Posted by psgels on 2 July 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews

Whoa, I might as well start this review in the same way as I did with my Rocket Girls Review: I really need to be more careful on choosing which series I want to drop. When sola originally aired, I basically dumped the series after episode one, without giving much thought to it. If I recall correctly, I dropped it because the characters looked too moe. Little did I know that I was ignoring a great mystery-series.

Sola indeed starts off slow, but it’s a series that carefully builds up its storyline until its own climax. Every episode, a little bit of what’s going on is revealed to the viewers, while the rest of the airtime is filled with how the different characters live their daily lives, and are affected by this storyline. There is a lot of symbolism at the sky, and even though the graphics may not look like anything special, the soundtrack has a sort-of soothing feeling.

The end result is excellent. In the final third of this series, the whole story comes together like a charm, with a number of excellent plot-twists and a surprisingly great ending for such a series. The characters have done a pretty good job of bringing this series alive, and it’s partly thanks to them that the finale turned out so well.

There are a few problems in this series, though. When you start looking at the details, a number of small plot-holes appear that could easily have been answered. Things like, where did Mr. Goatee get such a fancy sword? How did he learn about Matsuri, and other things I can’t reveal due to spoilers. This series, however, is at its worst when it tries to be funny, because quite frankly, nine out of ten cases, it isn’t. This becomes especially apparent in one of the DVD-specials, which degenerates into a boring pool episode.

Overall, Sola is another reason why Spring 2007 was an awesome season for me. From the outside, it looked like your regular dull harem series, so I never suspected there to be anything deeper beneath it. This is just one of these reasons why I need to give everything a chance, no matter how dull the premise looks. The mystery in sola was excellent, and despite a few flaws here and there, I’m happy to have watched this series.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

17 Responses

  1. Ivy says:

    Glad you enjoyed it, its a great show.

  2. essesus says:

    “the characters look to moe”…that is one of the DUMBEST reasons I’ve ever heard

  3. filtered.water says:

    if i am to say…you are missing out on alot of great anime because you are just too allergic to moe. One little moe, and the anime is horrible in your opinion. if you ever do decide to change your mind, just make a post and we can recommend some animes with alot of moe in the beginning to filter out people like you, then drop the moe and continue with the story. with it ending up to be a GREAT anime.

  4. bobo says:

    Right, so….what’s moe?

  5. lostty says:

    This is actually one of my favourite series of all time, but I would have to agree on the fact that the jokes were never very funny. I wish I never watched the DVD specials because both weren’t that interesting…

  6. psgels psgels says:

    Bobo: hard to explain, but think of it as having overly cute girls.

    filtered.water: go ahead. I love to be proven wrong in my expectations. ;)

    essesus: so, what makes that reason different from the ones who didn’t give series as Himitsu a chance, because the promo-art only featured a bunch of men?

  7. essesus says:

    It doesn’t. That’s why I said “one of the dumbest” insted of “the dumbest”.

  8. Solaris says:

    Back then everybody was deceived by the slow pacing of this serie. It indeed happens quite nothing for 6 episodes, then something for 3 more, and it really exploded in the last 3!
    I was back one of the supporter of this serie, but nobody ever cared trunsting me a bit :(

    …And it is called “SOLA”, couldn’t somebody named SOLA-ris not like it? :P

  9. Houlgrave says:

    Gotta disagree with the review’s overall evaluation. This wasn’t a completely awful series by any means…but neither was it particularly good. The premise was boring, the humor (as mentioned) failed, and things seemed to happen for no reason or (in the case of several episodes in a row) nothing happened at all. And don’t even get me started on how Yorito’s character was handled *cringe*.

    As someone who has seen a fair bit of moe, I can attest to Sola’s mediocrity. Air was sappy, Clannad and Kanon were passable, but trying to watch Sola and look past the glaring angst and pointlessness of it all was just plain painful TBH.

  10. Shensu says:

    Agree with Houlgrave except the last passage.

  11. sovayfox says:

    I TOLD YOU! I TOLD YOU! WHY DID IT TAKE YOU SO LONG? Just reading the title of it makes me cry I can’t not still cry thinking of this series.

  12. issa-sa says:

    Yea, the humour sort of failed, but I didn’t find the story coming together as nicely as you did in the end. Oddly enough, I think sola worked best when it wasn’t trying to be anything ‘original’ at all, the ‘duller’ slice-of-life scenes which matched the mood of the story was what kept me. Found the supernatural elements rather tacky and played out for the sake of “Look! You thought this was moe/slice-of-life-ish, but you’re WRONG”

  13. BlueYoshi says:

    HA. You actually came back to finish this show. xD

    I have a guilty pleasure of liking this show actually. Before I watched Higurashi, got hooked to your blog and started enjoying obscure shows like Kaiba and Shion no Ou, Sola (for a very SHORT time) was my favorite anime.

    Maybe it was because of the unexpected twists that the story took after Ep 6, because I was bored at the start, and wanted to drop this. Maybe it was the relaxing soundtrack along with the great art that hooked me to the show’s atmosphere. Who knows? I even started a SolaxHigurashi fanfic, to try and solve the plot holes that the story left. That is currently failing at the moment, like most fanfic in general.

    I’m a little surprised you came back to finish it, and even more surprised that you also turned out to like it. Now if you would only get back to Sketchbook~Full Color S~…

  14. S.A.I. says:

    Sola has been a surprise: a regular run of the mill anime, but done right. They’ve had a plot and a solid scenario to back it up, excellent (if midi) music – try and succed in all the suspense, drama and sincerity all those high-budgeted monster projects consistently fail at.

    Except for the ending: I really feel the ending was rather artificial, hypocritical and unpersuasive. Even though factually there could be a place for such events, all that was quite unmotivated (and extended fight extended too much for the show’s own good bringing out misery of the state the budget was in rather than the misery of characters’ complex feelings for each other…)

  15. Michael says:

    Yeah, looking back on the series, I think I liked it more because I can understand the main character’s obsession with the sky. (What can I say I like pretty views and landscapes). That said, what really made this series was not its overall quality but a single out of nowhere amazing plot twist, that I see very few shows actually pull off. I agree with S. A. I. though. The ending was a little bit too cliche and silly, though some parts of it were certainly nice.

  16. Michael says:

    Yeah, looking back on the series, I think I liked it more because I can understand the main character’s obsession with the sky. (What can I say I like pretty views and landscapes). That said, what really made this series was not its overall quality but a single out of nowhere amazing plot twist, that I see very few shows actually pull off. I agree with S. A. I. though. The ending was a little bit too cliche and silly, though some parts of it were certainly nice.

  17. Z.N. Singer says:

    I’m really not sure why you call it a mystery anime at all – it was a character drama, that’s what powered it forward. So some parts were mysterious, I would never have thought to call it a mystery anime. The whole thing with Aono – she achieved what should have been impossible, only it turned out that in order to do so – the level of obsession it required – meant that once she had it, she was unable to appreciate it anymore. She’d become someone who clings so tightly to happiness that it crumbles through her fingers. What those two did was the only thing that could free her to move forward…and smile.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 07:58 AM)
    @Aidan: Something always feels off to me when you criticize clannad, I mean I’m critical enough of key these days too but it seems odd that you rank it as an 8 on MAL when you’ve always made it sound its more of a high 6 or a 7.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:23 AM)
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: yeah, even tho it was his highest grossing movie it managed to brought his career to a stand-still. His next film Gods of Egypt looks like it could be fun, albeit it’s just as much as a CGIfest as I, Robot. Egyptian stuff is admittedly rather intriguing, I remember a 2004 French film Immortel ad vitam that blended that with modern themes that became popular for a while.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:50 AM)
    *remove second and
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:50 AM)
    @Bam: Regarding dark city, such a shame the director of that followed up dark city and the crow and with Irobot.

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