"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.
"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.
Five different girls in military and their lives. Interesting? Unfortunately, it doesn’t. This anime is a true example of what happens, if you try to do too much at once on the weak and uninspiring basis.
Sora no woto, aka ‘Sound of the Sky’ is a mixed culture setting war zone folktale involving a young girl who only came to military to play nice trumpet. If you just read the synopsis, it seems like a very unique and refreshing idea for slice of life genre anime. Sadly, it is not, because the major problem that this anime falls down is from the concept from the
start. When you think of slice of life genre, the most important thing is always consistency on everything. Theme, settings, plot, relevance, comedy, all these thing has to be in balanced and united by one main flow of atmosphere. Sora no woto ultimately fails to do that.
Think about the setting of this anime first. There is a war and a town. Only soldiers there in that huge fat town are 5 females, three of them is not even capable of using the guns right. Trumpet is being used for the military communication, and yet they have extremely advanced tank we’ve never seen in any animes. Mixed culture of Europe and Japan looks just awkward as it is. There are all sorts of mysteries arising, yet none of them is properly solved or introduced. Yes, this anime doesn’t make sense of anything. My understanding of 'making sense' is completely different from Gurren Lagann pierce through the time adventure with galaxy sized robot, it's more about the relationship between its circumstance. Sora no woto always involves the paradoxical elements at the same times, and tries to tell two completely irrelevant lines of the story. I’m just utterly surprised that this anime actually ended with this horribly introduced setting and backgrounds.
There is no real plot we can call; it just portrays the life of 5 girls in military. It’s basically a war zone, so it partially success on telling this story of blood and massacre that those disasters create (*Or not, perhaps. I'm just making this up). Some episode actually does make us to become a bit emotional. It was pretty nice. The problem is, it still doesn’t make ‘sense’. The whole this creation of story looks like giant piece of junk art, chucked in random elements together in one; even Homer Simpson can make that kind of stinkers. I’m seriously concerning about the ability of script writers for this anime. Conversations are very unintelligent and none of them is memorable. I mean, what the hack is all of those flat, cheap, overused and retarded jokes? I mean, they just don’t work for me. From my theory, this happened due to indecisive nature of the staffs who’s trying to make anime deep and emotional but funny and cheap at the same time. Anime clichés with fanservices and terror of war just don’t match; they are basically trying to something that is facing the complete opposite directions. It will never work. Those writers tried to do two things at once; they wanted war drama which will make some of emotional scenes that will cry people in a river, but at the same time, they wanted moe appeals, for financial issues. Well, if they had ability, they really could've used those services in 'appropriate' moment, then I will at least say 'oh well, they wrapped up war and moe nicely'. It doesn't. Some episodes were totally tainted by irrelevant use of moe fanservices, and these taints ruins the whole flow of the mood.
Not just that; maybe the idea of war itself is actually the reason that Sora no Woto breaks apart. I’m not saying war is such a bad theme or whatever. It is just overused way too much. *War is bad thing! I’ll protect this village from that bad thing!*… seriously, everyone knows that. War is bad, and should be prevented whatsoever; and this anime tries to tell us about ‘THAT’. For 12 episodes long series, only thing it said is this one philosophical and complex phrase; ‘WAR IS BAD’, but nothing else excluding the pee joke. Shallow… way too much shallow…
Episode is very, very inconsistent. Some episodes are alright, trying to raise our hopes a bit more. Later, it crushes by terribly executed episodes that are absolutely pointless to put. When some scenes are well concerned, other parts are just utterly boring. It is sad that there are only a few ‘truly’ good scenes, but almost about 15 minutes per episode is just futile. With this shallow plot and setting, it can only do stretching itself out to fill the bottle of 25 minutes. Those filled materials are the main cause of this boredom, and occurred due to simplistic storyline. If they’ve made some solid basis at the start, this never happened.
Thing I can praise on this anime is BG art. It was one of the most gorgeous looking scenes I’ve seen in a while. It is breath-taking, and all those buildings, trees, lakes, cliffs, bridges form a perfect harmony, contrast what I’ve seen in its story. I was utterly surprised about all the animation quality from this anime. CG tank (although it doesn’t make sense) looks great and very well animated. OP animation had some beautiful and abstract art works. On the other hand, it might be just me, but I hate that character design so much. That’s one of the major reasons why I hated K-On. This part of me is pretty much biased, so I will not count this part on the rating; amazing BG art covers all.
Sound is another astonishing thing; I just love classics and violins. A lot of them sounds greatly, although most of time, they are used in inappropriate time. OP is not bad; serious and calming although it was not that candy for me, but ED was seriously mismatching the theme of war. It was funny seeing this difference between opening, ending songs, since that’s what they exactly did for the plot of the anime. OP = War drama!! ED = MOE MOE!!
Sadly, characters in this anime are the most stereotypical, and uninteresting ones I’ve ever seen. I felt like being tortured watching all those crappy cliché treatments. Starting with Katana, she joined military only to learn how to play trumpet. She is really bad at it, but in certain episode, she just miraculously learns how to play it perfectly, for some superficial reason. ‘LOL SHII IZU SUCH A GENIUUSSU!!’. Hell no, that’s brainless on the side of production staffs. She is enthusiastic, cute and naïve; so typical. There is nothing special or interesting thing about this character at all.
Next, we have Kureha, tsundere. Actually, one of those annoying ones. She acts all over the place spreading her faggotry like ‘Katana we are fuckin soldiers, it’s a SERIOUS BUSINESS, don’t play like weabooooz.’ Yet, she can’t even hold her gun tight. This is just another clichéd character, and we can expect nothing new from her. Same goes to silent moe Noel-chan and typical mother type glassed girl whose existence makes no sense. Only character I can say ‘not that bad’ is Rio; the only person there who in fact make sense being a soldier. She is cool and gets annoyed a lot for the ‘proper’ reason, such as Katana being empty-headed. She still has major bullshit things that make everything senseless, but better than all the other lowly characters. Ultimately, the character lacks some large amount of depth overall. Their reaction is so predictable due to the oversimplified personality. They are all clichéd and uninteresting.
Did I enjoy watching this? Try to throw yourself into the trash-bin and swim; you will find it more enjoyable than this shit. It was more of pain; everything absolutely makes no sense, and is more of quasi-experiment without a single noticeable moments. I’m just terribly disappointed how this gorgeous art and my favourite classical music background OST got wasted for this terrible series.
Sora no woto had a potential. So, I just blame production staffs and industrial crisis. Hurr durr.
Sora no Woto is a show that tries to do a lot at once. It isn't just a moeblobs show, and it's not just about fighting. It looks like a regular World War II setting at first, but as you continue to watch you learn it's actually a future setting, where life is scarce, systems of writing and music have been forgotten, and the resulting setting is a mashup of many, many cultures, probably at this point, indistinguishable from one another to the characters.
The story lacks a forward direction. However, for that reason, as you begin to understand why things are going on,
it makes it a much more enjoyable experience. As I mentioned above, if you're looking for a straight-out war show, look elsewhere. If you want to watch "cute girls doing cute things in cute ways", you may like Sora no Woto, though in recent episodes (6, 7) the story overall has taken a darker shade, as some of the truths around the 1121st platoon come to surface.
The animation of the characters themselves was a little unsavory in the very first episode. However, it has become smoother (or maybe I've just gotten used to it)... but the real beauty in this show is in the backgrounds. The setting itself is based off the city of Cuenca, Spain, a city built in a mountainous range, with a variety of steep cliffs and water. This is well represented in the show, where most of the backgrounds make you stop and watch them instead of the characters, if you happen to notice that kind of thing. That being said, make sure you watch this show in at least 720p. ;D
There's a wide variety of sounds in Sora no Woto, but the most noteworthy is the music. Not the background music - the music that comes from bugles, which is a focal point early on in the series. When the main character, Kanata, first begins to play the bugle, there's not much that can express the sounds that come out of that instrument. Myself being a trumpet player, I couldn't help but laugh the second I heard it, and once again laugh when Kanata suddenly vastly improves with one small piece of advice. In addition, the OP theme, by Kalafina (known for their work in the Kara no Kyoukai series) seems a little flavorless at first, but as the series progresses, it more closely resembles the overall feeling of the show.
Everybody seems to think Sora no Woto takes the characters from K-On! and puts them in a different setting. Honestly, that's just wrong. While they do look similar, the characters in Sora no Woto have much, MUCH more depth to them than the K-On! cast. Each character shows many sides, straying away from static personalities, though to be fair, it does employ anime archetypes.
From beginning to end, each episode so far has been enjoyable, to where when it ends, I wonder, "It's already over?" This show keeps you guessing what's going to happen next, and why some of the small subtleties are how they are. At the very least, the animation staff did a decent bit of research, and they are putting forth an effort to keep things consistent across each episode.
I know, mathematically that's not the average of the scores. So far, though, this has been among the best shows this season, and with the production of bonus episodes, a manga, and a visual novel, odds are it's going to maintain the same high standard of quality throughout.
Well let's just clear some things up now. THIS IS NOT FREAKIN' K-ON IN THE FREAKIN MILITARY. All right, now that that's over with let's start with the review of The Sound of the Skies, aka So Ra No Wo To. (This will be a quick one since I wrote one before but it got deleted when my computer got the blue screen.)
Okay so the story and the characters, even if they're pretty cliche, are actually quite good in their own right. The pacing is pretty good, characters are well developed and believable enough to not be Mary Sues. The voices also fit each and
every character very well.
Art and Sound is amazing in their own right. The artstyle of the characters are very similar to K-ON's, but the backgrounds and backdrops are radically different. It's jaw-dropping. (Okay, not for me, but it's still very different.) It even gives 5 Centimeters per Second a rival.
The soundtrack is different than K-ON's, too. Rather the songs are moreso comparible to the Team ICO video game series. (There's ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian.) Basically, it has very well composed songs for the orchestra to play and it sometimes focuses on a single particular instrument throughout the anime. (It would be the trumpet in this show). So really, it's always a crowning music of awesome.
Overall, I enjoyed this anime a lot. It was well rounded and gave enough awesome moments to make up for the less than creative story and characters. Therefore, I give this rating a "Kick-Ass" for it's awesomeness.
So, you might still think that this relates to K-ON, (you know just like Skip Beat or White Album), and you are completely wrong. Only the artstyle and sharing of the music genre are the only things that are similar about it. The character animations are basically the same, but there's enough contrasts in The Sound of the Skies that make it immensly better anyways.
I'll concede that both of the animes use music as a part of their themes. But K-ON's is more like "Using music to save our club" than The Sound of the Skies "Using music to understand more about ourselves and the world". So if anybody still tells you that the both of the animes are the same, then please don't believe them and let them know that they're jerkasses that only watch the first ten minutes of a show and make judgement upon them.
Also if you're wondering what the soundtrack's going to sound like then here (By the way, it's not from The Sound of the Skies but from ICO. This is just to get you prepared for what it's going to be similar to.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DipbshLI8PA
As always, there is a rare gem every season that pops up and surprises me. It has been compared to as a K-On in the military but to me, I feel it would be more to suitable to describe it as Aria in the military though I digress.
Sora no Woto, is a deceptive little thing about what it really wants to be with the plot. Young Sorami Kanata, a bugler and a private of the Helvetian army, arrives as the new meat of the 1121st, an all female tank crew/squadron. Suffice to say, a slice of life romp ensues. Albeit, it
is one with slightly dark undertones here and there. You'd almost forget about them until the masterstroke at the end arrives, heralding the end of the almost idyllic life of the Maidens of the Time-Telling Fortress. But the end, comes almost too fast, yet still feeling it could have been resolved earlier. Its a quick succession of events towards the end but it still manages to follow through to a satisfying conclusion. Not perfect, but still very good.
As for the art, it is outstanding. The bright backgrounds and lighting really help make the setting feel alive. All of Sora no Woto is beautifully animated, whether from the Takemicaduchi and myriad tanks in 3D to the expressive characters. It helps that the quality doesn't suffer at any point either.
And to go with this art, is also an outstanding sound department. The background music really does this series justice, coming in just at the right time. Supporting the scenes actively without being overbearing. That is not to say the voice acting or the effects were poor. They were indeed fitting but the props really have to go out background music. That is not to say, actual music is not played. As a signaller of the tank crew, our little heroine doles out a piece that has touched many hearts, hers included, before the story even started. Another touching piece would be the French, I believe, insert song. But now I'm just listing things. Even so, I am still wishing to hear them outside of the anime in all their glory.
The characters are as I've already mentioned, very expressive. I really don't know what to say here. I was just along for the ride as everyone told their own stories and talked more about themselves. At the main characters did. Though, special mention goes some of the minor characters as, Colonel Hopkins, or Major Krauss despite their limited appearances. Heck, everyone is accounted for, even if they only say few lines. Which is nice attention to detail.
I love Sora no Woto, it cannot be said enough. Simply because the world is so fascinating and colourful despite the actual backstory. Most if not all the minor details I would have picked at are well done. Though there are occasional slip ups, but that's because there so much detail. The atmosphere traps me further in enjoyment the farther it goes but better still, there is a moral here if you looked for it. Not that I'm one for such things but as always, I'd rather have you, the reader, find out for yourself. This is something I recommend strongly as a must watch of the season.
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.
Sora no Woto strongly adheres to a personal saying of mine: "You never know what you're going to get with short animes". I've watched some truly brilliant shows that were only 11-12 episodes long...and I've also watched some that weren't so good. Sora no Woto was one of those that I wasn't sure about, partially because it could almost be considered an OVA, a collaborative effort of several different studios that had never before been produced in manga, graphic novel, nor any other medium that I was familiar with. However, I found in the end that this show requires some patience before it's true colors
really begin to show. And they were truly some beautiful colors.
Story (4/10): I should begin by explaining that the story isn't the strong point of this show. The reason for this is how long it takes for the story to develop into anything with real plot substance.
The beginning of the show is done well enough. We see the main character, and are quickly charmed by her kindness and innocence, and see that she has become a soldier, and is headed to her first deployment. The problem is, we aren't given very much exposition to explain the world she lives in, why her country is at war, or what her family or her home are like.
As other characters are introduced, we begin to understand the dynamic that they share. As I learned more about the characters, I thought that perhaps this show would be more "character-driven" rather than "plot-driven". However, this wasn't really the case either, as the characters don't seem to go through much change early on. They simply have small "adventure" each episode, that doesn't require much prior knowledge of the show, and leaves the characters more or less the same as when the episode started.
Also, seeing as the main cast is composed of soldiers, I thought that they would do more...well, soldier things. All the soldiers where the protagonist ends up are women like her, but they don't really have a whole lot of militaristic duties. They rarely go on patrols or even fire their weapons, for that matter. Ultimately, not much is done with the soldier aspect until the very end, and the rest of the time, these women could be an ordinary group of people who just happen to live in the same outpost. This is why I had a problem with the episodic nature of the show, because it rarely felt like anything of consequence was happening, despite the fact that I was watching a group of soldiers.
I suppose there's nothing technically "wrong" with having an "episodic" feel to a show, where there isn't much overall plot to connect the episodes. However, it's certainly not what I prefer. I personally like to see a strong plot that connects the episodes together, or even having the way the characters interact with one another to create drama and tension. I just didn't feel either of these things with Sora no Woto, which is why I rated the plot so low.
Now, the show doesn't stay this way the entire time. Toward the end of the show, there is a very nice span of two or three episodes where some very big events occur, and I was genuinely excited by what happened. I only wish that more of the show had been so plot driven, and had shown the storytelling prowess that the final episodes did.
Art (9/10) - This show was really quite beautiful to watch. No details were skimmed over, even in the background details. Mile after mile of gorgeous countryside was carefully painted into each frame, making it worthwhile to watch the background nearly as much as the characters. There were some pieces that were animated by CGI, which I didn't find as pleasant as the hand-drawn details, but I suppose machines an be very hard to do by hand. This is probably the show's strongest point, which makes me sad in some ways, since art has noticeably less to do with what makes a show good than many of its other aspects.
Sound (9/10)- Music is a large part of what drives this show, as the tune from "Amazing Grace" often fills the sky. I really enjoyed hearing this piece as it was played on the trumpet, and even in a full orchestration later on. The soundtrack overall was quite good, and I found it interesting that Amazing Grace was so integral to the story. Sora no Woto does mean "Sound of the Sky", which very well may refer to that familiar tune that so many people love.
Character (5/10)- As I mentioned before, there isn't much background given of the protagonist early on. And frankly, we never really learn much about her at all. The main problem I had with the characters was that we learn more about a "supporting" character than the main character. All we know about the protagonist is that she wants to learn to play the trumpet, and that's why she joined the army. We learn more about the background of basically every character than the protagonist, who remains a charming and very lovable, but ultimately very shallow character.
Perhaps what really made her seem shallow was her apparent lack of any sort of character flaw. She is completely selfless, thinking of others before herself, works hard, is completely loyal to her fellow soldiers, and never says anything unkind to anyone. This is all wonderful, but we never see what lies inside her heart. Is she only nice to cover up something tragic that happened to her? Is her loyalty due to the fact that she felt she betrayed someone in the past? The show never really attempts to answer these questions.
The show gives plenty of development to a supporting character that I mentioned previously, which makes it seems as though she should have been the protagonist instead. The cast is ultimately very likable, but their development is rather unbalanced, and we will ultimately learn things about them at the last second so that we can understand something. The creators caught themselves a few times, and had to have a character suddenly say "Oh, by the way, there's this really important thing about this other character's past that we forgot to mention until now, so here it is."
Not a bad cast, just one that was mishandled.
Enjoyment (6/10)- I had to force my way through one or two episodes where nothing really happened in the overall plot. Charming and fun only works for so long before someone like me will get curious about the plot, and this show seemed to forget about the plot until nearly the end. If it weren't for the mismanaged characters and lack of plot, this show could have been a lot better.
Remember how I said that it shows some truly beautiful colors at the end? Well, it does, but not until I had to sit through ten episodes of basically nothing. The end of the show was wonderful, emotionally moving, and brought a very satisfying conclusion to everything. It just wasn't enough to make up for early problems that hurt the overall enjoyment value.
Overall (6/10)- Ultimately, this show is worth watching, but only with realistic expectations. It's a lot of fun to watch at first, gets boring in the middle, but does end on a high note. Just don't go into this one expecting anything mind-blowing.
An inclusion of naturalistic elements to an otherwise stale gimmick of “cute girls in serious circumstances” in an anime has been met with a mixed reception among both casual and serious anime fans. This being circumstances that involve a setting, or lore to be specific, that would not have needed to have any “moe” components to make it even more or less meaningful. But we all know why this is the case: they want to appeal to what is popular, as it was popular considering this was made in 2010, and to cash in that would’ve otherwise been ignored without it. Unfortunately, that cash grab
is less than fruitful from how seemingly transparent these elements give off in these shows, and nowhere near is this evident than in Sora No Woto.
To get the gist of what Sora no Woto wants to show us with its extravagant array of colorful characters and artistic merit is how the setting is put into perspective. When you read the back story of the show’s lore, you get the sense that the writer really had a unique vision when constructing it to facilitate the story. Making the setting and the story compelling, however, are separate issues; you have to have a story with telling while also making the world an imaginative wonderland. In Sora no Woto, it manages to set a nice tone to the setting with an elaborate background story, but in regards to its story, there is absolutely nothing to make that setting meaningful.
This is a slice-of-life anime, first and foremost. No story can really be found in one, for the most part. Because of this, there is a perplexing motive to be understood from a writer’s perspective. Why tell an interesting lore, if your “story” doesn’t take advantage of that “lore”? By this counter-intuitive realization, it makes Sora no Woto seem like a lifeless barren landscape that holds no meaningful qualities. These lack of qualities come to show how so much is out in the vast openness of the show’s world, but the enclosed space where the main characters occupy is nonexistent.
Why is the space nonexistent? The characters that inhabit it are what make it that way. The only exception that doesn’t make these cast of characters completely terrible is Kanata Sorami because of her charming presence. Other than her, there was hardly any reason for me to take these girls’ own personal struggles with any strong conviction of sincerity. This problem can be surfaced by how so little the writers give any of these girls true distinctive, or unique, identities that made me think of them more than just Girl #1 , #2, or #3. Not to mention that the tropes that we see in countless cute girl ensemble anime aren’t at the least bit engrossing by how little they try to make it at least entertaining.
On the subject of entertainment value, it would help to find the value of Sora no Woto more revealing if you, say, have insomnia to help guide you through this. Monotony is prevalent in most scenes that would otherwise feel as if they were not needed to be there to begin with. I can appreciate atmospheric inclusions in some scenes, but there is almost hardly any substance to any of the pointless scenes where the girls go off to some abandoned area at random. This comes out as negative due to how dull the writing comes off as, not to mention how I previously mentioned how the characters are mostly devoid of any life to their generic tropes.
You would think, judging from the poster and screenshots, that this is made by Kyoto Animation considering how it looks very similar to K-ON. But it is in fact drawn by the original character designer of K-ON, along with Kokoro Connect and Lucky Star, Yukiko Horiguchi. Rightfully so, the style of artistry to her characters always feels very expressive in any of the shows she is involved in. However, with that said, there is a slight aesthetic disconnect to her character designs and the general art of the environments. Everything in the world is this slight gritty wasteland, while you see these cute girls doing the typical cute girl schtick that severely distracts the main pull of the ambiance. Despite this big crux, both are independently done very well in giving some bit of ingenuity to the art.
As far as anime music shows go, there aren’t as much in the way of musical endeavors go in Sora no Woto besides girls playing bugle horns every once in a while. But what music is there, it is quite soothing and fits the atmosphere well considering it gives a passable experience through all the dreary, monotonous scenes that take place.
A fair bit of wasted potential can be made into a case with regards to Sora no Woto. It is one thing if you try to put forth a strong lore within a show, but with a genre like Slice-of-life, you need to at least give an effort to show more of it than just plainly explain it through monologue after monologue. Even without monologues, there is never a sense of an accomplishment because of how dry the pacing comes across. While not at all a “bad” anime by any means, there are at least a few elements, such as the art/animation and musical arrangements. Best advice is to not watch this laying down in bed; otherwise your eyes will start to flutter until you start collapsing out of sheer apathy.
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.
Sora no Woto is a beautiful and triumphant tale of humanity, morality, war, and peace. One of the best animes to come out in recent years, and possibly of all time. It’s certainly one of the best I have ever seen.
Sora no Woto, or Sound of the Sky in English, is a 2010 war anime. War is this title’s main theme, but a viewer will find many other genres in this amazing title, including themes of yuri, GAR, moe, humor, psychological drama and horror, mecha, religion, mild fanservice and much more. Sora no Woto brings so much to the table, and what it brings
is definitley worth seeing.
Some may compare the art-style and character designs to that of K-ON! Well, I must admit: Kanata Sorami, the main character of Sora no Woto, does look an awful lot like Yui Hirasawa, the main character from K-ON! Because of this “moe” style, the characters in Sora no Woto are often kawaii and cute, even to the point of sometimes being “derpy.”
The show also deals with many controversial issues, such as the moral implications of an army using female child soldiers, the perils of underage drinking, and the absence of morality in war. Underneath many of Sora no Woto's seemingly innocent and light-hearted scenes lie some of mankind's darkest impulses. Sora no Woto is a great title in the fact that it can be at once both funny and horrifying.
Sora no Woto is a sleeper hit of true creativity and deep story-telling in an industry that is, for better or worse, saturated with light-hearted “moe” titles. Unfortunately, the fans prefer the latter. I'm all for silly, non-sensical moe stuff from time to time, but serious works of art like Sora no Woto are needed to break up the monotony and add some variety to things. I feel a little offended that this stupendous title isn’t more well-known or discussed in anime circles. But I guess that would just be a popularity contest. Yet if Sora no Woto was more popular, that would be great because more people would be aware of this great show, and be able to watch it.
Only then can they realize that these moments are the future…
Cute Japanese and European teenage girls, wearing Wehrmacht uniforms, exploring a Japanese school in a Spanish town full of French people who make Venetian glassware on Switzerland's French border, in a country that has a soldier princess playing Amazing Grace on a trumpet, following a Shinto-Christian religion with a miko-nun, treating tropical diseases only children get, accepting yen as currency while not being able to read kanji, celebrating Spanish traditions mixed with Chinese New Years legends, shooting at African owls (that try to keep them away from schoolgirl ghosts) with German rifles, being led by a traumatized commander who is afraid of lightning, tricking Italian
mobsters to keep them from moving in on the girls' bootlegging operation which finance their paycheck and supplies, playing war games with a nun and getting pissed drunk, pissing themselves and becoming baby factories for the Pope, creating biological weapons while still little kids and killing thousands, all while at war with German-speaking brown-skinned Americans with bindis on females' foreheads from a Roman Empire lead by the Pope that follows a monotheistic religion that believes in the Judgment Day, while piloting a finally fixed multi-legged, demon-slaying, weather-reporting, stealth-sniper and simulation training mode capable, AMAZING GRACE SINGING, Engrish-speaking, talking like a SPESS MEHREEN,wall-climbing, 200mm coil gun-firing "son of the god of fire" supertank from the past (aka Tank-kun).
So Ra No Wo To is an original anime brought to us by A-1 Pictures. Yes, the studio behind Kuroshitsuji, Uchuu Kyoudai, Sword Art Online & Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin is back. Or, more accurately, I'm looking at one of their works again. Thus far, my experience with them as a studio has varied a lot. With Uchuu Kyoudai being at the high end and Sword Art Online on the low, because it's shit. This particular series is from 2010 and was relatively early in terms of their productions. It was written by Yoshino Hiroyuki, speaking of people I have mixed experiences with. Yeah, this
bloke also wrote Shuumatsu no Izetta, which was a great series and Dance in the Vampire Bund, which will always be remembered as utter rubbish. So, this one is a gamble. I'd give it about 50-50 odds.
In the far distant future, humanity seems to be running out of habitable land (now we know how all those species we've fucked over to build cities feel) and a lot of old technology has been lost. It's in this future that the country of Helvetia and the new Roman Empire are on the brink of war. We follow a young garrison on the border of No Man's land as they mostly faff about.
The only real criticism I have about the narrative is that the build up to the climax could have been handled better. It's largely relegated to the last few episodes with small bit beforehand that give very small hints and we're talking very basic like Rio's identity being obvious by the time she plays her role or the threat of war being omnipresent throughout.
I do really like the way the series mixes a kind of standard slice of life style with the whole war scenario (Sort of like how he melded cutesy yuri romance with a war scenario in Izetta). It allows it to have that sense of fun and enjoyment while also leaving room for more serious, dramatic stuff and it never feels dissonant. The world building is really interesting and executed in a fully organic way. We don't just know the broad stroke details, we know very trivial everyday things like how life in Kanata's little village differs from life in the city of Seize (I know, not a subtle city name) because of geographical variations within the same nation. Which is a fascinating detail. The series has a good sense of humour as well. Filicia's way of confirming whether or not their visitor speaks their language is hilarious but it also makes sense. The whole episode where they all get pissed, save one, is really funny. There are good dramatic scenes too. Noël & Filicia both have some real tragedy to their back stories. Rio & Kureha have some as well but Kureha's plays less of a role and Rio's is kept a bit vague because they don't want to show the actual details and spoil the climax. Then we have the epic Amazing Grace scene. Those are words I never thought I'd string together, but it's a part of the climax and it's a superb scene. It's also interesting the way Helvetia and the Roman Empire have similar legends, but different takes on them.
I quite like the cast in this series. They have enough complexity to carry the more dramatic scenes as well as enough quirkiness to make the humour strong. Which is something Gintama couldn't manage with over fourteen times the number of episodes. This is only a fourteen episode series and that's counting the two special episodes. I also appreciate the way the series connects the characters through most of the main cast having formative meetings with a certain person of note. He fleshes out their back stories enough to give them a sense of completion while also building up their dynamics with one another. Those dynamics are very nice too.
The animation is well done. It moves smoothly and just generally does a good job at holding any given tone. I love some of the mechanical designs, especially the old tank that Noël spends a good portion of the series working on. I appreciate that the girls are given proper uniforms instead of going full GI Joe solely for the sake of having variety. But, in all fairness, GI Joe has a bunch of similar looking characters while this has characters with distinctive appearances.
Our major characters are voiced by Yuuki Aoi, Kanemoto Hisako, Kobayashi Yuu, Endou Aya & Kitamura Eri. They're all absolutely fantastic. The side characters have good acting as well with the talents of Fukuen Misato, Yasokawa Mayuno, Ishizuka Unshou (don't be surprised if he asks whether you're a boy or girl) and others. Oshima Michiru's sound track is fantastic. Even the Amazing Grace motif and I'm saying that as someone who doesn't generally like that song.
There's a fair amount. This is one of those series where all the girls seem interested in one another. It's especially true at the point where they talk about their dreams. I don't want to spoil anything too specific since that episode takes place after the climax, but putting it in vague terms, one girl wants to be a bride. And I'm fairly certain she wants to marry the other girl she's been writing to, based on their dynamic and interactions. Another girl wants to stay with yet another female character forever and her expression along with the flush on her face when she says it indicates that she's thinking of tribadism and cunning linguistics. Plus the two of them are incredibly homo-erotic throughout.
How the hell did Yoshino write this, then write something as bad as Dance in the Vampire Bund directly after? Because this is a fantastic anime. Virtually everything about it works and works really well whereas that's practically the opposite. Is Yoshino actually twin brothers who take turns turning in what they've been working on with one being a complete knob and the other skilled? Does he lose all writing ability when exposed to indigo kryptonite? Is the studio working with both him and his goatee sporting counterpart from an evil opposite universe? Is it just that he was doing his best to adapt a really shit manga? Whatever the case, I'll give this series a 9/10. Next week, Fortune Quest: Yo ni mo Shiawase na Boukensha-tachi.
So. Ra. No. Wo. To. The sound of the sky that pierces the heavens. Yet another anime set in a post-apocalyptic world, but this time with some moe appeal to brighten up your day.
Sound of the Sky is an interesting anime. Rather than being adapted months or years later from a successful manga or light novel, it actually aired along with its manga serialization. Consequently, it features the blessing and curse of being an original, one that forges its own path without the pressure of living up to its source material’s reception.
With no better words to describe it, I
found the Sound of the Sky to be a disappointing anime. The opening, performed by Kalafina, is truly killer, and actually does an excellent job of prefacing the post-apocalyptic world in which the cast finds themselves. The ending, while certainly playing more off the moe aspect of the show, holds its own as well. The animation, furthermore, while nothing special, is never poor enough to be distracting, and even includes some very nice scenes. The real issue comes with everything else – the story, the characterization, the pacing, and the ending.
Without betraying too much of the plot, it is important to realize that all of the show’s cast is characterized explicitly, rather than implicitly. Very rarely are the viewers given something to chew on. Even simple devices like foreshadowing and allusion are missed in the straightforward character-builds that frequently follow an episodic path. As you watch this anime, the characters are shoved directly at you. They’ll tell you what they want you to know to be true about them, and nothing more. I can’t think of a single example in this show where subtlety is used as a mechanism for developing character traits, or where a lane for fantheory (laugh if you want) is given a space to grow.
So Ra no Wo To builds on the simple, idea that all of the show’s cast are different representations of the MC’s character. Kanata is a seemly optimistic, determined girl who wants nothing more than to learn the sound of the sky that brought her hope during her war-torn upbringing. The other four main characters – her peers and superiors in the 5-woman platoon – serve as the symbols of the conflicting emotions that hide deeper in her mind. An oversimplification, though not an inaccurate one, reveals that Kanata is not able to escape the dystopian, depressing reality that is her continued existence. The happy, positive mind is a facade covering the depression that characterizes almost the entire cast. But rather than being instructive, So Ra no Wo To seems to embrace the “that sucks!” mentality. Life is nasty, poor, brutish, and short, as soon as one steps beyond the borders of cozy Seize or the walls of Kanata’s positive outlook. And this isn’t even subtle or thoughtfully done throughout the course of the show, nor is it instructive. Each of the remaining platoon members exhibit little character beyond their usefulness for unwrapping Kanata’s optimistic front.
All this could be forgiven, though, if only the show possessed some message in its storytelling. What about the Sound of the Sky drives one past the depressive reality and into a new day? Obviously, it’s love, friendship, and playing Amazing Grace on a trumpet so well that two warring armies throw down their weapons and celebrate the end of a war. For a show that so badly wants to be a slice of life inspired by a certain after-school tea time (seriously, there’s even a scene where Kanata envisions the whole platoon playing music in high school together), it offers a conclusion that’s laughably unrealistic even by slice-of-life standards. It’s not instructive, it’s not redemptive, and it leaves the viewer with no better sense of what to do when the darkness of the world seems overpowering.
And with such there’s several other places where this show struggles. For some reason the writers, having spent most of the season on small sub-arcs that went nowhere ranging from water fights to illegal alcohol distillery – feel that it is a good idea to introduce a brand new character, and to start a war that conveniently concludes in the platoon captain becoming a princess and saving the day in Disney-esque fashion. It’s almost as if the writers, believing for so long they were writing a normal SoL, are found out that they aren’t following the show’s military-esque premise and told to draw some mecha tanks and some massive explosions, along with the stereotypical “evil military dude who has a bizarre backstory with one of the cast” all in the final two episodes. It’s so forced it is almost funny, but there’s not suggestion the pacing is supposed to be comedic by intent. Combine this with the entirely overly-characterized cast, and you have something that’s only memorable because of how forced and unnecessary it all is. To make matters worse, some other themes, such as the legends and lore that surround the city and the almost spiritual nature of the land’s history, give viewers a sense of hope in the first few episodes that we might see some actually interesting development, just to have all hopes quenched in the poorly-paced, directionless story. It’s disappointing. There’s also some really bizarre impure yuri that seems to be placed in there mainly as a form of fanservice but does absolutely nothing to assist the already-struggling story.
So my final rating is mediocre. It would be a full point worse, but the absolutely excellent opening singlehandedly saves its rating. If you are the spoiler-reading type who read this review in an attempt to find out if this show is worth you while: I don’t recommend it. If you’re looking for the SoL that this show really wants to be, go watch K-On! If you want the military story that this show may appear to be, there’s an absolute wealth of excellent anime to choose from that do it so much better. But feel free to listen to the opening on YouTube whenever the desire comes.
A fantastic story with a bit of a misleading description that could've greatly benefited from a slower pace spread between two or three seasons (I'll dig into the pacing later). Sound of the Sky is a military slice of life at its core, and had very little to do with music aside from one character who only focuses on the musical aspect of this show in a handful of scenes spread thin and widely across twelve episodes. Many people relate Sound of the Sky to K-On! and I just do not see the relation whatsoever. These are both two fantastic and incredibly enjoyable shows, but
for wildly different reasons. This isn't strictly a bad thing, I just wanted to get it out of the way before I get into the many good aspects this show has to offer you as a viewer.
The story of Sound of the Sky is the spotlight. Slice of life as a genre generally relies on character interaction to keep the viewer watching, but Sound of the Sky generally trickle-feeds you the tale of an in-depth story and a lively world through the lives of a group of soldier girls stationed in a quiet town at the edge of the world. The world of Sound of the Sky is incredibly unique and intriguing, offering a great platform for interesting lore and life-like enjoyable characters. "A world on the brink of a mass-extinction apocalypse, engulfed in war" is something I rarely see in media, new or old. People have been fighting a civil war fueled by the petty squabbles of politicians and generals for decades, and everyone has lost friends, family, and their homes. Nobody wants to fight, but they are forced to. The viewer learns how the average peoples of this world view such a war through the lives of the main characters and their interactions with the people they meet. It's really an incredibly intriguing story that portrays war in a very realistic and human manner.
All that said about the story, it does suffer from a major flaw; it's simply too complex and overflowing with lore that 12 episodes simply don't do it the justice it deserves. The majority of lore, both the world and its characters, is revealed in the last two episodes. The majority of that majority is in the last episode alone. Sound of the Sky would've been an absolute masterpiece if the creators were given the span of two to three seasons, or two seasons and a movie to work with.
The art is just as unique and memorable as the story. It consistently gave me slavic-Witcher-3 vibes, though the main setting of Sound of the Sky is geographically based off a town called Cuenca in Spain, and it's almost copied down to a T. Any shot of the atmosphere in this show could be framed and make a great piece of art to hang on your walls. It's unique, yet believable and immersive. The world is gorgeous, yet gritty and scarred from decades of meaningless and brutal war. Though it could be said that the scarring can make it even more beautiful in a dark way.
Music really is only a loose focus of Sound of the Sky. It's just one character's infatuation and the creators use it as a message in the story that I will not spoil. Anyone who recommends this from/with K-On! is pretty wrong and I don't know why it's a relatively common suggestion from what I've seen. As I've said earlier, they're both fantastic anime, but they have two completely different settings and world tone. That said, the actual soundtrack of Sound of the Sky is nice and very fitting for the world. Catchy OP/ED as well.
I see some people criticize the characters of Sound of the Sky for being boring or stereotypical, and I feel they completely miss the point of the show. This isn't some epic gundam battle anime where the main characters are all incredible supersoldiers. The characters of Sound of the Sky are just average citizens wrapped up in a civil war they never wanted to fight, and I think that makes them all the more interesting. Sadly, the characters suffer just as much as the story from the lack of time and freedom of pacing the creators were given to work with. I still think everyone involved did a fantastic job doing the best they could with what they had. Sound of the Sky mostly a slice of life show, and it succeeds in being that. You move with the emotions of the characters and you grow to become attached to them.
Overall, I really enjoyed Sound of the Sky for what it offered. This could've been a perfect 10/10 and become a solid favorite of mine if the pacing wasn't such a hackjob. Military slice of life is my favorite niche genre of anime, and I enjoyed Sound of the Sky as a slice of life, while being pleasantly surprised by its intriguing and unique world lore. I'd give this a very strong 8.5/10 to a weak 9/10.
Cobbled streets, glass-faced shops, wooden chimneys, and wood-aged frames. Coupled with a tower vista and an annual festival, it's the ideal destination for a charming trip down Europe's Old World. Like time froze to pressure this place's quaint character. It's quite the reverse, though. This is as far as the technology has advanced... scratch that, regressed. This land is one of the few places on Earth that is still arable. Still habitable. Nothing but wasteland lays beyond, and it spreads, festers, an eternal reminder of past wars, even in present peace. The weapons nowadays aren't sticks and stones, mind you, but compared to today's standards,
it's certainly antiquated and... somewhat anachronistic? Early to mid-19th century arms, spider tanks, walking armor, and trumpets.
Originally featured on the opening debut of “Anime no Chikara,” or the “Power of Anime,” a TV block dedicated to the creation of original Japanese animated series, Sound of the Sky was scripted by Hiroyuki Yoshino and directed by Mamoru Kanbe. Produced by A-1 Pictures, who has done other works such as Anohana, Working!!, Blue Exorcist, and Sword Art Online, we follow the daily dealings of the 4 female members of the 1121st Platoon of the Helvetian Army. Initially appearing as stock anime stereotypes, each main cast member is fleshed out, the backstories behind their behaviors fleshed out, one episode at the time. With each episode, a common denominator between them is discovered. Their lives have been defined by war. One is an orphan. Another is a valuable political asset. Still another is haunted by the horrors she unwittingly endured. Last is one haunted by the horrors she unwittingly committed. And then, we have the Platoon's newest recruit, Konata Sorami, an optimistic adolescent who volunteered for free bugle lessons. In the absence of functional radios, bugles have that advantage of being loud and distinct enough to offer some semblance of communication and coordination amidst whatever shit is raining from the sky or zipping past the ground, though that's hardly the reason she signed up for the task. Nor is it simply a matter of wanting lessons just because.
Sound of the Sky has a fantastic world setting. It's not very often a show incorporate the presence of different cultures interacting with each other, and more often than not, these cultures are usually organized into their own separate national entities and seldom have different speech. It's something else that this show is able to incorporate cultural identities both without and within state boundaries, pluralistic societies, in other words, and enrich it with it's own meticulously crafted folklore, religions, and customs, like something out of a Miyazaki film. I was particularly impressed with the use of different accents when the reality of different languages came up. Combined with the various festivals illustrated and mentioned throughout this show's going, it adds this sense of authenticity as well as immersion and scale. And yet they have commonalities between them, suggesting shared histories as well as demonstrating cultural biases, accentuated by geographic barriers, past fighting, and inflammatory propaganda. Many share similar mythologies on certain phenomenon, like the one presented in Episode 1. Many share similar values, a love for their homes and a disdain for unnecessary bloodshed. Many share similar sentiments toward one particular tune.
“Amazing Grace,” by John Newton and William Cowper, and rearranged by Michiru Oshima, is the most defining piece played throughout the show, by the characters themselves as well as by the OST. Despite its roots as a religious hymn, there's a reason it has transcended to become the most universally recognized and lauded song throughout space and time. It's a captivating melody, the brass a capella of the trumpet, followed by the string cantata of the orchestra, to be sure, but what makes it inspiring is its message, a message that characterizes Sound of the Sky as a whole. That while there's still beauty in this world... that there's still hope. Hope despite the blasted landscapes. Hope despite the battered limbs. Hope despite the scarred psyches. The show wouldn't be the same without it. Still beautiful to listen to is the OP, “Hikari no Senritsu” or “Melody of Light” by Yuki Kajiura's Kalafina, whose lyrics, when sung by the combined passion of melody and harmony, reinforce this prevalent theme, to the point where the OP's climax, feels like a call to prayer. The flute gives way to classic guitar, cymbals, and xylophone that complement the voices, soon transitioning, transcending to chords of electric guitar and clangs of drum set that contribute a radiating sense of power. The visuals, depicting portrayals of the girls doing sedentary farming and closed-eyed reflection, courtesy of Kanbe, who also had a major hand in designing Elfen Lied's OP “Lilium,” are inspired from the works of the Austrian symbolist painter, Gustav Klimt. ED, “Girls be Ambitious” by Haruka Tomatsu is, more or less, your uppity J-Pop single, reflecting, from the sounds to the looks, the show's slice of life.
Speaking of which, the show has its issues with that aspect. On the one hand, it's a war fallout narrative. On the other, it's a slice of life. It's not as though these two different genres are mutually exclusive from each other. After all, many a war's consist of mainly of small part's adrenaline and large part's tedium. Soldiers have lulls of at least informal leave out of their trenches or, if that isn't possible, in them. At times, it's a serious evaluation of war's toll on both places and people, both on the battlefield and beyond it. Depending on the tides of war, non-combatants can escape nearly unaffected. At others, it's cute girls doing cute things with military garb. It's like something out of K-On, and it doesn't help that the character facial models are indistinguishable from the other. The expressions these textures allow can come off to be emotive. They can also come off as distracting. If you're going to handle a subject as heavy as war's consequences, it must be handled with gravity. That isn't to say the show doesn't take itself lightly at times. For instance, Episode 7 deals with PTSD. Episode 8 deals with a juvenile-to-borderline fetish involving pee. In addition, it's often layered with a lot of subtlety. I love subtlety. But sometimes, I think it's too subtle for its own good, to the point I feel like I'm grasping straws.
In spite of its efforts come off as mature, it plays what is effectively its moe factor way too much to come off many a time as anything but. Though to what details that it does take itself seriously in, the staff behind this show can take some pride.
Sora no Woto could be described as slice of life meets post-apocalyptic. This sounds like a bit of an unlikely combination, which I suppose it is. How about putting it like this: it's a show about how a bunch of relatively normal people live their everyday lives while having to deal with a world that's been ravaged by war, and how they cope with past losses and manage to find something to smile about in the present.
The first two episodes were a little shaky for me, but once they got the stuff like Kureha's Obligatory Tsundere Moment out of the way, each episode just got
better than the last. The slice of life tradition of finding something extraordinary in the everyday is made especially poignant by the post-apocalyptic backdrop. You watch all these little revelations and miniature adventures and you laugh and smile and then remember that this is a world where dolphins no longer exist, where nobody knows how to work a radio, where there are not enough children left in town to fill the old school building.
And Sora no Woto does not spare the viewer from the harsh realities of its universe. Yes, most of the episodes are lighthearted, but the show never shies away from mentioning the darker facts, including plenty of dead parents, the completely desolate no-man's land, and some particularly chilling war flashbacks. And again, it's the dark that makes the light glow all the brighter.
One final general thing I think is worth mentioning is that I love the storytelling style. This anime never assumes the viewer is stupid when revealing plot points. It's all a matter of giving just enough hints that it's obvious, but never wasting time by saying, "Yes, here's what actually happened." This applied in particular to episode 10, which has in my opinion been the best episode so far (like I said, they get better, though 7 and 10 are definitely peaks), where the plot reveals were simply a matter of confirming previous hints, and instead the impact of the episode was devoted to character interactions and development.
MAL has given me categories to assign numbers to but I'm not huge on number ratings so I'll just write a quick sentence or two about each:
Story: mostly slice-of-life episodic, but with a gradually building backstory that's currently coming to its climax. The episodic plots are quite enjoyable as well, if you're into the slice-of-life stuff.
Art: people always say the characters look like K-On!. Fair enough. Don't expect the anime to be like K-On! however. Background art is beautiful in that tragic way post-apocalyptic scenery is.
Sound: I'm sure everyone and their mother has said this, but the music is great. The ending theme can cause some major emotional dissonance for the more serious episodes, however.
Character: as much as I've grown to love them I have to admit they're a bit cookie-cutter. There's plenty of development and backstory reveals throughout the series.
Enjoyment: hopefully from the review it was obvious that I'm loving this. Your mileage may vary, but I'm really feeling the emotional connection here.
When I was young and ignorant, I often cried a lot. Give me this, give me that, I didn't care - I wanted it now. My parent's go-to strategy? Hum......."Amazing grace, how sweet, the sound, that saved, the wretch, like me...." Instantly, I would sleep. There's something magical, or, for a lack of a better word, penetrating about that song. It strikes right through your heart, uplifting your spirit and calming your soul. Sora no Woto evolves and becomes something truly wonderful with a powerful, underlying theme.
The story is wonderful; it starts off slice-of-lifey and really slow and painful, especially for the people who want
a grandiose story and perfect mood/tone. However, stick through the first half a dozen episodes, and you slowly fall in love with the characters. Throughout the beginning, there is an undertone of dread and mixed optimism, a bittersweet tang in the back of your mouth so to speak. The little hints and clues slowly build a bigger picture that encompasses the main story, eventually interfering with their perfect lives. I don't want to spoil anything because trust me, it gets pretty intense and riveting. I become to sympathise with the characters, their plight, their endless struggle against an unkind and unloving world. And throughout it all, there was the ominous, foreboding military. The overall theme is magnificent - it portrays a common struggle humanity constantly is at war with: aggression and ultimately, love.
The artwork is dazzling and spectacular. There's this cheery sort colors that blend with the moods of the characters. During the happy parts, the colors appeared lush and bright. The depressing or gloomy or grim moods brought storms, dark clouds, and other drab colors. There were vast mountain vistas and grand scenes of nature and of a quaint town. The setting depicted 18th century Europe accurately, with a technological quirk here and there. Everything was drawn to exact detail; the cobblestone streets, the distant snow on the mountains, the old vehicles - I almost felt like I was there.
Besides the fact that Amazing Grace is one of my favorite songs, the sound continually surprised me. The trumpet sound was clean and pristine, reflecting the beautiful sceneries. The panoramic views and sound melded together perfectly. The OP was a foreshadowing of an important event; the ED was happy and go-lucky, as if to say, "Phew, it's over." I listened to both, and ended up loving both.
The characters were your typical cast of a slice-of-life - the tsundere, the carefree one, the authoritative one. In the general slice-of-life, there isn't a character arc; however, here there were major changes in personalities and attitudes. Dark secrets were revealed, and pasts were uncovered beneath once impenetrable outer masks. The characters themselves were standard only for the first couple episodes; once they dug deep, truths were uncovered that changed their perceptions about each other for a long time.
Overall, I enjoyed it thoroughly, much more than I originally thought. I loved the story progression and epic conclusion and little things both big and small. Though it may seem too happy-go-lucky for the first episodes, the dark nature and underlying tone eventually force their way to the surface, and prepare for a bumpy ride. Through music, a simple song can calm all.
If I were dying, there is a short list of books I would read, songs I would listen to on repeat, shows I would watch to comfort me in my last mortal hours. This is one of them. It deserves better than anything I can say to recommend it.
So Ra No Wo To is far from flawless. It falls short on many counts, as all things do under the sun. But it is perfect in its imperfections. There is nothing I would change, not because there are no defects, but because I fear I may ruin the special intersection of accidents that makes this wondrous.
elements of the story are cliche, but the characters and world are strong enough that it earns its cliches, its moments of corn and cheesy smiles. Speaking of the world, the central town of Seize is one of my favorite places in television, a fragment of beauty cast adrift in a desertifying world. It's a gorgeous post-apocalypse.
This may not be for everyone, but if you like cute girls, good music, and finding what hope you can in a hopeless world, Sora no Woto may be for you.
After watching this anime, I really can't help as to wonder as to what is the main theme of this thing; is it the female cahracters struggling to find a way to ease their boredom co'z they're assigned in some outpost which is too far away from any action or is it the bugle call "AMAZING GRACE?" So, how do I rate this anime? Here's how:
Story: Fair 6.
Ok, so the genre of this anime are the following: Military, Shonen, Sci-fi, Musical, Action (appred only in the last 2 episodes) and Comedy (just a little bit). However amongst the genre only the musical part
is most prevelent pertaining to Kanata's bugel calls, everything else are trivial and a mediocre of "Make love not war" kind of thing.
Art: Poor poor 3.
Question: what the heck was the artist thinking when he or she got inspiration to don the Helvetia soldiers (feamle charcters inculded) in a Nazi style uniform, which by the way inculdes the utility vehicles and the guns that they use except the tanks, also the Roman soldiers were donned with a wrong kind of uniform, in reality, during WW2 the Italian (Roman) army donned an Olive Gray uniform and not the typical WW2 Soviet Style uniform, frankly everythings that were drawn were composed bits and pieces of something during WW2 that the artist of this anime seem to based it from ..
Sound: Dreadful 2.
If you're talking about the opening theme, I hate it.
If you're talking about the various bugel calls inculding the "Amazing Grace," I say it's a bit of a Sacrilege (pataining to the "Amazing Grace") to even make it part of the anime. The said bugel call is reserve only to a solidier, fireman or any member of the law enforcement unit who died in the line of duty. There is a diffrent bugel call which is used to call for a truce, and I'm surprise that the author of this anime doesn't know it.
Character: Mediocre 5.
It is not unusual for a female soildier to be regulated for guard duty or any non-combat duty. So, if the setting is in some European country then all charcters should sport european names, particulary in German, unfortunatly most of the charcters still have Japanese names like: Kanata Sorami, Rio Kazumiya, Kureha Suminoya and Noel Kannagi. On the other hand, the supporting character Aisha Aldola is not a typical roman name, The character's name is more like a combination of French with a touch of Spanish, also she should be speaking Italian or latin instead of German.
Enjoyment and Overall: Fair 6
As in fair enough to be watch by all ages.
Trivia: During WW2 the Soviet Red Army utilizes women for sniper duties.