Fall 2010 At a Glance: Yosuga no Sora
Starting tonight I will be bringing back the Anime Insights “At a Glance” Series as we attempt to go through the Fall 2010 Anime Lineup and discuss our early opinions of this season’s titles. I decided it might be wise to come back with a little “flare” so lets kick this off with one of the season’s edgier and yet most stereotypical titles: Yosuga no Sora.
Before going any further lets make it clear that Yosuga no Sora is not a PG-13 anime, in fact with some slight nudity and much suggestive content it is definitely in the upper bounds of the rated R category. If that kind of thing or one of Yosuga’s main premises: implied and realized incestuous relationships, is too much for you to handle I would recommend avoiding the series. Another in a long line of anime-adapted VNs and eroges, Yosuga no Sora, definitely pushes the boundaries of what is commonly seen in mainstream anime while yet in many ways proving to be yet another run-of-the-mill Harem show.
The basic premise: Following the death of their parents in an accident (stereotypes begin here), newly-orphaned twins Haruka and Sora Kazugano decide to move into the house of their late grandfather in the small, tranquil village of Okukozome-chou. From the outset it appears that the twins have drastically different outlooks on their new life. Haruka (Haru) seems to look forward to the opportunity to reconnect with the past, rekindling the friendships and memories of yesteryear. His sickly and fragile sister Sora however seems much more stricken by past events, exhibiting a shy and isolated personality while clinging selfishly to her brother. As the twins settle into their new environment and attend their new school, a whole host of new relationships and potential romance awaits them. Not to be forgotten however is the mysterious reason for which they first decided to return to the town, and the long-lost item which they are searching for…
descent’s take after the jump…
descent’s take: Well we are three episodes in so far and as much as parts of me want to stop watching this, I really can’t. Right from the start there is no denying that YnS hits you across the head with so many stereotypes that its easy to get disillusioned. How odd, knowing the origins of this game, that every girl Haruka meets seems to have the all out hots for him? Identical looking twins, implied incestuous feelings, small town setting, childhood memories! Oh yes, we sure are striving for originality here…but yet somehow it still works. For me a large part of the attraction is the little sister character Sora Kazugano. It is obvious from the start that she is going to be a heroine of prime importance and thankfully she has a character design to match. Her irresistibly cute appearance, the soft palette chosen for all her outfits (in fact the school uniform they all wear seems to be made just to match the twins perfectly), and her feisty yet blatant affection for her brother all help make her my favorite (new) female character of the season thus far. I think its far too easy to dismiss her as a tsundere-style character or perhaps brush off the incest-themes due to this being a H-game adaptation. While Sora feelings often come across through that well known “sour on the outside, sweet on the inside” archetype, that truly is not who she is. For reasons yet unrevealed to us, there is a genuine desperation in her desire for her brother, and her at times tsundere exterior is mostly a cover for her insecurities and sadness than they are a mask for her feelings. I sometimes feel that suspension of disbelief makes supporting on-screen incest alot easier than you might think as well. There is no genetics/morality norms to consider and given the show’s premise, society/parents are hardly an obstacle as well. We all have our opinions in the 3D world but I am fine with exploring this avenue in the 2D. The flashbacks to the seminal moments where romance first took light between the siblings are beyond cute and the remaining vestiges of that first love are made strikingly evident from the outset. Perhaps one of the aspects you will come to enjoy most about the series is Sora’s constantly changing jealous expressions. Not quite evident to the somewhat oblivious Haru, its quite obvious that Sora takes almost all of Haru’s social interactions to be a threat to their life together and the somewhat childish way she goes about reacting to makes for quite the highlight.
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Enough gushing about my new favorite character for the season and onto other highlights. A strong point for this arguably generic series is definitely the artistic craftsmanship put into the settings and background music. Rustic country settings are becoming rarer in shows these days and somehow having a story set it peaceful, small town Japan is a net positive to begin with. What really takes the cake in the music however. It can be hard to describe in words, but the music genuinely sets the solemn or quietly conflicted moods that embody many significant scenes. Good music always draws the viewer into the show, and the composers definitely succeed here, as you will often feel yourself being consumed by the emotion and feelings present in poignant scenes thanks to the excellent musical score. Character design is a bit of a mixed bag, with it bordering upon the highly generic. While the art and animation are good, there is hardly a unique thing to be said about it outside of the aforementioned setting and Sora’s white dress which is very beautiful in a youthful manner and somewhat unique as well.
Yosuga no Sora is definitely not shy about playing with the emotion knob quite rapidly, a trend I have been noticing in quite a few shows recently. Scenes of romance, contemplation, levity, and conflict are strung in tight, never ending sequences that don’t let you get a solid emotional center for the series (as of yet). Outside of Sora the other main heroines and supporting cast haven’t shown themselves to be unique, but this hasn’t stopped Haru from trying to get with them nevertheless. One thing you might not be expecting is unexpected shortness of each episode. Not counting the OP and two, yes two Endings Sequences, the show itself usually measures less than 20 minutes in length. Part of this is also due to a short “omake” episode that follows the main story, which is often more perverted and suggestive than the show itself, without any of the redeeming factors. I hate it. The OP is definitely an above average anime music piece and strikes the right emotional chord to draw you into the series. ED 1 aims to be in the same thread, while including lots of flashbacks but really falls short in trying to have the same appeal. ED 2 however is definitely NSFW (PG-13+) but is probably the funnest ED of the season so far. Check out “Pinky Jones”, sung by Momoiro Clover, something that has made me love anime music for the first time in awhile (it’s always best to have your H with a sense of humor, “Chappa! Chappa!”):
descent’s rating: 8/10 A strong bridge between the Hentai and Mainstream Anime communities. Don’t watch this looking for porn or an innocent story of love and friendship. The series plays with your emotions enough to keep you watching and will probably provide catharsis at the end if you are on the Sora team it looks like. Watch it with a grain of salt and a sense of humor and you will find yourself enjoying it, even against your will.
To wrap up, here is a link to the full music video for “Pinky Jones”. Yes, I think its a bit insensitive…: ももいろクローバー 「ピンキージョーンズ」PV
Also enjoy this pic of one of the most beautiful Anime figures to be released in the past year. If all else fails, I will always be grateful that YnS gave us pretty little Sora:
Hope to have more tomorrow! Thanks for reading!