OP Sequence:

OP: “Fly Away” by THYME
Watch the OP!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2

ED Sequence:

ED: “Kawaita Hana” 「乾いた花」 by micc
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2

「美瑛より」 (Biei Yori)
“From Biei”


Next Episode:
「東京」 (Toukyou)

So my theory is that HAL Film Maker‘s goal with Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~Natsu no Sora~ is to leave us in visual awe with backdrops near the level of Byousoku 5 Centimeter (a.k.a. 5 Centimeters per Second), in conjunction with high definition sharpness and fluidic animation on par with Dennou Coil. I mean, if that’s really their goal, they’re doing a pretty damn good job in my opinion. While I realize a lot of the backgrounds are rendered in CG (update: or edited from photographs), the coloring and shading make everything blend seemlessly into the anime-type scenes. However, the backdrops look almost real at the same time, to the point where it almost doesn’t seem like an anime anymore, so it’s like we have the best of both worlds. Simply put, I’m very, very impressed and found myself speechless quite often when I was watching this episode. My internal reaction basically went, “Wow… just wow”, followed by, “I wonder if they’ll be able to keep this level of quality up for all twelve episodes.”

With that said, my other concern is that a lot of scenes were distant shots that didn’t show the characters very well (or at all), which left me wondering if HAL spent all their time on the backgrounds and skimped on the characters and animation. When there were close-up character scenes, they looked simple, but clean and smooth (animation-wise), so it’s not like the team’s incapable in that department. I just hope the series doesn’t end up being a stunning, visual, picture book more than an anime.

As for the cast, the very pleasant sounding Hanazawa Kana portrays the female lead, Shizuku Sora, a country girl who’s moving to Tokyo for mage training. This is actually Kana’s second time playing a lead character named Sora, having been cast last fall as Kajiwara Sora in Sketchbook ~full color’S~. This series also features Koyama Rikiya (Shinigami-sama in SOUL EATER, Yamato in Naruto Shippuuden) as Hara Seiichirou of the Hara Magic Office (as seen in this episode), plus Inoue Marina (Yoko in Gurren Laggen, Minami Kana in Minami-ke) and Takahashi Mikako (Adilicia len Mathers in Rental Magica), and Namikawa Daisuke (Kumohira Thobari Durandal in Nabari no Ou), who will all make appearances later on.

Given the amazing production quality by HAL Film Maker (who also worked on the ARIA franchise), Hanazawa Kana in a starring role, and the somewhat simple yet intriguing premise, I’m pretty inclined to follow this twelve episode series. However, given that there are several other shows I’m considering covering, I’m just not sure if I’ll have time to blog this or not, even though I plan to watch it. Nothing is set in stone at this point, but I should have a better idea of what I plan to do this season in the upcoming weeks. For now though, I recommend checking out the first episode even if it’s just for the visuals alone.


For those of you wondering, “Mahou Tsukai ni Taitsetsu na Koto ~Natsu no Sora~” translates to “Important Things to a Mage ~Summer Sky~”. Also, I’ve hedged my statement above about the use of rendered CG for the backgrounds as I originally suspected that they were edited from photographs as well. While some people commented on filtering, I kind of looped that into the “rendering” part of the statement, but I agree there’s some confusion there as they’re clearly different things, hence the rewording you see above.

Regarding the requests for the OP/ED, I’ve been having a bit of trouble re-encoding the x264 raw I have using my notebook here in Japan, and I haven’t had time to figure out the exact problem yet. Speaking of which, lack of time from packing and last minute shopping are also the reasons why I don’t have posts up for Allison & Lillia 14, Strike Witches 01, To LOVE-RU 14, and possibly Hidamari Sketch x 365 01 yet (although I did happen to watch the last two on TV here).

I’m heading back home tomorrow (Sunday) though, so I should be able to upload the OP/ED for this series then, catch up on the current backlog, and be back to timely blogging. As a side, I’ve also been working on another post unrelated to the shows that I’m currently covering, so that’s something to look forward to too (for some people anyway). ^_^

Finally, I asked Omni to add my e-mail to the Contact Me page last week, so if anyone should want to talk to me about anything (or pass on some information), feel free to shoot me a mail.


– Suzuki Sora (鈴木 ソラ) / Hanazawa Kana (花澤 香菜)
– Hara Seiichirou (原 誠一郎) / Koyama Rikiya (小山 力也)
– Shiraishi Saori (白石 沙織) / Takano Urara (高乃 麗)
– Suzuki Seiko (鈴木 聖子) / Takamori Yoshino (鷹森 淑乃)
– Satou Michiru (佐藤 みちる) / Ooura Fuyuka (大浦 冬華)
– Tooyama Tetsuya (遠山 哲也) / Nara Toora (奈良 徹)
– Satou Tsuneyoshi (佐藤 恒良) / Aono Takeshi (青野 武)
– Satou Yoshiko (佐藤 芳子) / Matsushima Eriko (松島 栄利子)
– Yuusaka (優作) / Okabe Masaaki (岡部 政明)
– Woman (おばさん) / Ono Yooko (小野 洋子)
– Passerby’s father (通行人の父親) / Miyazaki Hiromu (宮崎 寛務)
– Cabit attendant (キャビンアテンダント) / Hibi Aiko (日比 愛子)
– Airport announcer (空港アナウンス) / Takagi Akihiro (高木 章裕)
– Airport announcer (空港アナウンス) / Yamana Eriko (山名 枝里子)
– Radio personality (ラジオパーソナリティー) / Ono Yuuko (小野 優子)
– Radio personality (ラジオパーソナリティー) / Satou Mami (佐藤 麻美)


  1. Se ve interesant, una propuesta madura y bien razonada… u ottra trama chafona con tintes de dratamismo. Como sea se ve bien la animación y las imágenes me hacen pensar que la sere maneja una carga emocional y psicológica muy fuerte, por lo que me veo obligado a verlo. Son de mis favoritos estos animes.

  2. Wow. First time looking at the screen-caps I said, “What is this live action shit?” Until I looked at them closer and read your impressions. Needless to say I’ll need to find my jaw that dropped into the basement.

    Look at the reflections on the lobby floor, the textures of the grass, the light coming in from the airplane window! These are the best anime visuals I have ever seen, ever. This is so far beyond even 5 cm per Second, it’s more like comparing Cowboy Bebop vs. anything else back in the day. Absolutely stunning.

    On the downside, the hyper-realistic backgrounds badly contrast with the simple character designs. They really look like flat 2D people inhabiting a rich 3D world. However, that’s just from looking at still screens.

    Definitely keeping an eye on this one.

  3. Hanazawa Kana has one of the moe-est voices in anime. I loved her at her moe-est as Shiika in Mushiuta, but here I think she is expanding to something more. And she’s still just 19. Takahashi Mikako’s best role, for me, was Yamada in Honey & Clover.

    I love the complex backgrounds and think the characters work with them, too (I’ve seen the episode). They are technically wonderful, but aesthetically I would not put these backgrounds in the Shinkai Makoto league just yet. Let’s see how it goes when we’re in Tokyo, next episode.

    And Hister, I can’t write it in Spanish, but have you seen the first series of this show: Someday’s Dreamers? That has its own “strong emotional and psychological cargo,” but a sweet and subtle one.

  4. I didn’t even know that this anime was in the summer lineup. Did I read too fast? xD But yeh, it looks beautiful. ^_^ Dunno about the story though, I’ll watch it and see~ :3

  5. Just from looks I cant say this is exactly my cup of tea, but it’s not like I wasn’t proven wrong with my hunches with Ouran High School Host Club. (-__-) Gotta check it out for myself.

  6. i know it would seem like a noobie question, but what is the anime about? i mean, what did the first episode tells us (instead of how visually stunning it looks, the cast etc.) ?

  7. jusuchin85: Try looking up Someday’s Dreamers, as this is a spinoff/sequel of sorts to it. it’s basically a modern Earth where magic is very realy, but regulated by the Government. Mages – people with magic power – are monitored and more or less required to register under a specific government agency for ‘training’. If and when they pass muster, they become part of the government themselves, functioning as troubleshooters/problem solvers, but of a more mundane sort; don’t expect explosions here, but stuff like a shopping district manager asking for help fixing the display case windows in the shows of the district (something that happened in the first Someday’s Dreamers).

    Myssa Rei
  8. as nice as the backgrounds are.. i can’t help but feel that they’re a little jarring. the somewhat simply drawn characters don’t help much either. it’s a little distracting to say the least.

  9. Having said that the background is very nice but when they animate the character it looks too simple with contrast to the background. In fact most of the scenes of the character are like simple drawing eventhough i’m not sure whether the manga also has the same kind of drawing but when they make such a thing with the backgound it looks like a simple and cheap animation. Somehow some background looks too real and permanent as if they just take a picture and paste it there then the rest is adding animation (in fact most of the time i think those background are from real life pictures).

  10. Hate to burst a bubble, however has it actually come from an official source that those are rendered backgrounds?

    They do not look rendered at all, and instead look like actual film/photos with a shader-filter passed over the top of them, like what was done for Scanner Darkly.

    It would be completely bizarre that they didn’t do it like that. Not knocking the show in anyway though, I like things that try something different in terms of visual.

  11. I have to say, judging by the screencaps that the background looks just like a photo that was some filters over it. Is it really rendered o.o? And the characters lookS really out of place >_<. I’ll still download an ep or two and try it though, I’m not going to drop an anime just because of its animation style.

  12. Very interesting visuals. The simple character designs blend in well with the backgrounds. I’m surprised they spent an entire episode without Sora getting to the city and meeting her instructor though. I wonder if there will be less drama regarding issues of magic use then in the first season. Not complaining though since I usually like slice-of-life.

  13. Basically, Divine, this means they’re trying to use more Rotoscoping for the backgrounds? The style doesn’t seem as sharp as Makoto Shinkai’s stuff though. Good to see HAL Film Makers up on it. I still am sad Aria is gone.

  14. Thanx Divine

    Wow… looks gorgeous. Will definitely check this out. My Jap ain’t the best, but does it translate to “Things Important/Precious to Magicians : Sky in Summer (Summer Sky?)…. seems like I’ve seen a similar manga somewhere…. can’t remember.

    This may end up as a replacement to Kurenai for me, although they probably share no similarities.


  15. @omo.

    You’re probably right…. can’t tell for sure until I watch it. May not be hand-painted over the photo, more like a series of preconfigured actions, coz I can’t ‘see’ the brush strokes from the screencaps.

    I do similar stuff for my work (Photoshop/Gimp + Corel Painter X).

  16. Quote from Divine
    “With that said, my other concern is that a lot of scenes were distant shots that didn’t show the characters very well (or at all), which left me wondering if HAL spent all their time on the backgrounds and skimped on the characters and animation”

    That may be true, but from the screencaps, most of them are technically ‘correct’…. By ‘correct’, they follow the fundamental/traditional rules of composition like Golden Mean and Rule of Thirds. You seldom see this type of composition from anime these days as most use a more liberated style. The similarities you feel between this and 5cm may be subliminal due to the fact that Makoto Shikai also uses this compositioning method sometimes (and breaks the rules other times).

    Just my 2 cents.

    Sorry for posting too much.

  17. The visuals are gorgeous. I checked out the opening and ending, and I’m already in love with the music. I wasn’t sure about this series since I thought the first one was only so-so, but it does look good… I’ll try to check out the raw later. Thanks Divine!

  18. Hey Divine I was wondering if it wasn’t too much to ask if you could upload the OP. I found the ED, but couldn’t find the OP anywhere. If you could thanks a bunch.

  19. I don’t completely agree with the art direction as far as the character designs. They just don’t look faithful enough to Kumichi Yoshizuki’s style. Nevertheless, the visuals are still gorgeous and look to give high-budget anime movies a run for their money.

  20. Very gorgeous backdrops and the use of rendered photographs is an interesting touch. I do agree that while the character designs and animations themselves are somewhat simplistic (I was reminded of Noein) compared to the backgrounds, it lends a very unique style to the show. This episode is very much slice of life and the easy going pace is good for slowing down the pulse, it seems. Having seen only the raw and commanding limited Japanese, I didn’t catch the specifics of what was being said, but magic does seem to play a part here, which has piqued my interest. Though I wonder why if Sora’s friend can also use magic (conjuring snow in the tent), why isn’t she accompanying Sora to Tokyo for school too? The visuals are very soothing and the colors top notch. Hopefully they can keep up the quality.

  21. The backgrounds look better than the characters themselves and they repeatedly showed sots of the same scene throughout the episode such as the scene with the house at night/day/whatever. Very… very little character detail. To be honest it’s just photos and seeing as that they used photos for a lot of the scenes, they should have used better photos. Somewhat Beautiful but boring photos and little character design.

    The best scene is the one with the moon, but if you want to see how that scene looks, just go outside when there’s clouds and a full moon.

  22. The pace of the storyline in episode one is reallllly slow. The difference between the characters and the hyper detailed backgrounds is a bit distracting. I think it’s mostly because I’m not used to this style of background and character art being mixed. What will make or break this series for me is the story and so far it’s way too slow for my tastes. It doesn’t establish much of anything interesting in the initial episode.

  23. I tried two times to watch it. I just can’t.
    It’s like watching a fansubbed audio cd with accompanying pictures. Nothing wrong with that if it was about a series i already knew and liked.
    I like Anime you know where stuff is animated, that is to say where stuff is Moving. Not a bunch of string puppets walking around in some omg that looks so real still life

  24. After watching the first episode…I had that feeling about one. Like I had with AIR TV and Haruhi. This title is going to make some serious noise when people take notice.Speaking of serious noise, That opener by THYME, I want it!! But I have to wait until August 6!


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