The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Sora no Method- Review and Impressions After Three

“There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.” —Aeschylus

Upon moving back to Lake Kiriya City, Nonoka Komiya finds herself re-entering the lives of those she had left behind after moving away seven years ago. Before moving, a saucer appeared in the city, drastically changing the cityscape. Nonoka encounters Noel, who promises to grant her wish, but Nonoka has no recollections of what she had done in Lake Kiriya City prior to moving. She nonetheless befriends Yuzuki Mizusaka and promises to help her get rid of the saucer, but also finds herself drawing Shione Togawa’s ire. This is what’s happened after three in Sora no Method, and insofar, this anime appears to be driven by Nonoka’s lack of memories concerning events dating back seven years. All the viewers know is that she had the idea of summoning the saucer to their city. The saucer’s presence is passive, and although it has no physical impact on Lake Kiriya City, the citizens find themselves experiencing mixed feelings about it. Some embrace it and sell merchandise related to the saucer, while others feel that its presence is disruptive and wishes for the saucer to leave. The saucer thus becomes a physical embodiment of the nature of wishes: if they are granted, they may have varying consequences that were not anticipated.

  • My site might be dying, but until the Girls und Panzer Movie comes out, I’ll return from time to time to write about things as they happen. On that note, there’s been no news of when the movie is set to release: last I mentioned it, the only tidbit of information was that it’d be somewhere in 2014, and with 2014 fast coming to a close, one does wonder if the movie won’t be released in 2015. The first moments in Sora no Method is a stunning shot of a field of sunflowers under a brilliant sky during the spring/summer months, a welcoming opening sequence to behold.

  • An abandoned observatory with a reflecting telescope is prominently featured in Sora no Method. This is where Nonoka first meets Noel, a mysterious blue-haired girl whose existence is tied to that of the saucer. Flashbacks frequently return the characters here, suggesting that the spot was a secret hangout for a close group of friends many years ago.

  • Nonoka is the series’ protagonist, taking on the same role as Kanon‘s Yuichi. As the series begins, she’s just moved back to lake Kiriya after a seven-year absence. As much as I hate to admit so, I imagine that the seven references in Kanon and Sora no Method probably aren’t intentional as they are with Bungie Studio’s games.

  • The saucer’s depiction is of superb quality, and it seems to blend in with the afternoon sky. Throughout Sora no Method, there are numerous depictions of Lake Kiriya City and its surroundings, presenting a beautiful, calm world of greenery and peace that I’ve come to enjoy anime greatly for.

  • Souta and Koharu share a brief conversation together: the former is Yuzuki’s older brother, while the latter works for a local store that sells memorabilia of the saucer.

  • Here is another shot of the Lake Kiriya area by evening. I would’ve gotten these posts out sooner, but yesterday was remarkably busy. After my data mining lecture had ended, I left to help my supervisor’s presentation of our lab’s work to students from another university, and stopped by the Red Wagon Diner to pick up their smoked meat hash. Timing meant I set the smoked meat hash aside to go teach my introductory programming tutorial (thankfully, a work period) before returning to the lab for lunch and a meeting.

  • After snapping at Noel for supposedly breaking a photo of her mother and learning that the photo had been damaged while packing, Nonoka decides to go look for Noel and apologise. The first episode introduces the main characters, and although the series features characters with an adorable design, it is gradually leaning into drama territory.

  • Nonoka tearfully embraces Noel, and briefly recalls that they had met long ago. I’m willing to bet that Sora no Method will probably be about Nonoka’s gradual rediscovery of what had happened to her prior to leaving seven years ago, and even though the series is projected to be only thirteen episodes long, it looks like there should be enough time for everything to be fleshed out.

  • There is a mystique about this scene: Noel sitting under an abstract sculpture with Lake Kiriya and the mountains in the back yield an image that is simultaneously majestic and melancholic. I’m presently feeling under the weather and have been so since Wednesday: thankfully, in spite of the common cold, my taste buds still work, and I recall why I thoroughly enjoy the Red Wagon Diner’s smoked meat hash: it’s the perfect blend of Montreal Smoked Meat (from Pure Pwnage), potato, onion, banana pepper and jalapeño.

  • The onions probably helped stem my cold symptoms further, although I still spent most of today trudging around campus between continuous tutorials and a meeting for my tutorial. Returning back to Sora no Method, Yuzuki and a reluctant Nonoka petition to get rid of the saucer in their sky. Despite not recalling who Yuzuki is, Nonoka decides to help. For posterity’s sake, Yuzuki is voiced by Aki Toyosaki and as such, has an energetic, forward personality.

The setup in Sora no Method is not dissimilar to Kanon, where amnesia plays a central role in the story. Both Nonoka and Yuichi arrive in a town they had stayed in during their childhood, and are immediately greeted by a playful girl (Noel and Ayu), but when reminded by their peers about their pasts seven years ago (both series choose seven, a choice that probably has nothing to do with Bungie’s Seven references), find themselves unable to remember. A little bit of extrapolation allows one to surmise that Sora no Method will see Nonoka spend more time with Yuzuki, Shione, Koharu and Souta, becoming closer to them and in the process, learning what happened seven years back to figure out what Noel and the saucer are really about. Such a story would be quite formulaic, and the possibility that Sora no Method will go in a different direction is non-negligible. For the present, though, it is sufficient to continue watching Sora no Method to see which direction it will take, and how each of the characters figure in Nonoka’s life.

  • Years ago, Nonoka watches the fireworks with her mother. Since the saucer arrived, fireworks are no longer displayed over the lake, and it is these changes that lead Yuzuki to dislike its presence to the point of trying to get rid of it. There was a partial solar eclipse yesterday, visible from my city, and after the lab meeting concluded (with German Cheesecake), I was fortunate enough to learn that the campus Department of Physics and Astronomy were holding a viewing session.

  • Thus, I was able to see my first-ever partial eclipse. The next solar eclipse will be August 21, 2017, and although my old astronomy book predicted that it would be a total eclipse, the book itself dates back to 1999, and modern predictions suggest it will be another partial eclipse. By then, I’ll probably/hopefully a year into doing full-time software development. Thoughts like those concern the future, and while three years may not seem like much, it’ll pass by in the blink of an eye. As such, I’ll begin my job search by Summer 2015.

  • In the immediate future, I’m encouraged to learn Maya now so I can build my own graphical assets for my thesis work; I just finished building a prototype, and although it works, there is a lot that still needs to be done so it’s more visual and scalable. I’m a complete novice to Maya, so now’s a good time to start learning as any. Returning to Sora no Method, episode three sees Yuzuki, Nonoka and Koharu partaking in what appears to be an orienteering event; despite Yuzuki’s insistence on maintaining a brisk pace to finish first, the group falls behind.

  • Shione Togawa is a serious, no-nonsense girl with a love for photography. Her strict appearance is indicative of her personality: in general, girls with a hime-cut are supposed to be stern in manner and may either appear or outright be cold to others, although some anime choose to present these characters as rather friendly. In Sora no Method, though, Shione is not remotely friendly to begin with.

  • Noel’s antics are occasionally showcased in these early episodes; while no one’s ages are explicitly mentioned, the characters appear to be middle-school students for the most part, and Noel might be slightly younger than that. She mentions to Nonoka that she is the saucer itself, or more appropriately, the personification of the saucer and the wishes the girls had made many years ago. The saucer’s role is still a mystery, and one thing that definitely should happen as Sora no Method progresses is explanation of what the saucer is.

  • After addressing Shione by first name, Nonoka gets decked. Flashbacks show the two as close friends, and I’m quite curious to see what exactly led them to drift apart. At three episodes in, it’s still a little early to be expecting a proper exposition, but it feels appropriate to provide viewers with some explanation by no later than the halfway point such that everyone is on the ball with regards to what is happening. Supernatural elements play a substantial role in Sora no Method, so one hopes that contrasting Glasslip, the elements’ significance to the story are satisfactorily presented.

  • Perhaps there’s a defect about me, but everytime someone adorable in anime, or small children in reality tears up, a bit of my heart melts.

  • So, we’re now three episodes into two of Fall 2014’s offerings, and insofar, I’m okay with what Sora no Method has presented thus far. After I do an “after three” talk for Shirobako, I’ll take a step back from the season’s shows to provide a talk on Tamako Love Story, which has been out on Blu-ray and DVD since October 10. I will also do a talk on Zankyou no Terror, a thrilling series that I’ve been watching. At some point, I should also do a talk on some of the anime that I finished years ago and never discussed here (Papa no iukoto o kikinasai, RDG: Red Data Girl and Kokoro Connect), as well as a short talk on Chobits and Higurashi: When They Cry.

  • Nonoka gets lost herself after leaving to search for Shione, who is presumed to be lost but is in fact lagging a little behind. During her time alone, some memories kick back in, and she recalls more of what happened some seven years ago. Since the number seven keeps popping up, here’s a link to a list of all the instances where Bungie makes use of seven, and in a curious coincidence, the seven is spelled out fourteen times (7 * 2 = 14) this article. This was purely unintentional.

  • We’ve reached the end of this Sora no Method discussion, and moving forwards, the pacing seems to be setting up something big in future episodes without rushing things. I’m going to continue watching this, with a greater frequency than Amagi Brilliant Park, if only for the fact that I haven’t had any protracted dreams about this series yet.

Initially, the presence of fantasy/supernatural elements might be a warning flag after the fiasco Glasslip presented its viewers, but Sora no Method is doing a better job at making it clear that the saucer will play a substantial role, so it will be worthwhile to stick around and see how this is related with Nonoka’s amnesia, as well as how Nonoka’s relationship with each of the other characters will progress as her recollections return. Beyond the story, Sora No Method offers beautiful visuals and characters that are quite endearing to behold. Despite being based off a real-world location in Hokkaido, Lake Kiriya City is depicted as though it were a calm city in a world far apart from our own. I will continue to follow this anime and see which direction it takes: although it’s no GochiUsa or Non Non Biyori, it does stand to be an intriguing story if properly executed. Of course, the similarity between Sora no Method and Kanon (which extends to a seven reference) is a direct consequence of the shows sharing writers, and as such, Sora no Method could very well be a moving story. Contrasting some other reviewers out there, I won’t be so haste to drop Sora no Method, and hopefully, a thrilling adventure will await.

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