「ハルカナソラヘ」 (Haruka na Sora he)
“To A Distant Sky”

It wouldn’t have been a finale if they didn’t save the best arc for last. In terms of having a flair for the dramatic, this one sure delivered as I found myself feeling sorry for Haru when Sora forced him into a corner about their relationship. It’s like I could see his mental breakdown happening before my very eyes as he was torn between his feelings and his moral principles. While I was sympathetic towards their situation and even found Sora’s unwavering feelings somewhat commendable, she definitely wasn’t doing Haru any favors by telling him that she’s fine with him violating however he wishes after he pushed her down and had his way with her. After seeing his reaction to Kozue and Nao stumbling upon them, the guilt he felt from Kozue’s cried out stares, her abrupt confession followed by how she’ll never speak to him again, and Nao’s disappointment over how he failed to forget about Sora after starting a relationship with her, I was pretty convinced that Haru was trying to make Sora hate him by forcing himself upon her. It would have made things easier for him if she just hated him, except it backfired when she was completely fine with it and verbalized all the thoughts that were already running through his head. The emotions really flared up when Haru couldn’t bear to hear anymore and had to slap Sora to make her stop. I actually found that scene a little hard to watch, but couldn’t peel my eyes away either for that very reason.

In light of that development, Haru deserved all the credit in the world for trying to break things off cleanly with Sora. He may have used the fact that their uncle contacted them realizing that they didn’t have savings to continue living on their own, but he was also pretty firm about how their relatives would be able to take them in if they were split up. Naturally, Sora wasn’t content with that decision, leading us to the suicidal-like mail she left behind for Haru. At that point, the possibility of a double suicide seemed very real thanks to the preview last time, which I really didn’t want to see even though it seemed like a pretty powerful way to conclude this arc. Still, I thought it was kind of meaningful how they really played up that outcome and gave off a sense of doubt whether their love should be treated so negatively if they’re willing to go to this extent because society won’t accept it. Had it not been for the incest part, this kind of social pressure could very well be perceived as downright cruel. What really drove that point home was Haru’s explanation to Nao on how his feelings for Sora developed due to the time they were apart, which reiterated that he didn’t just have an uncontrollable urge to have sex with her. The way he was repenting over his actions is what ultimately left Nao somewhat understanding of them, even though Kozue wouldn’t accept them until the very end. Part of me wonders if Nao’s semi-acceptance stemmed from the fact that Sora told her that they’re now even for what she did to Haru two summers ago. (They looked way younger than that…)

As part of the whole rebirth legend that Akira talked about last time, both Haru and Sora survived drowning thanks to the latter somehow pulling them both from the water. The whole near-death experience was enough for Haru to change his mind, and the two of them left Okukosome like I figured they would have. What I wasn’t expecting was for them to go abroad to completely start anew, though it seems befitting given that they probably want to get as far away from Japan as possible. In the end, this turned out to be one of the most interesting arc due to the legal implications of the Kasugano twins’ forbidden love. From the very beginning, Sora’s been the character I was most interested in, not because of the whole incest aspect that would arise, but because she seemed to have the most complexities with that moody hikikomori personality of hers. I also think she’s one of the cutest, but that didn’t weigh in too heavily into my anticipation for this one. She did maintain that impression until the very end though, seeing as the only real casualty in this arc was her bunny.


Final Impressions:

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this series coming in, since most adaptations of eroge tend to go the completely clean route and lose a lot of the drama with it. Because of that, I was actually happy to learn that feel — the studio behind kiss x sis — would be adapting it and that the series would even touch upon the subject of an incestuous relationship. It wasn’t so much for the incest as the possibility that this could avoid falling into that trap and become the romantic drama that I’ve been looking for to fill the void since true tears. Looking back now, I feel that it did pretty admirably in fulfilling that expectation, and even managed to use nudity in a way that was both relevant to the plot and enticing to watch. Compared to Amagami SS that adopts a similar omnibus format, I’m impressed by the way they managed to fit in four girls’ arcs in a mere twelve episodes thanks to the clever use of some overlap. In addition, there’s much less emphasis on the comedic side of things in Yosuga no Sora, making the series come off more like a drama that could very well be adapted into a live-action one. Incidentally, that’s kind of my way of gauging if a series is a good romantic drama to begin with. If I can picture the story, screenplay, and emotions transferred to a drama and appeal to non-anime fans, then it shows to me that the series’ essence is good enough to speak for itself regardless of the medium used to convey it. Granted, a series like Amagami SS could very easily be adapted into a live-action drama given how anime-like Japanese ones can get, but in terms of appealing to an audience expecting something less goofy, this one fits the bill much better.

I’ve talked about before about how the omnibus or pseudo-omnibus format is quickly growing on me for adapting romance simulation games, and this series really has me hoping that it becomes a regular thing. The reason being, it not only diversifies the plot and the character development by having multiple focuses, but also quickens the pace by having meaningful development every episode. There’s no real sense of filler when each girl’s story is constrained to a handful of episodes, and it makes for a much more enjoyable viewer experience as a result. The real challenge is determining exactly how many episodes should be allocated to each character and how they can be made the most of. If I were to make a minor complaint about this series, it would be that there wasn’t too much emphasis on the romantic side of things since the various arcs came off a tad bit on the lustful side. While I did appreciate the “raw” depiction of how these relationships developed, the *cough*romanticist*cough* in me really wanted to get a feel for the emotional build-up and its eventual outpouring. Akira’s arc left the strongest impression in that regard, and turned out to be one of my favorites because of it. Sora’s was another one that sort of indulged in that aspect as well, partly because of her long history with Haru. However, where the sentimental depictions fell a bit short, the series made up for it with more focus on other forms of drama, such as parental issues, hereditary doubts, guilty consciences, and of course incestuous relationships. It’s hard to ignore the things that this series did well if you’re willing to looking beyond the nudity, so I see it as a good candidate for romance/drama of the year. There hasn’t been much competition aside from Amagami SS and Kimi ni Todoke, but even if there were, this series easily earned a spot on my shortlist.




    1. Its is so controversial of subject, especially the socially norm from their friends made it worse. Got me interested to continue watching, but certainly clarified that incest for me is really wrong…..though the relations between them see happy in the end, not something I would condone either…

      Nice review of the series, and nice anime romance novel with have here!

    1. Yeah the ending was good but at the same time it sorta felt dissatisfying… perhaps its the end of a great series and we will never be able to see anything like this ever again because Toyko has a governor whose dumber than dog shit.

      Suppa Tenko
  1. Since Yosuga no Sora is based on a H-game I was expecting yet another ecchi harem anime. Pleasantly this viewpoint was wrong, and this has exceeded my expectations comfortably. I would say Yosuga no Sora is one of the outstanding animes of this year.

    It has used a very interesting way to fit several story arcs into a limited amount of time, and pushed boundaries. Somehow this has managed to not let the story get swallowed by the borderline hentai, how many anime have there been that started well and devolved into a series of panty/boob shots. Imho animation has been pretty strong throughout.

    Sadly that stupid new law in Japan means this type of anime probably doesn’t have much of a future.

    Ninja Penguin
  2. i watched a few episodes in this, but mostly just read the reviews this season from you.

    roommate is out this winter break, time to whip out the episodes to enjoy without judgmental eyes of the modern western world.

    1. Funny about this. I have two roommates who are sometimes likely to walk in at any moment and I never had this problem come up. Mind you, they did walk in while I was watching YnS but never during a scene that I would have to explain haha.

    1. Hell, even though it’s not openly declared, they DO sometimes make it seem like there’s clan in-breeding (in various ways, whether brother/sister or cousins) in Naruto within the big Shinobi clans of villages, especially for those who wish to keep their Kekkei Genkai or other abilities “pure” or simply to try to prevent any possibility of their secrets leaking out by outside marriages, political or otherwise. The most distinct ones being ones like the Hyuuga or Uchiha Clans given how much each one seems to like another overall…

  3. This last arc made my skin crawl and was my least favorite of the arcs. I liked the other 3 arcs. Needless to say after what Japan decided last week we won’t be seeing any more animes like this for quite a while.

  4. Is it just me, why is sora’s bunny all torn up when Nao and the others went to the kasugano home. Then in the “inside of the train scene” the bunny is all fixed up.

    It may not be a near-death experience after all. also there is no scenery outside the window, just sky……..

  5. Definitely agree with Akira’s route being one of the favorites. I felt it was the best put together with the overlap from the previous arc as well. Akira’s big head in the omakes was hilarious too, so she’s probably my favorite character of the show.

    Sora’s route was interesting, but I really disliked Nao and her arc so the overlap dragged this final arc down for me. Overall though the drama was pretty well done though, and a pretty decent end to the show.

  6. mildly entertaining series overall. i expected this to be a mindless fanservice series, but there was some drama indeed. does not nearly compare to true tears though. theyre in different leagues

    1. Ah, but if you would rather hang yourself than do your sister, then you wouldn’t be in a situation to screw your sister in the first place thus taking out the need to hang yourself.

      Suppa Tenko
  7. Man, I don’t sympathize with Kozue’s feelings but I can’t help but feel like all the characters got together and she drew the short straw on who had to be the voice against their relationship.

    Good series overall, for similar reasons to you Divine I prefer Sora. Akira’s arc was second for me. As a note on the series overall. I thought some of the feelings Haru portrayed in each of the first three arcs were very one-dimensional, but he just seemed much more real in the Sora arc. I like to see the protagonist with a problem, and is clearly stressing about it from time to time. It rounds out a character that you sometimes don’t see in male leads.

    Thanks for the write-ups Divine, and great job!

  8. Sad that anime like this may go by the wayside … nudity only helps a series like this, not hurts it. Everything I’ve seen about the new Tokyo law is extremely vague, which the law itself seems to be. It doesn’t seem to be a ban but some kind of new rating system. Unless these articles are just poorly written as far as detail goes; other than mentioning rape, it doesn’t even discuss what would be regulated.

    I suppose soon everything will have huge, god-awful censors splattered all over it like that Samurai girls anime did.

  9. sora’s arc went really nicely but again the omakes killed the drama for me, good thing I just skimmed through it.
    I also liked how they commented it was the twins who got them all together in a way.

    like what you said, Divine, this show was able to use the nudity relevant to the story and was able to give a nice ending for each of the girls. overlapping with the other girls arc helped show diff sides of the story for every character.

    my rankings for each arc would be:

    1. I don’t guess it will be extended to dvd’s as long you mark it as +18 material. I don’t think they are so dumb, they want to make the public broadcasting and popular magazines to be more strict with these sort of things.

  10. in my opinion though as i watched the series, i saw it as a more let’s insert some drama so that when sex comes you feel good. With the omnibus format, the only character i got indulged in is Haru and that’s weird. Its still fun though but there’s no way this is in my list of romances this year (I’d put that to Kimi ni todoke, Kobato. and Amagami). Its definitely top of my fanservice one though.

  11. The ending is vague, there is something i don’t understand. Why the rabbit is in the train at the end? Maybe like someone said before they both die in the lake and the final part in the train is them go to nirvana? so much ambiguity…
    Seems a bit different from the game where they both clearly survived.

  12. Oh well,
    …really nice lake?
    …really nice rabbit plushie?
    …no nice vehicles for ya!
    I must commend the series for getting great mileage from 12 episodes. I dont mind occasional sex scene, after all in the real life this is rather usual thing in romantic relationships.
    As for the incest theme, it was done certainly more dramatic than Miyas antics in Amagami, and much more in…teresting than supposedly incest themed OreImo.

  13. Well, this is definitely my romance/drama of the year. Great, meaningful, emotional drama that really makes one feel for the characters combined with good use of nudity in a tasteful and plot-related way.

    It’s a contender for anime of the year as well for me, alongside Durarara!!.

  14. This series was amazing in alot of regards – and the last arc was by far the best of the series.

    This series has my vote for best drama this year – and best anime of the year too. Nothing else ive watched this year comes back to mind as memorable as this.

  15. I hated Sora the whole show, and even her arc couldn’t change my mind. I agree that I liked the other 3 arcs much better, as the other 3 girls were way way way way more likable.

    But the damn thing still kept me riveted, though not nearly as much as clannad did.

    1. If you watch the OP, you see there is a scene where Haru is holding Sora in a similar way to when they are in the water. Then Haru flies up with Sora in his arms. Since so many of the OP scenes actually happened in the show, I’m going to say this happened as well. I call magical powers.

  16. If anything, this is probably the emotional anime I have watched this year, but certainly one of the best I’ve seen so far. The ending didn’t disappoint at all, though I must say I do sort of pity Kozue, especially since I did not expect her to have such strong feelings for Haru. Would certainly be great if there is a arc dedicated to her. The subject of incest was certainly portrayed in a incredibly realistic way, the way how most of the society frowns upon it, the implications of it, and how Haru felt himself unable to cope with it. The ending might have been even better if something like a “10 years later” was included. Overall, this is an anime that certainly deserves, and I certainly would like to see more of such anime in the near future (but no carbon copies please).

    Now, if only lawmakers stop being such a b**** over certain issues…

  17. I’m confused by the ending.
    First things first, it’s implied that Sora pulled Haruma out of the water. But my question is how? She’s a fragile girl to begin with, and the last time we saw them drowning, they were already quite deep down, not to mention Sora’s fatigued look during that scene. So things don’t add up here, because she had to get a clear mind AND swim a long distance to the surface, with that supposedly fragile body of hers. Sounds unlikely if you ask me. The ‘Are we alive?’ question didn’t got answered either, if that helps.
    And secondly, when their friends went up checking the house, Sora’s rabbit was still lying there ripped apart with clothes lying around as well. Why didn’t they tidy the place a bit up before they left?
    The rabbit made a reappearance later on the train. People saying Sora just liked rabbits and bought another one are most likely wrong. It was a memento to her mother, and a new one would lose it’s emotional value.

    Indeed, my posthumous theory has its flaws, mainly being the message send to their friends and them acknowledging them moving away. I reckon that this is a bit far fetched but perhaps Akira found their bodies later on, passed this discovery to Kazuha and thought the twins mustn’t be known as people who committed suicide. Their father has a lot of influence on the village and thus made this ‘move-away’ set up, faking the message sent to Kazuha along the way. Notice how they let us in about the fact that it’s the only and probably last message they ever received.

    Now, I know. Sorry for going all DEEP here, and I’m not saying I actually believe this. But I don’t know, these little details do make me have my doubts. Nice train, anyone?

    1. “I reckon that this is a bit far fetched but perhaps Akira found their bodies later on, passed this discovery to Kazuha and thought the twins mustn’t be known as people who committed suicide. Their father has a lot of influence on the village and thus made this ‘move-away’ set up, faking the message sent to Kazuha along the way. Notice how they let us in about the fact that it’s the only and probably last message they ever received.”

      This part is a bit unbelievable, seems alsmost a conspiracy. I don’t think they hide this event. In the game for what i read is Sora that really save Haru, but how i don’t know, she is so weak (just read the synopsys that someone else who play the game made).
      However the second volume (and maybe the last one) of the manga will be released this month and there is a fansub group that already has translated the first volume, so maybe things will be more clear after we read the manga ending.

      1. In the game Sora save Haru. Sora is very strong despite her stature. The train and the rabbit are anime scenes only, in the novel they go live oversea. The anime have some evident plot holes on purpose so you can choose in both live or death theories.

        If you want watch the novel ending go there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6jRYtUJJf0, i paste this from another forum, this guy has uploaded the entire novel so you can watch the Sora arc and other arcs too. Is completely in japanese.

  18. No boat, but this is one of the best animes this year in my book. Thanks as always for the hard work Divine. Taboo relationship is the shit, incest and student x Teacher is the way to go. Aaaah, how I would like to see an Unbalance x Unbalance anime.

  19. Scan.da.lous~

    This show from the beginning had my attention. (Mainly because of Sora’s hotness.) But unlike the minority, I enjoyed the last arc the most. heheh I highly doubt we’d see something like this in the future again because of that new stank law. Something like this would go straight to hentai hell.

    Now I’m having a hard time watching other harems, hahaha. They just to measure up. ^^;

  20. I would definitely like to see some sort of continuation whether it’s an ova or something. I mean they were all like Haru’s fight was just beginning. Would like to see some real closure.

  21. Lovely ending. ^_^ satisfied with the drama.
    This is the only series this year that I watched raws every week after it aired instead of my usual wait-until-it-ends-first. That’s something. (Still loved Angel Beats! and Durarara!! more for this year)

    My favorite arc was Sora’s. But my favorite girl is still Akira.

    Personally, I think Sora and Haru were saved by the holy spirit of the lake. It was practically impossible for Sora to have saved Haru and carried him all the way up those stairs too. It was a miracle.^^

    Another note: The class pres’s red eyes were so creepy. brrr

  22. Sure the surprise of the fall 2010 good animations and solid characters but as a novel reader my final vote from 10/10 decrease to 6/10. I’m disappointed that the authors trying to add more consistence and suspance to the whole serie changing completely the last part of the Sora arc, the best arc of the entire serie, adding an ambiguos ending that don’t happen in the novel and don’t belong to the anime too.
    The nice train ending plus the excessive and unnecessary drama was delusional and ruin the message that the novel try to deliver, doesn’t matter what people think when you fall in love with someone, fight the society and follow your heart.
    I feel sad and with something not properly completed because the authors instead portray the SoraXHaru relationship to be viable only in a sorta of stupid pseudo after-death. Bigot and stupid at the same time if you ask me.
    The game is much better and more deep, expecially in this last arc and deliver a strong message that is in part removed in the anime.
    Studio Feel you FAIL hard, next time when convert a masterpiece novel into an anime don’t change something already good in something bad you bunch of idiots.

  23. Interesting ending at least.But I got to say that the only arc I truly enjoyed was Akira’s. The rest never caught my attention. Heck… I dropped the series after episode 1 and returned only because of Akira. And each episode after her I was tempted to drop again. If I ever rewatch this series I think I’ll stick to Akira’s arc.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *