Here’s the gist of it. Sora no Woto is set in the beautiful city of Sieze, a sleepy border town located right between the Kingdom of Helvetia and the Romanian Empire and revolves around the lives of the girls serving in the platoon stationed there. Sorami Kanata, a novice military bugler, has been transferred to the 1121st platoon in Sieze, a lax group of five that more or less don’t have drills too often and are tasked mainly with helping the residents out. Despite technically being in the military and all, there’s not a lot of tension around the group and overall a very sweet series to watch if you ever feel like it. If you’re willing to dig a little further, you’ll find that the story builds around a world that is full of lore and things to discover, possibilities to consider and a new faithful perspective of war and the death and destruction it brings.
Sora no Woto on the surface will look like any other Slice of Life out there but it tries to deduce the meaning of war, loss and acceptance with your past sins behind the scenes of it Sol camouflage. Honestly, Sora no Woto couldn’t be more different from the “K-On in the Military” that some people might believe it to be. Strictly speaking, there are a few mishaps, like every other typical 13-episode anime out there.
When I watched the first episode, I couldn’t help but feel astonished at the gorgeous scenery within and around the city of Sieze. I mean, look at that! Don’t tell me that it doesn’t look beautiful. Everything is painstakingly detailed and very obvious that the artists poured their hearts into this. The color palette is amazing with the majestic cobblestone buildings and other minor sights catching my interest instantly.
The beauty of the world definitely caught my interest although the plot frequently jumps from being a cute show with a little moe-factor in there to conveying serious and deep rooted man-made disasters and goes to lengths to make us embrace the harsh reality and see that the world they live in has miraculously survived a long and bitter war that had repercussions even when everything seemed to be full of energy. The oceans are now bare, turned into deserts, humanity has lost most of its technology, and music is used as a military tool, signaling battle formations, enemy kills or sounding the retreat. The characters have all experienced the war that almost destroyed their homeland and the lingering feelings of their loved ones haven’t faded completely.
I like that they tried to combine the Mecha, Slice of Life, moe and Military aspects together, the end result was only mildly enjoyable though, I guess that’s to be expected. Had they purely told the tale of people regaining their love for music again, it would have been infinitely more enjoyable to watch. The lore of Sora No Woto while still being very interesting to me, didn’t follow through enough and there were a lot of things that they neglected to show us instead relying on just the characters alone to bring in the feels which was a futile attempt at getting my attention and fell through the floor. We’re honestly given more time to think than anything.
The undeniable weakness of Sora No Woto lies in its plot. And because of that this make it a hard recommendation, almost a majority of the episodes move at a snail’s pace, I already know this will turn off some. Those episodes add nothing to the backbone of the story. Kanata and the members in her platoon going on an outing, a water gun fight, trouble in a part of town etc. Hell, one of the episode was about getting a new lens for the tank in their armory with Kanata surprising us with how much her bugler skills have improved, it literally bored me to death… and another one about looking over the only phone in the fort so that HQ can check if the phone lines are working…Get it over with and kill me already!
The sound track is one of the better inclusions of the show. This might be the first time I heard a French song in an anime, I was surprised really. Well it wasn’t a coincidence since all the letters in Sora No Woto are written in French. The music was soothing and hit all the right spots. It felt inspiring and endearing while at the same time blending in perfectly with the lore. The calming rhythm played by an array of rural instruments strengthened the various scenes in the anime. I’m probably going to put the opening theme song, “Hikari no Senritsu” on loop and listen for like 45-minutes after this is done. The animation was silky smooth and you will fall in love with the artstyle. Okay maybe the slightly moe character design can be a problem.
I’ll give credit where it’s due, the later part of the show starts to draw upon the on-going war that was vaguely hinted the entire time. We are slowly revealed about the scars in the characters past and it was a refreshing breath of air, the girls are not without their fair share of secrets and past regrets. And here’s where it gets interesting, the war now adds a feeling of concern, it went from background noise to a heavily emphasized theme of Sora no Woto.
Continuing on with that, Sora No Woto is more about remorse for the already dead than fighting a war or anything else. It’s filled with incredible scenes that really capture what they were aiming for, abandoned and decrepit but still standing after all the fierce fighting. In a sense, a family might have built a home there and lived happily but sadly they’re all dead. A thriving village might have been there but sadly it’s all destroyed. A school might have been there but SADLY it’s all rubble. Hey, I’m just saying.
I tried to make this review as spoiler free as possible but there’s seriously not much to cover either than what I’ve said above. You could just watch this with Hibike Euphonium 2 if you’d like since they are similar to some degree. Either way, Sora No Woto will come off as a mixed bag or passable at the most. I cannot see any reason it should be rated higher. The characters are fairly generic and the plot was uninteresting and the ending felt abrupt. It definitely was engaging at times but was quickly dampened by the filler like episodes. The story is a jumble of different things squished together, the episodes don’t have much correlation to each other and can feel like utter boredom with very vague hints about the characters past which are not explained properly and left untouched. Yes, it has many flaws, and it’s beautiful and rich world is the only thing that I found myself actively wanting more of. To get to the point, if you think you can live with undeveloped characters, watch through some boring episodes, take awe in its creative setting, listen to its amazing soundtrack and generally fine with being served a half-critical slice of the prospects of war, Sora No Woto is going to impress more than disappoint.