Even though I was working on compiling some impressions about Darker Than Black 2, I felt a better way to launch this blog into the new decade was to review something a bit more classy. And of course, there is no series that embodies that adjective more than Sora no Otoshimono.
This setup isn’t anything you haven’t heard before–home-alone highschooler Sakurai Tomoki has recurring dreams about a blue-haired angel, and incidentally has a divine run-in with an angel or “Angeloid” called Ikaros. Ikaros addresses Tomoki as “master” and will grant any wish for Tomoki using her magical powers. Meanwhile, Tomoki’s senior Sugata Eishirou–a man convinced there a “new world” somewhere out there–has been noticing strange readings on his computer that show a strange hole floating over Japan. Putting aside those (rather unimportant, really) plot details, Tomoki has an allotment of haremettes besides Ikaros including his karate-trained childhood friend Mitsuki Sohara, sadistic class president Satsukitane Mikako and another Angeloid called Nymph, who fills in the show’s much-needed Tsundere slot. The show does pay attention to the plot alluded to higher up in this paragraph, but each episode is mostly wacky high-jinx.
I enjoy anything that can indulge in pure silliness, and Sora no Otoshimono has moments where one may think the writers have a PhD in silliness. It does fire off some duds, but on the whole the show hits pretty hard. Tomoki is setup as a boring harem-lead–peace and quiet is his motto–but a lot of the humour revolves around him being absolutely ridiculous. Tomoki is a step up from the normal harem lead–he’s a harem lead who is fully aware of his situation and takes full advantage of it, not unlike Yoshitaka from He is My Master. As such, a lot of laughs come from his perverted escapades. But aside from that, this show generally has a knack for pushing things over-the-top. Whether it’s Tomoki running around naked, Mikako acting on her sadistic tendencies, Sohara beating the crap out of Tomoki, Ikaros doing something other-worldly, or Sugata experimenting with one of his inventions, the show does well to crank things up past 10 to 11.
The show’s over-the-top nature is supported by fairly top-notch production values. If the characters ever need to blow each other up with guns, or if the show needs a nice shot of an SR-71–all of those mechanics will be rendered with a fetishistic amount of detail, only serving to make the jokes funnier. Similarly, over-the-top actions as well as reactions will be lavished upon with surprising amounts of key frames. Ridiculous situations of all manner happen in this show, and they’re all handled with tender love and care, as well as lots of drawings. In the show’s mellower moments, the animation is pretty standard, and there is a habit to shift Tomoki and Ikaros into super deformed characters (probably in attempt to save money) but there are no striking moments of characters looking terribly off-model. There are some proportion issues at times, but it’s nothing major. The drawings are brought to life with a strong, saturated colour scheme which makes use of deep shadows and complex lighting effects when needed. In short, this show looks pretty good.
Between the humour that primarily drives the show, there is an underlying plot which does get addressed to some degree, and is used to close off the show nicely. However, since the source material isn’t done yet, there are understandably some loose ends. This doesn’t especially matter since the show is mostly about the jokes, but when things do shift to drama, how much you enjoy it is proportional how not-cynical you are. It’s pretty typical shounen-romance drama with hint of DO ROBOTS HAVE FEELINGS thrown in. It does well to help one connect with the characters, but it’s easy to see how it’d turn the more cynical viewer off. As far as characters go, they’re all entertaining in their own eccentric ways and are given plenty of time to shine. As mentioned before, the harem doesn’t cover a full range of fetishes, but there’s a pretty good shot you’ll have a thing for one of the girls.
Alongside the animation quality and writing, the show’s direction doesn’t miss a beat when comes to delivering humour. With the drama the direction is more sedate and cliche, but that isn’t even worth mentioning. The show’s opening number is typical anison fluff, but it boasts an ending song for each of its 13 episodes. Each of these songs also comes with their own animation, most of which are pure gold.
Sora no Otoshimono is a near perfect example of how to do a silly harem show. The fanservice is well rendered and plentiful, the jokes hit hard, and it never really feels like it’s trying too hard. Now, if only they could find a way to successfully integrate the drama in without it feeling shoe-horned and cliche, then the show really would be perfect!