Sunday, April 4, 2010

Final Impressions: So-Ra-No-Wo-To

So-Ra-No-Wo-To was a good show- not great (or even very good), but it was one of the better series that premiered this past winter. Most of its episodes didn't have any sort of ongoing plot (which is fine), aside from the questions of who the "Amazing Grace"-playing soldier who Kanata, Rio, and Filicia had all met was, and how much influence the legend of the fire maidens (and the giant skeleton that Kanata found in episode 1) would have. My favorite episode was episode 7, in which the people of Seize celebrated the Fiesta des Lumiéres, which triggered Filicia's memories of the members of her previous platoon, who all died in combat. It was sad, but it was very good- and it helped that Filicia was already my favorite character. (And that her seiyuu is Endou Aya.)

There were a few other parts that stood out- like the story about the elderly woman who wasted her life pining away for the traveling salesman who had an affair with her, then took her son away for his wife to raise; as stupid as her story was, the ending of it was poignant. (Even though it was still irritating.) I also liked the interaction between Aisha (the Roman soldier who Kanata and Kureha found), and the rest of the platoon. (Filicia certainly has some...interesting interrogation techniques. XD But I also especially liked the part where Aisha forgave Noël for her role in the destruction caused by the "Invisible Reaper.") I didn't expect anything really bad to happen to the platoon (like one of them dying), because this didn't seem like that "type" of show, and the villain (the Demon of Vingt, whatshisname) had absolutely no ambiguity- so he wasn't interesting. The ending was really satisfying, since it provided solid closure and managed to be happy (yay, Rio! ^^) without being too sappy.

The music throughout was nice. I like Kalafina's music, so the OP was pleasant to listen to- although it's not very distinctive. I still don't care for the ED. It's a peppy number that sounds fine after a light episode (like Kanata going shopping on her day off while the other platoon members peddle moonshine to the mafia), but sounds...wrong after something like episode 7.

The yuri stayed pretty thin. I could see Kureha having a crush on both Rio and "Claus", and the two most viable "pairs" for me by the end were Filicia x Rio and Aisha x Noël. (And of course, there was Filicia's interrogation.) But the "yuri" still stems in the fact that it's a show about a group of (mostly) sexually ambiguous female characters who live together, and occasionally come into contact with one another. (I'm sure that a number of prurient-minded fans perked up when Kureha mentioned that, under Filicia's authority, the members of the platoon must bathe together.) The most interesting part for me was piecing together what sort of world the characters inhabit. (A crumbling Japanese school in a Spanish town with a French name?, etc.) That aspect could have been expanded on more.

But all in all, it was a fun show. :)

Story: B
Art: B (Pretty backgrounds, okay character designs.)
Overall: B


Anonymous said...

I agree with your review 100%. I thought SnW was okay, but was anticipating more. Episode 7 was also my fave and had me the most excited about the series, because I thought that the show I always "knew" it would become was finally beginning. Then episode 8 happened. :( That was a real shame, and, although it never got quite that bad again, my hopes for a show that would explain the intriguing background were dashed.

嵐*CJ said...

I really liked this show too, it was nothing really special or fantastic, but an enjoyable show nonetheless. I was fascinated by the setting of the world in which they reside in, why was the ocean dead and what happened to the lost technology? I wish they revealed a bit more about that world.
The fire maiden legend was interesting, and I thought they did an okay job in rounding up the story in the last episode. I thought of the soldiers in the platoon as the fire maidens, and Aisha is like the angel(an enemy 'cause she was Roman)that the fire maidens hepled in the legend.
I bought the original soundtrack of Sora no Woto, and it was pretty good, especially Amazing Grace and the French insert song(Servante du freu).

Snark said...

Your review is one of quite a few that have told me surprisingly good things about Sora.

Keeping in mind that I hate both K-On, and war series in general, do you reckon there would still be much appeal for me?

Katherine said...

@ abandonedfactory- I agree; episode 8 was the weakest, especially following episode 7. -__-; Even though So-Ra-No-Wo-To never became a Cowboy Bebop-level speculative sci-fi masterpiece or anything, it was still interesting and entertaining- and definitely better than what I expected (what I expected being a not unpleasant but still disposable K-ON! knock-off with fantasy window dressing). :)

@ CJ- I liked Servante du freu also- especially when it played in the "legend" scene in the final episode. ^^ I definitely would have liked more answers about the setting by the end, but the "mystery" of it definitely made it interesting to try to piece together throughout the show.

@ Snark- Honestly...not really. I don't think that you would hate So-Ra-No-Wo-To, since it isn't as moe as K-ON! (or most slice-of-life seinen titles about a group of girls) and warfare doesn't directly come into play during most of the series even though the protagonists are in the army, but it would probably bore you. (No harm in sampling an episode, though. :) )

hongthaocoltd said...

I hope there will be season 2!