Well Hello again Vice, It’s me M, and after a bit of a break to play skyrim I’ve returned to review another title that normally I would have never touched. Today’s title is a little something that is from the same blood as the ever popular K-on! and cut from the same publisher (A-1 Pictures) as one of my Personal favorite Anime’s Anohana, but not much else. With this pedigree and reputation I was pretty disinterested in the entire series, however after a bit of the story was explained to me, and a promise that the series would take its premise somewhat seriously, I headed into Sound of the Sky Also known as Sora no woto. It’s supporters call it one of the best animes to come out and critics call it a shameless rip off of K-on! so what is Sora no woto?
Sounds of the Sky, better known as Sora no woto follows the life of an all girls tank platoon, 121st Platoon, stationed in the town of Seize. A member of the poorly equipped, undermanned, and underpaid army of Helvetian Army: the story more directly revolves around private Kanata Sorami, a young musician turned trumpeter (communicator) for the platoon and her dealings with the assorted members of the squad and the town at large, Seize (based of Cuenca, Spain) during a short time of peace between wars. This all in a far flung future where an apocalypse as pushed japan culturally and technologically to
a point resembling western Europe just after world war one. The series while directly dealing with just the lives of the small platoon deals more subtly in the greater picture of the self destructive nature of mankind and the horrors of war and disparity, but even more then that about how life can be more then lovely in spite of those looming dangers. All this while remaining at the surface a low key “cute girls doing cute things” anime in an odd setting and original premise.
I have never been a big fan of the “cute girls doing cute things” or moe anime genera since it got first introduced and popularized thing with lucky star and Clannad. It always struck me as one of the lowest forms of a slice of life anime; right above harems in terms of depth. This might be more a symptom of my own distaste of characters that are stupid just to appear adorable as a replacement for comedy or clever writing. Clannad got away with it by adding more depth, but this alone has kept me from watching K-on! and was what made me drop Lucky Star 4 episodes in. What was a problem in that concept remains, however mitigated by the fact that the show for the most part doesn’t really deal with them just doing nothing and most things actually serve as a character establishing seqeunce or to illustrate what’s under the surface.
And that is the big thing in my opinion about this series. What’s under the surface. The world in Sora no woto as well as all the character have incredible levels of depth and structure to them that are shown rather than blankly stated. It is not stated exactly how dire things are in their world, but shown. whether in how the entire base is not even armed enough for a rifle for every soldier, or how the old run down the city is, or how completely cut off from supplies they are being illustrated by actions rather than unnatural exposition. A character with a Crisis of faith, in example, deals with it mostly unspoken and in subtle clues rather than big speeches. This allows for a huge amount of depth to be added to the world while not forcing it overbearingly on the viewer. It creates an incredibly interesting fiction that runs in the background, one that I personally came to very much enjoy. You can read into things to your desired level and there is plenty to read into, especially with the young cast who have been in the war previous to the ceasefire. Sgt. Rio and Lt. Filicia especially once you begin to understand them.
Sora no woto on the surface isn’t all that terrible. The art, even if that is shamelessly similar to K-on is very very good especially the background and world art. The music is utterly fantastic and blends a lot of styles seamlessly. Intelligent writing and interesting references to history blend as well, with a certain attention in detail to design that honestly shows positively. On the flip side some of the subtly and serious tones at the end are undermined by the main character who seems far too childish and kind of unintelligent or simply unwilling to acknowledge how real shit has gotten. This follows well as some of the later actions by Lt. Filicia that make little to no sense for an officer, even one with such a unorthodox approach. While in the end things get real it didn’t pull it as hard as it looked like it was, however while I was disappointed by the end, I must admit it wasn’t bad at all.
All in all I took a really surprisingly positive feeling out of Sora no woto. It managed to be incredibly subtle and beautiful in both an artistic and writing perspective that even with the limitations of the genre it’s in I feel happy giving it a well deserved 4 spider bots out of five and hope more people check it out on crunchy roll.