Ok. 1st I shall review this anime as an anime lover. I have one word to describe this anime. Underrated. Some people don’t even give a second glance when they hear it is about astronomy. What’s so nice about looking at stars? Boring… However, that is not the case. You DO NOT have to know anything about astronomy or possess any interest about astronomy to enjoy watching Sora no Manimani. (You may just watch it for the comedy).
However, do consider this question. If right now, in the night, there is a telescope placed directly in front of you, pointing towards the moon, would you be interested to take a look through it? If your answer is yes, then chances are you do possess some interest towards astronomy.
Basically, Sora no Manimani is just a slice-of-life and comedy anime, but with an astronomy theme and some light-hearted high school romance. It begins with the quiet and reserved Saku Ooyagi returning to his hometown after many years, reuniting with his ever-energetic and enthusiastic childhood friend Mihoshi Akeno in High School (much to his dismay). There, she literally drags him into the astronomy club where his “misadventures” (in a good way) begins.
Sora no Manimani has the comedic feel of K-ON! and Azumanga Daioh. It’s hilarious and crazy at the same time. With the constant antics of hyper Mihoshi and the constant misunderstandings of her relationship with Saku, you find yourself laughing out loud at every episode.( though it gets lesser near the end).There’s also the Sunohara-alike Edogawa to bring out more laughter.
Romance in Sora no Manimani is light-hearted and forms most of the plot. We get to see some really interesting (and funny) relationships between the characters as the anime progress. Most of the time, the romance isn’t very deep though.
The animation quality is quite amazing. The stars appear blinking and The Milky way and the winter night sky have been drawn beautifully. They’re almost like the real thing outside. The constellation art looks original and grand too. The stars have also been depicted in their correct positions, they're not just randomly scattered across the sky. Just look at how many stars of different brightness there are in the winter night sky and you will know how much effort was put in. Kudos to Studio Comet.
Music is pretty good too. The opening and ending songs may sound quite average at the beginning but I’ve grown to like them. The background music is beautiful too especially in the stargazing scenes and some of the more moving scenes.
Now comes my review as a fellow “astronomer”. (DO NOT read this part if you haven't watched the anime or know little about astronomy.) I was in the astronomy club during my junior college(high school). If there was one thing I learnt from there was that astronomy was not all about stars. Where were the deep-sky objects??? (pardon my ranting). Nebulas? (huge interstellar clouds of gas where stars are born) Globular clusters? (Spherical collection of stars that can contain tens of thousands to millions of stars. It’s really beautiful to view in the telescope). Where were the galaxies? It wasn’t as if they didn’t get the chance to use the telescope. Heck they even had the whole observatory (the gigantic rotating ones) twice to themselves!!! They could have even viewed supernovas with that!! (At least they did show M52, an open cluster). The moon they viewed was also disappointing since it wasn’t the side with most of the craters.(guess that can’t be helped).
Putting those aside, Sora no Manimani is DEFINITELY still a joy to watch. I cannot help but smile and nod in agreement when characters share methods, tips and tricks about stargazing. The methods to identify neighbouring stars and constellations have also been explained very well too.
Let me end my review with a quote from the anime (subbed): “There aren’t very many people who’ll buy a telescope to stargaze even if they’re curious, but given the opportunity, they will choose to. And fortunately, we can create that opportunity. And because we can, we want to share it with everyone.”. I believe this has been the intention of the manga’s author from the start. Sora no Manimani wasn’t meant just for astronomy enthusiasts. It was catered more towards sharing the world of astronomy with an audience who did not know about astronomy or “seemed” uninterested about it. (Maybe that's why deep-sky objects were left out).
I’ve enjoyed watching Sora no Manimani. I’ll recommend this anime to anyone out there, regardless of his or her opinion about astronomy. After watching Sora no Manimani, perhaps you’ll find the “astronomer” in you. (Cheesy, I know). I’ll give Sora no Manimani an 8/10 (very good). Perhaps there’ll be more to watch and “see” if there’s a season 2.
Finally, when you’re out of your house at night, going out with your family or friends… don’t forget to gaze up at the night sky every now and then...
(My 1st review. Any comments/questions you have or wrong facts in my review do PM me!)