Sound of the Sky tells
the story of the 1121st platoon
of the Helvetian Army. The platoon is entirely made up of young women
their own aspirations and dreams to follow. Each character joined the
for a different reason. This is one of those quietly-paced anime series
is determined to spend much more time developing the characters and
their stories than on telling a story with a grander story arc or
Instead, Sound of the Sky aims to be a slice of life series
find an audience primarily through the unique and humble qualities it
from a storytelling perspective.
begins by introducing Kanata Sorami, a 15 year old volunteer who joins
1112st platoon with a goal of learning how to play the bugle because of
passion for music. Indeed, several of the other characters on the show
share a similar
passion and determination to bring their music to the world that
and this is one of the elements of the series that lends it some
as a show that emphasizes the importance of music in a person's life.
of the show is the aftermath of a war that destroyed much of
where people are left with the limitations of their own surroundings.
almost entirely a back-burner element that only occasionally seems to
the storyline and not in particularly surprising ways for the most part.
is simply stunning. This is easily one of the most impressive looking
series of the past few years. The highlight of the entire show may very
that the production values never cease to impress. Without such
and authentic artwork the series wouldn't have been as enjoyable as it
behold. From the character designs to the landscapes everything seems
thought out from the art department, with art direction by Masatoshi
was part of the art department for such classics as Jin-Roh: The
Brigade, Millennium Actress, Ghost in the Shell 2:
and Howl's Moving Castle).
Michiru Ohshima is another highlight of the show. It is eloquently
and adds several layers of enjoyment to the series. The best scenes
the entire run of Sound of the Sky were usually accompanied by the
really brought things to another level at times).
was done by Hiroyuki Yoshino and unfortunately this is where the series
seems to disappoint the most. The effort to focus on characters above
plot is sometimes
to be appreciated but it seems to make this a difficult show to enjoy
I love character-based series but Sound of the Sky doesn't have
compelling characters (even as it tries to develop their stories) and
characters I can fully appreciate it just doesn't work as a story as
well as it
five characters in total that represented these girls of the platoon. Each of the characters had a distinctive
personality (in anime cliché vein) but that seemed to almost
hinder the series
at times as the characters were fairly easy to figure out and not as
multi-layered as they could have been. I say "distinctive" to emphasis
each character seemed to be given somewhat generic traits. There is one
surprise late in the series that makes one central character a shady
the character remains unchanged and the only surprise is that the
was even left in the series (I won't spoil this development, but I
well hint that it involves the war that preceded the beginning episode
of the Sky).
does a good job directing the series for the most part. There is a lot
interesting camera-work and the style is refined enough that each
the series feels more like a short film than an episode of an ongoing
but even with this aspect Kanbe does maintain the
show as something consistent within the
story's unique universe.
out to be a nice series to see and it was one where I felt more of a
vibe from the overall experience than a negative one. The series has
(most of them being script related) but the strong direction and
the stellar animation make this a series worth watching at least once.
even thematic relevance in how the series emphasizes the importance of
friendship and the power of music. Sound of the Sky may be
flawed but it
is worth checking out even with the shortcomings.
the Sky is
presented in the original broadcast
aspect ratio of 1:78:1 on DVD with anamorphic widescreen enhancement
result is a presentation that looks strikingly beautiful with strong
good contrast. The show is even less soft than I expected for this kind
production. The animation is exquisite and the DVD reflects that well.
Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is surprisingly strong
for a stereo mix. It has some solid sound-mixing for each of the
speakers and it
sounds clean, clear, and dynamic for a limited sound field. This is one
more impressive stereo mixes I have heard in recent memory. The series
presented with only the original Japanese language dub and with
subtitles in English (and the option is included to turn on/off
aren't that many exciting extras included with
this Limited Edition box set release. The best extra for this
may actually be the special packaging. Sound of
the Sky is presented in a nice art-box that houses
the four individual slim-case discs with separate artwork on each. It's
package that will look impressive on an anime collector's shelf. The
includes an impressive booklet featuring notes from many of the
members of the production and they gave comments that are worth reading
fan of the show. The booklet also features some pre-production art and
from the series.
claims to include two special bonus episodes
but I hesitate to consider them as real extras. The final episode "The
the Sky - Dream's Horizon" is an essential wrap-up to the characters
series would have ended on a much less interesting note if it had not
included. It would have been a major mistake to not
include it on this release. The second "bonus episode" is
actually just an alternative version of the first episode with the
credits sequence included (the original broadcast of the first episode
include the opening credits featured in every other episode of the
didn't notice any other differences in the episode at all so it seemed
like a somewhat
the set is rounded out with character
bios, line art galleries, the
U.S. trailer for Sound of the Sky, and trailers for other
RightStuf!/Nozomi DVD releases.
the Sky was an
interesting series that
focused on the importance of friendship and music. The lead characters
likeable and the tone of the series was light and optimistic. The
beautiful. The scripting could have been quite a bit better at times,
show suffered for that. The overall experience is still worthwhile. The
features pleasing PQ/AQ, little in the way of video extras, and a nice
(with a neat booklet). It's worth picking up for the right price - so
it is recommended, but the best bet may be to
give it a test drive first. Rent it.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.