Sora no Otoshimono Review

This is review number three hundred and thirty six. This anime is part of the Fall 2010 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is called Sora no Otoshimono or “Heaven’s Lost Property”. It’s a twelve episode anime about a pet angel and her overly sexual master. No, it’s not hentai but I think it wanted to be one. Then again, it’s actually trying to be serious but the whole thing is just murky. Let’s read on.

Story

This anime is about a guy named Tomoki Sakurai who just wants to spend a normal peaceful life. This is currently impossible, because he is currently living with an angel that grants all his desires and his own rampant perversion getting him into constant trouble. Tomoki’s life is far from peaceful, and to think it all leads to a weird dream he keeps having.

Taking the Pants Off

I’m trying to finish the Fall 2010 lineup before the year ends, so I’m putting on a hard gear to watch as many anime as I can. My motivation is killed early though because I watched Sora no Otoshimono. It’s an Ecchi Comedy and these shows are pretty hard to watch for someone like me that values story. It’s a pretty stupid show, but a lot of Ecchi Comedy is. It took me a week to finish this anime because I kinda convinced myself that I’ll appreciate the show much better if I paced my watching. I’ll see it by how it’s intended to be seen: one episode a day. Yeah, didn’t work. Stupid shows are just stupid shows and they just really cater to a specific audience. It’s just like otome anime being for raging fangirls while shows like Sora no Otoshimono are for raging fanboys. My hopes are unimaginably heightened by this anime though, because of its stunning first episode. The animation is like 2013 Production IG quality, and I really foamed at the mouth watching the whole episode. I mostly stayed to see the high quality animation, but it’s still hard to watch something that is really just dumb. The annoying part is that there is a story, and it’s pretty intriguing but the show’s elements worked against each other. While some aspects of the show are good, and maybe even amazing, they somehow cancel out each other leaving you with confusing anime experience. You kinda expected it to be pretty bad though, since the first episode is a good indication of how low the standards of this anime are.

Anyways, this anime opened with a really murky first episode. Animation quality aside, it featured a story of an angel that grants whatever her master asks of her. Any self-respecting closeted fan boy already knows what the show is hinting at, and the anime already has you at its grasps the moment you understood the context of the angel’s line. Calling herself a “pet type angel” also adds to the bait, so go on and take it. The episode proceeds to focus on her granting wishes though that leads to our main character regretting his choices. It then ends with the whole thing being just a dream. If you’ve seen stupid sh*t and reviewed them as long as I have, you already know this anime is going to be stupid. To start with a dream episode instead of establishing status quo and setting up the plot points already tells you this anime is going to hurt, just a tad bit. If you aren’t bothered by the lazy emotional manipulation of the first episode though, then I’m sure the fact that it’s swimming in cliché will be a problem for some. Its entire premise is pretty much Chobits, wherein a guy finds a robot ready to sex her but he’s too nice of a guy to do it. He takes care of her instead, and lives with her no questions asked. That’s all good, but our main character is also an overactive pervert and he wished a lot of perverted things. Oh, he also have a hot childhood friend that he sexually assaulted in the first episode and the thing ends with an emotional sappy line about asking the angel not to leave his side because he’s a lonely little pervert. That’s five tropes and it’s just in the first episode. This show tied five clichéd things together and made an episode out of it. The rest of the episodes aren’t going to be any better. Actually, the first episode might actually be the show’s peak and things go downhill from there. You’re only moving forward for two things: the overly hyper sexual misadventures of our main characters that involve a lot of panties, boob groping and ass shots, and story about his dreams with an angel in it and the curious floating black thing in the sky which seemingly connects with each other. Both are good in their own right, but let me tell you why it’s problematic for the show.

This anime is billed as a “fantasy comedy” but the show presents it as two separate things. As I said before, they cancel out each other. First of all, the Ecchi Comedy is a very stupid genre. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, and the best thing you can get out of Ecchi Comedy, besides glorious amounts of boob, are forced emotional bonds needed to ground the genre. Ecchi Comedy mostly goes by the stupid reasoning and this anime wonderfully embraces it. The first episode is a good example where a wish granting angel grants her master some awesome things then suddenly jokes that everything is just a dream. There is no story, characters are just blobs needed to carry out the perverted jokes and all is forgiven as long as there are endless scenes of girls in their underwear. The Comedy is pretty inspired though, because the show loves to escalate things quickly to deliver some pretty impressive laughs. With stupid in the driver seat, this anime does give us some pretty inspired jokes you rarely come across with. My favorite would be the underwear birds in the second episode. A simple thing as our main character obsessing over his childhood friend’s underwear escalates into this:

It’s pretty gawddamn beautiful because it’s beyond funny. The execution is absolutely inspired and a flock of panties flying south is honestly one of the best things this anime can give you. The show doesn’t bound itself to logic so it has room to go batsh*t insane without notice. Another example is our main character going on a date that ended up with him naked, flashing a zookeeper with his pen*s while our angel lets every animal out of its cage. The next scene is a news report of a naked man releasing caged animals being chased down by the police, the army and fighter jets. I sh*t you not, this happened in the anime and it’s actually pretty great. This is how Ecchi Comedy operates. Give it an apple and it’ll somehow make a rocket out of it. Don’t ask why, that’s just how it is. This has a bad side effect though, because it cheapens the entire thing making it hard for viewers to really take the show seriously. Why should you? It gave us an episode where the angel walked the pacific gathering seaweed and barnacles on herself turning her into a monster while the characters are stranded on a deserted island. Yeah, did that sentence made sense? If not, then this anime will hurt you.

Anyways, the “fantasy” aspect of this fantasy comedy consists of a very serious story about things valued as property versus simple human morality. It’s a very serious subject that the anime tries to present. Our angel actually belongs to this place called the Synapse, and she was given to our pervert hero for a reason. The reason is slowly established by the anime, but while it does that, it also focuses on stories of the angel trying to act human. I think the deepest thing the story imparts is the angel learning that “lying is human”. The show joked about it but the implications are pretty serious. Underneath all the fluff and boobs, there is a really gripping story about what it’s like to be human. There is this theme of how people often take for granted what it’s like to be human. In the lens of an emotionless robot angel, the world is filtered in a very interesting manner. Reasons why we smile, reasons why we love and reasons why we stay human is explored in the anime in a really wonderful way that makes you want to stay to learn more what the anime can offer. Of course, this is a very tough thing to do because this serious story is overshadowed by this:

Oh my gawd, it really hurts. To fall in love with the intriguing story of “being human” while you’re powering through an episode about panties, can crush a man’s soul. This is my dilemma with the show. The “fantasy” has a premise of angels, floating fortresses in the sky and robots learning to be human, and the “comedy” has a premise with no real logic, likes to escalate things without notice and features countless scenes of girls being objectified. They’re two different things that work against each other. The stupid-ness of the comedy works great on the self-contained episodes, but they’re detrimental to the overall plot that dominates the show. The comedy cheapens the characters while the fantasy needs them to make serious statements that deliver the powerful message it’s trying to convey. The comedy needs boobs and cheap cliché while the fantasy has a fresh interesting story to tell. When the comedy overpowers the show, the progression of the fantasy becomes awkward and laughable. When the fantasy dominates the show, the comedy cheapens everything with its stupidity. It really hurts. How exactly can you make heads or tails with this anime? I must say that the two elements are good by themselves, but they just don’t play well together. They’re fire and ice, and one is sure to dominate the other soon enough. The problem is that the show could’ve combined these two elements much better, but they were presented as two different things so early in the show that it became hard to get them close together. The comedy is too stupid and the fantasy is too serious. Even if they share the same characters, the two things stand out in an episode featuring both and you can tell they just don’t go together. It’s also hard to really enjoy the two together because this anime also has some generic elements to them. So it has two opposing elements and the rest are generic clichéd stuff.

This anime has three chapters, and the transition is pretty abrupt. Things really just happen and you’re asked to just go along with it. With the comedy taking up majority of the space, the stupidity of the show is also pretty rampant. The first chapter is about the angel, the childhood friend and the cards. So our hero, Tomoki, meets an angel named Ikaros. At the start of the series, Tomoki promptly states that he wants a peaceful life. Meeting Ikaros leads him to be friends with the ‘New World Discovery Club” though while they try to handle all the stupid things that happen in Tomoki’s life. In other words, it’s not so peaceful anymore. In other other words, it’s a generic plot point you can ever come across with. Seriously, it’s good but the “guy that wants a peaceful life” is some generic trope that doesn’t really help the anime. It’s also a problem of committing to the trope, because it’s a good cliché but the show slowly drops it after the fifth episode. It’s replaced by more generic stuff. This clichéd plot point is tacked with another clichéd thing as well though: the hot childhood friend. You know how it goes. The girl grew up with the boy, she secretly likes him but she’s a tsundere and the boy acts perverted so nothing serious can ever be established between them. They’re stuck in mutual understanding zone, and both are fine with that. The girl gets to hurt the boy physically and the boy can sexually assault the girl from time to time. It works out for both of them.

In terms of overused tropes, these things are pretty good by the show’s standard and it nicely delivers the point of why these clichés exist. As I said, the show just doesn’t really do anything with them. Most “I want to live in peace” stories ends with the guy embracing his unusual life and even defending it in the end, and most “childhood friend” stories ends with the couple moving out of the mutual understanding zone in the end. The show used these clichés, but abandoned it mid-way never giving us a decent payoff for both. They’re really just used for one thing: the “comedy”. This is where the cards enter. In the first episode, Ikaros grants Tomoki’s wishes with cards and the same cards are used to screw with the tropes. The peaceful life is turned upside down because a card can turn panties into bombs. The childhood friend is thoroughly objectified when a card’s effect takes her panties making her go commando for the entire episode. That’s basically the purpose of the tropes, and the show wastes any potential that comes from it. It’s stupid, and it’s also funny, I guess. After the “comedy’ has done its job escalating things to deliver some golden jokes, the first chapter just transitions into something else.

The second chapter is about the “group”. At some point, the show suddenly lumps all the characters together and they started doing stuff together. Ikaros, Tomoki, the childhood friend and two other eccentrics started doing some pretty generic stuff together. The self-contained episodes would have central themes like a beach episode, a festival episode, a cultural festival episode, and a camping episode. They’re more tropes fed like firewood to the comedy. It functions like any group story in an ecchi comedy as well. Tomoki would display his perverted personalities while the rest eggs him on, and sometimes participates in the craziness. Others would just be caught up in the disaster though like the childhood friend. With the escalating nature of the comedy though, things turns a lot more stupid than you’d expect. A good example is when the group visited a hot spring and then they ended up in a deserted island after Tomoki messed with the wrong yakuza family. See how it escalated rather abruptly? The cultural episode escalated wild as well when two groups fought in a battle of the bands with the entire town divided as their supporters. It leads to Tomoki singing about his erect nips. Anyways, they did it as a group, and these episodes are often mellow because the seriousness of the fantasy is slowly being established here. One character suspects Ikaros is hiding something while Tomoki’s good guy attitude, that all bland ecchi main character has, starts appearing here as well. It slowly brings out the main theme of being human as the comedy makes way for the serious fantasy.

If you managed to survive the second chapter then treat the last chapter as a palette cleanser. This is about the “Uranus Queen” and more exposition about the floating black hole in the sky that appeared in the first episode. The show dropped it then only brought back after subjecting the viewers to some mind numbing sh*t. The last chapter introduces us to a new character named “Nymph” and she knows Ikaros because our pet angel is apparently infamous in their home, the Synapse. Threatening to reveal her secret, Nymph confronts Ikaros and it leads to an awesome scene that really reignited my interest for the anime. It gives more intrigue to the overall story about the mysterious angels. With Nymph’s appearance, it leads to Ikaros wanting to become more human and exploring the wonderful theme of the show a lot more closely. This reminds me a lot of Chii from Chobits trying to buy panties, because Ikaros is innocent and naïve as she tries to learn how to be human. It touches on a soft spot in me that not even the stupid comedy can really ruin. Her goals are mostly simple things like learning how to hold hands and discovering jealousy as an emotion, and its purpose is really just to flesh out Ikaros. It’s to create contrast later on because Ikaros won’t stay naïve and innocent for long. The days of Ikaros being like that is slowly being counted down, and the serious fantasy is doing all it can to make sure the audience cares when she does change into a different Ikaros. This leads to one of the most satisfying payoff in the series, and it can seriously wipe any bad taste the stupid comedy inflicted upon you.

Nymph’s appearance also introduces more heavy things for the story to discuss. This little classic tsundere is actually very troubled because she has the worst master in the world. She’s programmed to serve him forever, but her feelings starts to waver when she realizes Tomoki is such a sweet master. Again, it’s a pretty generic story but I think seeing her with a dead bird in her hand can rightfully make up for any generic-ness this plot point has. The show is able to let the audience into Nymph’s head and study just how fragile of a character she is. Her tsundere attitude is just a front, and it stems from all the bad things she endures thanks to her master. The flashbacks are really nicely presented and the serious fantasy really made sure the clichés are used in an effective way. It’s still pretty predictable though, but it’s a leg up from the stupidity of the comedy. Also notice how the comedy used the tropes for a short hand effect while the fantasy utilized them for a long term way that rings throughout the entire story. It’s f*cking night and day.

The characters are sadly an effect of the two elements cancelling each other out. They’re still based on generic ideas but the show is able to utilize them properly as well. I guess there are times where you understand the characters and you want to cheer for them, but then Tomoki exposes himself and you feel mad that you were emotionally manipulated by the show. The stupid-serious dynamic of the show makes it hard to really support the characters. Despite that, I’d say they are pretty good characters. They still stand out even though the story is a bit chaotic. Tomoki is bland sh*t though, because ecchi comedy needs an idiot as its lead. He just needs to be charming enough to have girls fall for him and enough caring attitude for others to smile when his back is turned. He needs some positives because he’s a perverted little sh*thead. When he goes chibi then don’t bother watching, because he’s very perverted when he’s like that. As if the show is signaling you to not care for him long before he does anything stupid. His role in serious fantasy is intriguing though, because it’s not clearly established what the hell he’s supposed to do. It feels pretty grand though, because the dream sequences hints at something majestic just waiting for our perverted little sh*thead to cross paths with. It’s also not the same half-baked thing most ecchi comedy tries with its story. The serious fantasy is so well established that even generic characters are fascinating. I’m talking about Ikaros and Nymph.

Ikaros reminds me a lot of Chobits, and I think that’s on purpose. Some people even embrace this anime because it’s a much better version of DearS, which is a bad version of Chobits. To be fair, DearS does suck. Anyways, Ikaros is nothing special. In the ecchi comedy, she serves as a punch line and extra body for fan service. I even find her innocence a bit grating in the ecchi comedy, because she often does horrible thing to deliver some funny things. It doesn’t make sense that she’ll misinterpret a statement and then release every caged animal on a sudden notice. She acts impulsive, dumb and abused in the ecchi comedy side, but things are different for the serious fantasy. As I said already, she is three layers of complex and you’re often treated to some insightful things whenever she opens her mouth. Her innocence is part of the story, and her childlike attitude is both sad and endearing that you really care for her. Well, only for so long before she provides more fan service. Also, I need to mention again how wonderful her character becomes in the end, as the serious fantasy story finally starts providing its glorious payoff. Nymph is just like Ikaros, but tsundere flavored. In the ecchi comedy, her attitude is used to add cuteness to certain scenes. She also gives us some loli fan service thanks to her washboard chest. In the serious fantasy though, she is a vindictive girl that hates her life. It’s a 360 of how she is portrayed in the ecchi comedy. Discovering how much her life sucks is one of the beautiful things about this anime. While it’s nothing really major, it’s still entertaining as hell. The dialogues she shares with Ikaros also reveals a different side for both characters, and I just love how they standout despite the tropes and the generic story that makes up the show.

The rest of the characters are also two faced like the rest, except maybe for the student body president. She’s kinda like a sadist through and through, which adds some flair to the ecchi comedy. The same goes to the president of the New World Discovery Club, Eishiro Sugata. He’s probably the most underutilize character here, because he has a bigger role to play but he’s suddenly saddled to play support to the student council president. He also has really wonderful dialogue with Ikaros and Nymph, and his semi-serious personality makes him hard to understand. It’s his appeal, but the show just uses it as a punch line. Maybe the second season might use him much better, but he talked a lot of sh*t in this series that really contributed nothing. I think he’s doing foreshadowing in the beginning of each episode, but it becomes tiring and his appeal loses charm to more he gets weirder as episodes pass. I always thought he could’ve atleast shared Ikaros’ secret. It’d reinforce his character as that mysterious guy that knowingly knows it all but just acts stupid on purpose. The childhood friend has no role in the serious fantasy, so she’s stuck being objectified in the ecchi comedy side. She’s great eye candy though, and I love how submissive she is but still claws Tomoki from time to time. I think every harem should have one character that wants it, but doesn’t want it, and it’s a shame this stereotype isn’t as popular as other overused harem girls. She easily won me over when she was handcuffed and panty-less in the second episode. Yes, more please. Her character could’ve been something more, but she was stuck in the stupid side of the anime so it’s just good she made the most of her role.

AIC really went all out with this anime. I think they know they have something golden here, and their bet was right. This anime is so inspired that it’s probably one of the best Ecchi Comedy anime around. AIC is a giant studio, with a lot of baby companies, and I think they hit their peak at the late 00s. I can’t wait to see what other great stuff they put out in their peak. Right now, AIC is doing pretty bad. Aside from the Tenchi Muyo remake, their last work is Super Seisyun Brothers and Pupipo. Underwhelming works from a studio in crisis. Hisashi Saitou is a pretty tame director. He directed a lot of great shows like Bamboo Blade, and he has experience with key animation. This explains the wonderful first episode, but a lot of his works are really underwhelming. I don’t know what Hantsu X Trash is, but I want to watch it. He also did Fantasista Dolls, which is the oddest magical card show I’ve ever seen. He just lacks a style to really set himself apart, because his works are decent but only a few inches off good. He relies too much on the original source, and it’s often the way a director embraces a source that makes him great. A good example is Hayao Miyazaki and his version of Howl’s Moving Castle. I assure you, it’s different from the original that Miyazaki can claim it his own. Of course, we can’t all be as masterful as Miyazaki and that’s a sad truth.

Sight and Sound

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Suu Minazuki is an incredible mangaka. According to Bakuman, it’s rare for an author to have multiple publications but Suu has a list of serialized works. This mostly stems from how great of a visual storyteller he is. He also puts insane details on scenes that really count. I think the first episode is an hommage to his work. Anyways, character design is pretty much like the anime. The characters are bulky and pretty basic, but the small details really make them special. I love the childhood friend’s design. It’s nothing special, but her height is noticeable and the length of her legs poking through her skirt is pretty masterful. The design on the face is pretty generic as well, but the right amount of detail can really make a big difference. Suu has amazing range as well, despite the design being simple. The characters all look stunning but small alterations can fit the mood of the scene, and Tomoki going chibi captures the intended effect of that scene. Ikaros’ outfit is pretty great as well. It was clearly designed with fan service in mind, but it still looks cool especially with Ikaros’ beautiful face. Suu’s design is so top notch that even the “panties turning into birds” scene is so incredibly detailed that the panties even acted like birds when they were perched on a tree.

Animation is inconsistent, but I think it’s done on purpose. The anime was really faithful to the manga, so it even captured those low quality scenes as if giving a nudge to the original artist. I think the first episode’s incredible animation is enough to show just how awesome this anime is. The high quality animation is so detailed that it has this:

See it? Beads of tears. This effect is so hard to do that a lot of studio mostly skip it because it looks unappealing attached to characters. I think Production IG is the first to really make beads of sweats look cool and flashy, but the same effect is applied here in a 2010 anime. I always thought Bakuman is the best 2010 has to offer in terms of animation quality, but AIC really went all out with this one. It captured the manga’s moving panels to a tee and the chibi moments are exactly the same as the source. Facial expressions are top notch and fan service is pretty amazing. As I said though, the animation isn’t the same all throughout. Some scenes look really poor where even the faces aren’t drawn when characters are far away. It’s a small pet peeve of mine. Why show wide shots when there aren’t faces in your characters? The animation is still pretty good though, despite the dip in quality. Character movements are still smooth, facial expressions are still wonderfully animated and key scenes still look stunning even if it’s not in the same level as the first episode. I also love those overly complicated animation scenes where CG is involved for no reason. I can’t remember them all, but it’s part of that escalating comedy aspect of the show.

The anime has a lot of ED. Most of them are really catchy and cute while some are a bit of a miss, like those songs reminiscence of old school anime theme songs. They’re all great novelty though, and I think watching them all is part of the anime experience as it does represent the episode in some way. This is my favorite. Anyways, the anime’s OP is “Ring My Bell” by Blue Drops. It’s a pretty decent OP song about two people destined to fall for each other. It’s pretty generic though, like a lot of stuff in the anime. The OP sequence is pretty amazing though. It has the same high quality animation as the first episode, and it had a nice montage of the entire show. It even spoiled some of the great jokes in the show, but that’s alright. They’re all stupid anyways, and it only makes sense after you see the entire anime as well.

Overall Score

6/10 “This show is both inspired and generic, original and trope heavy cliché reliant, serious and stupid at the same time. It’s this anomaly that makes this anime interesting.”

This anime has a really stupid ecchi comedy side to it that is funny, but slowly becomes boring. It also has a serious fantasy side that is compelling, but lacks proper exposition thanks to the stupid ecchi. It’s not supposed to work, because both sides cancel each other out, but it surprisingly does. It shifts without notice, but the two elements makes this anime unique giving their own plus and minuses to add to the experience. It’s still bogged down by generic stuff that might ruin the fun, but I think people will still appreciate what this anime has to offer. I recommend it. Also, I suggest you pick up the first two episodes because I highly recommend those. Seriously, they’re the best episodes in the anime.

One thought on “Sora no Otoshimono Review

  1. Pingback: Chobits Anime Review

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