Posted 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 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.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Apr 18. 2014 03:11 PM)
    @Raggers I like people for short periods of time. No extension included though.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Apr 18. 2014 01:32 PM)
    @kj I actually quite liked it. The MC is so fundamentally broken it’s hilarious, the fanservice is deliberately played for jokes, and in the background we got lots of exposition.
    Oh, and lets not forget the JoJo reference.
  • kj
    (Friday, Apr 18. 2014 01:17 PM)
    Is anybody else disappointed by No Game No Life episode 2?
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Apr 18. 2014 01:16 PM)
    @Aidan: I make little notes to myself in a list of things I should remember. On them are “happy places” , “people are stupid” , Izaya’s “3 day” quote, and some other observations which I feel should be held on to.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Apr 18. 2014 12:47 PM)
    @Raggers, part of me knew that. But at times I try to believe humanity isn’t that stupid. God how hard I try.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Apr 18. 2014 12:42 PM)
    @Aidan: Something I learned long ago was to never underestimate the stupidity of humanity.
    I once read that it is hard to understand someone 20 IQ points above you, and I suspect it works the other way as well.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Apr 18. 2014 10:29 AM)
    You know I must wonder. Everyone hates spam bots. And pretty much everyone tends to ignore them. Meaning they are a terrible form of advertisement as it inspires hatred for your product more than interest. And yet people keep using them. I mean are there actual idiots who click on every spam bot they see?
  • Emma
    (Friday, Apr 18. 2014 05:20 AM)
    Looks like I’ll be picking up mushishi season 2 afterall, guess theres still some good stories in it I’m missing out on.
  • Juno
    (Friday, Apr 18. 2014 04:52 AM)
    BTW, Kagerou Project was a big thing I was looking forward to. Was psgels planning on checking it out at all? I need to watch the first episode, still.
  • Nyangoro
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 10:31 PM)
    Ping Pong’s second episode was so fucking good. I just love these characters.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Clipboard07

Ping Pong – 02

Yes, I know that more people here were involved in making this series beyond Masaaki Yuasa. It’s written by the creator of Tekkon Kinkreet, Taiyo Mashimoto. That guy is awesome. And the combination between those two makes this series even better. Because here’s the thing: anime is significantly different from manga or light novels. Beyond […]

Clipboard02

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 02

We can never quite get rid of magic fights at a school, now can we, Jojo. Ah well, I forgive it this time, just due to how hilarious it looks seeing these ridiculously bulky men walk around pretending to be high school students. It’s just so over the top, and yet Jojo sets itself apart […]

Clipboard01

Mushishi Season 2 – 02

Oh yes. This is it. This is what storytelling should be about: telling real stories about real people, all with their own problems that need to be overcome. And this show does that time and time again in just one episode. I still can’t believe how authentic this series is. The thing is, when I […]

Clipboard02

Mushishi – Tokubetsu-hen

Mushishi holds a really special place in my heart. Back in November 2005, when I started up this blog, Mushishi was one of the first shows I picked up to cover weekly. At first I didn’t think much behind it: it just looked interesting and I wanted to cover it, but as it went on […]

Seasonal Anime Podcast – First Impressions – 2013 Fall Anime Season

Hey everyone, I participated in a podcast again, together with Deadlights (Deadlight’s Anime Blog) Flawfinder (Standing on my Neck) and Slashe (Behind the Nihon Review) with two new members, Landon (Mecha Guignol) and Tom (Nigorimasen) Today we talked about the past Fall season. You can find the link here, enjoy: http://deadlightanime.blogspot.nl/2013/10/seasonal-anime-podcast-first_12.html

Clipboard07

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Review – 89/100

There are a lot of ways to adapt something. Shounen battle series tend to very quickly fall into a very dull variation of that: really slow pacing that goes on forever with long boring drawn out battles that all look like each other. David Production looked at them, and just said “we can do better!” […]

Clipboard06

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 26

Oh Jojo. What an ending. I did not expect what would happen here at all. Perhaps the ending was not as impressive as with Psycho Pass or From the New World, but still this is every way in which a shounen series should end. You hear that, other shounen series? Watch this for how endings […]

Clipboard05

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 25

Okay, so I thought that this was the final episode so I was ready to go all out. And then at the end of this episode there was this “To be continued”-message. Yeah, I was confused. But boy, am I glad, because it means that there will be one more episode of Jojo. They managed […]

Clipboard06

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 23 & 24

And here are the penultimate episodes of Jojo. And seriously, I loved the fights here. The creators really went to the extreme, while keeping true to their philosophy of putting huge over the top powers on one hand, and really delicate things on the other. One one hand you have Stroheim yelling like crazy, while […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]

Clipboard01

Yahari Ore no Seishun no Love Come wa Machigatteiru Review – 82,5/100

I like surprises, like when a series comes that just turns out to be good against my expectations. Yahari Blahblah from the outside had all the signs to turn into yet another one of those high school comedies: snarky male lead, pointlessly long title that fails at being witty, various other cliched side-characters. And they […]