Sora no Woto was one of the shows with most exposure last season. Before it even began it already had a large amount of fans that were awaiting for it. Many arguments on how the show was not “doing it right” and how it should be instead escalated into claims that went from “It’s trying to be A when it’s actually B” then ended with “because it’s not A then I don’t like it.” Sora no Woto was a show that in the process gained some new viewers such as myself and at the same time lost many for not meeting certain expectations.
The project bordered into different genres until the last episode ignoring other key parts of the story and paying more attention to others. The viewers are expected to feel overwhelmed by the idea of a post-apocalyptic world in Sora no Woto but at the same time the lack of info on it made it lose power mentioned in my critique of the show. The “slice of life” feeling greatly conflicted with the drama section of the story leading to more mixed feelings. Even some viewers found it insulting how war was portrayed in such easy going manner. While the show was enjoyable it sidetracked from the main story more times than it should have. When the last episodes drew closer the show they had to choose what route they would ultimately choose to wrap up the story, this according to a large amount of opinions did not end. One of the reasons were because A-1 wasn’t as wise as they thought when they sent contradictory messages of what they wanted the viewers to think of the show.
I think that what reinforces our lasting impressions of a show is greatly measured by how strong or weak the finale is. In the article, the director of the show demonstrates concern that the viewers aren’t moved by the character survival and expect their death(s) instead to make them feel moved. Well, I can tell you that I would remember a show with a unique premise than one with premise one of those done before. Giving me the same-old same-old ending “life goes on”, “everything is good at the end” is decent way to end a series when it seems appropriate but it doesn’t always work.
I believe that in most cases the show creates the ending for itself so by the time the end of show is approaching we can only expect it to end in such fashion. On the other hand, for darker shows with heavier tones it’s not usually expected to end that way. The attractiveness of it is that we really do not know how it will turn out to be. It can be a happy ending or it can be a tragic one, supporting or main characters can meet a terrible end, everyone can make it or everyone dies. Mind you, I think there’s much room both both endings but a certain degree of drama, may be not demanded but it is still expected. This is actually very similar to KEY’s stories in which the main character(s) spend their best moments of their lives in what would be described as fulfilling or eye opening to them. All of this prior to a tragic ending that awaits them at the end of the road. The sweet and sour of those outcomes on top of being accustomed to KEY’s formula might’ve made fans expected for a similar outcome with the death of the heroine. Even without the involvement of Kyoto Animation, Studio A-1’s already known likeness to the other studio and their choice to appeal the audience of Kyoto Animation fans backfired. Even if that was not the actual case, war stories are far from happy and much tragedy being involved is a must. I, and many others, assumed that the ending was not going to be a perfect filled with rainbows in the wide horizon. For those that were really expecting a sad tragic ending, Sora no Woto was most disappointing.
We have a common conflict of expectations vs. reality here. One of the most disastrous things that can happen to a show when it doesn’t meet our high expectations of it. It happened to me before, it probably happened to you too and it will keep happening in the future. There’s not much to be done about that unless we know the source material or the studios themselves make the effort of communicating with the fans to avoid giving misleading hopes. I think the ones behind the show could’ve handled things better and should’ve opted for a more straightforward approach right from the start instead. One crucial and simple step could’ve been keeping the original character designs which can be seen here from that thread. The decision to change it and replace it with one that would appeal to the viewers proved to be yet another mistake that pushed away a group of audience then gain other later on, therefore, hardly giving the show a fair chance. In this case A-1, could’ve avoided the misunderstanding that was produced if they would’ve abandoned the idea of getting attention by appealing to a group they really weren’t. Sora no Woto was or at least intended to be different. Viewers had to learn to see that even if the Studio didn’t make the effort of changing it themselves. Sora no Woto wasn’t as spectacular as Anime no Chikara expected it to be but it was successful regardless, just not perfect. The reaction from the fans that they expected something “more” from it and its ending is much expected when the premise and the intention of the Studio did not match.
Personally, I like the idea of Anime no Chikara project to promote the creativity of the anime industry and to encourage the production of original works. This is in fact much what we need. Not necessarily from Anime no Chikara but it is pointing in the right direction by acknowledging that the industry should step up the game. There are good shows and there are great shows. A certain formula that reaches only certain group of people works, but a need for never ones are in much need nowadays. I’d like to them to continue with these projects and see what improvements they bring about, therefore, I’d like to think of Sora no Woto as a decent start pointing in a better direction.