Everyone has a perverted side to him or her, whether they want to admit it or not. It’s the very fact of life of which makes us human in every which way, to heighten our sexual desires in private or in some cases publicly. For us that are of the latter and are fans of anime, the ecchi genre has fueled that over encompassing aura in our psyche that makes us like to see sexy and beautiful girls. Throughout the millions of ecchi manga that are of an overabundance over the past decade or so, there’s always that one truly remarkable ecchi manga that each of us thinks puts all the rest to shame. For me, Sora no Otoshimono comes to mind the most.
It’s important to realize that, with how typical ecchi is as a genre, it’s not the kind of medium that has had its fair share of brilliant writing or story with most of them being stale or forgettable on almost every level. There are some that do manage to give some creative characters in the mix and add some interesting plot devices that eventually don’t help to their credit, especially in the harem sub-genre. With that said, Sora no Otoshimono can be construed as that one shining beacon of light that dissipates the overwhelming shadow of blandness that has plagued the genre in this area.
While the story itself may not be the best in overall story since there is an uninspired villain whose intentions on being evil seem to just be evil even with the explanation at the end, that’s not the best way to describe the good quality of Otoshimono. What the writing does make it up for is how brilliantly paced the story is from how it slowly builds up the development of the story and how it balances out the comedy and the drama with each individual chapter. There’s no sudden awkward transition from comedy to drama in one page to another or a couple down the road. Although there are a few instances of this happening in the manga, they don’t feel very contrived of those moments and they feel fitting based on the context of the situation. It takes it’s time to let us take in the mystery on the potential scenarios that they might hint upon in the next chapter.
The one word to describe the greatness of Otoshimono’s comedy is “magical.” In the sense that, the comedy is absurdly childish and inane in almost every scenario, with flying pantsu in the sky and a little chibi Tomoki running around naked with his Angeloid partner in crime Ikaros. Yet despite this, it has a ton of charm to every single joke. It doesn’t feel afraid to push the boundaries of what a perverted protagonist, such as Tomoki, can do in any comedic situation and is self-aware of this fact as the jokes themselves can be clearly seen at face-value. Normally with comedy this inept with crude gags that involve tormenting poor girls in sexual positions would seem childishly mean-spirited, but Otoshimono manages to one-up this humor by giving it more of a slight edge in creativity that makes it fun to read instead of squirm in pure disgust. The creativity involves great comedic writing that feel fresh and bold in every attempt at doing so, from how it draws out “one page moments” where there’s one gigantic comedic moment that truly shines throughout the chapter.
When there is a good comedy to be found in any medium, there has to be a colorful cast of characters that manages to pull off their own charisma to make the comedy work, right? Well, have no fear because there’s plenty to be found in Otoshimono. I’d like to begin this by talking about the manga’s main source of fun and energetic charm, Sakurai Tomoki. To me, this bundle of perverted glamour is this generation’s Kintaro Oe, of Golden Boy fame. His general perverted nature comes into full circle with an extremely captivating presence thanks to the great comedic timing he has in these specific scenes in question. That is not to say that Tomoki is always the perverted nut everyone on the show makes him up to be, like Kintaro, he has a big heart to his actions and is written very well in being a more three-dimensional character in that he cares for beautiful girls despite always being lecherous to their innocent bodies. It’s one of those things where it’s so hard to dislike him in spite of how despicable his actions might be if someone did the same things in real life.
Another main character that needs to be praised is the beautiful Angeloid Ikaros that Tomoki first possesses after she falls from the sky to Tomoki’s peaceful life. Ikaros unfortunately has no emotion to speak of to constitute anything to show that she is happy, sad, or anything from facial expressions alone because of how her Angeloid type was built in the first place. In essence, this is a very nice explanation of letting in a typical anime character with an unemotional appearance to make her have a purpose for being this way rather than pander to the dandere crowd. Her lack of emotions serves as a brilliant development to her character as she is Tomoki’s master and he teaches her all of the things that contributes emotional value. It’s sort of similar to how one would teach a little child how to live their lives accordingly in how to function in social interaction and that’s not to say that in a negative fashion in Ikaros’s part. You feel an emotional attachment to Ikaros because you want her to realize her true nature because of the upbringing that she was brought up in a dark past in synapse from her previous master, to which the writer built it up extraordinarily well.
Of course, that’s not to say that these two delightful leads are what make the manga’s cast great, oh no. I can say without hyperbole that there’s not a single character in this manga that is unlikable or poorly characterized whatsoever. They all have a unique charm in giving us endless hours of joyous entertainment thanks to their own special gag that involve a part of their distinct level of humor that feels genuine and original. Many may point out that they are cliched to their very nature with Sohara and Nymph being the tsundere archetypes and Astraea being the stereotypical dumb blonde character. To which I agree that they are, but in a good way. They are cliched but at the same time they manage to become inherently more than their initial archetypes in special thanks to how amazing their characterization is. The comedy that involves either than more than makes up most of that as well, which can be warrant praise enough to look past their cliches by this very element alone. This right here is how you write great comedy. To succeed in wonderful comedic characters, you must give them a lot of things to work on otherwise it’ll fall flat very quickly and Otoshimono gets it right from beginning to end.
To preface each character individually to expand this, the cute little Nymph starts off as your typical tsundere who calls humans bugs and wishes to squash them. Like I said before about how great the characterization is, Nymph’s growth from disliking Tomoki into falling for him feels more natural thanks to the great pacing because of how Tomoki actually works hard to get her attention in showing her that she’s a special person despite her slave nature to her own master. Her love for Tomoki feels absolutely genuine, along with the rest of the girls who do.For instance, Hiyori, who appears later in the story, starts off her character with being in love with Tomoki from love at first sight and this could easily be conceived as contrived or lazy from a writing standpoint, but it surprisingly works based on how nice the dialogue is that details her deep reasoning for liking him in the first place.
Sohara, Tomoki’s childhood friend, manages to become more than just your quintessential “childhood friend living next-door” character. Her hilarious attempts in literally chomping down Tomoki’s devious antics is always fun to see from how they built it up so dramatically as a horrifying experience to go through. The last girl that Tomoki has for his Angeloid harem is Astraea, the big-breasted blonde girl who loves to eat anything that is in her way. Always calling Tomoki baka even with her ironic attempts at trying to be cool, only to be put down by her own stupidity. She ultimately proves herself worthy in not only being an entertaining character but being an ultimately important character later on that brings her characterization in full circle.
There’s Mikako Satsukitane and Eishirou Sugata which I’m putting them together since they’re very poignant to describe with them together. There’s an essence of sarcastic humor from Mikako because of her funny sadistic quality to her, while Sugata has more of a serious side to him even though there have been many moments with him that are worthy of gut-busting laughs. Then there’s the tragic character Chaos, whose name is quite fitting compared to how much she has gone through in her lonely existence. I use the word tragic loosely in my opinion, by the fact that although her struggle to understand what love is is endearing for many, I couldn’t help but find it a bit redundant after the fourth mistaken communication that makes her upset. Not to say she doesn’t have her moments but out of all of the girls she’s the weakest of the bunch.
Going back to the story, I will say that the ending was a bit anti-climatic to say the least. With the last few chapters before it being the most serious than the rest of the dramatic chapters in the past, you’d think that they would have more guts in giving us a ballsy ending that makes us question how great an ecchi story such as Otoshimono can be. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and all we got was a rushed ending that is not bad by all means but it could’ve been so much more than what many would’ve hoped for. If they had done one last plot arc that ran for at least three or four more chapters on the last chapter alone, then I would’ve had less problems with it.
The artwork for Otoshimono is no less than stunning from how creative the characters are in their comedic chibi forms to how immensely beautiful they are in the more normal scenes. I would argue, however, that the show did more justice with the artwork because of how lush the colors were that they added to the animation. The manga still manages to be pretty to look at thanks to Suu Minazuki’s brilliant skill with his drawing utensil. There’s never an instance where a drawing felt like it was rushed or done superficially. All of the dark lines on the edges of the character make them very pleasing to see whether to be emotional or delighted about what is on the panel.
To set up my final thoughts on this manga overall, this is one hell of a manga to experience. It’s one of those things where even if you are not a fan of the ecchi genre in general, there’s still plenty of other things to experience that will please fans of any other genres such as action, science fiction, and romance; all packed in, in one glorious set of volumes. It’s hard to pack in melodramatic moments and hilarious comedic scenes together in one story in any medium and prove to be successful, but Sora no Otoshimono manages to be one of the few to succeed in almost every measure. There are a tremendous amount of moments that will make you laugh, cry, or both but most importantly, those moments will be unforgettable and you’ll have this manga to thank for those great memories.