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.
Title: Sora no Woto (Sounds of the Skies)
Genre: drama, sci-fi, fantasy
Release date: January 5, 2010 – March 22, 2010
Director: Mamoru Kanbe
Animated by: A-1 Pictures
- An interesting discussion about plot structure at So Ra No Wo To, Soranowoto, Sora no Woto, Sorawoto
- An insightful (and better?) review at Sora no Woto: goodbye blue sky
- Regarding the equivocal world at Sora no Woto, Dead Languages and Traumatic Mysteries