Posted on 29 August 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai, or Munto TV, was the biggest disappointment of the past Winter Season. Here the creators had a great chance to take a flawed OVA, and spread it across the airtime of a TV-series so that the setting and the characters could finally get the chance to be developed properly. So, what do they do? A bloody recap. Only the final three and a half episodes featured new material, which was way too little for a story of this caliber. Still, with a movie scheduled, it still could redeem itself. But yeah, I guess that you can all see by the rating for this review that it obviously didn’t.

Oh, the announcement for the movie sounded so promising. Even though it would also recap the new footage for the TV-series, it did promise that it was going to be just a “director’s cut of various climactic scenes”, with “new footage” and it “ends with a finale”. Looking back, that was the biggest piece of crap that the creators could ever have come up with to promote this movie.

Let’s start with the “new footage”. Let me tell you exactly how much new footage there was in this movie: three minutes. No, seriously, it has some three minutes of strange back-story slapped on the beginning. Apart from that, everything else simply recaps the TV-series.

So, how about the “director’s cut of various climactic scenes”? Well, apparently the creators found every single scene a climactic one, because the rest of the movie is literally every single scene of the new footage of the TV-series. Even the useless comic relief ones. The only part that is missing is the final part of the last episode. You know, the scene that PROMISED THAT THE STORY WASN’T OVER YET.

And how about “ends with a finale”? Well, this movie sure as heck ends with a finale. The same that the TV-series ended with. Yeah, the same finale with its Deus ex Machina climax, the same finale in which the characters started to act completely out of character, and the same finale in which Munto dressed up the three teenaged leads into sailor uniforms with extremely short skirts. What the heck was the point in advertising that!?

It’s a shame. This series really had potential; if only the creators actually made a remake of this series, panned over 26 episodes or something similar, it would have been really good. This, however, is just crap. Even for a recap-movie, it’s incredibly cheap, the way it was advertised, the way it promised so many things, and instead just chose the laziest way out and even failed in terms of storytelling with that ending. If you want to see what Munto is about, check out the TV-series, skip the rest.

Storytelling: 1/10
Characters: 1/10
Production-Values: 5/10
Setting: 5/10
Posted on 11 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai, otherwise known as the Munto Remake or that show with the incredibly long name. The original Munto was a series of two OVAs that simply couldn’t live up to the huge story that they tried to create. That’s why it was great news that it was going to get a remake TV-version that could give the story the right amount of time that it needed to… and yet this series turned into my single biggest disappointment of the past Winter-Season.

The “remake”-part of the title is incredibly misleading. This series is more like an exact copy of the first two episodes with about an hour and a half of new material pasted at the end. There was so much promise for an excellent series, and yet the creators spent the first six episode blatantly copying and pasting and did hardly anything to fix the original problems of the OVA. But to be fair, I’m going to review this series from the perspective of someone new to the Munto franchise. If you’ve already seen the OVAs, then you can easily subtract 30% from the rating, skip the series and watch the movie that’s going to be released in the future because then this series has nothing new to add.

Well then, Munto tells the story about two worlds: one of them is at war and in huge troubles, and a random girl named Yumemi who lives in the other world has enough powers to save it from destruction. Well, that’s the basic premise anyway. The pacing is very fast and it hardly leaves any moment for the viewer to get bored of the show, and that’s one of the show’s biggest strengths: there’s always something going on.

The problems mostly lie in the incredibly short length of the series. The characters have got so much potential to grow into a memorable cast, but they’re not given the chance because the airtime only consists out of nine episodes. Especially Yumemi’s friends are pretty likable, but a huge part of the cast just isn’t fleshed out and developed enough. The result is that some characters suddenly start acting completely out of character in the final episode.

The same problem is there with the setting: Munto takes place in a huge one, with different countries with different alliances, but we hardly get to know anything about it, even the most important one which is lead by one of the main characters of this series receives hardly any attention at all. Because of this it’s hard to care about what’s going on.

Thankfully this is Kyoto Animation, so there is a lot of eye candy in this series. Especially the first six episodes (the ones copied directly from the OVAs) look awesome, and the new material, while significantly lower in quality, still have lots of nice movement and hardly any still frames. There’s a lot of style in this series, and most of the time it’s a feast for the senses.

But yeah, that doesn’t prevent the flaws from sticking out. The story was meant for 26 episodes; there is no way that you can squeeze it in only nine of them, and the creators indeed screwed up a lot here. Thanks to the addictive storytelling and animation we still have ourselves a pretty decent series here, but it could have been so much better.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 7/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 6/10
Posted on with categories: Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Short Synopsis: Yumemi uses her powers to instantly take care of most of the major conflicts in the series.
Episode Rating: 6,5/10 (Lacking)
Well, there you have it. There’s going to be a movie, which is going to recap all of the new material of the series (read: copy and paste) and paste the real climax of Munto after it. There was no point to the TV-series at all, and it really reminds me of the Death and Rebirth Movie of Evangelion: pointless and only there to squeeze some extra cash out of a franchise. It’s such a shame: if the creators only took the time to rewrite the original story and make it fit within 26 episodes, we would have had ourselves an absolute gem here. Instead, the series is merely a nice enough series for those who haven’t seen the original OVAs yet.

Having said that, though, this final episode left a lot to be desired, unfortunately. I would have been at least satisfied with a decent action-packed finale, but for some very strange reason Yumemi suddenly started acting completely out of character. She’s been this calm yet reserved girl up till now, and this episode transforms her into some sort of cheerful super-heroine of some sorts. Munto also turned into a completely different person after the climax ended.

But hey, at least we now know where the extremely short skirts from the ED came from: they were simply Munto’s strange sense of fashion. I’m still not sure why exactly he decided to give Yumemi and her friends those new clothes in the first place, and where the school uniforms came from…

In this episode it also really becomes clear that Yumemi’s power needed to be fleshed out much more than it already was. She simply zaps everyone and all the problems are instantly gone, and I also assume that she’s simply going to do the same in the movie. The creators have just god-moded her way too much throughout the series.

In the end, looking back now I regret blogging this series. I’m really going to have to be more careful on that with the upcoming Spring Season, and I predict that it’s going to take a looong while before I’m going to be blogging another Kyoto Animation-show again. Please, Kyoani: do SOMETHING that’s out of your comfort-zone.

Posted on 4 March 2009 with categories: Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Short Synopsis: Yumemi’s friends aren’t going to let Yumemi disappear that easily.
Episode Rating: 7/10 (only one more episode left!?)
So obviously, I am not happy with this series after finding out that it’s only going to last for nine episodes. I’m going to take back some of the original praises I made for this series; seriously, if I had known this beforehand I wouldn’t have attempted to blog this series. Warning: big rant coming up.

I really have to wonder: what was the whole point of this ‘remake’. Why couldn’t the creators just have made a third OVA? They could have saved up on the broadcasting fees in order to spice up the animation of the original material. In the end, Sora wo Miageru Shoujo isn’t a remake, it’s just a recap with about an hour of new material pasted at the end. Seriously, I really expected better from Kyoani.

Take a look at some of the other series which were intended as remakes as well: the eighties version of Glass Mask was terrible, and yet the version of 2005, even though its first half followed the exact same plot managed to rewrite it so that it became something amazing. Towards the Terra turned a reportedly average movie into a full fledged TV-series that excellently made use of its extended time-frame. THAT was exactly what I was hoping that this series would do as well, but in the end the ones who planned out this series never understood what was wrong with it in the first place. Sure, the lack of conclusion is one thing, but it’s definitely not the biggest flaw.

So in the end, this still remains wasted potential: there are so many interesting parts in this world that are never going to get explored. This series simply lacks proper build-up, and time to flesh out the different characters. At this point, one episode before the end I still can’t say that I know any of the characters. Yumemi’s friends probably come closest to that.

I can’t believe that I originally praised Kyoani from finally doing something out of their comfort zone. There was nothing experimental at all about this TV-series whatsoever, it’s just another one of their plans to milk out one of their franchises. That’s the thing I really hate about Kyoto Animation: they only go with series that they know will sell; they hardly take any risks whatsoever. Ever since Haruhi, their only original work has been Lucky Star, and that one still was about a bunch of overly cute girls that you can see in every single one of their series (and I didn’t like that one at all as well). Full Metal Panic as well: it was a continuation of a series that they already knew would work, and the same goes for the Key adaptations: it was Toei who pioneered them, not themselves.

What’s more, it’s probably going to take bloody ages before they’re going to be able to come with another new series: they obviously have to animate the next Key visual novel, Haruhi 2 also needs to come and I’m going to eat my hat if there isn’t some sort of Lucky Star Second Season coming some time. It’s especially aggravating since these guys have so many potential to make great series. PLEASE, Kyoani: make your next series about a pig dentist who practices curling at night. Sure, it might not make any sense, but at least it’s original.

Posted on 25 February 2009 with categories: Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Short Synopsis: Munto tells Yumemi about the past of his country.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
Ah, finally! It was a long wait, but finally we know a bit more about what the heck is going on in this series. Finally we see a bit of the elf country when it’s not fighting. While it’s certainly not enough yet, it’s definitely a good start, although again the dialogue was pretty complex, meaning a lot of trouble for me to understand it. ^^;

So if I understood correctly, the past of Munto’s world looked a lot like it in terms of technological advancement. Then from out of nowhere (or from somewhere that’s yet to be explained) and started wrecking things with their huge amounts of powers. They then discovered the parallel world that Munto lived in, and created a link to it. Eventually though, they destroyed this link again when they became obsessed with their own powers, resulting in lots of destruction. In order to prevent this from happening again, I suspect that the outsider was born. This went fine until the strange evil guy who appeared in the previous episode appeared, and Munto tried to use Yumemi’s help to get rid of him, while Gntarl and his allies didn’t support his decision. At least, that’s what I understood from it.

One thing that worries me though is that the pacing still is as fast as ever. Even though this episode was a quiet one, it still rushed the history of Munto’s world through in less than half an episode, which was an especially bad sign for my hopes of seeing this series continue for more than thirteen episodes. Things really can go anywhere at this point, but if the creators do plan to squeeze the entire story in only one season, then the second half of the series is going to have to be consistently solid and excellent if it doesn’t want to end up the same as the very unfinished OVAs. This episode thankfully met those requirements, but but for this series it’s going to be a matter whether the big picture can deliver or not in the end.

As for the animation, I’m glad to say that now that the series has started its original material, the quality hasn’t gone down too badly. While things obviously look less detailed and impressive when compared to the first six episode, the creators thankfully still have lots of movement. Some details were lost in the process, but it’s better than just resorting to safe drawings with mostly still frames.

Posted on 18 February 2009 with categories: Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Short Synopsis: Yumemi and Munto finally accept each other.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
Okay, so much for “the OVA Recaps will end after episode 6″. There is no way that the cliff-hanger at the end of this episode formed the end of the two OVAs, so this episode must have inserted quite a bit of original content in order to prevent the OVA material from running out. My guess is that in the OVAs, the evil elves simply died when Yumemi and Munto zapped them, and here instead they remain alive for the rest of the series.

Still, the OVA material will certainly be up at the end of the next episode, and it’s there where the fun really begins. Now that Munto’s world has made so much of an impact on Yumemi’s world, I want to see the results of this: reporters and police and just about everyone needs to notice that something strange went on. Those whose homes were destroyed shouldn’t randomly disappear like they never existed. That’s indeed the big weakness of the OVAs: the setting just doesn’t feel alive. There are some very nice ideas put into it, but two hours is just WAY too little time.

Still, as a standalone episode, this remains a pretty good one, and it yet again puts more faith in my theory that the OVAs would have rocked if they were given more time. Lots of different characters got some attention in this episode, and especially Munto’s subordinates turned out to be pretty interesting and fun characters.

Now the big question here remains Gass. The guy probably died at the end of the OVAs (after all, after all that build-up, what point would there be to keep him alive at that point?), but with the TV-series, the creators might have other plans for him.

Posted on 11 February 2009 with categories: Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Short Synopsis: Ichiko, Yumemi, Suzume and some other friends go to an amusement park.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
Ah, if everything goes right, then the glorified recap should only take one more episode. After that it’s finally time to see whether this series is a passionate attempt by the original creators to give this series the airtime it deserves, or a simple attempt by the Kyoani top-executives in order to squeeze some more money out of another one of their franchises. I so hope that it’s going to be the former.

In any case, this probably was my favourite episode of this series so far. Those Munto-episodes were nice and all, but we hardly know anything about the guy, or the world he lives in, and I’m also really hoping that once this series turns to its original episodes, its going to focus on all of these different elf countries that we saw in the previous episode. It’s interesting: when I first started this series, I simply thought that the series would end with the climax of the second OVA, while fleshing out the setting with new material in between the old scenes from the OVAs, but instead they’re just getting the story of the OVAs over with in the beginning, only to conclude the series with an original story. it’s good for those like me, who are new to the franchise (pretty graphics FTW!), though I imagine that it must be pretty dull for those who have seen the OVAs already, seeing the same thing nearly exactly all over again.

Oh, and Munto did get some background this episode, if only just a little bit. He seems to be your typical tragic hero right now: a prince who has lost his parents at a young age, and now is pretty much fighting for what his parents left him behind. I hope that the anime-original episodes will flesh the guy out a bit more, so that we actually get to see some different sides of him (i.e., when he’s not in fighting-mode).

Posted on 4 February 2009 with categories: Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Short Synopsis: Now that Munto has the power to win the war, he decides to not use make use of it.
Episode Rating: 7/10 (Enjoyable)
Well, that’s eighty minutes already. The end of this episode sounded like a nice climax for the end of the first OVA, is that about right? There was at least no shortage of really pretty OVA-styled animation, so I don’t think that we’ve hit the anime original material yet.

But seriously, what were the creators thinking of putting such a huge story as this in only two hours? This episode introduces dozens of more countries involved in the war. For such a story to work, you really need at least 24 episodes to get the development of every party right. This is also why I’m hoping for this series to not end after only 13 episodes: there is NO WAY that the creators are going to fit everything, even in only 13 episodes.

Still, the next episode should prove a much-needed change of pace. These first four episodes were definitely action-packed, but there had to be some time for the fighting to end, and a chance for the creators to explore the different cultures and countries presented here. The demon king-guy is about to die, (he apparently was really powerful because he didn’t have a long lifespan anyway), and with both him and Munto out (since he’s probably going to spend some episodes with Yumemi), the pacing of this series should slow down a bit as well.

Posted on 28 January 2009 with categories: Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Short Synopsis: Yumemi’s friend and her new boyfriend try to cross a river.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10 (Good)
How awesome: the animation quality hasn’t decreased at all since the first episode: it’s still as solid as ever. This promises lots of nice things for the future of this series. Anyway, this episode finishes the introduction of this series, where Yumemi decides to help Munto. It seems that she just needed a bit of time to sort out her thoughts, and the creators made use of this time by showing why she ended up deciding to help an unknown elf-guy in a weird outfit in the first place. After all, it would have been weird if she immediately decided to help this guy without ever questioning where he came from.

This episode really succeeded in portraying the strong sense of community in Yumemi and the town in which she lives. It showed that the world in which she lives isn’t some empty cardboard world that’s only good as a plot-hole, but instead it’s about people who care about each other. Yumemi doesn’t want to lose this community, and this episode did well in convincing the viewer (well, me at least) how and why she feels that way.

I wonder about the length that this series is going to get. I think that the 24-episode format would really be best for this series, so that it can fully develop its setting, and there’s actually a pretty good chance that this is going to be the case. Anime News Network lists 13 episodes already, with the thirteenth episode airing at April 7th, which is quite a strange date to end your series.

So the story isn’t anything special yet, but the potential is definitely there. I also really like the show’s style of graphics: they’re a great combination of ten-year-old-styled character-designs and creative use of modern CG. The character-designs are also among the best I’ve seen from Kyoani: sure, the outfits are a bit silly at times, but especially the characters from Yumemi’s world are simplistic yet expressive, and for once they don’t try to be overly moe, like nearly every other Kyoani series (or at least: not as much).

Posted on 21 January 2009 with categories: Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Short Synopsis: Munto continues to try and get Yumemi over to his world, while Yumemi has her own problems to take care of.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10 (Good)
Hehe, you were expecting Ride Back at this spot, no? To be honest, so did I before I watched Ride Back’s second episode, but then I started thinking: the show has 12 episodes, of which the first two were slow introductions that hardly did anything besides setting up the premise. It’s going to be a show about some teenagers riding motorbikes who somehow become involved in a huge war. How the heck are the creators going to get some good development in only 12 episodes? This is Madhouse we’re talking about: compared to some of its previous series Ride Back just isn’t as interesting.

Besides, the lack of realism really became jarring in that second episode: nobody finds it strange that these Ride Back things simply drive around INSIDE BUILDINGS? Nobody tries to complain about the noise that these machines cause? Nobody finds it strange that these machines tend to break down and crash a lot? Nah, I’d rather see a bunch of elves beating the hell out of each other.

So I’ve yet to see the Munto OVAs, but apparently I don’t need to do that anymore since the first episode copied about 80% of its content. That episode reminded me a lot of a poorer version of Noein’s first episode, with the big difference being that Noein spent lots of time in its first episode to flesh out the cast before diving into the action, while Munto dived straight into the action without letting the viewer get to know the characters.

Well, that problem was partially solved by this episode, which was very un-typical of your average second episode. Most of the second episodes after a huge eventful first episode are deliberately slow, in order to explain what the heck went on in the show’s start. Munto instead deliberately chooses to slow down the pacing, but doesn’t attempt to explain much. Instead, it starts fleshing out the lead characters. I especially was surprised that they immediately showed the story for one of Yumemi’s friends.

I also like that the creators are using the Noein approach. With most series where the lead character is transported into some sort of other world, the connection between these is really something sacred: it can only be crossed once, and the conditions for someone to cross are very vague and only serve as a plot device to get the lead character involved with the plot. In Munto instead that link is fleshed out a bit more, and it looks like it can be breached more often. Seeing as how Yumemi’s friends are going to be important characters in this series too, I expect that either the series will take place mostly in the real world with your occasional trips to the elf world, or Munto is somehow going to kidnap the three of them at the same time.

Now, about the lesser parts of this series… we have a delinquent who gets saved by a cute girl and they end up marrying. Am I the only one who was reminded of a certain other Kyoani series? I also fear that most of the elves are going to lack in personality: this episode hardly focused any attention on them.


Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 03:25 AM)
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 10:22 PM)
    @Aidan: it does seem like you’ve actually seen Xavier, in which case I’m impressed. Didn’t think you had it in you.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 09:35 PM)
    Speaking of errors, can anybody else open Evil Genius Scanlations page? I keep getting a gateway error. I know there should be a new Berserk on there but some force is keeping it from me. This is messed up.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:38 PM)
    @Bam, Easy. 404 not found
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:45 AM)
    It takes a true magnificence to propose such a grand question as: What dot life?!
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:42 AM)
    @Kaiser: the show does vary in quality, but for the first season they generally crank up the insanity with every episode until a very remarkable season finale where Xavier faces his worst enemy.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Bam: Oh in symphogears case, I certainly laughed but I wasn’t supposed to.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:39 AM)
    @Bam: While it didn’t always work, that first episode of renegade angel was amusing, I particularly liked the part where he went on about Aids being invented.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:22 AM)
    and don’t be fooled by the simple graphics, the crudeness is completely intentional.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:21 AM)
    @Kaiser: as far as Xavier goes I implore you to download and watch the first episode to get the gist of it. That show is the pinnacle of absurdist and meta humor. It’s strangely adored within the animation circles, getting very high praise from the industry, but it’s very dense and bizarre so people either love or hate it. If you’re anything like me it might become one of your most beloved shows.

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