“Amazing Grace” – Sound of the Sky (anime) – 6/10 Notebooks

Sometimes I think it should be a rule of war that you have to see somebody up close and get to know him before you can shoot him. ~ M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter

Genre: Sci-fi

Review Status: Complete (12 Episodes/12 Episodes)

Licensed: Yes, this anime is licensed in the US. It’s available on DVD, or for free viewing on Crunchyroll.com.

Art/Animation: The animation is wonderful, very fluid and consistently good. The art is a little more iffy. The character designs are similar to those of the girls from K-On!, and not surprisingly gets a lot of flack for this. They really aren’t that memorable. While the art tends to be very well-done, the CG can be a little harsh and ugly, feeling very out-of-place in comparison to the rest of it.

Dub Vs. Sub: This is only available in subtitles.

Summary: In a lonely corner of the world, on the edge of No Man’s Land, sits Clocktower Fortress. It’s home to the 1121st Platoon of the Helvetian Army, and their newest member is a 15-year-old volunteer named Kanata Sorami, who enlisted to learn how to play the bugle. When she was a child, Kanata was saved by a beautiful soldier and found inspiration in the clear, golden sound of her trumpet. From that day forward, Kanata decided music would be her life. As the other platoon members train her how to be a bugler and a soldier, Kanata’s enduring optimism will inspire them to look for happiness and beauty, even in a world haunted by war. (Rightstuf.com)

Review: The world as we know it has ended- a war has split the world into many countries, the old technology has been lost for the most part, and all that remains is a legend of maidens at a city at the edge of the border to nowhere, and a song that has managed to last through time.

At this outpost in the middle of nowhere, four girls welcome their newest member and interact with the villagers in ways that wouldn’t be approved of by the military or Church headquarters. They take part in local celebrations, help the children that the Church also takes care of, illegally make and sell wine to supplement their meager rations, and fix an old tank left over from the war that ended scant years before.

These activities make for some memorable episodes, from the one where they get involved in a tomato-throwing festival, to an episode where they foil some yakuza and scare Sorami in the process, to the one where the villagers honor the dead in a time-honored tradition. The first two thirds of this series are all about daily life in the fort and village, and while not all of it stood out, it most definitely had its moments. The less memorable moments would have been far better had the characters been stronger- as it is, they’re just carbon copies of all the other girls from 5-girl shows. There’s nothing really memorable about them or their personalities, so it’s the situations themselves that end up being what you really remember.

Then you get to the last few episodes. The drama really begins there, with a girl from the other side of No Man’s Land having traveled to find the village that was spoken of in tales from her homeland. From here on in, the story is serious business. There’s risk of attack, the fort is taken over by the main military force, and there is a surprising, out-of-nowhere reveal about one of the girls. And of course, music helps save the day.

As nice as this is, the first two thirds of the story aren’t all that special though it does have it’s moments.

Overall,this was a nice but indifferent slice of life (until the military storyline kicked in, which is where it became an indifferent story about the war).

Recommended: 13+. There’s no real language, a little bit of inappropriate humor (one of the girls has to stay in front of a phone until it rings and almost has an accident in one of the episodes). There’s one or two scenes with undetailed nudity, one when a girl is dressing and another with the girls in the bath- they’re having a slumber-party setup- but it’s like Totoro in execution. There is also some violence in the last few episodes. You see a battle that one of the girls was involved in- her squadron is killed in action. You do see the bodies. She also comes across a skeleton of a soldier that died many years ago, and hallucinates that it’s telling her to give up and commit suicide.

Other Titles You Might Enjoy:

K-On! (anime)

Yokohama Kaidashi Kiko (manga)

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (anime and manga)

Library Wars (anime and manga)

Haibane Renmei (anime)


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