Sunday Without God Series Review

Sunday Review

There is something kind of magical about a series that opens with a premise so extraordinarily thought provoking you are almost drawn in against your will and Sunday Without God definitely does that. You need to know how this story will explore the question they have laid before the audience. The answers may not always be satisfying, but the journey is usually interesting and even if it isn’t, just by asking the question, the story has opened a conversation for viewers which means it can take on a life of its own beyond what the writer intended.

Sunday Without God, or Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi, does just that and opens the story essentially by asking viewers to imagine a world where death no longer holds real meaning. In this story, fifteen years ago, God abandoned the world and closed the gate to Heaven, leaving the souls of humankind trapped in limbo. What that means is people die and then they just keep walking around. However, eternal life (or unlife) isn’t that great and so Gravekeepers appear and are able to bury the dead so that they actually rest (or stay dead).


Ai is the Gravekeeper for her mountain village but she knows little of the world. One day a stranger arrives who changes Ai’s life and forces her to see the world a little differently.

It’s an intriguing premise and one that has so many possibilities for exploration. While Sunday Without God may not have been fully up to the task of addressing the concept, it certainly gave it a good effort.

The first thing that struck me about this anime was how beautiful it was. Every scene is just a feast for the eyes. Whether they are showing souls dancing in the air, the trees, leaves, sunlight or anything else, it is truly beautiful. And the music that accompanies most scenes is rich and lovely to listen to while conveying a lot of the mood of the current scene. And this anime is all about atmosphere.

While at first it seems Ai is just another overly cute anime protagonist who is going to save the world with peppiness, there are a lot of dark undertones to the world in Sunday Without God and the plot never shies away from dealing with these. And Ai, to her credit, tackles most obstacles head on with very little denial of reality or insistence that something isn’t right. She works to overcome things on her own.

Which means the aesthetics of this anime are amazing and our protagonist (after we get through the initial scenes of her life before she was aware of anything) grows in leaps and bounds and takes us on a journey of discovery about life and its purpose (even if it gives us few answers on the way).

The support cast are also a great asset to this story each with their own idiosyncrasies, backstories, and needs in this broken world they find themselves in. It is hard not to get drawn into their stories and to imagine yourself in such a place and to wonder how you would react given the circumstances that befall them.

The greatest strength of Sunday Without God is that it doesn’t wave a single solution around but rather lets the characters make natural choices and leaves the audience to imagine what else might have been.

Sunday 5.jpg
Yes, these characters definitely have a story (or two) to tell.

Sunday Without God is episodic in that there are distinct story arcs within the greater journey Ai is taking. The first few episodes deal with her meeting a stranger who changes her perception about the village she was raised in. The next arc takes her to a city that is almost entirely populated with the dead who are trying to live their own lives.

Then we have a school arc, because they just kind of had to stick a kid in school (and to be honest this is the weakest of all the arcs but it does lead very nicely into the final arc). And lastly, Ai is recruited by a boy named Alice and asked to help him destroy his world. The explanation behind that request is more mundane than it at might at first appear but it is an excellent story to end on.


While some characters travel with Ai, each arc brings new characters into the fold and then they go their own ways. This is both a strength and a weakness. The strength of this is that we continually meet new characters appropriate to the current setting and we also don’t have to keep inventing reasons for others to still be hanging around. But it’s a weakness because some characters are really interesting and then they are left behind. In a longer series, this could have been a nice touch as Ai may have had a chance to revisit these characters when she was a little bit more worldly. Unfortunately, in 12 episodes, mostly these characters are simply forgotten.

Sunday 4.jpg
And some we say a permanent good-bye to seemingly too soon and yet it all makes sense.

I’ll be honest and admit that if you are after something fast paced, Sunday Without God is not for you. Even though there are occasional moments of action, the show focusses very heavily on character dialogue and interactions. This is a story about how people deal with life, death, and what comes next and it is very focussed on their reasons and their emotions. Large lengths of time are focussed on characters either sitting and talking or driving together and talking or eating together and talking.

And, as I already mentioned, most of the characters come into the show and then go again. So other than the immediate change that Ai manages to bring to people there isn’t a lot development of anyone other than Ai. They just aren’t in the show long enough to grow. It often leaves you wondering what is going to happen in the future to that character. Will they simply go back to how they were? Will they fall into despair? Will they find their own way?

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Are they the single cutest harbinger of death you ever saw?

This is a show full of fascinating moments and ideas. I love the initial story and watching as Ai confronts her rapidly expanding world. I also love the city of the dead and how we see the different views on death and life. But my favourite character is Alice who isn’t introduced until the school arc and doesn’t really do much until his request for Ai’s help. The relationship between Ai and Alice and how they work together to save/destroy his world is really interesting.

Overall, I love Sunday Without God. It is sweet and thought provoking and just a pleasure to watch. However, it is also heavy at times and the plot is slow moving. I’d strongly recommend that if you haven’t watched the anime, at least watch the first three episodes and see the first story before you make up your mind about it. It’s well worth checking out.

Images from: Sunday Without God. Dir. Y Kumazawa. Madhouse. 2013

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Tuesday’s Top 5: Male Anime Characters With Pink Hair

Tuesday's Top 5

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a colour list and I actually struggled a bit with 5 males I liked with pink hair. The female list which will come out next week was definitely easier to come up with. That said, there are some interesting characters on the list below and as always I’d love to know who your picks would be for male anime characters with pink hair. I kind of went for characters that are important to their story and really rock the pink hair colour.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Number 5: Hikaru (Ouran High School Host Club)


Okay, right from the start I am cheating here because Hikaru does not normally have pink hair. Yet, for one episode of Ouran High School Host Club, after a fight between the twins seemingly triggered by an innocuous comment by Haruhi, the twins dye their hair blue and pink. I have to admit, I kind of liked the look and kind of wished they’d kept it going for the rest of the season.

Number 4: Zange Natsum (Inu X Boku SS)


There’s something super-cute and simultaneously super-creepy about Zange. He see’s far too much and isn’t above manipulating others for his own entertainment. That said, he certainly marches to the beat of his own drummer and provides some of the best scenes in Inu x Boku SS so despite his more questionable tendencies he became one of my favourite characters.

Number 3: Hisoka (Hunter x Hunter)


I still haven’t decided if I like Hisoka as a character or not. He’s incredibly creepy but he adds a lot to the story and he has some great moments. Plus, you have to admit he’s got a style all of his own and I really couldn’t imagine him with any other hair colour other than pink. He’s certainly earned himself a spot on this list even if I feel like running the other direction.

Number 2: Alice Color (Sunday Without God)


Alice Color only shows up in the final arc of Sunday Without God (though is in the OP from the beginning) and while he’s a fairly stoic character he is also very cool. Driven and determined to free his town from its endless loop, even when he believes that he’s going to die to do it, his story is one of the best in Sunday Without God.

Number 1: Natsu (Fairy Tail)


Okay, if it was a question of my favourite character in Fairy Tail, Natsu wouldn’t get much of a look in. Despite some pretty cool dragon themed powers and a fiery personality, I don’t really enjoy Natsu’s antics in much of the early parts of the story (definitely prefer Gray). That said, when looking at distinct pink haired anime guys, Natsu immediately jumped to mind. While I think a lot of the other characters are more interesting, Natsu is definitely a bundle of energy, his interactions with Lucy are adorable, and when he gets going in a fight you know its going to be big. Plus, he has a talking flying cat for a friend so you really can’t beat that.

That’s my list this week, be sure to check back next week when I list my top 5 anime females with pink hair.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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