Sora No Method
August 8, 2015
You know how UFOs literally generate lots of buzz and commotion, right? So it would be really odd if there was a UFO hovering right above a town and for nobody to even give a damn about it! Sure, it was a peculiarity at first but that sure didn’t last long. And everybody goes about in their normal lives as the UFO continues to hover above town. What is wrong with you people?! Okay, so that may be the setting of Sora No Method and despite how fascinating this is, it is more about a group of close childhood friends drifted apart when one of them moved away. And now she is back and the memories come flooding back as well as the wish they made. Oh yeah. The UFO has something to do with it all.
Nonoka Komiya and her father, Shuuichi return to the little town of Lake Kiriya after spending 7 years in Tokyo. So forgive her if her room feels messy with unpacked boxes and she can’t find the alarm clock that’s begging to be shut off. When she finally does, she goes down to cook for her dad not knowing that all the while there is this blue haired girl, Noel sitting and waiting in her room. Must be still sleepy, huh? Oh wait… Don’t tell me she can’t see her because she’s a ghost! Anyway, Nonoka is looking forward to clean the house with daddy today. However… That apologetic look and action… He has been called for work today. Sorry dear. She’ll have to do it herself. Dad, you traitor! As Nonoka goes to clean her room, it is probably the dirty footsteps of Noel that stunned her more than anything. Noel is happy to see her but not Nonoka. Now she needs to do double job of cleaning her up. Nonoka doesn’t remember who Noel is despite the latter wanting very much to see her. She goes out for a while and bits and pieces of her memories start returning although it is too vague to call. Something about Noel who would gladly wait for her at the observatory. Nonoka spaces out at the park when Shione Togawa speaks to her. She wonders why she has come back here after all this time. Then she walks away, leaving Nonoka puzzled if she was talking to her. More flashbacks. Nonoka and her friends were at the observatory and did some summoning ritual. Nonoka wanted to tell her friends that she would be moving away soon but she didn’t get the chance as her friends thought she could say it the next time they meet. They never.
When Nonoka gets back, she sees Noel unpacking several boxes. Even more upsetting, a picture of her late mom Kaori is cracked. Thinking it was her fault, Nonoka scolds her and doesn’t want to see her ever again. Noel obedient leaves. When Shuichi comes home, Nonoka apologizes and tries to sound that she was the one who broke it while unpacking. However father admits that he was the one who broke it while packing back at Tokyo. He thought he could change it before she noticed. Guess not. Immediately Nonoka feels guilty and goes in search of Noel. Well, how big can this town be? Still can’t find her… Then she remembers. The observatory. Another flashback of Nonoka talking to Noel as she is moving away that day. She thought of telling her mom and about this place. But father didn’t want to waste time since the ferry would be leaving soon. Besides, they can’t make things hard for Kaori. Nonoka hasn’t said goodbye to her friends yet and wonders if they’ll return. Of course they will once mommy feels better. And Nonoka left without saying anything or coming back. Until 7 years later… So true enough, Nonoka finds Noel at the abandoned observatory. Noel always knew she would come back here as Nonoka collapses in emotional fashion, apologizing for today. Noel says it is time to keep her promise since Nonoka kept hers. The promise to make her wish come true.
Looks like another ordinary morning for Nonoka. Till daddy reminds her today is her school’s opening ceremony. They start earlier in the outskirts. And so becomes another hectic morning for her to get ready and rush over. On the bus, she meets Koharu Shiihara and easily become friends. I suppose in this small town with not many classes, there is a high chance you’d end up in the same class with your friends. Also in this class is Shione who seems to be ignoring Nonoka’s calls. She is curious what she said the other day but Shione doesn’t give a damn and leaves. When Koharu learns that Nonoka lives by the house near the lake (actually it’s closer to the mountains than the lake), instantly Yuzuki Mizusaka starts bugging her about her feelings on that disc. Yeah. It’s a big deal to her. She explains ever since that disc hovered over their town 7 years ago, everyone was abuzz then but it died down and now nobody bothers and treats it as a normal everyday thing. She believes everyone is being fooled by it and is hiding something sinister. They need to do something before something bad happens. Before Nonoka knows it, she is being drafted to help spread the word about the dangers of the disc. Seriously, it could get embarrassing when Yuzuki starts shouting in public to protest about the disc. And since they’re doing it in front of Koharu’s family store attracting unwanted attention, they better run now or who knows what this airhead girl might do.
Trying out other methods like going to some government to make an inquiry (always the same ol’ fill in the form, eh?) that didn’t work, Yuzuki returns home to find a ‘weapon’. A water bottle rocket launcher? Her twin brother, Souta tells her to stop and make things difficult for others but Yuzuki won’t. She still thinks it is that disc and girl’s fault. I think Yuzuki is being desperate. She tries to throw her backpack at the sky and when Nonoka tries to stop her, they fall into the lake. While drying themselves, Yuzuki further explains how some things changed when the disc appeared. They used to have fireworks here and the reflection of the lights over the lake was beautiful. Now they don’t do them anymore. To cheer her up, Nonoka suggests using the rocket. Well, it hardly reached anywhere but it was fun launching it. Nonoka agrees to help Yuzuki out in doing something about that disc as long as her methods are safe. So they need to find more people to support their cause? At least that’s a start. Nonoka also remembers watching the fireworks here with her mom. Nonoka goes back as Noel greets her. Noel agrees to help out Nonoka and her cause to rid the disc. It’s not about getting rid of the disc but something Noel would like to do to help her friend. And so Nonoka easily got another member to help out.
There is some extra curriculum for the class going on. And you can bet Yuzuki is being damn competitive trying to beat her ‘enemy number 1’ who is no other than her twin brother. Souta’s group is just being cool while Yuzuki must have a hard time with hers. I mean, Koharu is a slow poke, Shione is interested in doing something else and Nonoka is taking it easy. How to win like that? Nonoka is also trying to be friends with Shione but that b*tch remains unfriendly. Heck, she even warns her if she calls her again like as though they’re friends, she’ll slap her! Of course Nonoka won’t let this get to her and is going to try again. Maybe it was the way she said things. About how she used to live here and not remembering much. This made Shione mad and never wanted to see her again. Oh, don’t forget the slap. I don’t know, the bruise on her cheek looked like she got punched. Koharu talks to Shione about her hostility towards Nonoka. She just doesn’t like her. That’s all. Also, no one expected her to come back now of all times. Continuing their activity, they see Noel fooling around outside Koharu’s family store. Yuzuki totally loves this loli and even asks for permission to kidnap her! She even recruits Noel as an extra member just to beat Souta. That desperate, huh? As Nonoka’s team is walking through some bridge, they realize that Shione is not with them. Nonoka decides to go back and look for her. She didn’t return after some time and the rest are surprised to see Shione ahead of them. Taken a different route? She didn’t see Nonoka either. Noel gets frantic and returns to look for her. The rest also follow and Souta too joins since his group has finished and is in charge of watching out for slackers.
Nonoka must have fell off some path and stumbled onto an abandoned building that she never knew existed (or remembered). What else to do but sit and wait? Nonoka hears a familiar hum. It is Noel and to her surprise she remembers everything now. Nonoka and her friends used to hang out at the observatory. Seems she was quite close to Shione. She hinted about trying to summon a disc with them all as she might not be around this winter. Thinking that the snow will make it hard for them to gather, Shione agreed. As the gang searches for Nonoka, Yuzuki continues to blame that girl. Had she not said that back then, the disc will not be here. She hates that girl who called forth that disc. Shione wonders why she is friends with her then. Yuzuki cannot believe Nonoka is that same girl. I mean, she’s her friend and helped her try to chase away the disc. But didn’t Nonoka also admit she used to live here, got them all to help her summon the disc and then just disappeared from this town? And now she’s back and becomes your friend? Isn’t she just mocking them? Yuzuki still believes Nonoka and that girl are not the same. They find Nonoka as Noel mentions that it was Nonoka who called for her. Because Noel is the disc.
Now that Nonoka remembers everything, she needs to tell her friends. However Yuzuki slaps her and runs away! Next day, Noel apologizes that she thought if everyone had gathered, her wish would come true. That’s why she should cheer up. Nonoka and Koharu try to talk to Yuzuki but she continues to be a mad girl, blaming everything for what has happened since the disc appeared. Koharu laments she can’t do anything still. Yuzuki takes drastic measures trying to hand flyers outside Koharu’s family’s shop (since it is one of the tourist spots). Everybody ignores her as usual. Seems Yuzuki has been doing this since young but the same ignored response or they just throw the poster on the ground! Haven’t they heard about recycling or at least a dustbin? Ironically, Noel agrees to help her out and it seems she attracts more attention. Who doesn’t love this cute loli? Nonoka talks to Souta and it seems he is thinking of studying abroad. He remembers Yuzuki wanted him to take her to see the fireworks as promised but because the disc appeared, it was cancelled. She hated him. It could be their relationship dwindled since then. Koharu tells Yuzuki to stop as she is bothering her customers. Yuzuki unhappily leaves while Koharu has to clean up all the mess of posters strewn over the ground. These tourists have no responsibility, do they? She remembers how all the classmates teased Yuzuki although she remained adamant to chase it away. Despite Koharu not joining her, she did not allow others to say bad about Yuzuki when they don’t know what’s going on. Even more drastic measures from Yuzuki. She is holding up the traffic with her protest! Holy cow! What the heck is this one girl blockade?! I wonder how long the jam stretches… Koharu tries to stop her again but was being told off she is more concerned about her store than her. She’s the same like everybody else. That is when Koharu got the guts to tell her what she is doing is pointless. With that, Yuzuki stops her protest and leaves. Thank heavens. Now traffic can move again. Koharu continues working at the store till closing time when she finally breaks down. I don’t think it is because she couldn’t get the poster back into the store… That is when Nonoka pops up and requests her help.
Nonoka talks to Yuzuki that they are going to hold fireworks at the lake in a week but she is not amused and remains mad. She enlists Koharu and Souta’s help to make it work. Now it’s Souta’s turn to talk to Yuzuki. Since she ignores him, he had to raise his voice to grab her attention. He tells her what she is doing is futile and that everyone is really working hard to make the fireworks happen. She doesn’t believe. Short flashback shows Yuzuki wanted to watch the fireworks so much on the night the disc appeared so she snuck out herself. When Souta realized that, he went to look for her but end up crashing his bicycle. It was bloody all over. Since Noel doesn’t know what fireworks are, Nonoka explains it to her and shows her photo album. There is a picture of Nonoka and her mom at the lake with fireworks in the background. Nonoka lends Noel the album. Nonoka talks to Yuzuki again and explains at first she wanted to do the fireworks for her. But now she herself wants to see it. Still not opening her heart, eh? Shione spots Noel and asks her relationship with Nonoka. Nonoka thought her some song on a snowy day. Shione thinks Nonoka is a liar because it hasn’t snowed since she came back. Later, Koharu talks to Yuzuki but the latter is still mad that Nonoka who doesn’t know anything talks like as though she knows them and wants to have fireworks. Further flashbacks revealed when Souta was hospitalized, he blamed himself and didn’t tell mommy the real reason why he got hurt. Yuzuki felt guilty. It wasn’t like that. It was her fault… No, it was the disc’s fault… And so that’s how the hate began. Am I seeing some sort of pattern here? Somebody talks to Yuzuki. She doesn’t like it, gets mad and runs away. WTF. On the evening Nonoka and co setup the fireworks, Noel pays Yuzuki a visit and shows the album. Seeing that photo, she realizes Nonoka has not forgotten. Then she makes her way to the pier where her friends are waiting. In dramatic emotional fashion, Yuzuki breaks down and begs for forgiveness. She had wanted to say sorry to all of them and that it was her fault. Not too sure if it’s a bluff because they only end up playing sparklers at first. Then Noel lights up the disc to make it sparkle like fireworks.
Noel and Nonoka are at the lottery. Noel really wants to win the hotspring prize although she doesn’t even know what that is. Unfortunately she got second place, which is some disc shaped cushion. WTF. Shione won it instead but it’s not like she wanted to go. Meanwhile Yuzuki receives 4 tickets to the hotspring from a nice old lady. Now, what to do with them? Well, you can count Souta out because he says he isn’t going even if she invites him (liar!). So Yuzuki uses Koharu to invite Nonoka and herself to it. Noel would have been invited too but it seems Shione invited her. So there is an extra ticket. Hmm… Who to ask? You can see Souta is just waiting for that call and when he gets it, he is glad Koharu is on the line. She has a favour of him. Guess what? Help cover her shift at her family store while she’s away. Bummer… The girls make their way to the hotspring inn. Nonoka and Noel’s group miss each other by a whisker the entire time they are there. Of course Koharu reminds Yuzuki of her true intention here to say something to Nonoka. But each time there is a chance, something gets in the way. Finally when she does, Yuzuki apologizes for all the horrible things she did to her and wants to be hit to move on. Yeah, she just remembered Nonoka’s super punch at the punching game machine, she scored maximum points! Oh sh*t. This might hurt. However Nonoka lightly touches her cheek. Let bygones be bygones. And so they make up and the usual hotspring soaking. But Yuzuki feels her friends are boring because they don’t have a clue when she hints about talking about anybody in their life they like. They genuinely didn’t have a shred of an idea… At the end of the stay, Yuzuki expresses her wish to visit Nonoka’s house someday. Noel thinks Shione likes the disc because she always observed how she is taking photos of it. She gives her cushion to her. I don’t know why she accepted it despite saying she won’t be caught dead carrying it around. Now she’s doing just that. Nonoka returns home and blows her top after learning dad tried to cook some leftovers curry soup. She notices a picture of her late mom on the dining table in which he states it looks much better here than in the room.
Noel must be messing around with the monster poster outside Koharu’s family store that she accidentally broke it! So much so she wants to help fix it instead of following Nonoka, Yuzuki and Koharu to go visit her mother’s grave. It doesn’t help when Souta plays a prank by giving the monster a voice over that he is in pain! I think she really believes this. Better stop. He helps her make repair the monster. Time for ‘surgery’. He wonders why she doesn’t follow Nonoka despite being invited. She can’t see the disc if she is far away. Does this mean she can’t go farther than the edge of town? Nonoka and co must be taking their time. Or they got lost. Because if missing the hourly train isn’t bad enough, they walk far enough to Easter Island! Okay, so what are those Moai statues doing here?! Eventually they reach there as Nonoka explains how she left the town so they could take better care of mom’s health. Eventually she passed on. She felt so sad and lonely that she stopped thinking just about anything on mom. The pain went away. In the process she also forgot about her friends. She believes her mom hates her for turning into such a person and maybe she didn’t love her at all. But Yuzuki says she is here visiting means she is ready to work out the problems. Koharu is glad that Nonoka became a person whom she could call a friend. Shione is also here to buy she won’t say much and doesn’t stay long. How is Shione related to Nonoka’s mom? Apparently she was the one who helped them become friends. Nonoka invites her to come to the lake tonight to watch the meteor shower but is ignored. Souta and Noel are painting the monster as Noel is glad that Koharu won’t be changing to a new monster. Souta says this one is special to her. She loves it with all her heart. When she came up with a draft, Yuzuki drew on the cardboard and he cut it out before all of them painted on it. Once the girls return, Noel is proud of her ‘surgery’ on the monster. Not the best looking patch up but at least Koharu still loves it. Nonoka is at the lake but Shione is nowhere in sight. However Shione left a message to Noel to tell them. “She wanted to watch the meteor shower with them”.
Nonoka realizes Shione has been waiting all this time. She wants everyone to take part in Hokubi Festival. So Yuzuki forces Shione’s name in the application form and they make preparations for the mini planetarium that they will be doing. I don’t know why but Koharu, Yuzuki and Souta are trying to outdo each other in giving their tickets to Noel to come to the festival. I guess it makes Nonoka stop short in giving hers. But Noel tells Nonoka she can’t come because if she is away, the disc will be in trouble. Next day, the gang test the planetarium but Souta put on too much power and it exploded! Koharu splashes water on everybody so they take a break while they dry their blazers. They talk about the old times and the disc but Shione is not impressed and leaves. Flashback reveals Nonoka taught Noel to hum her mom’s song. Then that event when Nonoka had to leave but couldn’t get a chance to tell her friends. Shione learnt about this from Noel but was also told she will be back. Shione waited through the seasons but she never did. Until recently. Shione goes to give Noel her ticket and Noel doesn’t understand why she doesn’t want to go watch the meteor shower with Nonoka. Isn’t that their wish? Shione calls Nonoka a liar because she believed in her for so long. But Noel has always believed in her. Shione reveals she is afraid to have her trust betrayed again and hates herself for being unable to trust her. She views herself at fault for changing but Noel sees everyone as the same as they are then. Since Nonoka kept her promise, it is Noel’s turn to grant it. When Shione returns to the room, she sees Nonoka testing the planetarium. Chance to set things straight. Nonoka admits she would have forgotten about everything if not for Noel. But she really does want to watch the meteor shower with her and that feelings have never changed. Because she is her dear friend. I guess that is the magic word that melted her heart. Instant big hug. Instant apology. Wow. Everything just reconciled back to the way they were like their friendship never went away in the first place. But for formality, they renew their friendship. However you’d be wrong if you think everything is going to be fine and normal the next day. Because Shione was thinking about Noel and the disc, it is back to that gloomy face again. Now this is what she says. Nonoka used to be the girl she knew and can’t be together anymore. WTF?!
So I guess Shione’s back being a cold b*tch and leaves alone. Yeah well, Nonoka continues to believe in her. Shione goes to ask Noel what will happen to the disc if Nonoka’s wish is granted. It can be called by someone else to fulfil their own. Shione doesn’t seem amused about it and leaves. Nonoka and the rest help to complete the planetarium and they’ve asked some of their classmates to help speed things up. Shione remembers she had a book about some ritual to summon a UFO. She was worried nobody would believe her but Nonoka did. So she called the rest of the friends and they thought it was cool to summon one and make a wish. Noel hints that it is everyone’s wish to be happy. The Hokubi Festival makes a great start with Nonoka guiding Noel around the school grounds. It is time for their planetarium show but Shione is not seen. In fact, she is absent from school. Nonoka decides to go look for her. Does she even know where she stays? She doesn’t have to because she saw her in the streets. She catches up to her but Shione makes it clear she doesn’t want to see her anymore. She doesn’t like her and her friends and doesn’t want to hang out with them. This includes the planetarium. She continues being a b*tch to push Nonoka away but the latter continues to make her plea she wants them all to be like it was. To laugh and play together. Shione threatens her with a slap if she casually calls her name again but with Nonoka putting up tearful puppy dog eyes, Shione also gets emotional. She says there is no way they can be together and hints something will happen to Noel. As nobody expects anything from her, it will be okay for her not to keep her promises. Since b*tch mode is too hard to switch off, she says her goodbye. The festival has ended and the friends are still waiting for the duo to show up for their own personal planetarium show. They realize Noel is missing (she was with them a second ago) and think she must have gone looking for Nonoka. More shock for Nonoka because Noel collapses before her.
Noel says to take her to the disc so with Nonoka’s father driving, the day is saved. Noel is still weak and put the bed in her room. The rest of the friends visit as Nonoka explains that Noel is the disc who granted their wish from then. Yuzuki couldn’t believe it because Noel helped out the most with the protest. Yeah, the irony. Once Noel is well, she hopes Nonoka can continue to be good friends with Shione. But learning that they are on bad terms, Noel starts thinking what it was that went wrong. Maybe the last reason gave us a big clue: If the wish is granted, Noel will disappear. Short flashback during their younger days shows Nonoka introducing Shione to her friends and they immediately become friends. Nonoka tries to ask the teacher about Shione but gets a surprise when she learns she is transferring away! So Nonoka goes to talk Shione. The latter claims she is not so attached to the observatory like them and doesn’t seem to have a problem to let Noel stay in exchange if she leaves. Is she okay with that? Of course not. But she had to go put up that tough girl act. Later Noel tells Nonoka that she came to this town at first because they called her. But seeing her amazing wish, everyone was happy and together, that is why Noel wants everyone smiling together again. Shione then pops up at Nonoka’s friends to tell them the truth about Noel and circumstances. Just great. Now everybody wants to be the lone wolf. Souta feels he can be the one to be isolated if it keeps Noel around but Yuzuki feels guilty over her disc protests. In the end, everyone left with that confused and sad feeling. It just got worse, no? Noel tells Nonoka how she heard their voices that day and knew right away Nonoka when they first met. They spent lots of time together and everyone was nice and friendly. Noel was really happy. Now that all of them are happy together, it is time for Noel to say goodbye. She can say that with a smile?
Everyone is keeping their distance. So gloomy. Nonoka tries to get everyone to come to the observatory tonight but she’s not sure if her message is getting through to their heads and hearts. Nonoka then visits Shione who still wants to be left alone. If she is her friend, then please try to understand. Nonoka starts describing her friends including the stubborn Shione who believes it is okay for everyone to be happy as long as she suffers. Nonoka’s wish is for everyone to be happy and Shione’s happiness also part of that wish. Souta barges into Yuzuki’s room to talk to her about the day they summoned the disc. Earlier on, they had a fight so he wished they would make up. Yuzuki also wished the same. And since it happened, could it mean Noel really did grant their wish? So what is Koharu’s wish? That they can stay friends forever. Shione talks to Noel and is puzzled she can still be happy despite knowing she will go away. Noel is happy seeing everyone together and that means Noel was able to grant their wishes. Therefore Shione should send her off happily with her friends. When Nonoka comes to the observatory, everyone else is already waiting. With Shione popping up, Nonoka reintroduces her to them. Starting anew again? They pass the time by taking photos but I think Yuzuki is at her limit. She can’t hold in her tears any longer. Get ready a box of tissues because it’s going to be a tearjerker right till the end. The disc starts lighting up and this is a sign Noel has to go. So she has last words for everybody. Cue for emotional time. I’ll never forget you. I’ll always remember you. Then they all watch the meteor shower and finally Noel succumbs to tears. She is so happy that she loves everyone. Before Noel and Nonoka could get a last hug, a bright light flashes and Noel disappears. The disc is no more.
Déjà vu scene. Nonoka and her dad are just driving into this sleepy town after leaving Tokyo. Wasn’t Nonoka back at the observatory with Noel and her friends just now? Noel who? Father doesn’t remember. And the moment they enter town, there is no disc in the sky! So Nonoka rushes off to Koharu’s family store. She doesn’t recognize her at first but eventually does. She doesn’t know who Noel is too. Nonoka spots Yuzuki and talks to her. It takes some time for Yuzuki to remember who she is. Not even Noel too. She invites Nonoka to play water bottle rockets but she wants to go find Shione. Koharu talks to Souta and he is surprised Nonoka is back after 7 years. The last thing they remember doing together was trying to summon a UFO at the observatory. However nothing happened. Koharu has always wondered what would happen if it came true. Nonoka is outside Shione’s door but a different person answers. She has never heard of a person named Shione living here before. Sorry, got the wrong person. Nonoka heads to the observatory but is only even more dilapidated. No Noel. Only a wild fox. She finds it odd that she remembers everything about Noel. Next day in school, Nonoka is not in the same class with her friends. When she meets up with them, she asks about Shione but was told she moved out of town when they were in elementary school. Then Nonoka tells them about Noel and that day at the observatory. They want to believe her but it’s hard when you don’t remember. Souta says maybe she is the only one who remembers this Noel. Maybe she is just misremembering things. Could it be just a dream? Depressed, she even starts questioning if Noel really does exist in the first place. The only way left is for Nonoka to record down everything she knows about Noel. The rest feel like they’ve forgotten about something important. Nonoka makes a plea for Noel to come back. She wants to see her. But it isn’t Noel who came back. It is Shione. Do you remember? Yes, she does. She remembers the night tears were streaming down Noel’s face when they watched the meteor shower. Finally, somebody who remembers!
Nonoka is sad that nobody remembers Noel so Shione gives some words of encouragement that she once knew a stubborn girl whose words moved the hearts of everyone around her. She was one of those people moved by her unwavering will. Nonoka’s wish is for everyone to meet at this observatory. So as she gathers everyone at the pier, Souta becomes the ‘antagonist’ and tells Nonoka to give up this Noel thing because they don’t know who she is. Koharu has also thought hard about Nonoka’s words but can’t seem to find anything yet. Yuzuki believes in Nonoka and Shione wants to go ascertain themselves of it before those precious memories inside them disappear. At the observatory, they gather and do the wish summoning ritual that they all want to see Noel again. Well, no disc. Only a field of sunflowers. Nonoka sits with Shione as she remembers her mom told her she will face tough times in her life. When that happens, always smile and she’ll get through anything. Next morning, Nonoka notices Shuuichi making omelette rice. Doesn’t look good but at least it was better than last night’s cooking experience when he was trying to cut the radish and he looked like a nervous doctor doing a major operation for the first time. Anyway, Nonoka wonders if Shione asked him to make this (she is living with them temporarily) because daddy said it was for her. No, it wasn’t Shione. Some girl whose name he can’t even remember! She was here a while ago… Then Nonoka got the hint. She goes out to look for her. No Noel. Only a sunflower petal. So we see the rest of our friends doing their own stuffs (Yuzuki making a signboard to welcome to disc?!) and they sense something each time they hear Noel’s voice and see a floating sunflower petal. It leads them all to the sunflower field. A straw hat floats down and before them a familiar blue haired twintail loli. Guess who is back? Welcome back, Noel!
This only lasts 11 minutes and explores the origins of that monster, Kirigon… And Shione! Oh my! That girl has got something to do with that monster?! It all began when Yuzuki wanted to borrow that monster movie and since it is the only one in town, it is always being rented out. Then she notices Shione leaving the place. Could it be? Yuzuki then tells this to the rest of the girls and believes Shione is hiding some sort of secret of Kirigon. She convinces them to go spy on Shione and observes her actions. Like how she seems to be buying lots of chocolates from the mart. Kirigon has as sweet tooth? I don’t know how the quartet can hide behind the monster board but don’t you think it is so freaking obvious that they are dragging it and using it as a cover to follow Shione? The further observe Shione heading to the lake and a place where Kirigon was summoned in the movie. So is she going to call out Kirigon with the food? Yuzuki then puts Koharu’s glasses on Noel for her debut. Because she cannot see well, she stumbles into Shione and they both fall into the lake. Shione learns about their doing and can’t believe it. Yeah, neither can we. She says the chocolates are for herself because she likes them. But why hog the video? Shione won’t say and runs away. Noel must be disappointed that no big monster appeared… Nonoka then remembers she has a copy of that movie since it was part of her father’s collection. Back home when they watch the movie, they are shocked to see this revelation… Shione has a cameo appearance acting in a small part. A cute kid who pleads to Kirigon to save her! Oh my! So that’s the embarrassing secret she wants to keep from everyone?! So cute!!!
Friendship No Method
ZZZzzzZZZZzzzzZZZZZ… Oh… Ah… Actually I didn’t fall asleep but that is enough to tell you how I felt. If you still don’t get it, let me put it in a word: Boring. Bored is the feeling I have while watching this series and I think I would be surprised if I were to see my ‘long face’ in the mirror as I sit through 24 minutes of boring-ness. There was nothing magical or even supernatural to excite a worm at all. I was hoping at least such a twist would happen in the end but it didn’t materialize, thus extinguishing my hope of even trying to help consider this series as passable. There were so many questions that left me questioning if they were aiming for a happy ending and thus the rushed feeling (despite still being a draggy drama). For instance, why the heck is Nonoka and Shione the only ones to remember Noel? Is it because they are the closest? Wouldn’t it be cruel to make everybody forget and only them to remember? Because all that final episode drama would not have happened have they too forgotten about Noel. I know it would make the ending of the series sucks but that would spare the girls the agony of going through all that trouble (which isn’t much if you closely look at it) and summoning her back.
Next, so they made a wish to see Noel again. So no disc this time? How can she be doing fine without the disc? Sure, when they first summoned her, they were summoning a UFO and what came with it was Noel. So no UFO this time? And why was she at the sunflower field? Shouldn’t she be at the observatory like the last time? Change of scenery? And if they could make such an easy wish to see Noel again, why didn’t they do the same before she disappeared and lose their memories and avoid all this last episode drama crap? Why do they always have to leave it to the last minute and then go through all that troublesome stuff? They know they want her to stay but kept thinking, oh, one of us must go. Why the hell not just make another wish to rewrite the older one for all of them to stay? I mean, it was freaking easy to summon her, right? Gather around and wish with all your heart. Heck, if this worked, this place would be swarming with people all over the world praying for their wish to come true. Oh, they’ll get it alright. And it comes with a Noel! Haha! And now that Noel is back, who is she staying with? Assuming it would be Nonoka. But how is she going to live? Will she go to school? Will she continue to bum around smiling? Because with this reset thingy (a timeline where the disc never appeared before), wouldn’t Shuuichi find it weird if Nonoka decides to adopt this alien? Oh yeah. Small little town. Everybody is welcomed as a family.
How should I put it? This entire series has been dragging out the drama of lost friendship and trying to mending it back together. In some way it was going to be predictable and you could guess how it should it turn out in the end. I mean, a girl who has been away for years comes back and it wouldn’t be sitting too well with viewers if they don’t mend back their friendship, right? And you’d guess that the disc and Noel will have something to do with it. You’d guess what their wish was but hoped that there would be something more than to just that. Nope. Disappointingly it didn’t. Just plain ol’ friendship drama.
I don’t know. I find it really odd based on reality’s context. Because for people not only of this town but for the rest of the world to actually ignore this UFO while it was floating there for the past 7 years, it just shows that we humans don’t really care about extraterrestrial lives, do we? Because certain groups of the world will always to continue to fawn and chase after UFOs for their entire lifetime. Heck, even the US government would have intervened and classified this as part of their Area 51 and conduct classified experiments and research. So that is why it is just mind boggling to see people here not giving a damn about the UFO. Ignored its presence? Accepted its presence? Oh well, as long as they’re not out to steal our women and plunder our planet, I guess it is okay to leave it alone.
The character themselves feel lacklustre. In a character driven story, characters are supposed to help play an important part in driving the plot somewhere. I am not sure which is at fault. Is it because of the story that makes the characters inspiring or is it because the lacklustre characters are the ones causing the story to be dragged out? Or it could be the case of both! Because of that, the effects of the drama have made the characters boring and they think they could save it by exaggerating the moe and cutie effects of Noel. Yeah. Either her cuteness makes you fawn all over her or just annoy the hell out of you.
Nonoka as the main character already suffers from this lacklustre-ness. We know she has some guilt of her past. She returns to town. She wants to get back with her friends. She tries hard. In a way, it makes her look like she is desperate because you know, she seemingly keeps trying to impose (lacking a better word here) on others to change or accept her views. About the disc. About Noel. About her. And does Nonoka herself change? Not really, right? So she might be a little after she remembers but that didn’t really affect anything in a big way as she tries to continue playing friendship maker. If she wasn’t cute and sincere, she’d probably be written off as annoying. Oh wait, maybe many of us already did.
Shione too also feels like her character falls flat (although ironically she is the bustiest of the lot). She acts tough. She acts cold. She acts indifferent. Trying to play the part of the villain. That little slap to make our hearts skip a bit. All just to make us guess if there is something more than meet the eyes with this b*tch attitude. Sure, there is a reason why she just doesn’t want to be friends initially. But you could hardly feel any emotion with that kind of reason. She is just like Nonoka and probably the rest too. All they want is to be friends. It is just so simple but they make it so complicated. And I thought kids are supposed to be honest with their feelings. Ah well, I guess they are at that growing up age where they are being in conflict with their emotions and everything else. And once you have passed that stage, are you considered grown up?
Noel could have been the best character because she is like in a world of her own (literally she is actually from another world so that may be technically right). She does nothing but bum around and hang around, having fun in her own ways. Her friendliness and cheery disposition would light up smiles wherever she goes. But like I said, her moe and cuteness overwhelms the overall mystery that I believed her character is supposed to be because when she admits she is the disc quite early in the series, nothing pretty much happens after that. Despite constant reminders about her turn of granting Nonoka’s wish. You’ll guess what it is but again you hope there would be something different. Something like a twist. Nope. Disappointing. Well, at least she fares better than Nonoka and Shione. But it just got me wondering what and where the heck was she doing or hanging out for the last 7 years when Nonoka was away? Maybe 7 years are nothing to an alien. If she was happily waiting at the observatory for her to come back, doesn’t that make her like the ghost of the place? No wonder nobody visits that place other than those kids. Scary. Even scarier when you see a cute friendly ‘ghost’.
The rest of the other supporting characters and friends also fall short. Yuzuki was pretty amusing at first with her angst and was totally against the UFO. She was really all out in protest against it. Better than being the b*tchy Shione. And then when she was ‘tamed’, she wasn’t so amusing anymore. Koharu is so gentle that she couldn’t even possibly scare a fly away. She has this aura that exudes that she is the slow and retard of the group but that may just be my stereotypes. Finally there is Souta to add a little masculinity to the anime in which otherwise would have totally been a girly anime with a higher chance of viewers thinking up some yuri possibilities because this show is so goddamn boring. Oops! Not that anybody would stop thinking about any yuri possibility between Nonoka and Shione anyway. Oh, and what is Souta’s role in the group? Somebody to straighten Yuzuki, bring her to her senses, somebody supportive of her? I don’t know. Take your pick. Sometimes I find that the ‘plot’ of him going away to study overseas didn’t matter. I thought it would but as the story plays out, it was as good as if it wasn’t mentioned at all.
Looking at the art and drawing, I thought it was PA Works since the art style looked similar like Nagi No Asukara. Overly cute looking girls. Yeah, that ‘trademark’. But something about it felt a little off and that it wasn’t really PA Works. Studio 3Hz is a newly formed anime company that animated this series and this is their debut anime. There isn’t anything to complain about the art quality as everything looks fine and vibrant although I won’t go so far as to say it comes close to even as a masterpiece. Character designs feel pretty okay but nothing extraordinary but with the girls looking so cute that I thought they had this baby face trademark and that the cuteness ‘never changed’ since they were kids. The scenery and background are also okay but nothing spectacular. It’s passable since you know, a sleepy town have more ‘refreshing’ greenery as opposed to your concrete jungle.
Among the cast, only Aki Toyosaki as Yuzuki was recognizable to me. Haven’t been hearing about her much in anime roles lately so it is very much welcomed to hear her again ever since I got to know her playing as Yui from K-ON! The rest of the casts are Shiina Natsukawa as Nonoka (Kanna in Witch Craft Works), Inori Minase as Noel (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Mikako Komatsu as Shione (Tsugumi in Nisekoi), Haruka Yoshimura as Koharu (Kouko in Akuma No Riddle) and Kaito Ishikawa as Souta (Harutora in Tokyo Ravens). Surprisingly the opening and ending themes are quite pleasant to hear although it won’t be ending up in my all-time top 50 anime songs. Stargazer by Larval Stage Planning is a nice satisfying pop piece greeting as the opener while Hoshikuzu No Interlude by Fhana as the ending theme also gives off that exuberant feel.
Overall, this series is disappointing for a lot of reasons (although I read online there are quite a number of viewers who liked this series because it is like Da Capo – just without the romance). It is just one long drama on a group of friends getting their friendship back like old times. Sure, the alien had something to do with it but basically it is their own determination that made it happen. There was a UFO hovering over town but it didn’t start blasting its beams or take over the world so I guess that is why people lost interest in it and just let it be. Nothing sensational, magical, supernatural to move our hearts but at least they didn’t make it complicated. Because if it was this easy for a bunch of kids to make a wish to call a UFO at an abandoned observatory, God must be playing a cruel joke on UFO chasers and enthusiasts for ages. It must feel like an insult. Well, you won’t be catching me making a wish like that because I don’t want it to come with a free Noel no matter how cutie pie she is.