The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

SoniAni- Super Sonico The Animation: Final Reflection

This is the greatest SoniAni review of all time.

Previously, I took a departure from the reflection typical format, introducing a single-episode review about my thoughts on the seventh episode. That was done because the episode was particularly special, and now, I return to provide my thoughts on the second half, as well as the entire season. From there on out, Sonico’s friends participate in solving a mystery of sorts, and help her manage a bewildering array of tasks at her university’s culture fair. Sonico herself has a few adventures when she finds a stray cat and helps a young girl named Ayaka discover the true meaning of Christmas, all the while helping the local shopping district stay in the black. As the year draws to a close with a concert, Sonico, Fuuri and Suzu perform a New Year’s Eve concert to reflect on everything that has occurred over the past year. One’s impression of SoniAni: Super Sonico The Animation is that it is a series about everything and nothing. It’s a series about Sonico’s life seen from a very optimistic, hopeful perspective, and perhaps now, more than ever, shows like these are most welcomed for being able to lift the spirits and bring a little joy into life.

  • A quasi-murder mystery awaits viewers after episode seven. Subtle details interact with clichés to add a certain amount of character to SoniAni: between the ‘detective traps’ and Suzu’s hair spontaneously assuming different forms,  this episode proved entertaining as viewers watch Suzu and company try to figure out what happened to Sonico.

  • What SoniAni excels best at is its ability to portray Sonico and her friends under an incredibly diverse range of settings: the ninth episode features a campus cultural festival that sees a series of cascading errors, in turn forcing Sonico to take on everything simultaneously.

  • I’m not kidding about what I say in the opening quote at the top of the page. Granted, I believe that humility is a virtue and that boastfulness is counterproductive, but in this case, there are legitimate grounds for making the bold claim that this is the greatest SoniAni review of all time. My justification for thus is that discussion elsewhere about SoniAni is surprisingly lacking or limited. Conversely, my discussions are more substantial on the virtue that they are graced by beautiful screenshots.

  • Of note was the bizarre fixation on Sonico’s headphones, which some individuals have dedicated paragraphs and hours to complaining about; from a rational perspective, the headphones are merely an aesthetic element, and thus, decrying such a trivial element so vehemently reflects on one of the unsavoury tendencies of the anime community, to get lost in the minutiae and lose sight of bigger picture.

  • It’s not even noon hour yet, and Sonico is exhausted from helping her café out and covering for another model. Fortunately, Suzu and Fuuri step up to the plate and, in essence, allow Sonico to split into three in a manner reminiscent of how Harry is moved to the Barrow in The Deathly Hallows.

  • Thanks to Suzu and Fuuri’s efforts, Sonico is able to assist everyone who requested her help, and the cultural festival ends up being a success. At my university, there are no cultural festivals, but open houses for new students are hosted every year; despite having graduated from my program, my presence is still occasionally requested such that there is additional help.

  • Sonico gives a presentation about whales as the day draws to an end, bringing to mind an event I participate in every so often. During the summers and throughout the academic year, there are programs that encourage interests in the computer sciences among high school students on campus, and I am involved, presenting some of my work to promote interest in an ever-changing, innovative field that is software development.

  • The reviews posted at MyAnimeList level several complaints against SoniAni, including excessive fanservice, pointless elements and poor music that “scorn the viewer’s intelligence with shoddy craftsmanship that is intentionally brash”. I can immediately pull some counterexamples from memory: the fanservice is surprisingly disciplined, and the music, though nothing awe-inspiring, enhances the series. The show helps intelligent viewers relax, and the craftsmanship is able to bring out such a laid-back atmosphere in the show. I conclude that those who feel the compulsion to complain about SoniAni probably have never really known what it is like to put in effort and work hard towards an objective.

  • Sonico has an affinity for kittens that ends up giving episode ten its primary focus. This episode was particularly light-hearted, and I’ve noted in my Someone’s Gaze talk that I have a fondness for small animals like bunnies, hamsters and kittens. This character may seem a little unusual for someone who spends downtime reading Tom Clancy novels and playing Battlefield 3, but it is a part of being multidisciplinary!

  • It turns out the “stray” munchkin cat Sonico finds was merely lost, and spends the episode trying to return to its mother. Despite some rough play between the munchkin and Sonico’s cats, the other cats come to the former’s rescue and saves it from a dog in a thrilling manner.

Originally, I began watching SoniAni: Super Sonico The Animation partly because I was curious to check out what such an anime would entail. As the mascot of Nitro+, speculation ran wild that the series would focus on excessive anatomy lessons and not merit any watching whatsoever. When the series itself came out, viewers were so focused on Sonico’s headphones that they completely ignored any other aspect of the show. Of course, SoniAni did rise above and beyond the call: each episode represents a self-contained mini-adventure for the viewers, flinging Sonico, Suzu and Fuuri into a variety of ordinary and extraordinary situations. Watching them work together and struggle togather gave this series character, and as such, almost contrary to all initial expectation, SoniAni provided a unique take on life lessons, suggesting that kindness and friendship is an indespensible ally wherever things go south.

  • SoniAni would have probably been more appropriately aired in the fall season and ended near Christmas: when this episode ended, I wished it was Christmas once more, but the fact is, it’s nearly April, and after exams, summer begins again. Christmas and New Year episodes feel out of place in the middle of the year.

  • This scene was particularly amusing: I am a gamer and therefore, can relate to the concept of health bars and vitality. One of the most hilarious aspect about Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is the idea of double damage. In some cases, a well timed attack will inflict twice the damage, and the player’s KO sound will actually finish playing before the health bar is completely drained.

  • Sonico’s grandmother demonstrates an admirable command of the English language: I finally caught on by the halfway point and realised that she’s voiced by Kikou Inoue, who provided the voice to Ah! My Goddess!‘s Belldandy.

  • The Christmas episode is centred around Sonico and her friends’ efforts to raise business at the local shopping district after profits drop when a department store opens. Despite lacking the same resources as the latter, the community association is able to use clever means in drawing in customers.

  • When I was younger, I read a short paper titled “Engineers take the fun out of Christmas”: basically, a group of engineers at the municipal building regulations department applied a collection of computations to show that, even with magic or other superhuman means, Santa Claus could not accomplish his feat of covering every house in the world to deliver gifts to good children. Witty but cynical, that short paper was incredibly amusing to read.

  • Ayaka discovers the true Christmas spirit when “Santa Claus” delivers her gift: that her family is together for Christmas.

  • The season concludes with a final concert from First Astronomical Velocity on New Year’s Eve. I personally would prefer such a concert in lieu of the ones I normally watch on New Year’s Eve, as First Astronomical Velocity somehow puts on a much more personal, heartfelt performance despite being a fictional band.

  • It is necessarily true that SoniAni (or all anime, for that matter) does not requires intellectual content to be meaningful. This is a position I have mentioned countless times earlier, and to that, I restate that if I like something, I don’t need to justify it using pseudo-intellectual means. Similarly, it is quite unnecessary to rage against something one doesn’t like using pseudo-intellectual means.

  • Sonico’s grandmother puts on an impressive show while Sonico is waiting for her guitar to be restrung after one of its strings fail mid-concert. One of the aspects about SoniAni that I found unusual was the fact that Sonico always seems to have an automatic safety net for when things go south, bringing to mind Master Chief John-117’s luck. From personal experience, I have to take the initiative of ensuring that I have all my safety nets because my luck isn’t that good.

  • This shot of the (more or less) fully assembled cast concludes my SoniAni post. Given that the soundtrack music does contribute to SoniAni‘s mood, I will be inclined to check it out. Some of the vocal songs are quite good, and there is one motif from the background music that I’ve  informally dubbed “Sonico’s theme” and will definitely to listen to in full.

At the end of the day, SoniAni: Super Sonico The Animation is something that definitely exceeded expectations, and I was quite pleased to have had something simple and light-hearted to look forwards to every week. For much of the first half, I found the series to be reasonably entertaining, but my opinion shifted into “will recommend” territory following the seventh episode. I would quite happily recommend SoniAni to viewers, not so much for the music or character designs, but rather, the gentle elements of benevolence and openess that permeates the entire series. SoniAni thus joins Tamayura and Non Non Biyori as excellent anime for unwinding after a difficult day, and as the future draws nearer, I am immensely thankful that these iyashikei (healing anime) are so readily available. When I watch shows like these, for a few moments, I am swept away into a more slowly-paced world, and my own worries lessen as I take a step back to relax.

5 responses to “SoniAni- Super Sonico The Animation: Final Reflection

  1. Jan Buensuceso (@ZENjamibu) March 27, 2014 at 06:39

    The SoniAni OP CD was released in Japan on Feb 26, 2014 and SoniAni Original Soundtrack was released in Japan last March 19, 2014. Those are floating on the internet(if you know what i mean). The SoniAni ED CDs( 2 to be exact) titled Rainbow and Moonlight by First Astronomical Velocity will be released in Japan on May 21, 2014. http://soniani.jp/products_cd.html

    Like

  2. Jan Buensuceso (@ZENjamibu) March 27, 2014 at 06:43

    Nice review of SoniAni. I think this is one of the very few positive reviews I have read so far. I enjoyed watching the series myself.

    Like

    • Wild Goose March 27, 2014 at 22:26

      It’s fashionable in anime and reviewing circles to be critical and to tear down. Hate and small-minded pettiness is remarkably easy for internet denizens to summon. Thoughtfulness is in significantly short supply.

      I’m going to miss this show. It wasn’t exactly intellectually stimulating, but then neither is my life intellectually stimulating either. It fills the same niche as having a chat with my mother at the end of the day; calm, comfortable, relaxing.

      Like

      • infinitezenith March 27, 2014 at 23:17

        I wonder if my reflections are thoughtful by any stretch…what do you think? I do my best to be honest and do not really consider what I write to be reviews, since I’m not looking at a preset selection of attributes to consistently evaluate. I choose to merely talk about how I felt about what I watched, instead. This is why my posts are titled reflections and take on the structure that they do.

        My life is a firestorm right now, so I am immensely thankful things like SoniAni exist. In particular, “Star Rain” stood out to me as the series’ highlight. Right now, things are chaos, and it reminds me of a time three years ago when I was under similar stress. Back then, K-On!! fulfilled the role of “relaxing show”. I eventually turned a failing semester into a survived semester thanks to K-On!! and so, can attest to their restorative character🙂

        Like

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