Eventhough there are only 6 episodes in Iriya No Sora, UFO No Natsu, I didn’t really get what the whole thing is really about in detail. At the end of it, I was still as confused as ever and there were more questions than answers. Haih… So short sci-fi drama thriller anime also still cannot get it.
So let me get right into the storyline and see if you can grasp the whole picture. In episode 1, we see this boy, Asaba Naoyuki (who looks a little bit like Asakura Yoh of Shaman King), sneaking into some swimming pool complex in the middle of the night, as it’s the last day of summer and he wants to make good use of it.
But he’s not the only one there. He spots a girl, Iriya Kana, seemingly hesitating to take a dip. Ah, somebody’s beat him to the pool. Of course, as he calls her, she was taken by surprise and falls into the pool. The thing is, she doesn’t know how to swim. So, the kind hearted Asaba dives in to save her. Then their eyes meet, some blushing, you know typical boy meets girl encounter. But this is interrupted when Iriya suddenly has a nose bleed. Asaba opens her bag to find any towel but instead a bunch of pills. She’s on drugs?
And when things calm down a little, Asaba asked her if she could really swim, if not he’d liked to offer swimming lessons to her. Love at first sight? Maybe. Then during the lesson, he notices some strange electro-like pads under her wrists. What’s that. Dunno either. But Iriya said something like "do you know how electricity tastes like?". Huh?
Soon, police sirens could be heard in the background. Busted, time to leave. But before they could do so, some strange guy, Enomoto, appears claiming to be Iriya’s brother, comes to take Iriya away. She doesn’t put up much resistance though. But they manage to escape without getting caught.
The next day, start of a new school term. As Asaba looks through the window from his classroom, some van arrives and before you know it, introduces a new transfer student, which is Iriya, to be in the same class as with Asaba. Coincidence, you say?
But Iriya’s a really strange girl. Quiet and keeping to herself with the other girls blabbering how she and Asaba met. And then, some girl Akiho Sudou, emerges and demands an explanation from Asaba how she met her. Sounds like a jealous girlfriend. But Asaba kept denying he knows her. Then he became unconscious. What the?
So later after when he awoke and found himself in the nurse’s office, he heads back to class only to find Iriya sitting there alone. Suddenly, another nosebleed. Looks like this is going to be quite frequent. Then the PA announces that Iriya has a phone call for her. So she left to answer that phone call.
Next day, we get to know that Asaba is a member of the school’s press club. This is because the club’s president, Kunihuiro Suizenji, approaches Iriya with flowers to celebrate her entrance to the club. Well, not like she really has joined the club yet, but look at it as a way to persuade her. By the way, the club isn’t just some ordinary club. It’s actually some sort of a UFO sighting club too. And currently the club has 3 members (with Asaba and Akiho being the other 2). But Iriya doesn’t seem interested.
Suddenly the sirens went off. Everyone in school is covering their heads in the hallway just like in those drills. But Iriya dashes out of school towards some hangar, tagging Asaba along. Upon approaching the hanger, it seems like Iriya knows her way round the complex. At this point too, Iriya explains to Asaba that some sort of war has been going on since 1947, only thing nobody realizes it. Yeah, we won’t get to see that war or what that war is all about either.
Then the phone rings, and the person on the other end sounds like Enomoto. Donno what was it all about, but I remember Asaba and Iriya engage in some high-tech video game like simulator. Er… And if you predicted it, Iriya goes into one of her nosebleeds again, but this time she collapsed.
Not knowing what to do as Asaba is in a state of panic, Enomoto directs him to inject some very huge injection needle into several designated parts of Iriya. Of course, Asaba would feel unsure of his actions at first, but has no choice. Then the gates open and we could see the shcool nurse and several military guys behind her.
And that was just episode 1. Damn… it was bloody long and I still don’t get it. It’s worst in episode 2, as the episode starts off without resuming where the previous episode left off. But this episode is more light hearted. We start off with some flashback with Suizenji asking (more like forcing) Asaba to go on a date with Iriya so that she could join the club.
So let’s fast forward a little. As Asaba arrives at the designated spot, he caught a glimpse of Iriya already waiting there. Talk about punctuality on your date. But it looks like Enomoto and the school nurse, Shiina Mayumi, seem to be spying on them. Not only that, Suizenji and Asaba’s little sister, Yuuko, are also spying on them! Anyway, as Asaba and Iriya went to watch a movie, those ‘busy-bodies’ also follow suit.
During the movie, Suizenji blabs about something which I don’t remember to Yuuko. A lot of eavesdropping. Then Iriya sensed something wrong and quickly dashes out with Asaba. Now this part I like because it’s funny. So Suizenji (carrying Yuuko) decides to give chase to them. Iriya steals a bicycle from the parking lot and peddles with all her might (Asaba being the pillion) and Suizenji with his scooter with Yuuko being the pillion. A lot of funny high speed chase action.
Before you know it, the chase ended with Suizenji and Yuuko being flung out of the scooter and into a nearby river. A heated argument ensued between the two and it resulted in Yuuko giving Suizenji a good kick. Hahaha. So Iriya and Asaba manage to get away and we’re greeted with some flashback from Iriya. Something like Iriya was part of some military group wandering in the desert and they stumble upon some playground in the middle of it. Huh? Then helicopters arrive and whisked them away. Huh?
Return to the next day in school, Asaba finds some sort of a love letter in his shoe compartment. Looks like from Iriya. Is it another request to go on a date? Nope, it’s her application to join the press club. The reason: Because Asaba is there. Wow. I guess she really have a soft spot for him.
I don’t remember much about episode 3, except the school’s preparing for the upcoming school cultural festival. But I like the end part of this episode where Iriya leads Asaba to some open space and then she flies the Black Manta aircraft, like dancing in mid air, with Asaba looking with astonishment and amazement and probably following it’s dance too.
But Akiho seems down, because Asaba isn’t at the school cultural festival. Hmm… a really green-eye girlfriend.
So in episode 4, it’s really another light-hearted one, at least in the beginning. This episode Akiho who’s still suspicious of iriya, challenges her to a soba eating contest. Wow! These 2 girls really have a huge appetite and room for all those sobas they eat. It’s really amazing (and funny) to see them both face-off bowl after bowl, with the guys cheering them on. In the end, both fell sick of overeating. Who wouldn’t. I think I’ll pass out even after the first one. But I’m glad that Akiho and Iriya made up and are now on good terms.
Later at school, Asaba noticed something wrong with Iriya. So after class, he came looking for her in the school attic. Then as expected, she gets into one of those seizures and that usual nosebleed. Now even more serious than before. But Shiina arrived just in time to stablize things. Here she explained the after effects of piloting the Black Manta on Iriya to Asaba like temporary vision disorder and change of her hair colour. Bla bla bla. Then Asaba and Shiina got some disagreement and went into a fist fight. The thing is, Asaba punched Shiina back! So daring. But Iriya manage to awake (weakly) and stop them both. It is here too that we find out that Iriya’s the one who’s been stealing Asaba’s stationery. She claims it was some sort of a charm to her and was sorry. Obssessed about him, isn’t she.
As they both returned to the club room, Asaba noticed certain peculiar things in the room, like the mouse on the keyboard. It’s a sign of something has happened and Suizenji has gone to do something. At the same time, Asaba receieved a call from him. Suizenji calling from a phone booth claimed he saw something big. But before he could explain, some military like people whisks him away. So Asaba and Iriya decided to run away.
But Iriya told Asaba that it would be impossible because that there’s some ‘bug transplant‘ on Asaba. That’s whay they could be easily tracked. And we get to see that Asaba used a blade (reminds me of a drug addict scene) to cut it out right behind his back. Ouch!!! And when Enomoto arrived, he found out that the transplant has been disposed off. Too late. Asaba and Iriya already long rode off on a bike to somewhere.
So in episode 5, Asaba and Iriya are residing in some secret place only they both know. As Asaba left to the convinience store to get some supplies, Iriya stayed put. But some mad guy came to rape her. Although Iriya tried to buzz Asaba for help, it was futile. That darn Asaba. Reading some soft porn mag at the store (must be very stressed out). However, Iriya manage to defend herself using some commando knife and seriously wound the rapist.
By the time Asaba realized it, it was too late. He rushed back. But even so, they continue to do things normally and didn’t talk about that incident. But soon the police arrived and they have to leave. While they’re walking along the railway lines, tension broke out between the 2. Asaba chided Iriya saying that he’s fed-up of her sloppiness and how he has to put with it. To add salt to the wound he said someting like "don’t follow me, don’t wanna see your face again". And this shocked Iriya a lot. Screaming madly like a dejected girlfriend. So Iriya attacked Asaba with the knife when he approached her, wounding him a little. Feeling scared, Asaba ran away alone. I didn’t really like what Asaba did. But could you blame him after all that he’s gone through. Plus, my heart sank a little when Iriya turned out like that.
Soon, Asaba felt sorry for his actions and went back to apologize. But it seems that Iriya is losing her memory and doesn’t recognise him. She says she’s waiting for Asaba. So you’ll hear this a little frequent from Asaba "Iriya, who am I?". And each time, Iriya responds and sees him as a different character. Boring part here as Asaba tries to figure things out. Then Asaba use some walkie-talkie and Iriya recognizes the voice which belongs to Asaba (though still not visually). So they plan to go to the grandma’s house of one of Asaba’s relatives.
So at night they hop onto a passing train just like a stowaway. Then some flashback from Iriya something about a girl named Erika and about going swimming. Is this getting more and more confusing or what. Then seemingly like they took a pitstop at the beach, have some chat, Iriya suddenly says she wants to go back to school tomorrow because there’s someone she likes. You know who lah. And as they arrived at the grandma’s place, we see Enomoto already waiting there for them.
So the final episode 6 starts off with Asaba and Enomoto having dinner and chatting on the rooftop. Enomoto said something about some Gravity Control Device which needed and ESP to work it. And then there’s this made up story of UFOs and aliens to cover up the war humans have been fighting among each other and make Iriya believe so that she treats it like a video game (that simulator thing in episode 1), and she’s already killed hundreds of thousands of enemies. So Iriya’s something like the last line of defence keeping humankind from total annihilation.
Then Enomoto reveals that he’s actually here to arrest Asaba and Iriya but donno he said something and decides to give them a 30 minute head start before coming down on them. Again we see that war on tv. Argh… I’m scratching my head like there’s dandruff.
Next day in school, Asaba’s classmates ponder if Asaba really did ran away. Then helicopters hover over the school. PA announcement that the Self Defense Force military unit is looking for Asaba as it is an emergency. The next thing, he’s whisked away.
By the time they reached their destination, some battleship cruiser, it’s already evening. Looks like Enomoto’s waiting for Asaba and quickly he leads him inside to where Iriya is. He says Iriya’s trhowing tantrums and might commit suicide. So Asaba went to talk to a frantic and scarred Iriya. Finally she recognizes him and asked why he’d left her and hadn’t return. She thought he hated her. Then Asaba takes a machine gun and starts firing at the military. Saying he won’t let Iriya die, don’t care if mankind is annihilated.
Asaba then confessed out loud that he likes Iriya. Iriya understood his feelings and told him that she doesn’t care about others or if others die too. And she’ll protect him and die for him only. How touching. Then she pushes Asaba off the platform and off she goes into the Black Manta.
As Asaba reached up to the top, Enomoto pulls out a pistol and is going to shoot Asaba from the back. Thanking for his help all the while for what he has done for Iriya. But Asaba fires back first hitting Enomoto. Then some long talk before he dies, bla bla bla. And he said something like "Glad you’re the one whoe killed me in the end". Huh? What the? What’s that suppose to mean? We see the Black Manta flying off in the sky for the last time.
Next day, like normal as nothing has happened. Suizenji’s back and he’s so happy that he can’t remember a single thing. Plus, we see the army leaving. So is the war over? Then a letter from Shiina to Asaba telling the whole truth.
Iriya and Erika Proudfoot were the only pilots of Black Manta left and their fighting spirits were faltering. They’re barely fighting because they wanna protect each other. Then Iriya got an order to take down Erika. After that, she got lots of after effects. So their primary job is to recover’s Iriya’s motivation and find something that she needs to protect. But she ran away and encountered Asaba. The rest of the story then begins from there lah.
In the end we see the 3 members of the press club meeting. Though Akiho still wants to know what happened to Iriya, but Asaba kept mum, though Akiho’s willing to wait and listen one day if Asaba ever wants to tell. So we see the members wanting to do some project with Asaba wanting to do some mystery crop circle design but Akiho wants to do a cover on the leaving of the army. But Suizenji just deliriously said "do as you like". The end scene shows a crop design of the hiragana character ‘yo’. I wonder what’s that suppose to mean.
Overall, you see I still didn’t get it. What happened to Iriya? I think she died, but it wasn’t shown. I really wished Asaba and Iriya could be together in the end, but it didn’t turned out so. But I guess this anime isn’t really that bad after all. Trying to understand who Iriya or Enomoto really is. The sceneries aren’t really something to shout about either, though there’s that dull, gloomy, mundane and monotonous atmosphere kinda feeling. *Sighs* Note: seems that I like Iriya with her hair long.

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