sola - Overall Series Impressions & Total Series Rating
This thread is to be used for discussing the entire 13 episodes of sola ... your thoughts about the show, overall impressions, expectations and hopes about the DVD only footage etc.
A few subjects you might want to ramble on about:
The poll represents your total series rating. In other words, how you would rate all the episodes combined (1-10)? If you'd rather rate the whole series by technical/artistic merits, you can do so. An example:
Animation Quality: 1-10
Voice Actors: 1-10
Emotional Involvement: 1-10
Average = Total Series Rating
Or a combination of the two. Or your general gut feeling.
Feel free to discuss and more importantly, have fun :)
There were times when I felt that things were being spontaneously tossed in just to keep the story running as well as a bunch of unanswered questions, so I'm giving it an 8/10 overall.
As for separate subcategories, I'll give animation quality an 8 (It wasn't anything remarkable like Kanon but it was really good regardless), an 8 for the voice acting (Yorito failed. All the rest were good), an 8 on the storyline for the reasons stated at the top, and a 9 for emotional involvement (they had me hooked)
Don't forget the music.
It's a 10!! nothing less!
As I stated in eps 13 thread, I give this series an overall rating of C. Without going to spoilers, I had hoped for a number of inconsistencies to have been explained in the final episode, but alas to no avail. It just fell apart in the end, which is a shame really since the first 3/4 of the show was actually good.
Haha, is it that time already? I had just finished writing my review of this series.
I won't say anything just yet until my review is published (which, if things go according to plan, will probably be within the next couple of days), except that I thought I was veery kind with the rating. In fact, I had to think long and hard before I decided I was happy with the rating I eventually chose for it. But people who read my posts in the episode threads probably have a fair idea what I thought of this show overall anyway.
I decided to give it a 9. I'm the kind of person who can love a series, even if only for one or two characters. That was the case with sola. ;)
These driving characters were the two mostly consistent ones, Mana and Koyori. Thus, the high point of sola was, for me, the last 3 episodes.
Yes, they were out of place. Yes, it was then that Matsuri and Yorigami proved how you must not pull off twists.
But, I bawled for Mana in episode 11, and I was perfectly content with the end.
Animation Quality: 9
Nothing notable here, just the chins of death. ;)
Voice Actors: 9.
The main cast was solid, but Amisuke overdid it with Sae.
Ow. That's the weak point of sola, as we all agree (?). Inconsistent plot jumping results in a weak 7. I'm too nice.
I had the OST on loop for a whole week. That's enough to let me overlook the fact that I skipped the OP a few times.
Emotional Involvement: 9.
The whole Yorigami & Matsuri was hard to sympathize with in later episodes. They should have a look at how Mayuko & Takeshi, Mana and Aono & Koyori make good dorama. :D
This makes it an average rating of 8,8. Rounded up to 9. :)
I rated this series a "7". I've actually decided to eat my words from before and start using an actual larger-scale scoring system, divided into 8 categories of differing weight. Total maximum possible score is 100 points. Sola receives a 66/100.
As I've said before in the episode 13 thread, the series was enjoyable when viewed casually, but when I scrutinize and look deeper, it doesn't really impress very much. It was still worth my time (mostly for Takeshi and Mayuko), but there were many things that were disappointing and could have been better, and those really do add up.
Much longer write-up and explanation of my scores for each category coming up, when I actually get home and take a look at my notes (and tear myself away from playing EFZ). This will be the first series that I've used such a method to determine my initial rating (I tested this rating system on Kanon 2006, but I had already rated that prior).
Edit: finally got my notes
I'm gonna quote what I wrote in the Episode 13 thread:
So in the end, I think I'm gonna go with a 6.5/10 in a kind-of objective approach (with the obvious flaws present in the script), but the final personal rating in terms of enjoyment would be around 8.5/10, though I'm not someone who can rate his inner feelings towards anything. So finally, rounding it up, it would be 8/10, I suppose.
I would have given the series a "9" for music and atmosphere plus the rather interesting variations on night people. The rather unusual route taken for an ending was somewhat a win .... but the rather broken inconsistencies and plot vehicles like the all-purpose babble-particle sword really made it hard to "suspend disbelief and immerse". I'm also a very serious not-a-fan of memory-wipe endings. "Nothing really happened" "it was all a dream" "we never existed" ... this series isn't *quite* that but bleh. Juggling all that led me to give this an "7" ... I couldn't muster an "8" despite enjoying the show quite a lot.
I agree with Vexx and Mirrinus. I really liked the atmosphere in the quieter parts at the beginning and at the very end but in between there were so many things that bothered me.
Animation quality wasn't great but good enough to deliver the atmosphere. The voice acting was quite good (obvious exception: Yorito's VA). None of those two factors really influenced my opinion on the show though; what dragged the rating down was the character "development", implausible to the limit. Paired with a lot of minor flaws and inconsistencies I was kept from enjoying the series to it's fullest quite a bit and can't give it more than a "7". The calm mood and well conveyed atmosphere in some of the episodes keep it from dropping further.
So far for me this series is still a masterpiece. :) I still scored it 10/10, but I'm starting to feel that the inconsistent plot (it has me asking, "What the heck does this anime really like?") is starting to ruin this a bit. Please don't. I loved Air and Kanon, and starting to love this. I hope they start to make up their mind about the plot while it's still early. The recent episodes are... Decent at best.
to me it has been pretty average all the way...while i wasnt really hyped up to watch this series when ever the raws where out i did like the twists and turns to some extent...the content was not predictable by any means (throwing all our theories into the bucket known as the black hole every single week ~ which was pretty mean but somewat fresh :)) ~ it has a good end with aono turning out to be the star of the show instead of matsuri ~ while at first we were lured to the trap of events going around matsuri it was in fact moving around aono...and seen as i have been supporting her from the start that is a plus :)
but the overall biggest problem with the series is the lack of pace...at points it can get really pointless while others it can seem rushed (which is lame) ~ the character developments while was there didnt really catch my attention...it moves on too slowly for me to care about any one (mostly) ~ take yorito...in the end he was just "someone" who was created...i really didnt see any life in that boring sod...which is a shame as it could have been really nice if i came to like the characters a bit more...
in the end takeshi + rozen loli > all :)
i guess ill give this series a fair 6.5/10 ~ rounded up to 7 for good luck ^.^
the series was pretty good and pretty enjoyable for me, even though there were some obvious flaws in the series and yorito's VA. Overall, in short, this is what I have to say about Sola:
Thanks to Matsuri, I have a better view of the color purple (don't ask me why).
I say that the series is continuable, but don't know if it would be necessary. Just filling in the questions that some people have about the series might be enough to fill in another 12 episodes or so (I think). Why was Aono needed for a sacrificed (would she be like an Enma Ai)? What was bad about the Yakas? Is it confirmed that Matsuri is dead or maybe just lost her Yaka power and became a normal human? Was Matsuri the only Yaka? Was Matsuri a regular human in the past, got killed, got revived by another Yaka, thus becoming a Yaka herself just like Aono? and blah blah blah...i should just write up a fanfiction myself
Well let's see....for starters I wasn't planning on watching sola at all..until Skyfall recommends to watch this one. I watched and it was good. There were some bad parts but it still works out well IMO.
Animation Quality: 9/10
Voice Actors: 10/10 (Ai Shimizu and Mai Nakahara are there :blush:)
Emotional Involvement: 8/10
Well, we're finally done with sola, and it was quite an interesting ride, weird twists aside.
Easily my top show for this season, despite the flaws. I think I was drawn to the show first because of Matsuri, then I fell in love with the daily interactions between her and Yorito. Although quite dismayed over the change in focus from everyday happenings to nonstop action, my interest hasn't wavered much since the beginning.
I think a lack of a properly explained background is this series' biggest flaw. Things like the origin of Yakas, where the sword came from, further info about the past, etc, etc made some parts of the show flow badly, and removed some of the impact of certain events.
Animation remained relatively consistent throughout to me, except for a few issues in the middle. There were some times when I thought Matsuri and the rest were visibly drawn with mistakes, but nothing that took much away from the show.
Atmosphere was definitely a component of the series, but not very overwhelming.
Voice actors did a wonderful job, but Sae's voice gave me quite a start when I first heard it. Still does in fact. Some issues with Yorito's screaming voice, but otherwise an excellent job by the cast.
Script was inconsistent, abrupt at times and way too slow at others. I'd say that while the day to day script was wonderfully executed, the overarching plot was derailed partially sometime around episode 10. There are quite a number of plot holes and dramatic elements (destruction of the church, playing of the sky movie at the theater) that I found to be placed there just for the sake of it, even if it did add to the mood of the scene.
Btw, a partially related note. When the generator at the movie theater started up, did anyone else expect Renge chan from Ouran to suddenly start rising from the ground? Somehow that scene of the motor starting made me think of her "high powered motor". :heh:
Music wise... I transferred the entire soundtrack into my MP3 player to listen to nonstop. I think I can safety say that the music is one of the strongest parts of sola. I especially love some of the opening lines to Mellow Melody, and I love Colorless Wind equally as much.
Emotionally, I'd say the show has definitely got its teeth sunk deep into me and my wallet. I'll be rather broke over the next few month chasing down all the merchandise I can get. XD
Animation : 8.5
Voice Acting : 9
Script : Main plot : 6 --- Day to day scenes : 10
Music : 10
Emotional Involvement : 10
Matsuri's character design was and still is the main draw for me, as was her interactions with Yorito in the early episodes. With her gentle teasings, her sense of playful humor and her mischievousness, she quickly warmed her way into my good books. Post episode 10, (when she suddenly became a little TOO proactive) I find that most of those traits are still there, although overshadowed by her sudden resolve to correct her mistake with Aono in the past.
(it does help her ratings that I have a heavy bias towards characters with her design, especially ones with such lovely long hair. :heh:)
Personally, while I didn't find the change as jarring as some people have described it, I find that it really would have benefited from a few more episodes of explanation and some time for the change to settle down with all the characters involved. I can understand that her real motivation was guilt over having caused Aono a life of obsession and loneliness and can appreciate her sincerity to sacrifice herself to accomplish it.
As the most consistently proactive, practical and down to earth character, I think Mana has to be my second favorite next to Matsuri. Throughout the show she's proven herself to be the most solid and steadfast of all of them, and it's probably one of the reasons why having her memories dissipate after all that she's done was so heartbreaking. Anyway, she deserves her good end, and I hope she doesn't get shafted in the game with a paper Yorito. :D
I warmed up to Aono during her first episode (ep 8 I believe) outside the hospital, but given my own like of Matsuri, that crashed down pretty fast by the episode end. Even so, the traits she showed before that gave me cause for a second look at things and by the time the final episodes rolled, most of the enmity was replaced by sympathy and eventually a measure of appreciation. Certainly, I love her "born again spirit". :heh:
It's certainly curious that her final personality combines three - early Aono, previous Aono, and Matsuri - into a single one, but it's a change I support fully.
Poor Koyori. XD Will she ever learn the true secret of the chop? :heh:
As Aono's emotional bedrock, Koyori is one of the rare "mascot" type characters (can she be considered one?) that I find to be cute and also significant storywise. Usually such characters are just there to fulfill the criteria of the "cute little sister" and I guess it's nice to see that Koyori's job doesn't just stop there.
Plus, it's a guilty pleasure, but how many of us can say that we don't find Mana's constant abuse of the resident chibi to be hilarious?
Mayuko and Takeshi
Hmm, a bit of a hard one here. Early on, I found Takeshi's actions to be utterly selfish, crude and uncalled for, even though I had an inkling that he was doing it for Mayuko. Mayuko herself hasn't changed much imo - she's still ordering around Takeshi, occasionally doling out her hissatsuwaza "SAI~TE" and has weird taste in onigiri. :rolleyes:
By series end, I still don't like Takeshi that much (sorry Sae!) and I still find that Mayuko's overall personality still is the same, but I guess the final conclusion to their arc had more consistency and finality to it, even though it was a bit of an abrupt end.
Overall Rating : 9
I look forward to the extra episodes, the game and the manga. :D
Don't like the ending, but the overall show was enjoyable. The opening and ending themes were great. The characters, for the most part, were great.
Yorito-Who cares. There haven't been too many main male characters lately that stand out. 4/10
Matsuri-Hmm... Hard one... Since she moves along the plot but messes up people's lives... 7/10
Mana-If it wasn't for the end............. 8/10
Koyori-Cute, but not great. 6/10
Takeshi/Mayuko-Some good times, some bad ones 7/10
Sae and co.-They have charm, but no time to show it... 8/10
In the end, I gave it a 8/10. The action scenes were in general not bad. The main plot started promising, but it ended quite disappointingly. The slice of life episodes was very good though, which pulled my initial 6.5 to 8.
And so it has come to an end. While not anything groundbreaking, during it's 13 episodes Sola provided me with constant enjoyment and some refreshing unpredictability. Although the show has its fair share of flaws, it still remains my favorite one of the season.
Overall the show suffers from some pacing issues. It is by far at its best when it moves slowly, exploring day-to-day activities of the characters. (Matsuri's date with Yorito for example). Something just didn't seem to click when the pace picked up. Some actions/decisions of the characters felt a bit too abrupt. Mainly Yorito's wish to die upon finding out he is a sack of paper. Especially after Matsuri's reaffirmation that he is himself and so on. While it is not that hard to figure out how he came to conclusion that he must die and Aono should be able to live "freely", i don't think that keeping such major revelations off-screen is a good thing. Yes, it indeed helped the mystery aspect and kept us guessing what is going to happen, but the said mystery came at the expense of some characterdepth/development. (Him agreeing so easily to Matsuri sacrificing herself is also a bit hard to swallow. Perhaps he didn't agree easily and they might have had a biiig argument over their course of action, but we never saw that, so we can only guess).
Second "flaw" of the story - Takeshi and Mayuko. Yep, thats right. Now that i think about them, i can't say i can label them as much more than a plot device (although a very well done one) to provide Matsuri with a way to turn Aono back. They came -> messed around a bit -> Matsuri obtained the sword (and it is beyond me where Takeshi obtained the thing) and the two left. Their character dynamics and interactions are quite excellent, and Takeshi - Matsuri fight have tension and sense of urgency/desperation that Aono fights can only dream to have, but in the end i wanted them to have more of a connection with Matsuri, who turned out "a random Yaka Takeshi picked as his target". All this is just a minor nitpick, but its there.
More background on the characters would have been a good thing. The theme Sola worked with had truckloads of potential for drama, but it never got explored. I am actually beginning to wonder if it was their intention to provide a somewhat "distanced" look on the whole thing, because i can't say i truly felt for any of the characters... even for Matsuri, whom i had come to love ever since ep1. Or it is the pacing issues and lack of focus during some of the later episodes to blame. Sola had a very good start, but i feel it got a bit lost in the later part of the series. Although it did pull itself together in the final episodes, the damage was already done.
The ending is very well done and fitting, and since the pacing slowed down again it had the nice feeling Sola had during it's early episodes. It managed to kick my opinion of the series up a bit. Interesting thing is - i can give the individual episodes a very high rating, but a little something is missing when i want to connect them all together. Overall, i think this show needed more than 13 episodes.
Voice acting was very well done (Takeshi's VA takes the cake, Matsuri's as the close second), aside from one thing (which we all know) - Yorito's VA. His performance during "dramatic" moments served as nothing but a distraction, and any emotional impact the scene should have had was lost. I am one that never had complained about Voice acting before, so this case must have been really bad. Animation quality is quite good (one episode in the middle aside), and the style is something i generally like, so no complains here.
One thing i found interesting about Sola is: despite the fact that there are quite few flaws(minor) and some inconsistencies, they actually don't bother me while watching the episode. Yes, i can name them and touch upon them while thinking over the episode(s), but they don't feel like distractions while you are watching the episode itself.
But in the end i am a bit disappointed, because "good" is not doing justice to something that had the potential to be great. I enjoyed the show fully, but it could have been so much more. Alas; I cry for what could have been. 7.5/10 in my books... will vote as 7/10, because i can not muster enough conviction to give it an 8 ... i feel the 7.5 i give it leans more towards "7'' than "8".
“What are the ingredients that go into making a great movie?” – Gary Oldman.
For the final review I will ever give on Sola, I will focus on a number of points, some of which may be divided into subpoints. These points are as follows;
So there we have it, the basis by which I shall give my review on Sola. Ikuzo!
A good anime series draws its viewing audience into its own world; to achieve that, it has to set a general mood. To create a certain mood, two things must be achieved; firstly, animation of at least decent quality animation must be present in order not to make the whole thing look too jarring to the viewer's eyes, and secondly, the appropriate set of background music must be selected, in order to convey the general emotions of any particular scene. How did Sola fare on both accounts?
Background Music (Elements Garden)
”A catchy score!”
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Background Music: 9.4/10
Art Direction (J.C. Staff)
“A spectacular location! Or two!”
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Art Direction: 7.1/10
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Animation: 6.8/10
To summarize, while the art design and the animation leaves some room for improvement, the music of Sola makes up quite a bit for it; the result being a package that isn’t quite complete, but a nice experience all the same. Kudos to Fujima Hitoshi, the musical director from Elements Garden, for his elegantly simple solo pieces on the piano, for it is mostly through his efforts that the Sola world retains its unique character.
Overall Rating for Atmosphere: 8.2/10
”All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players!”
A good setting lays the foundation of the world that the story takes place in; however, the characters themselves set the foundation of the story itself; indeed, the storyline of the entire series rises and falls based on how well each and every character is handled; it's a fine line between making an individual character, or indeed the entire cast, look either dull and uninteresting, or over-the-top and lacking the ability to suspend the disbelief of the audience. So how did Sola fare on this account?
Using the same formula with which I rated the Character Handling of Kanon 2006, I will be rating the performance of the seiyuus as part of the Character Handling criteria of Sola.
Shihou Matsuri (Noto Mamiko)
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Shihou Matsuri: 6.7/10
Rating for Noto Mamiko: 7.8/10
Morimiya Yorito (Okamoto Nobuhiko)
”Something to shoot it with…and a leading man.”
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Morimiya Yorito: 6.2/10
Rating for Okamoto Nobuhiko: 6.4/10
Morimiya Aono (Nakahara Mai)
”Unresolved sexual tension.”
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Morimiya Aono: 7.2/10
Rating for Nakahara Mai: 7.8/10
”A great supporting cast!”
Ishizuki Mana (Honda Youko)
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Ishizuki Mana: 8.5/10
Rating for Honda Youko: 8.6/10
Ishizuki Koyori (Shimizu Ai)
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Ishizuki Koyori: 8.3/10
Rating for Shimizu Ai: 8.5/10
Tsujidou Takeshi (Fujiwara Keiji)
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Tsujidou Takeshi: 8.3/10
Rating for Fujiwara Keiji: 8.0/10
Kamikawa Mayuko (Kaneda Tomoko)
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Kamikawa Mayuko: 7.0/10
Rating for Kaneda Tomoko: N/A
Sakura Sae (Koshimizu Ami)
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Sakura Sae: 2.3/10
Rating for Koshimizu Ami 1.7/10
In conclusion, while the side characters were portrayed quite nicely in themselves, the fact remains that the plot centres around the main characters....and thus, the viewer is supposed to care mostly for the main characters. However, if the character development of the main characters fails by comparison, how can good handling of the side characters be of any help?
Overall Rating for Character Handling: 6.3/10
” Love. Intrigue. Conflict. Mystery. Drama.”
A good story; that is what an audience expects, regardless of whether the medium is a book, TV, a movie, or even in this case, an anime. And to get a good story, you need a promising premise, a logical yet appetizing plot, and most importantly of all, inspired direction to make the story really shine amongst its peers. Well then, was Sola the great story we were all hoping for?
”An unexpected twist!”
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Storyline Quality: 6.4/10
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Pacing: 4.3/10
Spoiler for length:
Rating for Internal Consistency: 6.2/10
To summarize, Sola started off strongly with a strong premise, but managed to squander a large part of that potential through an unfortunate mixture of logical inconsistencies, jerky pacing, and an unbalanced bias for the action side of the equation in contrast to the slice-of-life side. All the blame for this falls solely on the shoulders of Nomad; in their attempt to cram as much as they could in the latter half of the series, they overbalanced and left the latter half of Sola a bit of an unresolved mess. Which is a damned pity, for the first half was really quite excellent.
In conclusion, I’ll recommend Sola Episodes 1-6, but no more than that.
Overall Rating for Script: 5.7/10
Overall, I felt that Sola started off with a great premise and a lot of potential, but Nomad’s subpar handling eventually disappointed me. Perhaps the name of Hisaya Naoki inflated my expectations to an unrealistically high level, but the fact remains that I found Sola to fall below my expectations, and thus, it would never be one of my favourites.
Even so though, I still have to say that Sola’s premise still retains its great promise, and hopefully they’re make a better job out of it in the manga and/or the game. Or, God willing, a 24-episode KyoAni remake. :D
Final Rating for Sola: 6.4/10. Rounded down to: 6/10
”Aaaaaaand cut!” – Gary Oldman
Great analysis Ascaloth. You pretty much said everything I wanted to say, and then some.
My Sola review.
As I mentioned, I had this written on Tuesday, but I had to kick some serious ass to get it published as quickly as it did. I ended up rating it as "average", which is 5 on my site, and 6 on this one. And even that I think was very fair, since I found myself being highly critical of numerous things in it throughout my review.
But the main one I can't help but come back to time and time again is the main characters. In an emotionally driven story like this, you need strong, sympathetic main characters that you can understand... even if you can't relate to them. But understanding the decisions they come to is key, and drama is generated from complexity and the many shades of gray that come with considering the dilemmas these characters face... and all of that was, unfortunately too quickly passed over by this series and not dealt with as carefully and comprehensively as it should have been. Some people point to pacing, but I think poor directing and an atmosphere that wasn't as absorbing as it should have been are equally to blame (although pacing is also one of a director's many responsibilities). But the fact that the side characters were so likable compared with the main characters is the thing that really baffles me, since it proves that they had the ability to create sympathetic characters. My question is, why didn't they put more effort into making sympathetic main characters, when the fact that they were able to make likable side characters proves that they have some idea of the various formulas for good characterization and character development?
And then there's the inconsistencies that many people have pointed out. Many of them have been pointed out already, so I won't go over them, but the fact that there were so many raises the question: how much care was taken by the production staff towards the overall production of this anime, particularly the planning, and why wasn't more taken to ensure that the inconsistencies were minimalized? I can't help but be highly critical of what I saw in the plot... at stages it was very sloppy. No matter how I look at it, if you want to pull off an emotionally driven story like this, and have drama that truly impacts the audience, you need a production staff that is willing to invest an incredible amount of care into their work, and I can't help but be uncertain whether this happened.
Likable side characters and strong voice acting save this anime, but every time I reread my review, I find myself thinking, "should I have given it a lower rating". It's not often with an anime review that I'm not instantly happy with my first choice of rating.
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