14 CommentsSora no Woto / By Scamp /

Sora no Woto episode 1 metablogged

Has anyone noticed a certain similarity in the reviews of Sora no Woto so far? I’ll give you a hint

This is more than just a K-ON! knockoff

Animediet

If you’re going to say that Sora no Woto resembles K-ON in any way besides the character design (mostly eye design, really), screw off, because you’re sorely mistaken.

Mikotoism

With Letter Bee dropped and Hetalia going on hiatus, both my slots for anime blogging are open. Durarara is a guaranteed spot number 2 I had no idea what to pick. It had to be a 12/13 episode long series because Durarara continues for 24 episodes and Hetalia restarting in spring, which would leave me with too many shows being blogged at once. Sora no Woto fits the bill quite nicely. However, standard blogging routine is old-hat so I decided I would take a slightly more unconventional route. Metablogging, visiting different anime blogs to get different views on the series and combining them in one quote-filled post. Sora no Woto has the double plus of not only being a rather hot-topic anime fandom at the moment, but also being anime-original so I won’t get spoiled by whiny manga/VN/light novel readers.

However, when I refer to it being a ‘hot topic’, I’m really only referring to this

Well this show turned out to be an even closer twin to K-ON! than I was expecting

Anime Fascination

Too true, as was clearly evident from the promo images and the trailer. The MAL page for Sora no Woto already has 7 people who’ve lumped these two together and will probably rise by the time you’ve read this post. No matter how hard you try to deny it, the similarities are undeniable. As such, the K-ON haters backlash has resulted in two different forms.

Heck, since I’m so pumped up right now, I’m going to tackle the elephant in the room: the artwork.  Sora no Woto’s first episode was significantly better looking than anything K-ON! had to offer.  When the characters turned, their heads did not chop off.  Their eyes did not fall off their face.  Their hands did not turn into play-doh.  And, perhaps most importantly, their faces did not become distorted.

Mikotoism

The first comes from those who are determined to prove that this is far better than crappy K-ON. Focusing on military and actually having a plot is generally the points put forward by these people. Then there are others who are lamenting the K-ON similarities.

It’s a bit cheesy at times, and that legend that tells about the five girls… it’s a shame that shows are still relying on such an overused plot device

Star Crossed

While psgels was generally quite impressed with the episode, he hits upon the fact that this plot device has been used a bizzilion times already, not just by that certain light music club. The fans of this genre are staying oddly quiet though. They all clearly notice the similarities themselves but often seem to think they are overplayed.

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.

Rabbitpoets

For the most part I agree with this assessment. However, I think the K-ON artwork worked because the entire show had this slightly blobby feel to it, even with the backgrounds. In Sora no Woto, the backgrounds are so gorgeously animated that it gets rather jarring with the blobby characters in front. It reminded me of Somedays Dreamers attempt to mix real-life backgrounds with animated characters, something I never felt worked.

The question, of course, of why the characters look almost identical to their counterparts in K-ON! is one that is hard to answer. The similarities are too uncanny to be anything but deliberate. There doesn’t appear to be any direct staff connections between K-ON! and Sora no Woto. One wonders whether someone in Studio A-1 is attempting to make a statement to KyoAni, kind of similar to the Lucky Star references in Kannagi. Any gossip about studios in this area would be interesting to report on. They are aiming at the same audience, after all.

Anime Diet

This was probably the most interesting theory of them all. Are A-1 trying to prove to Kyo Ani disillusioned fanboys that they are capable of providing a story withe the moeblob designs? The Lucky Star references in Kannagi were jabs more than affectionate parody, so are A-1 trying to make a statement? What turns me away from that thought is that Sora no Woto seems to have too much heart behind it. Like people who thought Spice and Wolf wouldbe otaku-pandering, only to be slightly surprised that this seemed far more like someones genuine baby who they had put real effort into, Sora no Woto gives off the same vibes.

In any case, I thought this first episode was a great start and was much more promising than the gimmicky character designs made it seem at first. I will admit though that I found myself trying to see if each girl’s personalities matched their K-On! counterparts (they kind of do). I’m looking forward to seeing where all of this is going, and with more episodes like this, it could be a worthwhile show to follow.

Random Curiousity

So generally the internet seem pretty impressed by Sora no Woto thus far, although far from being blown away. The dinosaur bones, the tanks and many other things hint at a darker side to this story, very similar to the way Haibane Remnei was set up, which incidentally is number 2 show that’s been likened to Sora no Woto on MAL. Myself, I was hardly blown away either but I’m interested to see where this is going and it’s got a nice atmosphere that’s easy to sink into, although a poor mans Haibane Remnei is probably the best way to describe it thus far.

Hmm…I ended up spending most of this post talking about K-ON. I’ll try keep off that subject from hereon. Also, it you wrote a post on Sora no Woto and weren’t mentioned, sorry but there was like 50 posts on the episode,which should likely drop off since everyone’s been writing their first impressions.

Also, I can’t be the only one that found this funny

The drawing of moeblobs has been an art since the first scriptures were found. Back in the pyramids, there were pictures of underage girls making strange hand signals with some sort of hieroglyphics underneath saying ‘mðè mðê kγün’.

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12 Comments

  1. kadian1364
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    What I don’t want people to do is mentally set up an either-or path for Sora no Woto to take, either be Haibane Renmei or be K-ON!, masterpiece or bust sort of false dilemma.

    Just watch, the 2nd ep will be a simple s’life affair and the sphere will be up in arms about the show turning to moe crap. Remember HaiRen’s first 5 eps were s’life oriented.

    I guess I just want to say I’m willing to let Sora no Woto be its own thing rather than forcing comparisons with famous series of old.

  2. Posted January 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Sora no Oto’s character art does strikingly resemble K-ON’s. A carbon copy, even. However, don’t you think the character designs much more resemble those from Strike Witches? Kanata is the naive novice Yoshika, strict yet actually kind mentor Rio is one letter from Mio, and there’s a Lucchini in there somewhere. Comparisons are bound to be drawn, as a troupe of girls practicing light music and a troop of girls in a wartime setting aren’t the most original ideas out the butt-end of the Japanimation factory, but I think people are leaning too hard on the K-ON! idea.

    Rather, I’m worried about to what degree of mediocrity this will mellow into, if it will later on.

  3. Scamp
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    @kadian1364

    That’s a good point, but at the same time practically impossible. Trying to detatch a series away from everything else you’ve watched, especially something that begs comparison like Sora no Woto, is beyond most people. So yeah, there’ll be an inevitable backlash when s’life appears followed by a counter-backlash of those who point out what you’ve just said. And I would be delighted if it turned out like that. Gives me more to metablog about :)

    @Ningyo

    Strike witches was one of those shows that fell into the category of ‘too bad reviews to even bother’ that 2-3 shows each season fall into. As for the carbon copy, that is so true to the extent that it’s hard to believe it’s not intentional. Was it to draw in K-ON fans, was it to make a point to Kyo Ani or is it just simple misunderstanding?

  4. luffyluffy
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Ah! I thought it looked /alot/ like Kannagi too! Espically Rio, Rio reminded me exactly like Nagi..

  5. Posted January 7, 2010 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    a poor mans Haibane Rem­nei is prob­ably the best way to describe it thus far.

    And ARIA is a poor man’s YKK. I’ll take that. There’s no shame in being a “poor man’s something” if that something is as good as Haibane Renmei.

    It was an interesting first ep, but it really could go either way at this stage. I’m suspending judgement for now (though it’s not like judging after one ep has ever been wise).

  6. Posted January 7, 2010 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    I like how this is more than just a review; you get into the crux of what’s on everyone’s minds and research what everyone thinks. Very nice. Well I’m practically free tomorrow, (and hopefully tonight), so I’m gonna do some major catching up on this reviewing thing. I have started to get a different vibe from this show, but in all honesty, I really think something dark will happen later.

  7. Posted January 7, 2010 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    …I am going to go ahead with my post sometime this week then. Better late than never (although I was the one who woke up before 7 to watch it streaming on Keyhole xD). I do agree that Sora no Woto is K-ON! like, but I’m going to be a sore toe and counterattack with ARIA comparisons. Shush.
    I am going to type up a good post I promise hope.
    …Unless I will dig a hole in my wallet tomorrow.

    And I always thought the character designs were to lure the Keion fans.

  8. Posted January 7, 2010 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    Interestingly good way to write a review: gathering minds on the same topic and dissecting them one at a time to get a clear idea of what it is all about. It’s not everyday that I see such a step, so kudos to you Scamp! ^^

    Ah, back to the topic at hand: I have yet to watch Sora no Woto myself so I can’t be a good judge of that. But (I know this is sick, but I have to say it… my 2 cents), I’m sick of why people are comparing this to K-ON. I mean, it’s true that the artwork is very similar to K-ON, and the concept is about the same also. But K-ON is K-ON and Sora no Woto is Sora no Woto.

    I guess it wouldn’t be easy for viewers to escape the fact that some so-called “rip-off” is trying to stake its claim in the so-called “moe-blob” world… Haih…

  9. Posted January 7, 2010 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    I hated how Artefact and a bunch of rabid K-ON! fanboys and moe haters all banded together in labeling Sora no Woto “just another moe show.” If K-ON! had never existed, nobody would’ve given this show so much praise or criticism.

    Like psgels says, there’s nothing new here. It’s just “new” in a sense that we weren’t expecting anything close to what Sora no Woto 01 gave us. The “K-ON! ripoff” faction’s efforts prompted people like me heap on a lot of undeserved praise in an attempt to shut them up. Now only time will tell if this show can live up to all this unexpected hype.

    P.S.: It’s funny. A lot of K-ON! fans are watching this because they claim it looks like K-ON!, and a lot of them aren’t watching it for the same reason. The same is happening on the other side. A lot of the people who called K-ON! moeshit immediately label this as moeshit, and many fellow K-ON! haters are now out to prove that K-ON! wasn’t just bad because it had moe in it. Truly a bipartisan effort on both sides. D:

    P.P.S.: You spelled my blog’s name wrong! ;_;

  10. Scamp
    Posted January 7, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    @Sorrow-kun

    But judging after one episode is what I do best!

    Being a poor-mans something doesn’t say exactly how much poorer. K-ON could be described as a poor mans Azumanga but that doesn’t quite explain how much better Azumanga is.

    BTW is YKK really better than Aria? I’ve seen the YKK OVA’s and, well, they were all right but nothing more. Not looking forward to Aria quite as much as I once was

    @FaS

    This episode was quite easy to talk about what people are thinking about the episode. It’s going to be around episode 4 when the third s’life episode in a row airs that it’s going to be hard to find something interesting to say.

    @Kiseki

    Must…watch…Aria…someday….

    @jusuchin85

    Glad you like the format! I know it’s kinda annoying when people start comparing shows but it’s human nature. It also makes easy reviewing because instead of describing something from scratch, you just say “it’s like this ‘cept slightly different’ and poof, thoughts conveyed

    @fangzhao

    Remember there was a time when everyone was comparing K-ON to Lucky Star? And then they were comparing Lucky Star to Haruhi? People will forget about the comparison as it wears on and becomes its own creature. It’s only when a show is so similar that it becomes off-putting (RahXephon to Evangelion) that the constant comparisons continue

    Also, _____ism *fixed*

  11. Posted January 8, 2010 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    Don’t get all the “OMG K-On” stuff. Not because it isn’t there (yeah, they do look like the K-On chicks), but because people think it’s some sort of big deal. Series borrow stuff from other series all the time, often blatantly and shamelessly. It’s pretty common when it comes to anime, movies, books, or whatever. It’s all part of the trade.

    It’s like saying “pro wrestling is fake” or “baseball players use steroids.” Pointing out the obvious and acting like it’s some big revelation just makes you look like you’re late to the game.

  12. Scamp
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    @Landon

    It’s a combination of how blatently similar they are, even to animes normal copycat standards, and the fact that it’s a really easy way to review something. Obviously if they’re acting like it’s a magnificent discovery by themselves then you’re left facepalming, but I have a bit more faith in humanity not to be so stupid

2 Trackbacks

  • By This.Was.An.Okay.Watch | Baden Baden Lily on January 6, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    [...] However, it’s because of this happily ever after ending that I fear that Sora no Oto may mellow into mundaneness, as K-ON! did. Yes, one of the problems is that a post wartime series focused on soldiers doesn’t leave much room for excitement. But let’s face it, not just the art, but the aspect of several girls banding together for the sake of music is bound to cause comparisons to be drawn. Pertaining to K-ON! or not though, truthfully? Here’s an overview of a portion of the blogosphere’s contemporary take. [...]

  • By Missing Link » Arkisto » Episodipostaukset on January 20, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    [...] reippaasti muutakin, mutta hänen episodipostauksensa ovat usein mielenkiintoisia ja esimerkiksi Sora no Woton metablogaus – episodipostaaminen muiden blogien kyseistä jaksoa koskevien väitteiden [...]

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