SoniAni: Super Sonico The Animation Review

This is review number three hundred and twenty four. This anime is part of the Winter 2014 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is called SoniAni: Super Sonico The Animation. It’s a twelve episode anime about a girl with headphones on and she has big boobs. Yeah, she has big boobs. Let’s read on.

Story

Super Sonico is a model, singer and student. This anime is about her everyday not so ordinary life. The anime also aims to constantly remind you that Super Sonico is Nitroplus’ mascot and she has a media franchise so don’t forget to buy her products.

Taking the Pants Off

sonic3

Super Sonico is a media franchise by Nitroplus. They’re a company that does a lot of video games. They decided to make Super Sonico a money making empire by having her appear in music videos, release songs and star in her own video games. She even got her own manga so naturally, anime is the obvious step forward. As a reviewer, I have learned two constant things about anime. One, people like anime because it is cute. Anime fans are hardwired to like cute things. Even if you aren’t particularly fond of cute sh*t, your body still tolerates it. Secondly, anime is a great way to advertise your sh*t. You want your visual novel to get a bigger audience, turn it into an anime. You want your idol group consisting of voice actresses to gain some traction, feature them in their own anime. Whether the show is successful or not, the main goal is to introduce your product and get fans interested to it. The Japanese consumer seems to be easily captivated by this tactic so it is used over and over. I have personally seen some of the worst garbage anime simply because it’s a half assed attempt to sell some product. Zettai Bouei Leviathan is a cellphone game or something. The anime version is one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen. AKB0048 isn’t some well-planned vision to bring the most popular idol group into the anime stratosphere. No, it’s a petty cash grab because it has fans willing to buy the BD and all the products stamped with AKB0048. The anime is utter crap though. Idols and mecha, what the f*ck were they thinking? Miss Monochrome isn’t just a random anime produced to give us laughs. No, it’s an attempt to sell Miss Monochrome herself. Aside from finding a way to make Yui Horie live forever, Miss Monochrome is also just a product. The anime is harmless but it’s badly thought out as well. It doesn’t matter. The goal is to introduce Miss Monochrome to its fans. Need I mention Love Live? It’s an anime with mild intentions but the show’s goal is to start a craze featuring a bunch of stereotypes. It worked because Love Live is a super mega hit. Following this trend, Nitroplus wanted the rest of the world to know who Super Sonico is. You’d think such a shameless approach at selling a product should’ve been called out for its insulting nature but the whole thing works because of one thing. Zettai Bouei Leviathan, Miss Monochrome, AKB0048, Love Live and yes, even Super Sonico is all cute. By default, we have to tolerate them. Even if the goal is a petty cash grab, it doesn’t matter. Cute wins and it’s a scary thing.

Despite having a bunch of manga under her belt, this anime is an original screenplay. The anime featured its own story and that’s always a smart thing. It’s to be expected though. After all, there is no compelling reason to make this anime. It just needed to make Super Sonico look good and appeal to an untapped market. Naturally, the show has no story. The initial concept is about a girl named Super Sonico. She’s a timid girl with a cute face. Despite being an “ordinary” girl, Super Sonico is also a gravure model and she is the lead singer of her band. She also has school and a part time job at her grandmother’s place but she seems to manage it all perfectly. She’s even the smartest girl in her class and she has gigantic boobs. Super Sonico reeks of absolute otaku troll bait. Hey, what’s the best way to attract soulless beings into liking our character? Oh, how about we make her act cute and clumsy? That’s good. Let’s also give her gigantic boobs because these soulless bastards love fan service as well. We have to appeal to all their shameless points. In that case, she should be a model and have her constantly provide fan service. That’s great. I hear these soulless beings like music too so let’s have her sing as well. Brilliant! She’ll then release her own CD so these soulless creatures can buy it after watching the anime. We’re rich! *throws money in the air*

I mean, my gawd, the product selling tactic is so in your face that it’s absolutely disgusting. Every scene involves Super Sonico in one way or another. Her fan service body might be objectified, her cute face might be constantly blushing or she might be playing her guitar. The show basically functions in just these three points. There is no attempt at a story. While the episodes do have unique situations in them, they’re all badly clichéd. It’s often just a way to give the episode direction but it’ll still be heavily crowded with constant Super Sonico scenes designed to get the audience to like her. It’s not just the situations that are clichéd but the progression is predictable as well. It’s an awful combination of predictable and boring. There are episodes of Super Sonico harassed by a photographer, Super Sonico having a problem before performing on stage and Super Sonico literally just looking cute. They’re unoriginal because the anime doesn’t try to be anything but. It just wanted Super Sonico to be featured constantly. Do you know how bad watching a show designed to just get you to like one particular character? It’s insulting as if expecting the audience to not think and just automatically like this over exposed character. It’s also hard to watch a show with trivial episodes. A f*cking murder mystery episode? How badly put together is this sh*t? There is little cohesion and it lacks continuation. It’s as if the show sabotaged itself just so it can feature Super Sonico in one way or another. Even if the episode might be about a random character, Super Sonico would still be giving us fan service is some shape or form. I mean, even Love Live attempted a story despite abandoning it at its second season. Super Sonico did not even try. Should you watch this show, you’ll only be getting a big unwelcomed dose of this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

The effect is either you’ll like Super Sonico or you’ll hate her. Hey, I’ll be fair. If I wasn’t a jaded reviewer, I would’ve been all over this show. If TPAB of 2012 saw this show, he’ll like it. The blatant attempt of shoving Super Sonico down your throat would appeal to a lot of people. The episodes still have a clichéd appeal to it that is tolerable and this show also appeals to our most basic instinct. It’s a very cute show. Since it lacks story, the anime needed a way to make Super Sonico look engaging to watch. It does that by giving us a handful of absolute cuteness. It’ll have an under aged gravure model talking cute, it’ll have a bunch of cats that looks adorable and it’ll have the characters act all fluffy and sweet. It’s like you’re watching a KyoAni show. Well, you’re not that far off. This show actually attempts to rip off K-on. The blatant-ness doesn’t end at shameless product selling. It even tried to pass off its sickeningly cute appeal as a K-on anime. The dead giveaway is the fact that Super Sonico is in a band with a Mio look alike but the biggest offender is the mannerisms of the characters looking exactly like K-on characters. From aloof girls talking cute to the Mio look alike blushing, it just screams K-on. Combined with the high quality instrument playing, this damn anime tried to sell its music product by doing the same formula as K-on. Hey, K-On is a mammoth anime because of its music and cuteness. There’s nothing wrong with doing the same thing but to do it in such a blatant manner is just absolutely insulting to me. To possess nothing that translate to effort, to simply pluck cliché and concepts from other shows and lazily paste them together, is a big offense to me. It adds to the self-sabotage though because K-On’s success is featuring a band of cute high schoolers. This anime just wanted to present Super Sonico so the other members are just side character nobodies. They have no function other than to make Super Sonico look good. With logic of just featuring one character, why didn’t she just become an idol? Doesn’t that make more sense? Putting her in a band means you just wanted to rip off K-on and it’s really insulting to think no one would notice.

The show does have a few merits though that I personally like. Despite the blatant product hawking, the anime still manages to incorporate the games into the show. It’s badly forced but Super Sonico has two games that are adapted into the show. The first one is where the player takes photographs of Super Sonico. It’s like a rip off of Photokano where the player is the photographer taking pictures of our heroine in various poses and costumes. The second game is a rip off of Idolmaster where you play as a manager trying to get her famous. On second thought, it feels like the entire Super Sonico franchise is a blatant cash grab. Screw subtlety. It feels all the more disgusting when you realize Nitroplus is also selling her as a vocaloid lookalike character. She even has her own music videos that are also incorporated into the anime. I really don’t care if the main purpose of the show is to sell Super Sonico but I just wish they did in a more delicate manner. As a reviewer, you can always tell if effort is given to an anime. I have a soft spot for flash animated shows like Double J because I know literally only one person worked on it and you can feel his effort come through. This anime just felt forced and heartless as if there was no attempt to make the experience worthwhile. I think Super Sonico fans can find this entertaining but it feels too corporate for me. The cash grab feel of the show is just too much that it honestly feels sickening.

Despite being constantly featured nonstop, Super Sonico is actually the worst element of this anime. She is annoying to the highest degree. She has this cute voice that always apologizes. Seriously, it bothers me that she acts so submissive. I know the appeal of timid frail and submissive characters. Super Sonico overdo the acting and, without a proper story to feature, this overacting becomes unbearable. I really hate her because the episodes constantly revolve around her. That’s twelve episodes of a bland character featured over and over. There is no character development since her role is just a mascot of sorts. She really does nothing but act cute, unknowingly give fan service and sing her crappy songs. The show does nothing to make her interesting or likeable. There is no effort to really make Super Sonico a well-rounded character. She is really just there to…I don’t know, exist. Her job is to tell the world that she has a product line that people should buy. Classic elements like personal conflict and work related mishaps feels so contrived that it does nothing to make the characters look good. Super Sonico is also a hog that she is the only one featured. The side characters do nothing but add a few dose of cuteness from time to time. They play second fiddle to our main character and nothing more. There is no chance for a supporting character to step up. They’ll always be in the shadows of Super Sonico. This is another self-sabotage by the show. Instead of achieving a warm chemistry with the rest of the characters to better benefit the show, Super Sonico just takes the spotlight to herself. The anime is already boring and the lead is bland. With menial side characters, the show has very little value. There’s very little enjoyment here.

As much as I hate this show, the second half does get better. Rather, it becomes more tolerable. The characters grow on you and the unique episodes have a more solid pace to it. Towards the end, the show mellows out in focusing Super Sonico too much. While it still had annoying episodes like one about her cats, the anime still have tolerable episodes where Sonico is featured with the other characters. I guess you’ll just get used to the show’s pace by the time you reach the second half. That is if you can even reach it considering how heavy handed the first part is with its boring story and bland main character. For the second part, the whole concept of Sonico being a model and a guitarist started to make sense. Her worlds started to mix together and the eccentric characters started interacting with each other. There is honestly a much better way to present the premise of this show but the whole “selling the product” mentality really hindered its potential. The show presented Sonico as a girl that does all those stuff, which I guess is a smart nod to her media franchise, but it would’ve made more sense if she was girl struggling with her various jobs. It would’ve great to see her band mates give her advice in school, her manager give her some tips in becoming popular as a band and her schoolmates giving her ideas on how to stand out as a model. There is some untapped potential here that would’ve made more sense than the trivial garbage the show ended up as.

This is presented to us by White Fox. This is probably the oddest show in their filmography since it absolutely truly sucked. I still love them for Steins Gate but they did flounder around after that. I saw potential with Gochuumon Usagi desu ka and I think they’re finding a suitable niche for themselves now. But damn, I skipped this one dark cloud in their lineup. What the hell were they thinking giving us this garbage? They tried to make it their own though by making sure the animation is of the highest quality but still, this is just too bad to salvage. I think the director also has this as a dark cloud in his resume. After having a hand at cool shows like Black Lagoon, Gunslinger Girl and the old Hunter X Hunter. This assistant director was given a chance to become a full pledge one with this gawd damn anime. No, not even the most talented director can make this show look good. Another thing I learn as a reviewer though is that a director’s first show usually sucks. Still, the poor guy must’ve been given strict notes to sell Super Sonico as much as possible in the anime. Given a chance to direct an anime, I think even I would sell out. The effect is long lasting though. “Hey, do you know Kenichi Kawamura?” “Yeah, he directed that gawd awful Super Sonico anime.” Poor bastard. Now this anime isn’t all bad though. I’m saving the good stuff at the bottom. Despite my absolute hatred for this anime, it still excelled in a few areas. The anime is mainly enjoyable thanks to the character design and White Fox’s high quality animation. Let’s talk about that next.

Sight and Sound

Santa Tsuji did a really excellent job at designing Super Sonico. While Sonico isn’t the most original character around, since she looks like Megurine Luka, her design is still pretty impressive. Tsuji’s design is interesting though because he loves chubby characters. He has some overly fat girls in bikini drawings floating around the net but he mainly design girls with a bulky figure. They’re not your typical skinny character and it helps make Super Sonico standout. Along with his signature design of giving his characters gigantic boobs, Super Sonico is really great to look at. Her body is nice but her face is also pretty great to look at. The innocent design of her face contrast her slutty body is pretty inspired. I especially like how her eyes look like those of a cornered puppy. It works on a certain level when she’s in a bikini blushing and her eyes avert gaze as if a shy puppy. The design is made more interesting because of her outfit. In the show, she looks overly designed because the rest of the cast is dressed normally so it throws you off when you watch the show.  Design wise though, the headphones and the camouflage jacket is pretty cool to look at. The detail work on the outfit is outstanding. Accentuating her big hips and ass by having her wear a mini skit and thigh high socks is pretty smart as well. You’ll never tire looking at Super Sonico. Her voice is a different matter but the character design is absolutely amazing. The design is brought to another level thanks to the color palette for Super Sonico. It’s all bright and pink to make her look even more attractive. This works amazingly in the show because you will gravitate towards Super Sonico when you watch the show. Her cute shy face with her slutty body and unique fashion sense makes her a great eye candy for the anime. It’s a shame she’s an eyesore though since the rest of the characters aren’t given much attention and detail. The other characters look plain but still good looking design wise. Some looks like KyoAni rip off characters while others just look bland overall. The inconsistency in the design also sabotages the show. It’s incredible no one notices Sonico is overly designed in a sea of stereotypes and bland looking characters.

Animation is probably the best thing in this anime. There are a lot of scenes where Super Sonico blushes and fidgets like a shy puppy and the animation is spot on. It’s able to make her look appealing despite being shy. The animation stands out the most when Sonico plays music with her band. This is where the weird K-on vibe emanates from. The way the girls perfectly play the chords or strum their guitar is precise with amazing detail work just like K-on. They also don’t just play their instruments but their bodies also moves in amazing detail. The drummer won’t just play her drums. Her head might also be bopping capturing the feel of actually playing the drums. Sonico says around while playing her guitar and the bass taps her feet while she plays. It’s precise high detailed animation that just looks stunning. White Fox went all out with the animation though. The menial episodes might have a boring setup but the animation is precise. A character merely sleeping has amazing details to look at. The camera angle is complex to make dry scenes look interesting and there are moments where the characters just do insane motions like striking a pose or doing a drop kick. The animation isn’t enough to save the show but I’ll give points for the effort. I felt effort in the animation and nowhere else. The background is also pretty great. The episode featuring that rural town looks stunning as the anime moves on a calm pace. Sonico’s apartment looks great and even the place where the band practices looks inviting to be in. This just adds to the fact that it’s a shame the anime can’t be any better despite all the good bits it has.

The anime’s OP song is “SuperSoni♥” by Super Sonico. It’s a pretty decent song. It’s catchy as hell and it does look flashy with its instrumentals. I personally love the first verse because the instrumentals are just fun to listen to. The chorus is decent and Super Sonico’s voice is really just decent as well. It’s not captivating or anything. It’s just decent. It’s not even good. It’s just decent enough for an anime character. Miss Monochrome has a more impressive voice but she’s not Nitroplus’ mascot so too bad for her. The OP sequence feels like a blatant rip off of K-on. It even features her band despite just being one third of what the anime is about. It’s painful to watch because it just feels so unoriginal. It also introduces the rest of the cast but you’ll get a feel of what the anime is about mainly because Super Sonico is heavily featured in the sequence as well. The anime has a lot of ED songs. It’s another attempt to sell Sonico with her long list of songs used for the ED with their own unique music videos. Some of the songs are stupid like one about a 3D printer while others are just bland idol songs about love and friendship. I’m too jaded to appreciate it. The music videos are cool though. I’m not sure if White Fox still animated it but it had a vocaloid feel to it with how Sonico is treated like a mascot in every one of them. It entirely depends on you if you like the music videos themselves. I personally don’t but there is appeal to them. I think you can also find them in youtube or something since they are official Super Sonico songs.

Overall Score

4/10 “The animation is great but the character is bad and the lack of story just feels insulting.”

The way it blatantly tries to sell Super Sonico is unforgivable in my eyes. I’m fine with the marketing tactic but only if it’s balanced out with an enjoyable story and characters to make the anime experience worthwhile. This blatant 12 episode ad didn’t consider that. It’s a shameless attempt to shove Super Sonico down our throats and I won’t stand for it. I’d give this f*cker a 1 if I wasn’t impartial. The animation slightly makes the show better but this anime just isn’t worth it. If you’re a fan of Super Sonico then this is for you. For everybody else, just stay away. I do not recommend this.

Thoughts~

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