Unoriginal and Uninspiring”
If you have the sense or feeling that modern anime are heading this way, I don’t think not. Yes, anime adapted from source material can be viewed by some as that following quote I have used in a editorial against Miyazaki’s views* on modern anime, but a effort to change this tend comes in from of TV Tokyo, Aniplex and A-1 Pictures, called the Animeno Chikara project, or The Strength of Anime is a project where they produce completely original Anime and broadcast it. The first project they done with the project is Sora no Woto. People when they first saw the first shots of it accused it being a copy of K-ON! and that it’s going to be a moeblob show since the characters looks vastly similar. That wasn’t the case at all when I was blown away by the first few episodes of Sora no Woto and I liked the story and the setting. Hardly any moe at all, besides that Episode 8.
With original productions, you are left with a clean slate of expectations. With adaptations, the viewers expect that it will be close to the original source material and when they find out that they changed or left something out or that the series has too many fillers, they will start complaining and drive their expectations down. I had no expectations when I first watch this production and it leave me a very good impression, allowing one to have an open mind. Original productions, you don’t know what will happen next or expect how well it is going to be until the next episode, which makes people eager to want the next episode soon. Also, they allow the producers to become more creative and original as opposed to adaptions, where you have to stick to the source material and you are pretty much limited on what new characters or plot you can put into the series without making the viewers angry.
Anyways, since I finished the introduction, first I’m going to focus on the story. The story is pretty deep and takes place in a town called Seize in Helvetia after the war have finished. This is where Kanata gets sent to and she has a very optimistic view about the future. As time goes on, we learn more about legends, past stories from various people and also Princess Iliya!!! The episodes that I felt that had a very good impact is Episode 3, where Kanata gets ill and we first hear “Amazing Grace”, Episode 5, where Noel, Kanata, Kureha goes onto the field trip and we are first introduced to No Man’s Land, Episode 6 is Misho’s story, Episode 7 with Filicia, getting over her loss of her friends and the first time we see Princess Iliya, Episode 9 with Klaus not disappointing Kureha by saving her and her keeping her faith in him and finally the last two episodes. “Amazing Grace” and legends are the most important and underlining of the story, which is shown throughout the season and time after time. However, with the seriousness, the happy and cheery ending theme ever gets so inappropriate that it becomes a mood whiplash, pretty much seen in Clannad After Story and Elfen Lied for examples as they used happy ending themes after a serious episode at the end of the episode. The story even after 12 episode seems that they could of gone a bit more in depth, but due to length constraints, they unable to do so which is fine… but if it was a little longer, I think the story can hold up even stronger. (Keep in mind, we are also getting 2 bonus episodes, possibly tie up loose ends.)
Music was pretty much good overall. Despite Kanata’s absolutely horrible playing in the beginning, but ended up turning out good when Amazing Grace was played in Episode 12 and it just sounded great. The opening theme, Hikarino Senritsu is really good considering how well it fits to the overall setting and story. However, even though I liked the ending theme, Girls, Be Ambitious, it became inappropriate several times after a serious scene happens towards the end and BAM! we are hit with a happy and go lucky tune… I would rather for them to use the other track, but oh well. For the background music, I have no opinion yet since the OST isn’t out yet, but I’m sure down the line, someone will review it.
Now for Characters. Yes, they look very similar to the characters from K-ON!, but I feel that they are different. Why? Kanata is not much of a moeblob and in contrast to Yui, I can’t picture that kind of behavior from her. Noel is the only character that has absolutely no relation to K-ON! (yep, they cut out Ritzu) and more like Nagato, but towards the end, she seems to have more emotion than the latter. Also, the voice acting for these characters are great… The only problems is character development, well mainly because of time constraints… I can’t complain much, but it’s worth saying they didn’t copy everything from K-ON! at all or if we did, well… who knows… From all those characters, I see Rio, Filicia and perhaps Kanata to be the strongest in terms of character development.
Overall, I think Sora no Woto is a outstanding series and I would recommend for those with a open mind. This is not K-ON! and Strike Witches smashed together, but I think with it’s strong setting, great storytelling and the eyecandy, I can say that Sora no Woto is a very interesting series that pretty much kept me watching. Hopefully, this production will encourage some more studios to start pumping out good and original Anime that can catch the viewer’s attention and keep it interesting so that it keeps the viewer watching. This pretty much proves that studios can produce original and inspiring anime if they work at it. They should use Sora no Woto as a model (but don’t copy the story/setting) and try to use the tactics used to create an original story that viewers will probably like.
Don’t say that I’m finished with Original Animes, the next one up is Angel Beats, which I will cover when it starts next week…
*I’m no way against Miyazaki’s works at all, I think he did a good job in producing movies that I did in fact enjoyed, but I just don’t agree with any of his politics and his views on Anime