US Distributor: Nozomi Entertainment
Production Studio: A-1 Pictures
Was this provided by the publisher? Yes
More Info: Anime Planet

Do you know what a sleeper is? It’s something that doesn’t seem like it will be amazing, only to slap you in the face with a dolphin named “Oh My God, Where Have You Been My Whole Life?!” Okay, I exaggerated a bit. No one would name a dolphin something that long. Nonetheless, Sound of the Sky fits my definition of a sleeper.

The series starts off with Kanata Sorami arriving to her new military assignment, bugle in hand. The 1121st platoon is stationed at Clocktower Fortress in a small cobblestone city called Seize. Her troop is small, but spirited with gunner Kureha Suminoya, Captain Felicia Heideman, and the quiet mechanic Noel Kannagi. Kanata is enthusiastic about learning how to improve her musical chops (frankly, everyone around her is just as excited since she’s not all that great at it) from her Sergeant Major Rio Kazumiya. Together, the members of the unit learn how to be better soldiers, how to hone their various crafts, and what it means to be a part of a military platoon. Of course, these lessons aren’t just taught to them by their superiors, but by the quaint townspeople as well.

I could say that Sound of the Sky wasn’t quite what I had expected, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. I had seen the cover and a few stills before watching, and thought that it looked like any other wonderfully moe anime. The concept struck a chord with me, since I was a navy brat and had always dreamed of joining the military but knew that I wouldn’t be able to make the cut. Pair that with my creative side, which was interested in the musical aspect of the plot, and I was hooked before I started.

After watching the first couple episodes, though, I was a little disappointed. I found the first episode confusing. It felt like it was everywhere at once. Were there three different stories going on? Who’s that girl? What is that? What do you mean “angel”? Still, I pushed on and found the characters to be endearing in their own ways. After watching Gakuen Alice, (I felt like my teeth were still a little sensitive after all that saccharine), I realized that I wasn’t really in the mood for another show where I had to force myself through the first half of the series. But I continued with the third episode, and that’s when I got hooked.

I felt like the last half was better than the first, but that might have just been my post-Alice brain. The first half is riddled with seemingly random events and random resolutions and run-ins but they all come together in the end in a wonderful ending that is both heart-wrenching but hopeful.

After watching it and giving my emotions some time to settle, I do think that the ending felt a bit rushed, and they could have better resolved some of the characters’ personal stories. Of course, that might just be me, wishing that there was more to the show.

I also want to compliment the artists, who researched military equipment for this series. Aside from the tanks and the uniforms (which still looked as if it was borrowed from German style), the weapons were replicated from real German weaponry from the 1940’s, and they were drawn excellently.

In the beginning, I kept comparing the characters in Sound of the Sky with characters from K-On. There was the ditzy main character, the young character with twin tails that was almost a little too gung-ho, the sweet blonde one with the angelic voice, and the dark-haired one who was the master at her craft. Sure, they’re all tropes, but they felt like tolerable tropes because it’s hard not to fall for them and their tale. All of their stories get touched upon, and there are some soft developments. but the team could could have gone much further in that department. That is one of the reasons why I felt as though it was rushed.

The hymn “Amazing Grace” is woven throughout Sound of the Sky’s story. It links various characters together and plays an important role in both character and plot development. But, more importantly, it also represents the dark theme of redemption and forgiveness that lay beneath all those sweet moe faces. Yes, it got a bit dark toward the end, but it doesn’t linger in that dreary place for too long before the conclusion rears its head.

Sound of the Sky is one of my favorites. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a military moe series. Is that a thing? *looks online* Of course it’s a thing. I laughed. I cried. I wanted to pinch their cheeks. I wanted to put a yellow clip in my hair. I wanted to learn how to play “Amazing Grace” on the bugle – and so will you.