I am not typing out all those dashes. But this is a damn good show.
So if you’re wondering, or actually you’ve probably already heard. Yes, there is a bit of a K-ON influence on the art, and yeah the girls at first glance do seem to resemble some of the K-ON members (who btw were pretty standard character archetypes themselves). The only difference is they seem to have replaced Ritsu with a Sanya V Litvyak clone. I think the K-ON design influence is a bit overplayed, and is mostly limited to the eyes. Actually, the loose and flowing lines reminded me more of Kannagi’s style, which makes sense since both are A-1 shows. A quick look at ANN shows that Sora no Woto’s character designer, Toshifumi Akai, also worked on Kannagi as an animation director, which is explains a lot. The only problem is that Sora no Woto’s foreground characters lack the details and polish that Kannagi had. They look overly simplified, so the animation looks cheap and stilted. But I may have only noticed this because in contrast the backgrounds are gorgeously detailed, and brilliantly colored. It’s pretty rare that I do this, but more than a handful of times I caught myself admiring the details in the background instead of checking out the comparatively crude characters.
Meanwhile, the music is very, very nice. I especially liked the insert song that played during retelling of the town’s myth. The OP mixes in what sounds similar to an old-style asian-pop melody over a nice thumping percussion. It’s quite fantastic actually. It’s too early to say, but I can see it easily ending up as my favorite OP of the season. The ED’s not bad, it’s catchy, but felt a little too poppy for the show. Juri Aikawa in what is perhaps her first role does a good job as Kanata, the new kid on the block. Cute, perky and full of wonder. On the other hand, I wish Yuu Kobayashi left her Kanon voice at home. Between hearing Kanon talk, and hearing the 11eyes-esque bell tinkling, I occasionally wondered if strange monsters or mysterious murders would break out.
Bah, anyway, what about the story you might be wondering? Is it any good? It seems like it’ll play like I guessed it would in my winter preview post, K-ON more-or-less with a plot. Kanata is a new recruit, as the trumpeteer for a nation that has just recently gone to war. Soon she meets her brigade (actually only the Mio character so far), and will trumpet the trumpets that will sound retreat for their troops. ORZ. When not sounding cowardly retreat, she may do things like play for festivals or wake the town by sounding the morning call, and perhaps other magical things. Actually, the war and surprise mythology aspect of the show gives it a really interesting background. While I imagine it’ll stay pretty fuwa fuwa most of the time, there’s seeds in place to take a more dramatic or fantasy route if they want. All in all, there’s a lot of things to like about the show.
On a completely separate note, there’s been a lot of comparisons between Yui and Kanata, and while they’re pretty similar. I will say you will never see Yui doing something as dumb as taking a leap over a 10 foot gap over a cliff that seems to be about 80 feet high just to retrieve a bell. I mean, I like both of them, but come on! Yui was the deserved winner of Saimoe, not that false-tsundere-lolicon-bait Taiga! Ok, now I’m grandstanding. :-p
If you were waffling on Sora no Woto, definitely give it a shot, I think it’ll be a really good show.