Sora No Oto Series Review [Orange Farm Archive]

I really doubted A-1’s ability to wrap this story up into a satisfying ending, but thankfully, I was proven completely wrong.  Though there was a very small rushed feeling in hindsight, I believe the ending was completely satisfying and included the story depth most viewers were looking for.

If you couldn’t tell by the all of four updates this month, I’ve been having a rough time with my outside life at the moment.  I honestly regret not being able to blog about this series weekly.  Anyone who says they live with no regrets is bullshitting you, because it’s regret that helps us grow.  Sora no Oto shows this point very well, in a very interesting character development with Noel.

I can honestly say Noel is my favorite silent-character in any anime series thus far, since I generally dislike those characters as a whole.  They normally don’t have much development, and while Noel’s story isn’t terribly different from a Rei-style storyline, A-1 placed excellent sequences and times for her to show her pent-up emotions and why.  Noel is legitimately a silent character due to her background, but still very much human.

The atmosphere and conflict in these last few episodes have left very little time for thought and quick decisions; as military situations usually put on a person during war time.  Kureha was forced to trust her friends and very much acted as a soldier, as she’d always wanted.  Fortunately, her trust and action ended up successfully, unlike Felicia’s past.

I never will never regard myself as religious in any way, but between a recent medieval history class and the ending to Sora no Oto, I realize how profound the effect of our religion still has on our lives.  Hearing Amazing Grace in such a context still touched me for this scene, being raised in a mostly-Christian/Catholic country (not trying to upset anyone here) and background, despite my abandonment of religion just under a decade ago.  It’s one of those things programmed into you at a young age, and the art of ages passed down for over two millenia still managed to rattle me a bit as a civilized human.  I never occurred to me even once that this scene was picture perfect or unbelievable.

A-1 did an excellent job of building up Kanata’s personality and dedication.  She was essentially made for this scene throughout the whole anime, but the slice-of-life lead-up from the rest of the series made it so it doesn’t feel very unnatural.  I feel the whole series sort of led up to the finale, so keeping it to 12 episodes was a strong choice by the creators.  Too often do animation studio’s say “well this is a new hot idea, lets give it 26-50 episodes”, with a lot of filler.  If that were to happen, the appreciation I have for this story would of degraded, along with the emotions felt by so many conflicting things happening in a single episode.

The series was very slow up until the ending, but they managed to touch on everything they wanted.  It seemed each minute was used brilliantly, and not wasted in anyway.  The explanation of the myth was one of my favorite scenes, since we get an explanation of the style the op uses and references to it throughout the anime.

The traditions shown in the anime, from arranged marriage to signing in blood, are all nice treats of the atmosphere built by the anime.  Sora no Oto takes place in the future, and humanity reverts back to it’s routes in tradition.  Rio’s character is part of that world, so it doesn’t surprise me her role was somewhat reduced to this scene.  I don’t dislike it, but I would of liked to see a bit more about what Rio had done to arrange this peace treaty (despite it not being the focus of the series).  It would make a good OVA.

In the end, following through with the light-hearted feeling of the series, we get a strongly happy ending.  Though, part of me really wonders what it would be like if it hadn’t ended that way.  As Kanata is playing Amazing Grace, the sun rises over her stumbling body due to a gun shot piercing her chest.  She falls from her place atop the 1121st mech, and hits the ground – eyes open, but unable to see anything.  She grasps her trumpet, bleeding the rest of her life into the cold snow, and can only hear the rush of troops coming from both directions.  Her eyes dilate, full of tears as the war begins and our story ends.  We’re never told who fired the first shot.

Using military and religious differences and backgrounds throughout the series gave a very realistic feel to this series; and I rate highly for use of many different themes successfully.  To me, the art form of incorporating what people currently like (From K-ON art style, and slice-of-life) to ancient history in a modern context or any other – is what anime is all about.   The ability to create a world and story to change a bit about what people think of humanity each series.  Sora no Oto is the first anime to do this in a while, and I’m glad it wasn’t the military K-ON! it was projected to be (It especially scared me at the phone episode, I had almost considered dropping it).

There’s a lot of off-hand comments I would like to say, but I decided to keep the contents of this post mostly humour-free.  That’s how I want to remember this finale, a complete blend of story elements that deviates from what people think about animation, into a truly amazing and graceful story.

6 Responses to “Sora No Oto Series Review [Orange Farm Archive]”

  1. 1 komidol
    March 25, 2010 at 2:46 AM

    That last pun slipped.

  2. March 28, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    I don’t think you have to be religious at all to appreciate Amazing Grace. The song is touching and heartbreaking and used to considerable effect in this anime.

    I think a sad ending would have been out of line with the mood of the last episodes to some extent. Notice the unwillingness of the soldiers to fight? This was a war-weary world, and all the fear and hatred had for the most part bled out of the populace. The “Bad End” that would have been a horrific shocker would have been stolen from _All Quiet on the Western Front_. This end would have Kanata killed by an errant shot BEFORE the peace was announced (or killed my a zealous soldier’s victory volley), but the groundwork for peace was laid too strongly in the previous episode and a “le twist” invalidating it would have come across as cheap, I feel.

    Between the Rio/Kanata Amazing Grace and the OP, I thought the music in this show was standout.

  3. 3 komidol
    March 28, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    But I like trainwrecks…

  4. 4 Ssuusshii
    March 29, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    Is it because your life is one too lololololololololo

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