Sora no Oto is another one of those ‘don’t by fooled by its looks’-shows. Sure, it may have the same character-designer as K-On, but its content is completely different. Instead it takes place Switzerland, in some sort of mysterious post-apocalyptic world of a threatening war and child soldiers. It tells the story of a military outpost, which can sometimes be quiet and laid-back, but at others dark and powerful.
This series has really been one of the very few series that can boast an original storyline nowadays. In 12 episodes, it paints the picture of a mysterious setting in which a ton of stuff happened in the past, and it’s truly at its best when it can flesh out this setting. It’s amazing how well detailed it describes the village that everything in this series takes place in, and the story that lies behind it. It leaves a lot to your imagination: it doesn’t reveal everything, but instead relies on the viewers to piece together all of the clues.
The characters themselves also have imaginative backgrounds. Through the series I liked how they first start out as those seemingly annoying moe stereotypes, but ended up developing in sympathetic ones. My personal favourite was the Felicia episode, which was a true triumph in storytelling. The slice of life is also very imaginative and has an interesting presentation, rather than trying to rip off the ton of other slice of life series that exist out there.
With a series that’s completely original, you’d expect that the creators would have the perfect opportunity to create a story that fits that 12 episodes that it consists of perfectly. But, now. The creators took too much on their plate and tried to be way too epic for their own good. If the characters didn’t somehow end up standing at the centre of a huge war, then it would have been significantly better. Instead, this show is stuck with an utterly terrible ending that doesn’t just fail to answer some of the most important questions, it’s utterly cheesy, nonsensical and furthermore it destroys a ton of build-up that the previous episodes tried to create so pain-stakingly. It’s a huge step beyond a simple ‘disappointing ending’.
In the meantime however, A-1 are showing more and more what an excellent production company they can be. This series looks utterly gorgeous, and the animation is vivid and imaginative, with especially the backgrounds being really well drawn.
But yeah, in the end this remains a series that went too epic than what was good for it. It’s a shame, I really liked it in the beginning, but for me, it left a nasty bad taste behind in its final minutes. I’m still recommending this show for its first two thirds, but just be aware that this show can’t fulfill the things it promises.
|Storytelling:||8/10 – Very solid writing in the first two thirds. Last third is too rushed. Bad ending.|
|Characters:||8/10 – Interesting development, but some get taken a bit too far.|
|Production-Values:||9/10 – Beautiful animation and background art; the best OP of the past season.|
|Setting:||8/10 – Incomplete, but fascinating and well detailed.|