The story in So-Ra-No-Wo-To is just simply amazing. It successfully made the series episodical while at the same time keeping them in the same story line that had a satisfying climax. The premise is not original per say, but the way that they portray it is. I found the story to be quite brilliant. It kept the audience engaged, and it was full of energy. There where moments when the story got pretty deep, and there were also light hearted moments in the series too, which wouldn't work all that well in the same series, but here it works completely. There were times when I laughed, and there where times I wanted to cry, and they balanced eachother well. The episodes that had the episodical feel to them had amazing stories, and brought the series a great deal of humor and light heartedness, and the episodes where it was part of the continueous story line had some deep moments in them, though this is not to say that they are exclusive to one another. The only thing that I didn't like was that Rio-Sempai was able to return to the group at the end after becoming a princess. Other than that small detail, the story here is just awesome.
The art in this series is just great. The backgrounds are not really backgrounds, but instead they are environments that provide the characters a vivid and detailed universe for them to live in. The detail is just stunning in these backgrounds. The character art was great too. They looked amazing. The art is just simple amazing in this series.
The characters where memorable and highly developed. Each main character has at least a little backstory that tells us as an audience what kind of people they are. The characters have three dimensional qualities to them and they are just fun to watch. Kanata is just a bright and uplifting character, and is darn near impossible to dislike. Noel at first seems to be a Yuki Nagato-ish type character, but later on you see how much emotion she can display at a moment. Kureha was loud and energetic, but she made a great character, and provided some great moments in the series. Rio is a great character because of her backstory. What happens to her latter on in the series is nothing you would expect them to do. Filicia is a kind hearted person who makes a great character, but later she proves that she can be a total bad-ass. The whole cast was made up of fun and interesting characters.
So-Ra-No-Wo-To is probably the best anime that I have seen in a long time. This is really good, and if you haven't seen it yet, you should. This series also has plenty of rewatch value and is quite entertaining. You will definatly love this series.