Sound of the Sky Anime, Disk 3 (English)

August 29th, 2011

Sound of the Sky Complete DVD Collection Limited Edition (Sora no Woto)On the third disk of the Sound of the Sky box set we get short glimpses into several of the characters’ pasts, and a heap more through random expository scenes.

Filicia’s tragic past, ominous hints of Rio’s secret, Kureha’s history, even Claus’ past, all of these are laid out like cards in an attempt to draw us in deeper to the story and make us care about the characters. And it might have worked too, except…

…I have never watched an anime so bound and determined to make me dislike it.

There’s one deep episode, where we actually get some exposition of the war…followed by two episodes so utterly idiotic that there is no excuse for them, followed by a cliche’-ridden piece of tripe that anyone over 15 years old should be ashamed to have written.

Once again, I am being beaten with the fear so many anime studios have of *telling us an actual story.* It’s as if they cannot, will not and obviously do not feel comfortable with a female cast in a serious drama, and must relentlessly infantilize them so we can never, not for one second, take them seriously. I’m almost relieved at the egregious panty shots, because for a moment there I thought we were going to get some character development and obviously don’t want to get my hopes too high. Phew.

Yet again, we are confronted with the emotional manipulation of  “Amazing Grace.” Episode 9 of 12 and that and a few basic bugle calls are all we’ve heard, with the exception of Rio playing some extemporaneous jazz as a way of acting out.

I know that many of you enjoy this series and I swear, I’m trying to like it…but I’m finding it work to just *watch* it, much less enjoy it.

Three episodes to “get better.” It’s not impossible. As I said, I didn’t like the original Nanoha until episode 10, but what a bloody waste of talent, money and time this was. Instead of 9 amazing episodes, there was one-ish. That’s a pretty bad percentage in my book.

Ratings: When complete

I’m going to try and watch the last episodes soon, so we can wrap up the contest for a copy of the box set. Get your entry in before I write that final review!

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7 Responses

  1. Eric P. says:

    I didn’t like episode 7.5 much either, which left me thinking, “Really?” DVD-only episodes are usually sillier than the rest of the series, but this one was a bit much.

  2. deathcurse says:

    I see you’ve reached the rare good episode and the 2 crappy episodes ^^;;.

    Honestly, the only episodes that I really loved were episodes 7, 11 and 12. They really hinted at something larger that I’d love to see more about, but the anime doesn’t go there–which does help keep the mystery of things, but is a waste of a good backstory. The first half of the season had a few neat concepts or moments (when they commented on the population of the world by saying that the building they’re in couldn’t possibly be a school because not even the capital city had so many children, or how they were already hinting at the dying world, and the reaction from the characters as they stood at the edge of No Man’s Land was quietly thoughtful), but the show doesn’t quite succeed in having the right balance between “slice of life” and “epic apocalyptic world.”

    Nonetheless though, I have to say that I still like the series because it raises a lot of thought-provoking questions from me. The dark hints about the state of the world really make me wish that the writers or a good fanfic author would write a story that goes deeper into that. And I’m a sucker for “Amazing Grace” so I’m probably more affected by their use of it than other people are! =)

  3. George R. says:

    Thanks for your ongoing reviews of Sora no Woto, Erica. I agree with you that this disk had among the best and worst episodes in the series.

    You’ve made me consider what it is that makes me like the series as much as I do. I think that for me the scenery porn, the music (OP and BGM, not so much the ED) and the world make up for the weaknesses you point out (and mostly agree with).

    I think that the gentle decay of the world, combined with Kanata’s initial train ride to Seize, brought back memories of taking trains across Europe with my folks when I was young. Often such young memories hold power. Perhaps this was where my appreciation of wabi-sabi, Japanese though it is, began.

    I also wonder if my reaction was exactly what director Mamoru Kanbe was aiming for. He wrote the following in the liner notes about the real town that was the model for Seize:

    The crumbling castle gate, the stone bridges, the river that was startlingly blue, the dam, the ruins of a power plant, and paths carved right into the face of the bedrock.

    The people who built all of those things were long gone. But the traces they left behind were there before my eyes, solid and real… And there we were. The impression it left on me is something I doubt I’ll ever forget. And that feeling has been captured perfectly in the main theme and lute solo composed by Ms. Oshima.

    It is my hope that you’ll be able to enjoy that same feeling by watching Sound of the Sky.

    George R.

  4. Robert Moore says:

    This is one of the few titles that you have reviewed that I completely disagree with your assessment.

    While it is not a deep, meaningful series with utterly three dimensional characters, I believe it has a rich backdrop and is more thought provoking than 90% of the anime reviewed here. The characters aren’t simply walking around every episode blushing, worrying about if their secret crush could possibly love them back or where their umbrella is or waiting to defeat the next psychologically challenged swordsman. If the characters in “So Ra No Wo To” are infintile then those of “Strawberry Panic” and “Sasameki Koto” must be fetal.

    Even though we see the series quite differently, I really appreciate the review and time spent on it.

  5. C. Banana says:

    I don’t know, Erica. It sounds more to me like you’re admonishing the series for what you want it to be rather than appreciating it for what qualities it actually has.

    I always found that when Sound of the Sky gets good, it gets really good. What I really liked about episode 7 was that it wasn’t just a shallow attempt to manipulate the audience but a more thorough deconstruction of one of the main character’s mindset.

    Mind you, for me, learning about the world the characters live in is the real draw of the series. The way the world is portrayed is quite the fresh take on your usual post-apocalyptic scenarios and in that sense, the series is quite unique and interesting.

  6. Arkadi says:

    Sora No Wo To gave me the final nudge to go and pay a visit to Cuenca -the city Seize is based upon- after putting it off for many years, but that’s the only thing this anime did for me XD Believe me, you’ll find nothing in the remaining episodes to make you change your mind about this series. I was interested in it at first because of the really well worked-out backgrounds and atmosphere, but it seems that was the only part they put any work into. The non-plot and the flat characters had me bored to death after a few chapters, and the conclusion was a huge disappointment. It’s a pity, really: they could have done something better, but I think they weren’t even trying.

  7. @C. Banana – I’m not admonishing anything. I’m saying I didn’t like it. I understand that many people did. I am not among them.

    I never watched it originally because I *expected* it to be exactly like it was. So I was neither disappointed nor surprised.

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