そら (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: FUJIWARA Keiji
Music - FUJIMA Hitoshi
NOTO Mamiko
R1 Distributor - Section23 Films (ADV)
R1 License - Bandai (Defunct)
R1 License - Sentai Filmworks (ADV)
R1 License - Subtitled Only
Sola's story revolves around Yorito Morimiya, the main protagonist, who is a young boy attending high school. He loves taking pictures of the sky at any time of day and any time of the year. One day, Yorito decides to take a picture of the sunrise overlooking the bay, but is deterred when he meets a strange girl trying to force a vending machine that stole her money to give her what she tried to buy — a can of tomato juice. Yorito helps her with forcing the machine while attempting to strike up conversation with her, despite it being four in the morning. Yorito tells her why he is here, but by the time he has forced the can out of the machine, the girl has mysteriously vanished.

The next day, Yorito goes to visit his older sister Aono in the hospital with his friend Mana and Mana's little sister Koyori. Despite it being Aono's birthday, Yorito leaves soon after to take a photograph of the setting sun near an old church on the roof of the hospital. That night, Yorito leaves to buy groceries when it begins to rain and stops on the way home to wait for the rain to stop; while waiting, he runs into the strange girl he met from yesterday again. They talk longer this time and Yorito finally learns her name — Matsuri Shihō. A few days later, Yorito goes looking for the girl in the old church and finds a man wielding a sword before Matsuri, and then the girl flying away...

from Wikipedia, covering just the events of episode 1
[TV series, 2007, 13 episodes + 2 DVD specials (1 as episode 0 of the series and 2 as episode 4.5), 24 min; Animation by Nomad, and the result of a collaborative effort from the story writer of Kanon and the character designer of Da Capo.]

This anime was voted "Best anime of the year" by 2 million Japanese voters at Yahoo Japan at the end of 2007, beating Lucky Star, Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn! and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai in the process.
Image left to right: Tsujidou Takeshi (back, with glasses), Kamikawa Mayuko (blonde hair), Morimiya Yorito (front); Shihō Matsuri (black hair); Morimiya Aono (light blue hair); Ishizuki Koyori (back) and Ishizuki Mana (front)
The Japanese name "そら" ("sola"; "r"/"l" is ambiguous in this language) of this series is actually derived from the female form of the Italian/Spanish word for "alone"; it has also a homophone "sora" in Japanese meaning "sky" (which is a key notion for some of the main characters in this series), and even the Christian concept of ↗Anima Sola may somehow be present in this story as well (given the nature of the yakabito and some of scenes used in the story).
Bandai Intl has announced that they will be releasing this (English subbed) title as a complete boxed set.

1:37min Series Opening - YouTube Video
Episode Details 
S1, S2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 9 8 8 9 9 Dreamer [series:1581#2279]
After reading some great reviews about this series, I decided to give it a try. Aside from the amazing artwork, it's as good as most the reviews say.

Art, Animation & Character Designs
Artwork is rich and vibrant. What makes it really stand out is the high level of detail and taken into the backgrounds and foregrounds. Character designs on the other hand... though they were well done, I didn't get too much into them since this is the style I like the least.... the sharp pointy chin and tiny mouth slit for a mouth.

The OP was a nice quiet piece... almost dreamy in feel. Most of the soundtrack are quiet "peaceful" pieces featuring pianos, violins and similar instruments. It gives a nice feel to the series as a whole and adds to the story altogether.

Series and Episode Story
The plot is where this series shines. There's plenty of plot twists that it'll keep you glued to the each episode making sure you don't miss a second of it. All the characters are interesting and give alot to the series. At first, one would think this to be a simple love triangle tale but after half way through, you come to see that it's far more than that and the drama is just nearly flawlessly executed.

Overall, this is an excellent series to add to your collection. The only real gripe is that it wasn't long enough... or rather, I wanted more but that could have possibly damaged the story had it run longer.

Last updated Monday, November 30 2009. Created Monday, November 30 2009.
Rent 9 9 8 7 8 8 Silence [series:1581#2939]
Complete series watched. And I must say that it did not hit me like Kanon or Air did.

Yes, the series embedded many clues from early on. Perhaps it's my fault that I read a little too much of the reviews before, but I started speculating the truth behind the veil (though unsuccessfully). The results from the later episodes surprised me, but since I was bracing myself, I did not fall as hard as it was intended. I could only imagine how difference it would make if the hints are more subtle, like Kanon. As a result, I was not as shaken.

The concept of the story was great i must say. But the presentation did not do it justice. For instance, pacing was a little off in the last few episodes. It was a climax when Yorito and Matsuri decided their course of action, but there was no immediate follow up. Instead, the mood was left to simmer and evaporate.

The animation was superb, the art was great. The music was not very impressive though, especially the op.

The characters failed to make me root for them for some reason. The one I really rooted for was Mana I suppose, but the rest somehow did not make me feel. It is really quite a pity though, as I would have much more enjoyment if I did.

Overall judgement, rent. A could-have-been regret. The idea was there, but it did not blow me away

Last updated Friday, October 30 2009. Created Friday, October 30 2009.
Watch 8 8 8 6 6 6 Xenoknight [series:1581#2967]
series completed - episode 0 watched, but I can only find ova ep 1 (4.5) in spanish sub.

The first ep was nice. I always like the slow intro where you get to meet the characters. The end was a shocker as well but, it was no where near as "enticing" as H2O: Footprints in the Sand's first ep was.

Never forget Xenosaga.

Last updated Thursday, October 09 2008. Created Sunday, September 28 2008.
Buy 9 8 8 7 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:1581#1552]
Sola is an anime that you shouldn't think is typical romantic fare from the start. It has enough twists with the characters and plot that make you think twice over what you thought was going on or what would happen, especially with the fantasy genre blurred in with the plot. Tiny hints are dropped over the nature of aspects of the plot and characters until more are revealed as the series progresses. Even with such twists, characters still get a decent amount of development and we know enough about them to understand their motivations. Characters who seem evil are really doing what they think is right for those they care for, even though it causes others to suffer for it. There are some issues I had with plotting though. Certain aspects of the plot are not looked into such as how Takeshi acquired his weapons and what led Matsuri to become a yaka. Second, the resolution to events in the series felt a bit anti-climatic considering the buildup that led up to the finale.

In terms of animation, Sola features some vibrant scenery with a decent amount of detail as this went along with the show's focus on the skies, a source of symbolism for the yaka who are unable to live life in the daylight. Character designs have bright colors and a decent amount of visual detail. Battle scenes with Takeshi and yaka are decently animated, though they're nowhere as fluid as what I have seen so far out of Tengen Toppa Gurren-lagann.

Sola will surprise you with its twists and turns regarding characters and plot which will make it a worthwhile anime to check out.

Last updated Tuesday, September 23 2008. Created Tuesday, September 23 2008.
Buy 9 9 9 10 7 10 Devil Doll [series:1581#752]
[Score: 89% = Buy, my favourite Fantasy/Horror anime. Other recommended Fantasy/Horror animes: Interlude]
  • Drama: High (a dark depressing action drama... and don't take anything for granted too early)
  • Comedy: Low ("Mana-san"... some amusing scenes but no outright jokes)
  • Action: Med/High (with essential battle scenes, and I set "Violent" for a reason)
  • SciFi: High (here go the "Supernatural", "Surreal" and "Magic" keywords)
  • Ecchi: Low (no more than Matsuri teasing Yorito for possibly being a perv, plus a few nude thighs)
I once prayed for an anime with the story of Kanon and the animation of Kanon (2006) - and I think my wish has come true, even though this anime is a bit closer to Air TV while avoiding the flaws of this series. After episode 9 I immediately restarted watching this series, only to now understand how many hidden clues I've overlooked during the first few episodes (every single gesture may be important there) - I really wanted to have a second chance before knowing the outcome of this guessing game. Even though one of the main secrets is uncovered at the end of episode 1 already, this series turns into an even more chilling ride once the true relations between the seven involved characters become clear. Be warned about the excessive violence though - while this isn't exactly Elfen Lied the butchering gets close to it at times.

Unlike Kanon this show is going into high fantasy mode right from the start, with action elements in today's world and a supernatural being as main character revealed at the beginning of episode 2 already. Beautiful Art (reminding me a lot of Myself; Yourself), decent Animation even during the action scenes, and while both songs are beautiful but not outstanding there's a great number of good background Music tracks appropriate for the slightly dark atmosphere and the action sequences of the scenario (Kako to Mirai to, Kasuga na Hikari, Kishimu Kuuki, Kodoku no Soko de, Namida Tsuumi, Uzumaku Kaze, Nibi Iro, Te wo Toriatte, just to name a few of the best ones) that I upgraded this aspect of my rating to the highest possible value, along with Episode Story for the outstanding cliffhangers and story twists.

The Characters are introduced fast and in parallel, there's no "arc" feeling in this story. But what's really great about this show is that there aren't any also-rans - each character will become important over time, and not just by crossing paths with another character at a crucial moment. These seven leads have been used quite skillfully to compose a network of relations.

The Story of this series appears to form an odd kind of school romance triangle at first - only to take you on a ride where you'll question reality a few times (and for good reasons). Once you know what's actually up here and the main conflict becomes obvious, this will become a completely different tale to tell: Prepare for seeing blood - red and fresh, and significant amounts of it. But despite one character's final decision appears a bit questionable this show executes its premise excellently and provides a solid and reasonable ending (try guessing which characters you'll still see at the end of this show...).
My problem with the story is that what happened prior to the events of the show will be revealed by a lot of flashback sequences... there's a reason for this (based on some story element) but over time it can make you question each and every thing in this show. And the Fantasy elements are very dominant. But endure it, you'll find out what this show is all about in time. Some questions will remain unanswered though (such as how certain characters are able to pay for their living in this scenario, where Takeshi got his cool weaponry and who taught him how to transform a yaka). And I have to mention one explicit flaw in the story logic that made me downgrade "Series Story" by 1 point. I didn't rate the two DVD specials as they have hardly anything to do with this show.

It's been a long time since I watched an anime with that much power and characters whom I related to so fast, only to see them suffer afterwards while still fighting for their happiness. This series missed the "Buy+" rating by no more than one single point. And for those who prefer their anime to be an Ecchi Comedy instead of a Action Tragedy, there's in fact a (much weaker) "Sola lite" version... here. Just be aware that clicking on this link is now a spoiler by itself.

Last updated Monday, June 20 2011. Created Saturday, March 29 2008.
Unevaluated chibi [series:1581#2380]
The series is supposed to run only 13 episodes, which is a shame because it's starting to get very interesting by show number 10. So far it's more of a supernatural mystery than a dating sim show, a bit of a cross between Kanon and Air.

Last updated Tuesday, June 12 2007. Created Tuesday, June 12 2007.
Unevaluated Jan-Chan [series:1581#967]
Having seen both Kanon and Da Capo, I don’t know if I should be thrilled or groaning about this series.

But in any case – the first episode is out as a fansub (from the LUNAR team) and (guess what?) it looks very much like the Da Capo and Kanon series. The animation is good and the story told in the 1st episode is entertaining.

In any event it is seems like a lot of work to get a strange word pun from an obscure Roman Catholic referance - Anima Sola

Last updated Thursday, April 12 2007. Created Thursday, April 12 2007.

Other Sites
Japanese Series Web Site
Wikipedia page for "anima sola"
Explanation of a Christian concept this series is partially based upon

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