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shoujoboy's Sola Tv Review

Sola

Sola tv Review

Yorito Morimiya is a normal 15-year-old high school student with a unique interest: he loves the sky, whether it be just gazing at it, or taking pictures of it. He lives alone as his only family - his elder sister, Aono - is sickly and in the hospital.

While setting up his equipment to take a picture of the dawning sun over the sea, Yorito meets a young girl, but she leaves before he is able to ask her name. The next night, the two meet again; the mysterious girl introduces herself as Matsuri Shihou, and she seems to share Yorito's interest in the sky. The third time they meet, someone appears with the intention of harming Matsuri...and Yorito discovers that she may not even be human.

Based on a synopsis written by Miyuki89.

Story & Characters

Every visitor to this site loves the Japanese. They give us some form of entertainment that we just can't get from western media. Whether it be anime, crazy game shows or apocalyptic role-playing games that we crave, Japan has the answer. Sure they aren't perfect with things like used panty vending machines, avocado flavored Pepsi and Hello Kitty but we love em anyway. Well when a survey was done in Japan to find out the most beloved anime of 2007, Sola came out on top. Time to find out, do the Japanese know best?

Yorito Morimiya loves the sky. He goes out of his way, day or night, to take pictures of every sky he can. While setting up near a bay to take in a glorious sunrise, he sees a girl frantically beating at a vending machine to give her the drink she paid for. He helps her and after a short talk, she disappears. Later he seeks out this girl and finds out she is much more than he ever imagined. This girl is Matsuri and she is a yaka. A yaka is essentially a normal human in nature, only unable to venture out into daylight, has supernatural powers and healing ability, and does not die. This particular yaka is being chased by a mysterious sword-wielding man who wants nothing but her death. Yorito wants to protect this girl and takes her into his life. These are the ingredients for an average anime.

The first half of the series is exactly that, average. It consists mostly of character introduction and allows for the viewer to take in all the relationships that exist and are developing. You know very little about the yaka concept, only that it will play a larger part eventually. But then, after that halfway point, Sola punches you in the mouth for ever doubting it. While the story remains relatively simple, it becomes extremely engaging. Now you get a story involving multiple yaka, Yorito's hidden past and the struggle between Aono (Yorito's sister) and Matsuri. The latter half of the series is where all the "umph" lies.

The biggest strength and the thing that made this series what it is, is the characters. Superficially, some of the characters personalities alone make this a show worth watching. Mana is a strong character and a great friend. Koyori is quite possibly the most adorable character in creation. Matsuri is a misunderstood, lovely character. But at the deeper level, it's all about how the show pulls the viewer into the character's world. You genuinely have a sense of the characters emotions and can truly empathize with them. When their angry, you feel that. When their sad or crying, you get teary eyed. You find yourself truly vested in the characters ups and downs and their rollercoaster ride to the end.

Special Note: The story is contained within 13 episodes, however there are two additional episodes which are simply extras. Episode 14 is the obligatory episode where your favorite characters go to the beach or water park. It's an entertaining enough episode on it's own. Episode 15 acts a one episode prequel to the show entirely. I'm glad these two episodes were not used in the main story and simply added on as extras as they would have wasted precious time with nothing more than filler. This tactic should be used more often in anime. Extras like this are fine, just don't make it an actual staple in the show itself.

Rating: 8

Art

It's inevitable that if the words "J.C. Staff" is anywhere in the opening credits that you are going to be treated to a feast for the eyes. Sola is no exception. The standout as usual in this type of show is character design. While many of the characters may have a somewhat cliched overall makeup, it's the small details that give it that little bit of difference. Matsuri has the dark hair and deep colored eyes, all the while being pale in complexion to emphasize her nocturnal lifestyle. But so as to not distance herself from the rest of the cast, she wears normal clothing that just extenuates her physical features. The other characters are equally impressive, but the best feature they all share is the detail in their eyes. There is no lack of detail when it comes to the sheer gamut of emotions that each character will go through, all very well represented by their eyes. And since the main cast is limited (seven in total), each one is able to have their own individual physical traits.

Obviously the main focus of this story is in relation to the sky. To that end the sky is animated down to the slightest details. Yorito says "two skies might look similar, but no two are the same", and that is made evident by the minor detail tweaks. Clouds, shadows from the sun and the blending of pastels during dawn and dusk are all unique from the last. Aside of that, there are a scant few actions scenes throughout the show that all have a smooth framerate and lossless animation. It's not the simple sword flash, one frame escape animation, but much more action oriented. It really helps immerse the viewer in the sheer emotion being portrayed at the time.

Rating: 9

Sound

Opening theme: "colorless wind" by Aira Yuuki
Ending theme (Eps 1-12): "mellow melody" by Ceui
Ending theme (Ep 13): "Miageru Ano Sora de" by Aira Yuuki

All the themes for this show were right up my alley. The opening song is the light-hearted pop/technoish sound accompanied by solid singing similar to Aki Misato (Strawberry Panic). The ending song is much slower and depends on quiet tambourine and maraca sounds and is close to Aiko Kitahara (yes I like making comparisons, gives you a better chance of knowing what I'm talking about). The final ending song proves still that anime is still #1 at taking your final emotions from a show and increasing them exponentially. You'll probably already feel a bit of sadness, or that feeling in the pit of your stomach and when you add this in you'll probably be locking your door making sure no one can see you in this weakened state (it was four in the morning for me so no one was awake to see me in wussy mode). The BGM was fitting on the whole but relatively average. But there's a reason for that... it's constantly overshadowed.

The best way to properly quantify voice acting for this show: If you viewed this show next to a blind man, you would both "see" the exact same thing. Every actor does a magnificent job in bringing the story to life, almost to the point where no visual representation is necessary. Yes, it could nearly be a radio program and it would still prove just as good. This is a top to bottom solid job by every member of the staff from the ones who cast the parts to the ones that actually did the voicing. It's because of this that the aforementioned attachment to the characters is so strong. Matsuri (voiced by Mamiko Noto) sounds as sweet and confused as her character should. Yorito (Nabuhiko Okamoto) brings out the loving and strong nature of Yorito. I could easily go on about every character, but it's unnecessary. I will pay special attention to Ai Shimizu and Youko Honda as Ishizuki sisters Mana and Koyori. They were part of the seven major characters, but played the most minimal parts out of them. Yet the genuine feelings you were able to absorb from these girls in their caring of the Morimiya siblings really made their impact felt. I cannot speak highly enough of the vocal work done.

Rating: 10

Presentation

I went into Sola with no knowledge of exactly what the show was about. From the opening through the end of episode one, I expected an average show that would dabble in romance or possibly even harem comedy. I had no idea the depth and the dark atmosphere I'd be later viewing. Let's get one thing straight, compared to many anime out there, Sola is fairly shallow on plot. But this show proved that an epic, normal human imagination shattering plot isn't always necessary. A simple, well told story can prove to be just as entertaining. That's what Sola does and does so well. It gives you a simple premise and expounds on it from there. In the end, you are going to be given an ending that every viewer will react differently to. Some will feel relieved, others angry and even more saddened. It all depends on where your character loyalties lie.

Sola is a fantastic show that will appeal to a lot of viewers out there. It has a nice mix of all genres of animation with no real emphasis on any one in particular. In has romance, action, comedy, deceipt and hints of the supernatural. Yet all of that is balanced and presented in a great story. And when you have just great animation, enjoyable music and a vocal cast that can effectively blow you away, you end up with a memorable experience. I'd recommend this to nearly every person who considers themselves an anime fan.

So were the Japanese right? I didn't see a whole lot of 2007 animation, so I don't really know. But based on this experience, I'd say I can still depend on them in the future to keep me entertained until my end.

Rating: 9

Final Verdict

8.83 (very good)

Reviewed by shoujoboy, Apr 23, 2008

Comments

  1. MapleRose Retired Moderator Apr 23, 2008

    Quote: Koyori is quite possibly the most adorable character in creation.

    Nah, I give that to Chiyo-chan from Azumanga Daioh.

    Woah, a 10 from shoujoboy, is the apocalypse coming?! XD

    The art is pretty (the background art), one of the reasons I watched this, 'cause I kept on seeing vectors and wallpapers of it here. Though I'm not fond of the character design itself, heads are too big and necks are too thin (I keep on wondering if the necks would snap under the weight of big heads XD).

    Meh, I didn't think this series was as great as the hype, but then again, I marathoned it and I was kinda distracted at times (maybe that's 'cause this show didn't capture my attention? XD), maybe if I slowed down I might've noticed some of the things you did...

    Okay, I see the bits of "humour" you tried to put in. Valiant effort =)

  2. BossMac Apr 24, 2008

    Shoujoboy levels up!

    Out of all review this is the one that certainly proved to me YOU ARE Shoujoboy... for real, bro.

    Quote: Okay, I see the bits of "humour" you tried to put in. Valiant effort =)

    You spelled humor the un-American way...

    Notice that sho gets all serious when he's reviewing something he liked very much... the detail breakdown and flow of information is distinct from his usual review.

  3. Ephemeral-Garden Apr 28, 2008

    Makes me wanna watch this anime. I mean, I've seen a magazine review on this aniem and they didn't really did well in liftening my appetite, but you've made it.

    13 episodes is more than enough for me. :D

    If shoujoboys says its good, so it should be good. *thumbs*

  4. Milkiyo May 12, 2008

    it's just me being impatient but when I was reading the intro I was like "get to the point already!"

    wow sounds good. I meant the anime :P

  5. fruitygoh Nov 08, 2008

    Well, when I was watching it, the beginning seemed very slow. Yes, it shows the relationships, but you do want the story to flow and waiting a couple of episodes for the next main event really wasn't great for me. (esp. when its only 13 eps) The ending of the series was Excellent though. Good review.

  6. Sorron Jan 21, 2009

    Very good anime but only 13 episodes nevertheless there is a very good story.

  7. narunarunarunaru Feb 28, 2009

    i dropped watching sola.... wahhhh. i'll try to continue it...

  8. pigmypuff Jun 03, 2009

    wanna watching too

  9. lordryo Jul 28, 2009

    Great anime!

  10. hakkaigensui Aug 04, 2009

    i wish ders more episodes but sadly T_T well lol with the bonus episode aono in swimsuit xD

  11. SchRita Aug 23, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

  12. blackywidow Jul 10, 2010

    I really like it =D its awesome. I was crying by the first episode til the end >.<

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