Sounds of the Skies: Beyond the Dream
February 23, 2012
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When asked by Mishio what her dream is, Kanata is unsure how to answer. Kanata is given a letter sent to Rio from the Roman Emperor, and goes to find Rio so she can sign it. Whilst in town, she runs into Yumina and learns why Mishio asked her. Kanata later learns from Naomi and Maria that Rio might have wondered off somewhere. Kanata later finds Rio at some ruins, who was wondering about the true story behind the Maidens of Fire that Aisha had told them. Rio then explains that outside of Seize, there are a lot of wars going on. Later that night, Rio takes Kanata on a hot air balloon ride, where she tells her her dream of rebuilding the airplane. The next day, as Kanata is picked to play the role of a fire maiden, Kanata decides her dream is to follow Rio on her dream.
- “Please visit Cuenca, Spain! We have a warm summers, cold winters, and a lot of cool historic sights!” Later, I’ll do a post contrasting Cuenca to Seize. Like Tamayura ~Hitotose~, it’s off the beaten trail, and so, contrary to what bloggers believe, no fans have actually visited the town.
- For those who can’t read it, the French (Je vais me marier avec Kanata) approximates to “I’m going to marry Kanata”. It’s rather curious to see the use of Shinto ema managed to surviving, whereas the Japanese language itself was lost.
- Sister Yumina is a rather curious character: Yumina is a priestess at the local church who looks after orphaned children. She also acts as a nurse when people fall ill and is fluent in the language of the Roman Empire, which is more or less modern German.
- I was drawn into Sora no Woto by the artwork of the landscapes and scenery. With its sweeping blue skies and unique world, I was drawn in by the unique premise and soon had my own story to tell about the anime.
- This isn’t TVTropes, so I’m free to discuss here without worrying about what constitutes as a spoiler or not. While the world has undergone severe desertification (damaging the biosphere irreparably), Rio nonetheless desires to find lands untouched by the war. According to the map Rio has, Helvetica is modern-day Japan. It’s possible that the land Rio refers to is North America.
Occurring after the cease-fire between Helvetica and Rome, this episode was distinctly more serious compared to the previous OVA. The primary focus of the episode is the concept of self-actualisation, casually brought up when Katana goes around asking people what their dreams for the future are. When she speaks to Rio about the latter’s dreams, she comes to realise that her own dream is to follow Rio on her objective of seeking out lands untouched by the great war. Rio is content with this arrangement primarily because she realises that Kanata’s journey with her will eventually lead KanataThese aspirations offset the initially depressing mood when it becomes clear that the war had accelerated the desertification of the world, reflecting on how while there are always a set of larger issues that need to be addressed, there also is the potential for a positive future that is worth working towards. A curious and rather nice touch to this episode was the return of events to the Water Festival, bringing things a complete circle to from where everything started, except this time, Katana is the fire maiden. The OVA also features some curious, small details, such as Seiya’s ema wishing to marry Kanata one day and Noël’s desire to be a ‘cute wife’. Ultimately, this bonus OVA comes across as being a more suitable ending to the entire anime, especially with respect to Rio’s monologue about taking the initiative and grasping the future.
- Much as it is in the real world, history can become legend, and this, in turn, can become myth. The true purpose of the Fire Maidens is conflicted: some accounts of the legend portray the Fire Maidens as saviours, while others count them as destroyers. Only the Water Festival and a mammoth skeleton in the lake remains of the original events.
- To really drive home the point of just how far technology regressed, no flight-capable vehicles exist, save hot air balloons.
- The story concludes where it began: when Kanata arrived at Seize, she was the one who was lost and was guided by Rio, then the Fire Maiden. Here, Kanata is now the Fire Maiden, much to her chagrin .
- Sora no Woto is, for what its worth, a relatively obscure anime, compared to other series. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, some fans have attempted to analyse the plot in great detail befitting of literary classics. Unfortunately, these remain opinion-driven, as Sora no Woto has several, loosely underlying central themes: I personally believe forgiveness and self-actualisation drive the plot, while other viewers contend that existentialism is present. No evidence exists for such a claim, of course, leaving this point open to interpretation.
- Watching the Clocktower Maidens rush into the city for the Water Festival is a fitting conclusion to the entire series.
I initially encountered Sora no Woto during the summer of 2011 and downloaded it out of curiosity of its unusual setting. I’ve found time and time again that some of the best anime out there are around 12 episodes long. This arises from the idea that a concise, simple story can be told in a relatively short time-frame.