I’m quite surprised that there have been only a few reviews for this well-made, yet somewhat-underrated series.
If you like astronomy and want to learn more about some stargazing basics, this series “inspires” and is perhaps an anime of choice. (At least for me, I started stargazing using the techniques I learned from the show.) On the other hand, if you are not that into the subject, you may not enjoy it at all.
Sora no Manimani is a romance comedy, slice-of-life anime with an astronomy theme. The story involves a bookworm (Saku Ooyagi) who really hates outdoor activities, but was coerced into follow his hyperactive, childhood friend (Mihoshi Akeno) into the high school astronomy club. At that time, the club was desperately recruiting new members otherwise they will be suspended. Of course, they eventually could manage to find total of 5 members, and the story goes from there.
The main focus and the most enjoyable scene of each episode are the stargazing scene. The series goes over several important patterns and constellations of the northern hemisphere night sky of every season. They cover the basics of how to stargaze with naked eyes, binoculars, and telescopes. You can learn a lot of useful tricks on how to find some important stars as well.
Comedy is another good part of this anime. The humor is generally decent. The series made me laugh out loud several times. The show is overall refreshing to watch, and at least will keep you smile while going over it.
There are also some stories about romantic relationship between each anime characters, especially the love triangle (or perhaps, quadrangle) between club members (Saku, Mihoshi, and Hime). However, in my opinion, the romance part is probably not the strength of this series, and if you are looking into anime with this kind of plot, I would rather recommend other ones.
The character designs are generally adorable. Studio Comet did a nice job with the animation. The animation style is appropriate for this type of series, i.e., pretty easy to digest and simple on the eyes. The animation quality is pretty high.
Interestingly, the details of the night sky (e.g., the position of the stars and constellations) in this anime are quite accurate even in some very minor scenes. I am sure the production team has done a lot of research on this. I can even practice stargazing using some random starry night shots from the anime.
The OP & ED songs are okay. Nothing really stands out, but I think it they fit the genre of the anime well. The background music is good in general. Voice acting is nicely done.
All characters are likable, and most of them are adorable. The interactions between the characters provide several enjoyable comedies and are fun to watch. A few of the characters are quite well-developed especially the main ones, but most of them just come and go. A lot of characters were introduced quite late in the season, so there was not enough time to explore them. The studio claims that there will release some OVA or DVD specials later, which hopefully will focus more on the backgrounds of these people (e.g., the past stories of the President of the Astronomy Club).
Sora no Manimani is one of the most enjoyable series that I have seen. Thanks to lovable characters, nice comedy, great voice acting roles, good quality animation, and most importantly, the astronomy theme.
I would recommend Sora no Manimani to anyone who is interested in a romance comedy, slice-of-life anime with an astronomy theme. It is probably the best series about stargazing that I have seen in the market so far.