Sora no Woto (Sound of the Sky) Review

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An inclusion of naturalistic elements to an otherwise stale gimmick of “cute girls in serious circumstances” in an anime has been met with a mixed reception among both casual and serious anime fans. This being circumstances that involve a setting, or lore to be specific, that would not have needed to have any “moe” components to make it even more or less meaningful. But we all know why this is the case: they want to appeal to what is popular, as it was popular considering this was made in 2010, and to cash in that would’ve otherwise been ignored without it. Unfortunately, that cash grab is less than fruitful from how seemingly transparent these elements give off in these shows, and nowhere near is this evident than in Sora No Woto.

To get the gist of what Sora no Woto wants to show us with its extravagant array of colorful characters and artistic merit is how the setting is put into perspective. When you read the backstory of the show’s lore, you get the sense that the writer really had a unique vision when constructing it to facilitate the story. Making the setting and the story compelling, however, are separate issues; you have to have a story with telling while also making the world an imaginative wonderland. In Sora no Woto, it manages to set a nice tone to the setting with an elaborate background story, but in regards to its story, there is absolutely nothing to make that setting meaningful.

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This is a slice-of-life anime, first and foremost. No story can really be found in one, for the most part. Because of this, there is a perplexing motive to be understood from a writer’s perspective. Why tell an interesting lore, if your “story” doesn’t take advantage of that “lore”? By this counter-intuitive realization, it makes Sora no Woto seem like a lifeless barren landscape that holds no meaningful qualities. These lack of qualities come to show how so much is out in the vast openness of the show’s world, but the enclosed space where the main characters occupy is nonexistent.

Why is the space nonexistent? The characters that inhabit it are what make it that way. The only exception that doesn’t make these cast of characters completely terrible is Kanata Sorami because of her charming presence. Other than her, there was hardly any reason for me to take these girls’ own personal struggles with any strong conviction of sincerity. This problem can be surfaced by how so little the writers give any of these girls true distinctive, or unique, identities that made me think of them more than just Girl #1 , #2, or #3. Not to mention that the tropes that we see in countless cute girl ensemble anime aren’t at the least bit engrossing by how little they try to make it at least entertaining.

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On the subject of entertainment value, it would help to find the value of Sora no Woto more revealing if you, say, have insomnia to help guide you through this. Monotony is prevalent in most scenes that would otherwise feel as if they were not needed to be there to begin with. I can appreciate atmospheric inclusions in some scenes, but there is almost hardly any substance to any of the pointless scenes where the girls go off to some abandoned area at random. This comes out as negative due to how dull the writing comes off as, not to mention how I previously mentioned how the characters are mostly devoid of any life to their generic tropes.

You would think, judging from the poster and screenshots, that this is made by Kyoto Animation considering how it looks very similar to K-ON. But it is in fact drawn by the original character designer of K-ON, along with Kokoro Connect and Lucky Star, Yukiko Horiguchi. Rightfully so, the style of artistry to her characters always feels very expressive in any of the shows she is involved in. However, with that said, there is a slight aesthetic disconnect to her character designs and the general art of the environments. Everything in the world is this slight gritty wasteland, while you see these cute girls doing the typical cute girl schtick that severely distracts the main pull of the ambiance. Despite this big crux, both are independently done very well in giving some bit of ingenuity to the art.

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As far as anime music shows go, there aren’t as much in the way of musical endeavors go in Sora no Woto besides girls playing bugle horns every once in a while. But what music is there, it is quite soothing and fits the atmosphere well considering it gives a passable experience through all the dreary, monotonous scenes that take place.

A fair bit of wasted potential can be made into a case with regards to Sora no Woto. It is one thing if you try to put forth a strong lore within a show, but with a genre like Slice-of-life, you need to at least give an effort to show more of it than just plainly explain it through monologue after monologue. Even without monologues, there is never a sense of an accomplishment because of how dry the pacing comes across. While not at all a “bad” anime by any means, there are at least a few elements, such as the art/animation and musical arrangements. Best advice is to not watch this laying down in bed; otherwise your eyes will start to flutter until you start collapsing out of sheer apathy.

Grade: C-

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