Sora no Woto: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma?

“And they saw this. The end of the world.”

This comment came at the end of episode five of Sora no Woto. The visuals that the dialogue followed were startling. However, it was a long time to wait for some interesting concrete background on the world.

Sora no Woto
Noël Kannagi when she's not asleep

I personally like the gritty or comedy end of anime. What I’ve never been able to watch is moe. I’m not a fan. I was recently told off for assuming that Moe was a creepy superifical genre as opposed to a creepy superficial fetish aesthetic movement. So one episode of Sora no Woto was enough to put me off.

I would have stayed away if I had to pay for these episodes but because of the website Crunchyroll, I’ve stuck with it and do you know what…

I think I’ve underestimated Sora no Woto. What initially seemed to me to be a superficial show combining War and Moe in some absurdist fashion actually seems to have some back-bone.

All of the typical moe stereotypes are present and they may evoke the protective feeling of the audience (irritation on my part). All this takes place within a place that looks like Alsace-Lorraine with French names on maps. They wear German uniforms and roll around in German jeeps circa 1940’s.

The look is so reminiscent of Orguss 2 with landscapes that straddle medieval looking cities, people wearing early-twentieth century European fashion and with anachronistic looking futuristic super-tank.

The main characters are part of a small unit, alone and also isolated in a valley. Maps show how isolated they are from their central command. The viewer sees a large patch on the map labelled No-Man’s Land. It covers the map like a challenge and the girls are on the edge of it. Terra incognita as far as the characters are concerned.

The actual sight of No-Man’s Land was bitter and startling especially since the group traipsed through verdant country-side on a field-trip – clear rivers, delicious berries proving tempting targets for the girls. It also reinforces earlier hostility suffered at the hands of an orphan and goes part way to explaining why their base has the remnants of a school. Haunting scenes in a previous episode show what they could have been had it not been for the war. The melancholy of the world has grown exponentially as a result.

My interest has been piqued. What was the war about and how was it fought? What will happen to these moe stereotypes?

Thank the lord for Crunchyroll because I would have given up on this after the first two episodes. Perhaps it shows how superficial I am.

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