapeutic effect on a viewer, through their marvelous construction of worlds and gentle affirmation of the beauty in life.
So Ra No Wo To is rather unique in my opinion and not like anything else but I somehow feel that I liked it for the same reasons I liked Kino no Tabi. The atmosphere is really pleasant and the story doesn't really seem to follow any typical pattern. While the inverse may not be true it is my belief that anyone that liked So Ra No Wo To will not be dissapointed by Kino no Tabi.
Opening Theme"Hikari no Senritsu" by Kalafina
Ending Theme"Girls, Be Ambitious." by Haruka Tomatsu
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