SoniAni- Super Sonico The Animation: Halfway point reflection
February 18, 2014
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“Where do we begin?”
SoniAni is this season’s light-hearted romp through a university student’s life: after barely making a concert between her modelling job and her friends’ transportation woes, Sonico visits Okinawa while on a photoshoot, reminisces about how she got into music with inspiration from a senior at her high school, spends time with a magazine editor asked to document her everyday life and experiences DayZ first-hand when an adipose-combating ointment leads to some unintended side effects. Everything that happens in an episode can be summarised in a few sentences, reflecting on how simplistic and relaxing this anime is.
- To the best of my knowledge, there are no other sources of discussion or images for SoniAni out there: for the time being, my twenty screenshots of the series so far will probably be one of the few collections of SoniAni screenshots in existence.
- The correct translation of the girls’ band, 第一宇宙速度 (Daiichi Uchū Sokudo), is “First Cosmic Velocity”, but producers (and everyone else) refer to the band as “First Astronomical Velocity”. The reasons for doing so are probably to minimise confusion with the scientific application of the first cosmic velocity unit: this is the minimum velocity with which a body must be launched to put it into a circular orbit around the Earth (ignoring drag forces and planetary rotation). The body will be bounded to the earth’s gravitational field in a circular orbit around the Earth, and the unit is equivalent to 28440 kilometers per hour.
- The second and third cosmic velocities are respectively defined as the minimum velocity with which a body must be launch to overcome the Earth’s gravitational field (but remain bounded by the Sun’s gravitational, equal to 40320 kilometers per hour) and the minimum velocity that is necessary for a body to overcome the Earth’s and Sun’s gravitational fields (60012 kilometers per hour). Because the last figure captions were so educational, the above image ought to offset the seriousness.
- Suzu recounts how she met Sonico: a long time ago, she ran into a nervous looking girl and enlisted her for First Astronomical Velocity. Suzu Fujimi is said to be witty and capable of extraordinary leadership, but is also quick to anger and skilled with Zangief’s combat-style.
- “Shit, did you see that?” “Probably birds.” “Wait, I saw it too! Oh, there is something up there.” “Yeah, the bush moved, did you see it?” That exchange is from the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 mission “Heart of Darkness”. Even though the animation in SoniAni is standard-fare and looks about the same as most anime out there, there are occasions that lead me to double back and take a closer look: in this case, it looks like the trees outside look different compared to an image from earlier: they were deciduous trees and now they look coniferous. Sonico and her friends don’t find this notable here: she is intently writing down everything Fuuri wishes her to buy while in Okinawa.
- The guy wearing the daemon mask is Kitamura, Sonico’s manager. He is never seen without the mask (much like how Sonico is never seen without her headphones), and is highly protective of Sonico, but also has a very kind nature; Kitamura’s presence brings to mind Graham Aker for one reason or another.
- I have a feeling I am the only blog anywhere on the English-speaking side of the internet to have provided screenshots and a well-written summary of my thoughts on SoniAni so far. Other discussions are woefully short, incomplete or incoherent, lacking screenshots and structure. I think readers would prefer I keep to my present styles, rather than settle for less 😉
- Owing to its proximity to China, Okinawan cuisine bears some similarity to Chinese and Southeast Asian styles, making extensive use of herbs and spices. Contrasting Japan, meat is far more common compared to seafood despite Okinawa’s proximity to the sea, with the latter being difficult to preserve in the climate.
- Next to the Kyoto region and Hokkaido (for its rich history and seafood, respectively), I would love to visit Okinawa owing to its status as the birthplace of the Gōjū-ryū style. Known in English as the hard-soft style, Gōjū-ryū is characterised by a combination of graceful and powerful movements in its kata. It’s also one of the older branches of karatedo and has a small number of kata compared to the other branches.
- Fuuri’s background is something that SoniAni has still not yet explored fully: some sources draw information from the visual novel to build Fuuri’s background, although given that the anime is built differently, elements from the visual novel may not be present in the anime. From a personal perspective, I hope that the anime is disjoint from the visual novel, since Fuuri’s background might be a little outrageous.
Thus far, I feel that SoniAni is idealistic and hopeful: Sonico embodies the ideas of honest hard work and optimism, but she is also remarkably blasé about some of the questionable situations she’s put into, resolving to try her best in everything she does without giving the circumstances additional thought. While this naïveté is admirable and amusing, it also reminds me of Bruce Wayne’s exchange with Alfred in The Dark Knight Rises. After being asked about what he is to do when he encounters Bane, Bruce responds that “I’ll fight harder, I always have”. However, Alfred counters by telling Bruce to “Take a good look. His speed, his ferocity, his training! I see the power of belief.” When Bruce eventually fights Bane for the first time, he is completely outmatched. The lesson gained from this comparison (as far as its relevance to SoniAni) goes, is that Sonico’s willingness to work harder is simultaneously at odds with harsh reality, but may also belie her determination to get back up if she stumbles.
- Sonico’s guitar is named “Daydream”, for being able to convey the stuff of dreams through music, and episode four is dedicated to its origins, as well as how Sonico herself got into music to begin with. This guitar belonged to a senior named Tomano, and was given to her by another precursor. She leaves for another country, giving this guitar to Sonico after the latter demonstrates a heartfelt desire to play rock music, and they part under grey skies.
- I have not seen such a scene in an anime since the summer of 2012, when the K-On! Movie was released. While I’ve no experience with any instruments involved in light music, a long time ago, I was a clarinet player for my middle school’s concert band, and eventually taught myself to play the trumpet for the Jazz band, as well.
- SoniAni turns out to be about a little of everything, never focusing on one aspect in Sonico’s life for more than an episode. This multidisciplinary aspect comes across as a little jarring for some, but from a personal end, it makes sense. People tend to do a variety of things as extracurricular activities or personal hobbies (assuming they don’t live on forums, of course).
- I found this scene to be quite entertaining, watching two students discuss their thoughts of the latest magazine shoot with Sonico, who is seen hiding behind her guitar case here out of embarrassment.
- The events of the fifth episode are set in motion when a magazine sends one of its staff, Sakaya, to do a feature on Sonico. Despite feeling it to be a chore, she takes the assignment.
- I would note the different between a bar and a pub, but I’ve already done so for my introductory post to SoniAni. Recently, I found that the foolproof way to avoid drinking is to drive and offer to be a designated driver if need be. In the company of understanding friends, no one will provide any pressure to drink.
- It turns out that Sonico majors in marine biology, a subset of the biological sciences that leads to a Bachelor of Science degree. Because I’m more than a thousand klicks to the nearest ocean, my university provides special facilities for those majoring in marine biology at the Western Canadian Universities Marine Sciences Society. How does the job market look for a marine biologist? Marine biologists can find occupations as a biological technician, ichthyologist, fishery biologist, marine mammalogist, microbiologist, systems analyst, or a mathematician.
- Sayaka discovers that Sonico is just an ordinary girl with headphones: that’s why Sonico has such an optimistic outlook on life and why she’s willing to give everything her all. Through this project, Sayaka rediscovers her own dreams and thanks Sonico for helping her indirectly realise this.
- The last time I was on a cruise ship, it was 2003 and the journey was a loop around the Inside Passage, which has a relatively cool, rainy climate. The suggested attire for the summer is a light jacket and T-shirt, contrasting the swim gear Suzu and Sonico are seen in here.
- I’ve omitted the zombies simply because it’s a shock factor that is more entertaining when animated, rather than statically displayed as pictures. Speaking of zombies, I am tempted to buy the DayZ standalone game from Steam: it’s only thirty USD at the time of writing and offers a truly open world, where one’s only goal is to survive a zombie apocalypse by foraging for supplies and lasting as long as possible.
This talk isn’t supposed to be a psychoanalysis about Sonico given what we’ve seen in SoniAni, but an assessment of how the anime is faring at the midway point. The anime itself is solid: it distinctly feels like K-On! in places with the music and lighthearted nature of the band, as well as the absence of focus that gives the anime a very casual feeling. Sonico takes on Yui’s role as the lead guitarist and vocalist, Suzu shares characteristics with Mio and Sawa (for being the bassist and expressing an unhealthy interest in giving Sonico crazy outfits), and Fuuri is a hybrid between Ritsu and Mugi (she’s the drummer but also has a fluffy personality). The anime is part slice-of-life and part fanservice, but the inclusion of subtle elements, such as Sonico’s segues into modelling and music, add a bit of depth to her character. There isn’t really much more I can add to this discussion, and I imagine that the same will hold true for the second half, but one thing is certain: SoniAni is a suitable anime for warding off despair associated with the dark depths of winter, and as the anime draws to a close, spring will be upon us once again.