Ahiru no Sora Episodes 6 + 7 Review

Ahiru Episode 6 7

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

While episode 5 of Ahiru no Sora felt like it was crawling along, episode 6, despite being the end of the game and dragging out that final stretch of the game for most the episode, actually felt like it kept moving along. Part of the reason for that was the focus shifted away from just defending Sora to the various other team members and their attempts to contribute, and then Chiaki threw his hat in the ring and it changed the dynamic of the game enough that the final five minutes felt fairly fresh despite being the same game.


With the focus coming back onto the characters though the whole thing became more enjoyable. Sora’s trust in his teammates as well as the resilience they all had not to just call it quite despite being so far down in the score carried the episode along nicely. If we add in Chiaki tossing a bench at the hecklers (rightfully so after they littered on the court leading to Sora getting a light injury that was never mentioned again) then there’s more than enough highlights to keep episode 6 from feeling like the slog episode 5 felt like.


Episode 7 then is a far more logistical situation with the basketball team realising that without an actual adviser or being rostered on to the court, they can’t actually train on the courts. They even address the fact that up until now they have been playing on the court. It might be cheap drama, particularly with the principal’s condition of not getting into any more fights or the team will be disbanded, but in the context of Ahiru no Sora it feels more like a logical issue to face given the team members and not a tacked on bit of drama for the sake of it.

There’s also a lot of backstory about Sora and his mother as Sora’s grandmother gives Madoka a hair cut and fills in the details – except of course the condition that keeps Sora’s mother hospitalised. I love how they never name these mysterious illnesses that keep people sitting up in hospital beds but unable to leave and be with family.

ahiru no sora

Anyway, this one is clearly still kicking along and while I’m not a massive fan of it due to my own personal tastes, it is functional and seems to be getting better as it goes, or at least the supporting cast are less intolerable as it goes. I could take or leave the basketball at this point and it would be nice to see a little more animation going on during the game but overall it is perfectly watchable and those who like the cast or the sport more are more likely to be enjoying this outright.

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Karandi James

Follow the journey of Ahiru no Sora with all episode reviews.

Images from: Ahiru no Sora. Dir. K Kusakawa. Diomeda. 2019.

Ahiru no Sora Episode 5 Review

Ahiru Episode 5

Each Quarter an Eternity

They are really stretching this first game out. Like incredibly so. Like I couldn’t believe they hadn’t reached the half-time and I was checking the run time on the episode because I just wanted it to end.

So if they wanted us to emphasise with the players and feeling like they were trapped in a never ending game: Success! If they actually wanted me to feel some kind of hype then they have failed miserably.


It isn’t as though there aren’t some good moments. Seeing Sora getting shut down by a more skilled and experienced defence is both logical and necessary for his growth in the future. Seeing Momoharu continue to support him despite the extreme loss the team is suffering is a semi-nice character moment for him though now that he isn’t being a thug he seems to be utterly devoid of a personality. Then there’s Sora using his mum’s advice to get a shot toward the end of the episode. All good moments.


Surrounded and embedded in a trial of only semi-decent animation, pretty dull characters, and inane dialogue that just keeps going on and on. The spectators here are the worst offenders and really have absolutely nothing interesting to say but we will hear it all episode.

What is worse is the game really hasn’t ended yet. They are prolonging this another week. This isn’t a nail-biter and regardless of whether the characters insist it isn’t over, it really is. They’ve learned that they lack experience and that everyone outside of Sora lacks technique (though I guess they already knew that) and they can now either train and get better or call it quits. Dragging the game out any longer probably isn’t going to change that outcome.


Prior to this point Sora’s enthusiasm has been enough to keep me on board. But here he has too little of it as he has a lot of downtime between being defeated and bringing back his can-do attitude. In the absence of that vibrant personality, the rest of the cast just can’t fill the void and I’m not interested enough in the sport for the ball bouncing around to keep me hooked. Hopefully next week picks up the pace again, or at least gives the cast more to do.

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Karandi James

Follow the journey of Ahiru no Sora with all episode reviews.

Images from: Ahiru no Sora. Dir. K Kusakawa. Diomeda. 2019.

Ahiru no Sora Episode 4 Review

Ahiru Episode 4

Taking The Court

So I was wrong about finding out that Sora’s mum was actually dead however hospitalised mum is still pretty standard. Also, as usually it is unclear what is actually wrong with her or why she is hospitalised. Likewise, a little confusing as to whether the hospital she is in is near or far given Sora says he can’t see her at the moment. Anyway, hopefully we get some more information about that situation but it seems unlikely.


We do get some more backstory of Sora’s mum supporting him and encouraging him to play better to make up for his height. Little Sora is so cute and this was a fairly touching moment. I liked that she didn’t tell him the coach was wrong but put it on him to put in the work if he really wanted to play. It certainly explains his current self who makes no excuses but works hard.


Understandably, the team is not ready for their first match. Not emotionally and not with a full range of skills just yet, however they are taking the court and between Momoharu’s jumping and Sora’s shooting with a bit of support from the others they are managing to keep just ahead (though I’m pretty sure they are about to get slaughtered next episode).

This was probably the best episode so far and that’s most likely because the focus was on basketball. The only real ‘delinquent’ moment was when the spectators from the other school were heckling them before they took the court and otherwise they just kind of trained and played. It is amazing how much more tolerable all the characters are when they aren’t being complete jerks.


Also, the animation seemed to step up much like it did the very first time we saw Sora take the court. It is so fluid as we follow his movements around the court. I don’t even like basketball and I was impressed at his efforts. While this story still seems to be heading on a pretty predictable trajectory it is doing a good enough job and I’m behind the main character at least and starting to not actively dislike the rest of the cast (though probably won’t get fully behind them any time soon outside of wanting them to help Sora out). Hopefully this one continues to find its feet and lives up to its potential.

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Karandi James

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Images from: Ahiru no Sora. Dir. K Kusakawa. Diomeda. 2019.

Ahiru no Sora Episode 3 Review

Ahiru Episode 3

A Potential Rival?

Two weeks ago I gave my first impressions of this series and while I noted there was potential for it to be enjoyable I also worried because a lot of the characters who were introduced behaved in a manner that more or less made them characters I just wasn’t going to get behind.

…sooner or later they are actually going to start playing and at that point they are going to want the audience behind these characters but regardless of what development occurs here a character who steals someone else’s shoes is not one I’m going to be cheering for anytime soon.

Karandi – Episode 1 Review
I mean, I’m definitely inspired.

Well here we are in episode 3 and Aniru no Sora is pulling out all the stops to try to convert Momoharu into somehow who we can ‘understand’ and maybe learn to appreciate. But honestly it doesn’t matter how many times this anime now tries to make him look slightly more sympathetic, regardless of how he ended up being the guy who threatened others with throwing their shoes in the sewer, I’m not about to actually connect with him.

I want this on a T-Shirt.

Admittedly, he’s a lot more tolerable now and seeing him get beaten up multiple times in the episode isn’t exactly a bad way to try to gain sympathy for a character, but overall, they’d have been better off introducing him as a more stoic character and one who just didn’t get involved rather than an active antagonist. It would have made this sudden transformation to someone with a bit of hope easier to swallow.

Sora continues to be the hopeless optimist but realistically it is his never say die attitude that carries this anime as well as the hope that maybe for Sora it will pay off (after getting beaten down enough times). While he isn’t a unique character by any means he’s got enough charm on screen to at least make you curious about what is in store for him, outside of running around the court naked – and why was he naked again? The challenge was definitely boxers. Then again, I also noted after episode one that Sora lacked common sense or logic so at least that point remains consistent even if I wish it didn’t.


I think I’m committed to this one at this point. The overall cast hasn’t sold me on the anime and it is pretty formulaic, but there’s something compelling about Sora and honestly while the story is moving through familiar beats, they are familiar for a reason. They just work.

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Karandi James

Follow the journey of Ahiru no Sora with all episode reviews.

Images from: Ahiru no Sora. Dir. K Kusakawa. Diomeda. 2019.

Ahiru no Sora Episode 2 Review

Ahiru Episode 2

Effort vs EFFORT

Episode 2 of Ahiru no Sora was pleasantly watchable and reasonably engaging considering I was not expecting much after the first episode. The removal of random and petty fights kind of helped as instead we got a continuation of the show down on the court and then learned a bit about the other characters while Sora shot a lot of baskets. It isn’t amazing but there’s definitely some potential here and if it maintains its current path I’m probably going to enjoy this enough during its run.


They were making a heavy appeal for us to at least understand Momoharu and maybe not think he’s total scum after last week’s effort. I’m going to point out, I still really hate him. If he was someone I knew in real life I would utterly despise him. Still, he does at least have a moment of realisation at the end when he realises the effort he put in before quitting vs the effort Sora is putting in, and still putting in, that at least makes it seem like maybe he’s going to grow as a person. It doesn’t make up for randomly trying to steal someone else’s shoes but at least there’s a chance he won’t remain at rock bottom.



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The pacing in this second episode was definitely better as episode one felt like it dragged a bit. Here we moved swiftly between the match to the aftermath to the next day and so on with the show never feeling like we were treading water. I do want to know why Chiaki seems to think ducks can’t fly but that’s probably a question for another episode.


I’m not expecting great things from Ahiru no Sora but I definitely walked away from episode 2 with more confidence that I’ll see this one through. The one thing we probably could have done without was the part about the guy using a pole to try to steal a girl’s bra but clearly the holes in the wall between the two changing rooms is going to be an ongoing issue. Other than that, I found this episode pretty pleasant.

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Karandi James

Follow the journey of Ahiru no Sora with all episode reviews.

Images from: Ahiru no Sora. Dir. K Kusakawa. Diomeda. 2019.

Ahiru no Sora Episode 1

Ahiru Episode Review

Short guy with height complex
wants to play basketball.

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken on a sports anime. Admittedly I did review Run With The Wind and Tsurune this year but they are both just a little bit different to the standard team dynamics in something like Haikyuu. Ahiru no Sora has made a fairly unimpressive start but it isn’t without merit and there’s certainly a lot of growth potential. Whether it does anything with that or not remains to be seen.


Kurumatani Sora is a new high school student who just wants to play basketball despite being under 150 centimetres tall. Seriously? I’m 165 centimetres and even I realise that’s too short to actually be effective at basketball. But hey, it isn’t as though short and spunky characters with grit and determination haven’t dominated in anime sports series before so I guess we’ll just wave that one right on by and deal with his idiotic decision not to run away from fights. Sure, if you have a chance of winning stick around but why on earth would you stand there and get pummelled? Yep, our protagonist has determined protagonist syndrome all over and that may very well crush my enthusiasm for the Ahiru no Sora if he doesn’t start applying actual logic to the situations he’s in.

You look so tough eating that wafer.

When we add the rest of the introduced cast so far which consists mostly of the delinquents who make up the ‘basketball team’ at the highschool Sora is attending and it just makes me sigh. These are the usual knock people down because they can delinquents that appear so often in anime. Worse than that, it is clear from the OP that sooner or later they are actually going to start playing and at that point they are going to want the audience behind these characters but regardless of what development occurs here a character who steals someone else’s shoes is not one I’m going to be cheering for anytime soon.


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It isn’t all doom and gloom. While the character designs aren’t exactly pretty, each of the characters is quite distinct. The scenery so far has been lovely, and the final few minutes where we actually played basketball weren’t bad. I just wish there was some common sense at play. You know, why didn’t the main character know that the school he was going to didn’t have a competitive team? They are probably going to pull the ‘dead mum went to that school’ card as a justification for a choice but given his obsession with playing you would think he would have done a bare minimum of research.


This one may or may not last the season but at least it is changing things up from the fantasy/isekai fare that I’ve been drowning in lately. For the sheer fact that there are so far no super powers of any kind going on I’m going to give this one a go and see if that novelty is enough to keep me watching. Still, the characters so far aren’t helping Ahiru no Sora’s case and unless they start being a little more tolerable this one won’t go far for me.

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Karandi James

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Images from: Ahiru no Sora. Dir. K Kusakawa. Diomeda. 2019.

Kuroko’s Basketball Season 1 Series Review: Dribble, Pass, Shoot, Score



An up-and-coming power player, Taiga Kagami, is just back from America. When he comes to Seirin High School, he meets the super-ordinary boy, Tetsuya Kuroko. Kagami is shocked to find that Kuroko isn’t good at basketball, in fact, he’s bad! And he’s so plain that he’s impossible to see. But Kuroko’s plainness lets him pass the ball around without the other team noticing him, and he’s none other than the sixth member of the Miracle Generation.

– From AnimeLab


Okay, I know my title kind of gives it away but I am not in love with this series. Admittedly, I’m not bit on sport in the first place, so it had to happen sooner or later that I’d try a sport anime that didn’t really work for me and Kuroko just happened to be the one. Still, after Haikyuu, this is probably the one that was most recommended to me by people so I was kind of hopeful going in. And it isn’t that I found Kuroko’s Basketball to be bad, it just does a lot of things I’m not very interested in. But rather than rambling I’m going to try to get into this review.


Probably the main strength of Kuroko’s Basketball is that it is very watchable. By that, I mean you can just turn it on, let it go, and the next thing you know half a day will have disappeared. The episodes don’t drag, it never feels like time is passing (which is odd given how often they show us the clock in the games), and everything just kind of moves along. There are enough bright colours without it being a visual eye sore to look at to keep you focussed on the screen, and the music carries you into each episode and through most scenes. It just fundamentally works and while it isn’t doing anything particularly exceptional it would be very hard to argue that Kuroko’s Basketball was a broken show.

The second reason I found myself caught up watching the first season was Kuroko. I found him a highly relatable character (though not a particularly interesting one). So, particularly in the early half of the season, I was actually really enjoying the show but then something happens. We start to shift more and more to focus on Kagami and the other characters and by the final episodes of the season, even though Kagami and Kuroko are there it would be hard to explain to someone who sat down to watch the show at that point that Kise and Aomine aren’t actually the main characters. So with the character I most liked watching in the show fading out as the season continued, I found myself with a bit more time to focus on other aspects of the show and that was when I realised that while I found it quite watchable, there were very few things that later on I wanted to talk about in regard to the show.


Basically the plot is that Kuroko wants to beat his old team-mates playing with his new team to convince them that his vision of basketball is worthwhile, or maybe just that they are all egocentric jerks (I’m not really sure on what the ultimate motivation is and at times I wonder if he is). And while the motivation to play and win is really neither here nor there it is difficult to care whether they win or not. Aomine is the only person you actually want to see lose and it is quite clear that season 1 isn’t the time for that to happen. So in the absence of any driving plot what we have are the usual team getting together shenanigans, entering a tournament, pulling off some fairly impossible wins, before finally getting knocked out which at first depresses them and then inspires them to come back even stronger for the next tournament. Much the same as every sport story ever.

Where shows like Haikyuu and Days appealed to me more because of the overall cast of characters, their plots are almost identical with the exception that both of those shows had a relatively inexperienced player in the midst. So from a plot point of view Kuroko is pretty standard, though that isn’t a point against it, merely just another point that doesn’t really help it stand out and while it might be older than some of the other shows, I’m only watching this now so that is definitely going to change how I view. That said, if this had been my first entry into sport anime, I probably wouldn’t have watched another.


The cast is a bit of a mixed bag in Kuroko. Other than Kuroko himself, I didn’t really like or care for any of the cast. They all work in their roles and they are all fairly memorable in their own way, but they just didn’t appeal to me. That led to a fairly detached viewing experience and when a character faced a problem I was seldom concerned about the outcome. Whether they played or didn’t, won or didn’t, none of that ever really bothered me. Even the characters who are supposed to be more confrontational didn’t really do much for me. It was more like they were reading the script of high school jock with attitude rather than really conveying the tone and I get that it’s entirely subjective and some people will find these characters quite appealing and realistic, I mostly struggled to see them as anything other than placeholders for personalities and events that were needed to keep the ball rolling, or bouncing as the case may be.

I will point out that the character designs at time caused me some issues. Probably because I’ve watched an overabundance of CLAMP anime where characters are impossibly tall and skinny with heads slightly too large for their twig like bodies, but Kuroko’s Basketball gives us characters that at times, particularly when dressed in school uniforms, has their bodies seem far too thick and bulky and their heads just a fraction too small for the bulk below. It is weird and jarring, though Aomine is probably the character that suffers the most from this effect. When on the court, this effect seldom occurs, but it happened quite often in other scenes.


The games themselves are what they are. They play basketball. There’s back and forth play, there are fouls, injuries, sweat flying in all directions, and occasionally some neon lights around the characters to let you know they are about to do something really cool. I guess if you were more into the characters or more into basketball this might work (or maybe it would work less if you understood basketball) but for me it was more just another set piece for the characters. Basically, watching Haikyuu gave me about three minutes of time thinking I’d like to step onto a volleyball court (before common sense kicked in) whereas watching Kuroko didn’t make me consider anything about basketball other than the fact that I just spent a lot of time watching anime characters play basketball.

There are some great moments between characters and individual plays are occasionally note worthy on the court. As I said at the start of the review, the show’s greatest strength is that it is really watchable. Which means as a piece of entertainment it is definitely hitting the mark. However, in about a months time, when asked what anime I’ve watched recently, I probably won’t even remember I watched this. It was watched, enjoyed enough, and then forgotten in the instant. I may watch the next season of this eventually given I know I’ll probably enjoy the watching and if I’m coming home tired and stressed from work, this kind of viewing is actually exactly what I need because it doesn’t make me think or stress me too much, but it still won’t be something I’d sing the praises of.

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Karandi James.