Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall 2010 - Sora no Otoshimono: Forte

One has to wonder about the psychology of those people working in the anime and manga industries. What makes a mangaka choose a particular style when creating characters and a particular route when introducing them into the story? What is the reasoning behind a director's particular approach towards camera angles or character voices?

For the longest time, I have wanted to believe that it all involves an artist's desire for expression and an animation company's desire to make a profit in entertaining the fans. After watching Sora no Otoshimono: Forte ("Heaven's Lost Property: Forte"), I'm no longer sure what the motivation is. It's likely all monetary, but I have a feeling some other reason is lurking under the surface.

The series, currently running on Crunchyroll, revolves around the presence of a black hole in the skies over the quiet town of Sorami. The hole is actually a sort of connector to "Synapse", a world of angel-like constructs called "Angeloids". In particular, two have fallen to Earth and have been bound to a "Master"--Ikaros, a passive and emotionless Angeloid with destructive capabilities, and Nymph, an under-developed prototype with a deep knowledge of electronics. Of course, much like many modern anime androids, these Angeloids inexplicably flock to Tomoki Sakurai, the biggest high-school horndog since the likes of Ataru Moroboshi.

In the last season, Tomoki had come under fire from the likes of the more evil presenses in Synapse, but the return to a peaceful life has left some questions unanswered. Just what lies in Synapse, and will classmate Eishiro look to expose the meaning behind its arrival? Will Tomoki's childhood friend Sohara admit to the feelings she has for him, despite all of the attention the Angeloids give him? Just who is this new Angeloid model who seeks to kill Tomoki, only to fail miserably? And will we ever see a show where Tomoki doesn't experience a cartoonish erection from seeing T&A?

Sora no Otoshimono: Forte is still animated through AIC, who have concretely established themselves as the studio to go to when you need cheesecake (Mayoi Neko Overrun!, Strike Witches, Asobi ni Ikuyo). There does seem to be some sort of plot in the sequel, but you'd be hard-pressed to find it amongst all of the suggestive poses, bosom bounces from buxom bodies, and perverted nonsense. Due to the nature of the Angeloids to be able to make the impossible possible for Tomoki, there's nothing absurd about adventures through dreams, an Angeloid being sexually abused through "Tomoki's Six Paths of Hell," and a parade of erotic magazines in the street.

This show seems content with testing sexual taboos on Japanese television and completely ignoring any attempt to bring value to itself. Instead of exploring the unknown and figuring out how to neutralize the threat of Synapse, the characters are merely thrown into hijinks for 20 minutes before a sliver of dramatic tension can emerge. The art isn't particularly great, and the performances by the Japanese voice actors are actually disappointing, perhaps even grating. It's as if the show was competing against other shows for fandom's sexual energy. (More on that later; To-Love-Ru got a sequel! - Ed.)

All of the bath scenes, bloody noses, and conversations between Tomoki and his crotch have drawn me to the following conclusion--some fans (and perhaps some writers?) must be inadequately ashamed of their sexuality if these sorts of shows continue to appeal to them. I'm not saying that Sora no Otoshimono: Forte may eventually return with a serious storyline, but how many of these filler fan-service episodes will it take? If I've got to wade through faux hentai to get to the nugget of the story, then it's just not worth hunting for gold.

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