Dreaming of her encounter with an army trumpeter under a rainy sky during her childhood, Kanata awakens to discover the other soldiers on the train are playing cards.
Giving her a box of caramel candy, the veterans wonder what a young girl like Kanata is doing in the army and are soon surprised to hear her answer she wants to learn music.
Transferring to another train which rides on through the night, Kanata is driven by bike to the last stretch her destination, Seize, known as the city of glass and lakes.
Stopping just before the village, Klaus hands over the girl’s orders, which assign her to the 1121st unit stationed in Seize.
Since she arrived early, Kanata decides to head into Seize and visit the festival held in the city before reporting in where she feasts her eyes on the lovely commotion in the winding city streets filled with joyous people andstands selling delicious food, drinks and other goods.
Resting near a fountain, Kanata is startled when a small girl suddenly squirts water in her face. Unsure at what is going on, Kanata sees all the townspeople start to throw red/orange dyed water at each other, giving their thanks as they do so.
When she’s doused by several people, Kanata’s enthusiasm takes the better of her and she wholeheartedly participates in the joyous melee.
Soaked to the bone, Kanata is approached by Rio, who thoroughly berates the girl for getting involved like that. When Kanata starts sneezing, Rio takes her along to a friends’ house where the young girl can take a bath and have her uniform washed.
Having her trumpet repaired, Rio is surprised when she’s handed back the bell that her father had given her which had broken but has also been repaired. Rio is surprised when Kanata intervenes, observing the bell makes a nostalgic sound she seems to remember from somewhere.
Holding the bell while out on the balcony, Kanata is shocked when an owl flies in, snatching it from her hands.
Ready to dive after the cheeky bird, Kanata near falls to her death as the balcony hangs over a massive cliff but she is pulled to safety by Rio who seems to make peace with the fact the treasured bell flew away.
Sending Kanata ahead since she has some business to take care off, little does Rio know the girl is laden with guilt over the lost bell and soon dashes through the streets of Seize in search of it after hearing its distinctive sound as the owl who took it flies nearby.
While Rio participates in the festival’s parade as the maiden of fire on a large wagon, Kanata heads to the outskirts of the city near the cliffs, desperately looking for the bell.
Seeing the bell shimmer as the last rays of the setting sun shine on it, Kanata jumps on the rock it is latched on but soon plummets into the water below when the rock gives way.
Sinking into the lake, Kanata sees a large skeleton resting in the rocks before she can haul herself to the shore.
Lost at the bottom of the cliffs, Kanata remembers the encouraging words of the army trumpeter she met as a child, who told her that feelings will be carried across the sound of the music she makes.
Playing her horn, Kanata knows she has been heard when far above from the city, Rio takes out her trumpet to respond.
Waking up inside the fortress to Rio’s booming voice, Kanata apologizes for all the trouble she’s caused.
Taking the young girl out on the tower balcony, Rio plays her trumpet as the sun rises, dazzling Kanata with the beautiful music and scenery. Soon instructing Kanata to blow the morning call on her horn, Rio is unsure what to think when their newest recruit turns out to be rather terrible.
Liked the first episode of “So-Ra-No-Wo-To” and it intrigued me as I couldn’t define the genre of the series quite precisely, nor predict what direction it will take.
The lush backgrounds with an exotic yet also very earthly mountain village location gave it a definite fantasy and rpg game atmosphere, which reminded me of series like “Last Exile” or “Fullmetal Alchemist”.
The part of the festival where the villagers doused each other with dyed water somehow reminded me of the ‘La Tomatina’ festival held in Buñol, Spain each year.
The cutesy female character animation style which previously solicited reactions from many that it looked like a “K-ON!” clone seems to indicate it could very well be a more heartful, moe series perhaps not unlike “Aria” which is set in a sci-fi world but focuses on the characters and their daily lives.
Though it also seems music may be an important aspect of the series, this first episode was filled with great tunes, including a lovely opening song by Kalafina and there surprisingly was a French insert song.
The ancient skeleton and legend about monsters again takes us to a more fantasy, sci-fi genre, in fact by being seen under water the skeleton reminded me of “Macross Zero”. The music and fantasy setting also reminded me somewhat of “RahXephon”, not sure why…
This first episode was but an appetizer of sorts, we saw the general setting and were introduced to Kanata and Rio who seem they will be the main characters out of the five girls in the squadron.
Liked Kobayashi Yu’s voice work as Rio, you may know her also from her roles as Mariya from “Maria†Holic” or Shizuku from “Candy☆Boy”.
Am curious to see Endo Aya in action as captain Felicia Heideman, Felicia is visually somewhat reminiscent of Miyuki from “Lucky Star” who Endo Aya also voiced, but she also did Sheryl in “Macross Frontier” and Itsuki in “Sora Wo Kakeru Shoujo”.
Also looking forward to seeing more of Kitamura Eri who also voiced Allean in “Queen’s Blade” and Uchida in “Minami-ke” and is performing as Kureha, the twin-tailed admirer of Rio.
Main lead Kanata is voiced by Aikawa Juri, who seems to be a relative newcomer but did a good job in this first episode.
Will “So-Ra-No-Wo-To” struggle to find a definite direction or will it surprise us by combining several elements into an entertaining series? We’ll see!