In the future in Onomichi, Hiroshima fish disappear from the sea around the world and only whales live in the ocean. The Ministry of Fishery decides to set up giant experimental Universe Fish Tanks in space. The Onomichi Universe Fishery Union is established and begins to train space fishermen. Female fishermen are in demand due to the strengthening of an equal employment law for men and women. Six new female space fishermen are selected, and the story centers on supporting their growth.
Whenever I watch a show with a score below 6 they tend to fall into two camps, one is for shows that are completely and inrepably bad. The type of shows that are doing so much wrong it's hard to believe they got past the board room. The others are shows that while they have some big flaws, have something to offer and a reason that I end up giving them a decent score for. Sora to Umi no Aida falls into the latter half.
Be warned, as much as I like this show it's not the show to watch if you want a well thought
out plot, and top tier animation. The art and animation is pretty mediocre and while they do throw in some cool visual cues in the background for the most part Sora to Umi is squarely on the bland side for art. The plot is at best a mess, and at worst makes completely no sense. Much of the background behind how the world works feels like a bunch of ideas thrown together to make a show without much proofreading or guidance as to whether they make logical scene. (Spoiler: they don't.)
So then what does Sora to Umi have to offer? Mostly I'd put it in the characters. Despite the melodrama that the show often dives into, it doesn't feel forced to me. This is part of who the characters are. They're basically like normal teenage girls. They don't seem to have much skills, and they are emotional messes that continue to make mistake after mistake, without thinking their plans through and while being so enveloped by their emotions. And I get it because I've been there too. When you're an emotional mess it's easy to lose track of everything and just go with whatever plan seems the best.
But despite their skills, fears, and flaws they're still trying their best. They aren't good at the space fishing, but they're still giving their all. And it's admirable. They really do feel to grow and do get closer with their interactions with each other. It feels so nice to watch them grow together and create bonds with each other despite their differences.
Most of all the show feels like it has heart. Even though the plot is a mess it feels like a mess that someone genuinely thought was filled with good ideas but never had the time to be able to refine them. And some of those ideas are fine. Others are more questionable, but overall I see what they were going for, and with the endearing qualities of the characters it overall feels endearing to me. It reminds me of Nanowrimo, where the words are the important part and the ideas are left to wander and go to all sorts of flight of fancy. And maybe because I do Nano so much that it feels so nice to me. Maybe it's because of the shear ridiculousness behind it all, probably both. Not to mention it doesn't hamper the characters and the things I like about the show.
Also Ruby is absolutely adorable and each of her interactions are great. And actually most of the cast won me over in the end. Their flaws made them endearing and there was some nice chemistry between the cast. The voice acting despite its ametaurness also fits oddly enough.
In the end I can't say that this show is great but it has good things to offer. The plot may be basic and there's a lot of stuff in the world that feels off but overall it has heart and it tries to show its point without making the main characters op or anything more than themselves. And for all its warts it certainly hooked me in. So if you like watching flawed young idiots try to space fish, and grow in the process, give it a shot, cause it just might surprise you.
Let me get this out in no uncertain words - Sora to Umi no Aida is a good series. Not “ironically good”, not “eh, it’s fine, I guess” and not even “good for a CGDCT” - a genuinely engaging, thought-provoking story with decent production values. It just happens to be an unfortunate example of how perception of a work of fiction can be dramatically affected by some unrelated events in a totally different place that just happen to happen at the same time.
You see, 2018 was a year when Japanese Air Force allowed women to become fighter pilots for the first time ever. This was
an event high-profile enough that in the anime medium alone there instantly appeared multiple series exploring the topic in some capacity. Sora to Umi no Aida is one of them: it took the premise of women entering a male-dominated industry for the first time ever to justify an all-girls cast and give some gravitas to what they’re doing - which otherwise boils down to a 9-to-5 job. And that’s the extent of it. Sounds innocent enough? Well, in the meantime, the western anime fandom was busy with outrage over High Guardian Spice, so when Sora to Umi no Aida dared to usher the words “equal opportunity hire” everyone just lost their shit and branded it SJW-propaganda. Despite, you know, it being an anime, made in Japan, having nothing to do with western politics, or any kind of politics for that matter. The fact that I even need to talk about it is, frankly, a waste. Now, let me just tell what about this particular series makes it worthwhile to watch:
Story. All the fish in the oceans had vanished, so people had built orbital fish tanks to breed giant fish monsters that they catch/battle with the power of mobile app-based gods which are basically Stands-for-hire. Got it? Good, now you may forget it, because this is not what the show is about. Space Fishing here plays very much the same role as Giant Robots in Evangelion: it’s a workplace and the reason these characters are gathered together, but the focus is entirely on the characters - who are they, what drives them, what they want from this life. The early episodes might appear as a CGDCT fluff, but the story eventually picks up and develops a single cohesive narrative. The final parts are, in fact, way more gritty and serious than one would expect, which might look like a case of Cerebus Syndrome, but the tonal shift is properly foreshadowed from the beginning, and even incorporated into the story itself. “Wasn’t space fishing supposed to be about hopes and dreams?!”, asks the exasperated MC, while standing under a rocket nozzle, body-blocking it from ignition.
Characters. While the early part of the show is about training routine/slice-of-life, and the last is the story culmination, the middle one is dedicated entirely to the development of the cast. It’s an ensemble of six girls and each one of them gets a focus episode and a legit story arc. What’s more - they have actual relationships between each other. Many ensemble shows suffer from a problem of the cast only existing as a single entity - this is not one of them. For example, the MC is your typical hyperactive idiot, yet another girl is an even bigger hyperactive idiot. What happens when they interact? A positive feedback loop of hyperactive idiocy that threatens to tear the space-time continuum and demands intervention of the other cast members. Meanwhile, the group leader is a straight-laced no-nonsense type, and the MC seriously rustles her jimmies. Yet they quickly find a common ground - competitive spirit and desire to succeed, leading to a healthy rivalry that drives them both to improve.
Production values. This series has a very distinct “independent movie” feel to it. Meaning, it’s unconventional/refreshing/bad because the creators are either incapable of following medium conventions or choose not to. The most obvious area is voice acting: many VAs has this as their first job ever (which you can hear) and are deliberately doing regional accents that are equivalent to irish/scottish accents of English, i .e. unintelligible eldritch chanting. To me it sounds refreshing and unique, not being “generic anime girl voices”; to others it may be grating. Same with the writing/storyboarding - often the only appropriate reaction to a twist is “lolwut?”, which can be seen as either entertaining or aggravating. Use your own judgement.
Humor. More precisely, comedic timing. Deserves a special mention for being really good. Many sudden cuts made me burst into laughter.
8/10 because this series is fun and compelling with forgivable issues that don’t detract from enjoyment.
This is in no doubt, one of the most controversial trash of the season, but it really is by no means bad, so either you love or you hate it (just like FranXX)!
So...the premise of Sora to Umi no Aida: Sexism's the name of the game (get it, game adaptation?)...initially. And this archetype has been present for decades (e.g. Man on the Moon etc.), so much so that when it was first presented in the opening episode, it was jaw-dropping to see the gender politics play out, that it warranted drops from people who were speculating what this series was all about. BUT...there's more to
it than just the ire story plot that transfigures into the overall premise of just "CDGCT" of space fishing...
And that's the characters themselves (or much to my disdain) their individual personalities. For a start, Haru is obnoxiously loud, too playful and hasn't had conscience for the people around her, but that's due to her grandmother's teachings of life, and it's with that same figure that she chooses to see things positively, which is something the next girl cannot. Namino, the high-expectational and exceptional role model for others, she takes everything seriously and will attempt to throw others off just to see her dream realized. If you've been watching the relationship of both Haru and Namino, it is not just polar opposites, but one of where they have to see the perspective from each other's shoes, otherwise, the time for bickering always never fails.
Ruby the blonde-haired American native, coming to experience space fishing for herself; she is quite the disruptive character and tries to be the noisy one, and in a similar fashion to Haru, likes everything at 1st sight, jumps onto it without thinking twice about it (and that applies to her 1st time trying out space fishing as well). For Makoto, her fear of water just ensures that her chances of going space fishing will be kept at the bare minimum from the start, but her eventual overcomerture helps her to be relieved of the phobia. (See, you could try!)
Last 2 girls, Maiko and Makiko, it's easy to misspell the recognition of both girls, and this is where their own personalities make and/or break them in the process of their growing years. (Spoilers) Maiko's intention of becoming a space fisher is to find out the cause of her brother's death, and get the truth out of the bag. Unfortunately, that single project was helmed by Makiko's (or Makimaki as Haru calls her) father, the president of the fishing emissary-cum-director of the all-men expedition towards dangerous waters, where Maiko rages over past happenings in an attempt for revenge. But, as all things have to end on a good note, forgiveness bears past circumstances that has to be bitten hard in order to be forgiving.
Add to that the predominant male characters of sexist views (especially Atsushi with his arrogance) and the mild female supportists that attempt to strike his words down (Rika etc.) and it's basically a toss up for the worst character line-up or something more perplexing, I don't know.
The underlying tell-tale signs of the series' goodness is found in the art and animation. This is decent enough for a good watch, seriously. TMS Entertainment (and that Leaf-logo studio) must have been collabs for the more recent times (from the better-than-average Baki (2018) to the awful Senjuushi), and I have to give a little props to them for making everything of watchable quality. Some say the art is stunning, while others say meh. Either way, if not for the purely sexist terms this show initally offers, this section would be heavily undermined for both the story and characters alone.
The music is purely fine for what it is. The OST isn't quite shabby, as per the character VAs for Haru, Ruby and Maiko for the OP and Konomi Suzuki's ED, which I find it plenty-fine but something that is below her substance of her works past. Either way, it is still OK, nothing really stands out, and is forgettable for many reasons.
The elephant in the room is still THAT one gender-divisive issue that will turn potential people from watching this, and I can see why. Regardless, if this is a given pass, it's entirely understandable as well. Either way, it's the reinforced "you love it or hate it" archetype that defines this series overall, and it's your call to watch or pass this up.
Sora to Umi is another anime that tries to capitalize on the genre of cute girls doing cute things, and try to use a different concept to do this, which fails since everything else is generic.
The concept of the anime, space fishing, could work even being strange. But they don't give explanations enough and only force you to accept that all fish have disappeared into the earth and can be fished in space. In general the worldbuilding is very poor, you have what is necessary for the fishing to occur and the rest is just our world, populated with very generic support characters. And this
is strange because you have ultra modern space rockets, deities that are summoned by mobile apps (and have no explanation at all) in a mid-sized Japanese beach town with some rural areas. The story is very simple and linear, with some twists without much impact. The development of the characters is forced and the dramatic moments mostly do not thrill.
The art of the anime is beautiful but it's nothing that stands out, and the animation despite being consistent is extremely basic with scenes of little movement. The scenes that need more fluidity are made by mediocre cg.
The sound is enough,does not stand out but does not lacks also. The dubbing is strange with some characters(mainly Maki) but overall it's just mediocre.
The characters are generic, with one-dimensional personalities and a pre-defined drama created to have the basic character development. Only the MC(Haru) stands out for being retarded beyond standards.
Overall this anime could work, maybe even with the superfluous explanation and the poorly constructed world. At least if the focus was the fishing, but 80% of the anime is slice of life, full of moe scenes and the resolution of forced dramas. The training is largely ignored, and most fisheries are quick and poorly done, usually with the whole team failing and a single girl solving everything. And they fails a lot, especially Haru, and they do not seem to learn from mistakes. Also this anime feels like it was make by feminists. The entire anime the female squad suffers disrespect for being composed of women, and they arrange a pretty tattered excuse at the end of the anime to justify this.(this anime may also have been made by machists to show that women are useless because the characters are).
I had fun in some parts but honestly I got bored in most of the anime. Overall I would not recommend it, there are many better cute girls animes. Maybe if you're looking for anime with weird proposals, you probably will not like it, but the anime fits in parts what you want.