Natsu no Sora: Episode 2
This episode did nothing for me. In fact, I would say that this anime is falling quickly in my books…and I really am disappointed. Maybe it will redeem itself – there are many anime that have a weak beginning and a strong ending. Maybe those who stick it out will be rewarded? I certainly hope so.
Rest of the review is behind the cut…
Sora arrives in Tokyo and goes through the obligatory – “Here I am in Tokyo, Father – I’ll try my best!” This was very much expected; the only thing I didn’t expect here was that this would last about half the episode. She’s lost in the city for roughly 15 minutes of the episode. o_O
However, there is one VERY important happening that occurs while she’s hopelessly lost – a car accident. A huge 18-wheeler veers off an overpass and is hurtling towards a little old lady and one of Sora’s classmates (who is protecting the lady). Sora rushes to the scene, slows the truck with her magic, and lowers it slowly to the ground. Nobody is hurt and Sora saves the day! Unexpectedly, the boy is not thankful at all, and even speaks a little harshly to her. Anyone who has EVER watched a shojo anime before realizes the entrance of Sora’s eventual romantic interest.
After some more lost city-wandering, Sora finally makes it to school – late. Very, very late. She tries to sneak in the classroom door with her suitcase, but only slips on the wheels of the suitcase and falls dramatically (and loudly) – so much for subtlety. The suitcase flies across the room and is caught by the soon-to-be best friend character. Sora makes an embarrassed introduction and sits down to her first magic class.
Magic aptitude tests are given, and then a practical test in which the students are asked to turn water into ice. Some of the snobby students make little ice cylinders and such in a show-offy way. Sora, however, loses control of her emotions when she is insulted and makes her water explode into an uncontrolled icicle display that hangs from the ceiling. Her friends are amazed by the beautiful display, and she ends up showing up the snobby cylinder students.
Sora does yet MORE city exploring (o_O), this time backed by some music played by a street performer. Eventually, she arrives at the home she’ll be staying at as an apprentice student. She is shown to her room (which happens to be a pretty sweet room – of course she doesn’t appreciate it – “A boy’s room? Why?”). She looks out her window, only to discover that the other student staying at this house is the boy she saved earlier who was so ungrateful – *gasp!* The episode ends with this cliché discovery.
As you may have inferred from my little intro there, this episode did very little for me. This was really a shame, since this was the first real episode. The first episode is always spent giving backstory and character introductions, but the second episode is where the story begins. A weak episode here can give a weak impression of the whole show – and that’s exactly what’s happened.
So why was this episode so weak? Two main things really spoiled this otherwise interesting storyline for me – ten million cliché elements, and the art (which somehow got WORSE from episode one’s low standards.)
This episode, which is the first real chance the show had to distinguish itself from other anime, did anything but that. I found everything that happened predictable and un-original. From “lost in the big city” to “meeting the ungrateful and bad-boy future object of affection” to “late to the first class” to “embarrassing entrance and introduction” to “best-friend entrance”…the list goes on and on, culminating in “somehow ending up staying in the same house as the aforementioned future object of affection.” Bleah.
The art, as I mentioned before, somehow got worse than last week – don’t ask me, I’m not sure how it’s possible. I mean, it’s not like Bleach-filer-bad, but it’s a far cry from good. I think the thing that is throwing the art off so much is the incredibly detailed backgrounds – anything that’s not fairly good will look like total shit (pardon my French) against a well-done background. It draws attention to the bad parts.
In addition to this, the art is inconsistent. I feel that it is unfair to call the art bad, because there ARE parts that look pretty good. However, there are also parts that look pretty horrendous. It’s a shame the latter outweigh the former…