First Impression – Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm

Winter16-FourRhythm

Sprite Eroge’s Flying Circus

My goodness but the first half doesn’t spare us a single schoolgirl style anime trope; if the audience were baby seals we’d be coats by now. But luckily that’s to get us over the hump of what might be a standard eroge adaptation. Or not…

If you can set yourself free….

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I’ll say right off the bat that the only real reason I would give this series time of day above and beyond it’s mild entertaining moe factor is the script writer and series compositor Yoshida Reiko. If there is anyone that can turn any sow’s ear into a silk purse…I know that’s not a high priority for most, but knowing that a skilled and very entertaining storyteller is on board does me a solid more than a studio name does. Gonzo has certainly seen higher flying days in the past, but when all the whinging stops, they’re still keeping the lights on, and that counts for quite a bit as a business.

But the one thing that was haunting me, other than the trope fest, upon watching this the first time was a familiarity about the character design. Which I admit is nothing new in anime fandom, but this design was one that didn’t seem obvious, but was just on the tip of my mind, like I had only seen it’s like in forgotten days. After deciding to do the FI and due elegance for research, I found it all out. Sprite Games, and the probably now forgotten Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate. Which, and only looking down the ruby tinged glasses of nostalgia, wasn’t half-bad so far as I can recall.

…oh, she’s….no….it’ll be fine…ooops….

But back to the parameters of this show. In a word, this to isn’t half-bad, and may even excel at what it does. I like this sort of mix. You have earnest characters engaged in a very pro-active activity trying to succeed at a goal for their own set purposes. It doesn’t look like the Flying Circus sport is out to set the world on fire, but it doesn’t really need to does it? It just has to settle in and tell it’s story with as much honesty and gusto as it can find.

…oh, she got it, she stuck the landing…..nope, she went tit’s up…

They have a likable charter to see that through in Asuka. Yeah, it looks like she has to study hard to qualify as merely oblivious, and starting off the show with the rather oddly placed “as you should have known already” flying lesson isn’t doing her any favors, but she’s a bright character in the less obvious way. Cause dammit, if you’re going to take a character on an arc, you might as well start her off near as bottom as you can. As it turns out she’s probably a diamond in the rough sort anyway….

For such a good script, none of the characters read it….

She’s helped along the way with a colorful support cast. The average slump of a male, nearly main, character in Masaya, who is so blind as to not see the episode two character moving in and establishing presence in front of an open window of all things. We’ll see you soon episode two girl. But, he’s the go-to sort of guy when the chips are down though as he came was able to coach from the ground without missing a beat.

Sugar and spike…I love her already….

Helping him out trouble, or maybe even into trouble – cause that is what friends are for – is Misaki. This is one character I can understand as I also have low BP and am not really myself in the mornings. She’s the cat-speaking turning all her speech into nyaa and purr puns, and looks to be an able hand at Japanese style pickle making. Plus she has perennial pal, Mashiro, who in addition to being the most interjecting of Greek Chorus style characters, is also the scion of a local family udon shop; who makes their soup stock with the local flying fish…whose mascot character is everywhere!

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Come for tasty udon! Stay for the Tanuki Balls! Dancing on Saturdays….

It’s where the flying shoes work!

It’s how the flying circus happens…

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…plus is has scenery porn…

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…and the dutiful turning over of the nuka bed…

So yeah, these characters can fly through the magic of magic technology; it ain’t gotta explain anything! Now some are graceful and natural at it, and some are quite the fish out of water, so along with her oblivious nature Asuka is the natural target for being very bad horrible at this. But nothing can keep her gumption down, including not even understanding what’s going on around her. The speed at which she puts one and three together to arrive at pigeon is astounding, but it was a rather neat way to introduce what the sport of flying circus is, and how our characters fit into it. Asuka however still feels like a solution in search of a problem, both in her can do, gotta do it, spirit and that wish fulfillment childhood flashback she keeps dwelling on.

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Misaki: Have you tried using logic on her? Mashiro: LOLWUT!

—————————————————————————————————–

All in all it’s a good show, I enjoyed it and it didn’t fail to entertain me by the end. I’m not buying wholly into the whole Flying Circus thing cause it seems pretty mental to me at this point. I’m not a sports person at all, so it not making much sense is probably on me, but it just seems as if it’s Not-Quidditch and purpose built to advantage drama and not sportsmanship, and even thought I side with drama and not sport, it still feels a cheat to create a sport that can’t be one. That aside I love the script. The characters don’t just sit there waiting to read dull lines back and forth. They have a life of their own and the dialog is snappy and the repartee is fun and just below the surface. They make would could be a dull affair very very likable, and that’s sometimes all it takes to make a show watchable and fun. I’ll be keeping up with this one…

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Excelsior! I did the thing!!!!

 

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All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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17 Responses to “First Impression – Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm”

  1. Neomo says:

    While I’m watching a heap of shows this season, I chose to do Myriad Colors Phantom World, Dagashi Kashi and this for OASG. And out of those 3, I like this one the most.

    I’m going for the underdog.

    • skylion says:

      I am so with a person that is with the underdog. Welcome to Metanorn, Neomo! I looked up OASG, and the only thing I could find for it is Open Air St. Gillian’s which is a music festival in Switzerland. This isn’t what you had in mind, but until you correct me, I have all those shows playing around in Switzerland with kookoo clocks and Toblerone in my mind’s eye. And for Dagashikashi that fits Hotaru’s character!!!!

      But yeah, those are three darn good shows to pick….

      • Neomo says:

        Oh, sure…Organization Anti-Social Geniuses. Provided the link.

        I’ve been writing for them for 2 years, but I plan to leave them this year. I think writing for Open Air St. Gillian’s would be so much cooler though.

  2. Wanderer says:

    …Asuka. Kurashina Asuka. Like the Evangelion character, but with 1000% less angst and assorted psychological problems.

    This girl is wonderful, really. It is just so much fun to watch her put 310% effort into everything, even when she has no idea what she’s trying to do (which seems to be most of the time). This is the sort of energetic airhead character that I just can’t help but love, because they’re so earnest and cheerful that I can’t help but get caught up in their pace a bit, and end up feeling more cheerful myself.

    Also flying would totally be awesome fun, and I wish I could have shoes like that.

    • skylion says:

      Asuka does rather steal the show, and that’s not to bad I guess. There is a bit of something refreshing at having a character that isn’t instant awesome at everything. So they just went polar opposite with her.

  3. Highway says:

    I enjoyed it as well, although Asuka is a little too much personality and flailing (who didn’t see that comment coming from me?). The show was fun, although I hope it doesn’t become too much about the Hermes Air Race. That seems like the less interesting part of the show.

    Regarding Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, it was a really good show that got let down by its ending, as far as most everyone is concerned. Quite a few people absolutely hated Chisato, and felt that having her be the ‘winner’ of the romance was terrible. While I would have preferred Satsuki, I didn’t think Chisato was as bad a choice as all that (never mind the internet full of armchair Frauds… er, Freuds who saw fit to diagnose all sorts of psychoses for Chisato).

    • skylion says:

      LOL. Highway doesn’t like character that remove oxygen en masse from any proximity.

      I rooted for Michiru in Love and Chocolate Elections, but not for best girl….just cause! But Chisato was my fav from the start.

  4. starqo says:

    Gotta say, if nothing else, this show certainly gives me the “feel goods”, which are always needed at the end of every week. The pure cheeriness of it is something I had underestimated.

    That being said, I can’t help but feel a little sorry for Masaya having his position of protagonist taken away from him. Seriously, going from main character of the source material to not even getting in the same bracket as the heroines in ending credits, not to mention being relegated to the “Other Characters” section of the official site, is pretty sad. Just what will his role be in this show?

    I guess I’m going to have to watch and find out now, huh?

    P.S. As much as I like Asuka (and Misato Fukuen), Misaki just steals the show for me.

    • skylion says:

      It doesn’t matter what the show is about, by the end you have to say you were entertained; we’ll be here for the and’s, if’s, and but’s.

      LOL, I have no knowledge of the VN, only that it exists in the same space-time continuum that I currently occupy. But I will say that I have a bit more respect for the show-runners to do a big change up like this. How do you adapt a VN? First, don’t treat it like one.

      …and yeah, Misaki is a great character, and you can tell she inspires her friendships…

      • Highway says:

        One thing I’ve found interesting in the Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi VN that I mentioned below was that the anime adaptation has kept almost nothing from the VN as far as plot. A couple events happen, like Ibuki losing at the archery tournament, or Hina running away from her house unprepared, but it’s only similar as a bullet point. It uses it much more for setting and personality, and lets the adaptation have its own plot and flow.

  5. belatkuro says:

    I feel too conscious of the fact that the girls are flying while wearing short skirts. I assume they’re already used to it by now but I can imagine a lot of girls getting embarrassed to fly when the shoes got introduced because they’ll get peeked at. Consequently, I imagine the boys would be flying slower and behind to try and peek at them.

    Given that most of the focus of the episode was on Asuka, Masaya’s name is on the second bracket in the ending credits separate from the heroines/main characters, and even listed in the ‘Other Characters’ tab in the official website, I think he won’t be as much of a presence in this adaptation and it’ll be more of the girls and the sport. Though there’s still that part with him getting a standard eroge protagonist development with seeing a naked girl, plus that small foreshadowing of the teacher saying it’s rare for Masaya to fly. Hard to say until we see the next episode.
    I liked it though. Standard stuff but it’s done well. Let’s see how interesting this Flying Circus thing is. Guess the circus part explains those outfits of theirs in the OP. Speaking of the OP, I love it. Mami Kawada fits this type of song more than what she did in TLR Darkness 2 ED.

    And speaking of Koichoco, the English patch for the VN has been completed for some time now. I need to find the time to play that for a change of pace.

    • Highway says:

      The skirt length is one of those things you’re not supposed to think about. Just like in every other show. I thought they put a nail in that thing with Jokumachi no Dandelion, where Akane was embarrassed about everything, but her power was that she could fly and still said that she liked wearing a skirt…

      KoiChoco is kind of next, kind of second next (with Katawa Shoujo) on my ‘play a VN’ list. Of course, I’m still on my first one. I’m going through my 4th (of 6 total) route on Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi right now, but I doubt anything’s going to beat Hina’s route. And it’s highly unlikely I’ll do Koyori’s route.

    • skylion says:

      …maybe they should wear spats while in flight? Or, maybe what is good for the goose should be good for the gander? That would change things up for sure!

      Yeah, I find it neat that they’ve shuffled the VN MC off to supporting cast. It puts a different perspective on things and makes the show, well, the show, and not a typical adaptation where they feel they need to give us a 1:1 analog. Sorry folks, but VNs don’t work like episodic TV.

  6. Overcooled says:

    I actually kind of liked this. As most other people are saying in the comments here, it’s terribly cliche but it does manage to at least do it well. Aside from Asuka, it seems to have a very endearing cast so far. I especially like that the dude was pushed to the side for most of the episode to focus on the more interesting characters haha

    I hope they use the flying shoes for more scenery porn and not just SPORTS! Casually talking on the way home for school while flying makes for a great scene, and I hope we get more regular uses like that. Although of course, as a sports anime fan, I’m all for what really is like anime Quidditch.

    • skylion says:

      Oh yes, down with generic MC dude!!! More scenery porn in favor of sports is exactly what I want too. It’s anime Quidditch in what looks like costumes!!!

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