- Titles: Ahiru no Sora
- Genre: Sports!, drama, school, comedy, delinquents.
- Episodes: 50
- Studio: diomedéa
For those of you who don’t know, I’m rather short. In fact, I’m Sora’s height. And there are only two competitive sports I am even passably decent at. badminton and basketball. So don’t tell me shorties can’t play basketball. And don’t tell Sora either. He is determined to play even if it means wrangling a bunch of scary delinquents into forming a new basketball team at his school, most of whom have never played before. Sure it would take a miracle for such an inexperienced and undisciplined team to even win a single game but you can’t let the little things stop you!
As some of you may know, I am something of a Sports! anime aficionado. I’m not trying to flex on you or anything, I just happen to enjoy the genre for the most part. And I usually get around to watching most shows that aren’t too overwhelmingly long or…mature. So of course, Ahiru no Sora was on my to-watch list as soon as it was announced. Oh, there will be one spoiler for Ahiru no Sora in this review, please be warned.
The production is quite competent. It’s one of those shows where I don’t really have anything bad to say but I can’t point to anything exceptional either. The only point of contention is likely to be the character designs or rather the art style of said designs.
Like the designs themselves are just average school boys and girls but the art style is somewhat unusual and may take some getting used to. I didn’t dislike it personally, but there was something that occasionally bugged me in the profile views. Like the proportions were a little skewed or something. In any case, you can see the character designs in the screencaps and decide what you think of them for yourselves. The stills are pretty true to the animation.
Ahiru no Sora is one of those anime that had a bunch of stuff I liked and a bunch of stuff I didn’t. For the most part, it is a fairly conventional sports anime. You know a short but spunky main character who truly loves the port despite challenges. Ultimate underdog team. Practice episodes, match the rush of early wins then crushing defeat. The whole shebang. If you are familiar with the genre, you are familiar with these tropes and structures.
The hooks for this particular series is that 1 – the team is almost entirely made up of delinquents who have no knowledge of and not that much interest in basketball and 2 – Sora’s personal story that happens parallel to what is happening with the team is way more tragic than anything I’ve seen in sports anime. One of these works for me and the other didn’t. You can probably guess which is which.
The team of clueless delinquents was actually a pretty good twist in my opinion. It brought some genuinely funny moments in the first half of the season. And it was also a nice change to see players that have to be tricked, threatened and bribed into practising and don’t care if they win or lose. As you can expect, they slowly discover a love for the sport as the season progresses and this dynamic changes, but still, it was a fun change for about half the series.
This is the spoiler part so last chance to avoid it. The second difference with most sports anime is that Sora’s mother is gravely ill. It’s not part of his backstory, it’s an ongoing plot point. She was a professional basketball player but now can no longer leave the hospital. Sora goes to visit her frequently and update her on his progress with his team. But we also get tons of ominous clues from the hospital staff that her condition is very bad and not improving.
In fact, it does end badly in the second half of the season. And this tragedy overshadows most of the other events of the last part of the show.
Now I’m not saying that you couldn’t work those two stories in the same show, but I found that they just didn’t manage to make them work cohesively. The team is often a bunch of morons going for laughs with slapstick comedy, and then the mother storyline is truly heartbreaking. The balance wasn’t there for me.
And it seemed rather unnecessary. It took away from a lot of the character development of the team members which was unfortunate because many plot points required the audience to have some attachment to other members of the team in order to work properly. But at the same time, Sora’s relationship with his mom was only established through the current events of the show so it seemed lopsided.
Maybe it’s just my inherent lack of patience for drama but I think it made the show a little worse. It felt like these two stories should have been tackled separately.
For me Ahiru no Sora was a pretty neutral Sports! anime. I didn’t love it but I did watch 50 episodes of it and it wasn’t a chore. Sure I occasionally put it in the background as I was cooking diner or something but that’s ok. I felt like the first half was fairly good. I enjoyed it a lot, but my interest dwindled as the dramatic plot points mounted. And I honestly couldn’t care less about Madoka’s unexplained hormonal shifts which seemed to be dropped out of nowhere to manufacture romantic tension.
So if you love Sports! anime, there are some good things in this show. If you don’t or are neutral about it, you can find i better, in my opinion.
Favourite character : Mokichi
Suggested drink: a Fluffy Duck (what a cute looking cocktail)
- Every time we see Sora’s mom – take a small sip
- Every time anyone says 3 pointer – take a sip
- Every time Chiaki is after a girl – oh my
- Every time Chiaki gets someone’s name wrong – take a sip
- Every time anyone swears – gasp!
- Every time anyone talks about birds – take a sip
- Every time Sora loses a fight – wince
- Every time for some reason girls’ shoes fit Sora – take a sip
- Every time Sora’s grandma is being awesome – raise your glass
- Every time something ominous happens – take a sip
- Every time the team advisor does something nice – take a sip
- Every time they play a real game – take a sip (but only at the start of the game)
- Every time anyone calls time out – take a breath
- Every time anyone from Shimaruko comes to see them play – take a sip
- Every time anyone stands out in the rain – take a sip
In case you’re new here, I have a Pinterest with all my screencaps (there are a lot!). If you can’t find a show you are looking for in my main boards, just go to Anime Screenshots. I move the shows I have reviewed there. Of course, I’m still going to add a few images here!