Sunday, 11 January 2009

Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo - Episode 1

We've had the girl who leapt through time, now it's the girl who leapt through space, or Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo to give it its Japanese title. Of course, the two series are completely and entirely unrelated, but at least it gave me an excuse for a slightly lame opening paragraph.

Anyway, this series starts with a bombshell within the first five seconds - Seventeen year-old student Akiha Shishidou has been told that she is to get married, as part of an arranged marriage organised by her mother. Faced with what seems like an unreasonable demand, she escapes from her home (and the attentions of her sister who goes after her), which soon introduces us to one of the core tenets of the series - Akiha is one of many, many people living on a colony out in space. As she worries about marriage and her future, so we take a look at the space outside of the colony, where tonnes of ancient junk from the Earth keep turning up and floating around for no reason.

Eventually, this oddity and Ahika's escape via a pod collide... quite literally, as a huge spacecraft or sorts appears out of nowhere, leaving Akiha and her... thing (is it an android, a pet, an alien? I have no idea), named Imoko to be pulled into this vast craft, which appears to be some kind of deserted colony itself.

While it's unsurprising that I can't make a lot of this series from its first episode, Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo does seem to have an oddly old school feel to it - From the soundtrack through to the animation and the plot we've been presented with so far, this almost feels like watching an anime series from quite a while ago. Your mileage will of course vary as to whether this is a good thing or not, but in this opening episode I have to confess it didn't quite work for me, and I get a funny feeling that this series isn't going to be one that grabs my attention.

The one thing that did warm me to this opening episode however is the choice of voice actors - While I got a little bit of a thrill hearing Ai Nonaka (or Kafuka Fuura fame in Zetsubou Sayonara Sensei) as the voice of Imoto, the use of Jun Fukuyama (who you'll most likely know as Lelouch in Code Geass) as the voice of unhinged artifical intelligence Leopard is inspired. Quite simply, Lelouch... sorry, Leopard steals the show as soon as he appears, from his desire to become a perfect Englishmen by scanning a cup of Earl Grey through to his scizophrenic attempt at suicide followed by a panicked realisation that it's the last thing he wants to do. If there's one good reason to watch the opener of Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo, it's this.

That aside, I'm not really sure that this series has the legs required to prove itself as anything other than a distinctly average anime, but we'll just have to wait and see whether future episodes can prove me wrong.

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