Sora no Woto: anime review – Let’s stop the war, not try to win it!

Review: Anti-war stories usually focus on war, battle fields, ruined towns and people getting murdered so that the viewers feel how bad the war is. Sora no Woto is also anti-war story but it places itself in the completely opposite end of the spectrum in term of presentation. Sora no Woto focuses on peace and life filled with happiness. It does not tell the viewers how brutal war is but rather what we would lose if we let the war begin. It tells us to stop the war, not to win it, and that’s what impressed me the most about this show. (This post contains spoilers.)

Sora no Woto is the story of five female soldiers stationed in the quiet border town called Seize. The central role belongs to Kanata who is a new recruit to the platoon. Sora no Woto spends most f its screen time on Kanata’s life in the new environment and how she’s fitting in with people around her. Thus, I find myself watching Kanata goes window shopping around the town or stares at the phone for the entire episode. It was fun but I also felt that the story lingered around too much. Nevertheless, I think I understand the logic behind these slice-of-life episodes; it’s all about building up.

All the seemingly pointless bits of stories are meant to make the viewers love the peace, the people and the tranquility of life in Seize. It’s not until the last few episode that the threat of war start to appear and when the war reaches the town, we are shaken to the core because we, like the town’s folk, feel that our peaceful lives will be lost. When the climax begins and the ladies make a move to stop the war, we cannot help cheering for them with all our hearts.

Due to the said nature of storytelling, Sora no Woto’s characters are all well portrayed with unique personalities and each one is given a good deal of background information. On the other hand, the heavy dose of slice-of-life part also contributes to the somewhat flawed ending. As powerful and poignant as it is, the climatic sequence is too rushed. I cannot even remember the name of the crazy Helvetian general who suddenly appears during the end.

Sora no Woto sets in a familiar looking yet unique universe. Part of the uniqueness comes from the ambiguity of Seize. Many cultures, from both east and west, are mixed together. Several words from different language coexist and technology from different era can be seen every now and then. These details imply that Sora no Woto takes place in the future though the fact is never clearly stated. Production wise, Soro na Woto fills the viewers’ senses with sheer beauty. Every scene is intricately created with incredible details on lighting, camera angle and dimension. The characters’ movements are nearly flawless despite the fact that they look unnaturally like K-ON!

Watching Sora no Woto is a soothing and inspiring experience. The anime is quiet, humble and sometimes simple-minded that its greatness is never too striking. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that beneath its subtlety lies a story that is quite ambitious, the multi-faceted characters and the heavenly imaginary world.

Rating: B+


Title: Sora no Woto (Sounds of the Skies)
Genre: drama, sci-fi, fantasy
Release date: January 5, 2010 – March 22, 2010
Episode: 12
Director: Mamoru Kanbe
Animated by: A-1 Pictures

Recommended reading:

23 responses to “Sora no Woto: anime review – Let’s stop the war, not try to win it!

  1. *sigh* why are they even in the army? >_>

  2. I think my preferences lie in the “girls need to go out in a blaze of glory” for the ending. In fact, it’s the ending that needed a bit of tweaking to make it memorable. The whole “let’s play music to stop the war” is pretty cheesy and almost too predictable and I’d wish they’d done something different.

    • The ending has always received mixed reaction and I think it would have been more exciting if the song(Amazing Grace) had not been played so many times before in the previous episode.

  3. I dropped it after 7 episodes. It was just too hard to watch. First it looks like a slice of life comedy and the very next episode it turns into some kind of war drama. It felt too random, and the fact that the characters were K-On’ish just made it all worse.

    I can agree that it was peaceful and all, but nowhere as soothing and beautiful as for example Natsume Yuujinchou. Therefore I can’t agree with your opinion, yet I suppose it felt completely different for you as you catched the depth of this show. (Which I didn’t, that ‘music part’ + these characters + war = completely random mix of unrelated stuff for me)

    • Not that I can fully reject your opinion about the incompatible mixture of several themes in Sora no Woto, but I think it took me almost the entire series before things start to take any solid shape. Hybrid anime is not a bad idea but it surely takes lots of skills to make it work. And yeah, they shouldn’t have used K-ONish character design -_-

  4. … I hate not being able to read your entry in its entirety yet because of fear of spoilers…

    But your overall review/ impression just makes me want to marathon this more.

    • I marathoned this series and it received quite good rating from me. I suspect that how you watch the show really affects your reaction. Many episodic reviewers didn’t like this anime, as far as I’ve seen.

  5. I have to say exactly the same as Yi,
    i still havent finished it…since its not on my priority. but i think its on hold on ep 7 ^^

  6. ‘It does not tell the viewers how brutal war is but rather what we would lose if we let the war begin.’
    Looks like that’s the intended angle I never caught on to. Then again, it’s not that I expected too much warfare – I remember the speculation of this back from before it came out, and we were expecting something very K-ON. Some scenes were really just too mundane for me to be entertained, though.

    The ending didn’t bother me much; I did end up cheering for them, mainly because I waited so darn long for them to get in the dang tank. You could see the ending from a mile away, but I’m alright with that. It was done properly. Better than an extravagant ending done wrong.

    • The ending is decent as expected and that’s better than an unexpectedly bad ending.
      Those girls are not made for battle and I’m sure if they are in the tank too long, they will end up dead.
      I sometimes wonder if I’m too optimistic about all this and unconsciously defending the show. -_-

  7. Nice review, I really enjoyed this series there where a few points when I did get bored but all and all fun show. The ending is a bit meh as well cheesy too, but it does leave it open for another series maybe.

    Liked Kanata the most she made the show fun for me, and Rio was a fun and interesting character. Loved the music just got the soundtrack all great tracks.

    • Thanks! The soundtrack was nice but I haven’t listened to it in details. My complaint on the ending is not about the ‘stop the war with music’ part but rather the last scene that Rio hime returns. That’s just too unrealistic.

  8. Came for K-ON! designs, stayed for everything else.

  9. hhmmm you know I’ll watch this one. I recently started reading Pumpkin Scissors and like how that series focused on recovery AFTER a war and this series would be a great way to follow it up.

  10. I even don’t know why Roman and Helvetian attacking each other.
    I’m curious about it but probably this background story will be released at PSP, lgiht novel or other media.

  11. As noted by others, you need to warn about spoilers in your review. I’ve only watched one episode and you confirmed my assumptions about how the show would develop.

  12. This show is a great pleb filter.

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