Sometimes an anime is aimed for a particular auditory - one that can understand the complexity of the tale or let’s say the delicate approach to life. Sora no Manimani leaves that impression but in reality has little to offer even for those who enjoy stargazing. Able to spot any plot changes miles away only strengthens the fact that Sora no Manimani lacks any originality; therefore, making you feel like tasting leftovers from a more appetizing dish.
Good artists imitate, great artists steal. So it’s no wonder that after the Haruhi phenomenon some studios will try to reproduce the success it had. Sora no Manimani setting clearly shares some similarities with Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, e.g.; the weird club nobody is interested in, a hyperactive heroine, and the relevance of celestial bodies on our protagonists – only that the whole star topic is taken from a side story to the main plot.
Speaking of the story; well, yes, it’s generic as hell. We’ve Saku - an elite bookworm, also known as Harry Potter under disguise, Mihoshi - the somewhat clumsy and oblivious childhood friend (featured in the picture above), and Hime - the two-sided stalker. Together (with 3 other members) they form the not-so-popular Astronomy Club and are all about exploring the “wild nature” of stars; well, some of them are. As you could imagine, not everyone has a legit reason to be in the club, for instance, Hime joined because of the opportunity to be closer to her crush, and Saku on the other hand was forced to become a member. So it’s a neat mixture of personalities and goals but even so, every character feels undeveloped and out-of-place. They really lack any traits that would define them as a main protagonist; apart from Hime, I love the comedic relief she provides.
Although this anime improves after a few episodes; the general reason why you’ll keep watching this astronomy lesson is the sometimes working humor. I could say it’s one of the strongest points of Sora no Manimani; before they start throwing in the zodiac jokes, that is. Also, even if it appears to be smart and all-knowing, Sora no Manimani really covers only a small portion of astronomy, namely the observation of the phenomenon outside Earth (actually, it feels more like cosmology). I really hoped to enrich my knowledge about planets in general: the physics they have, what sort of material they consist of, or the evolution of lifeforms on them. Instead we get just a small peek of the Universe, nothing more. I guess nobody is here to learn anything, right? Just thrown in some Uranus jokes and we're ready to go.
The design. First of, the thing you'll note right away is the wonderfully drawn nighttime scenery. If presented at the right moment, can provide a very memorable view. Apart from that, the general artwork isn’t too impressing, and you can't say it's rubbish either. It's just... a common standard.
To summarize. Sora no Manimani's humor is the only thing that keeps it alive - the intriguing premise gets immediately squashed by its partiality, the story is sunk in the bitter lake of plagiarism, and the pale characters only make the ride of pain and fear, as well as dreams and hope, seem like something out of our reach. However, Sora no Manimani isn't hopelessly shoddy, it can still be entertaining. Sadly today's market is so overloaded with similar Slice of Life shows that making a stand for a honourable place in it will seem like an impossible quest. As rough as it might be, only partly updating a story that has been told countless times isn't an valid excuse to not get a good spank from me.
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