Welcome to Sonny Boy the story of 36 teens who happen to be in their school when it drifts into another dimension. Or something like that. What are my initial thoughts?
Watch or Drop? Rules
- The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
- At least 3 episodes have already aired.
- Episodes 1- 3 to be watched in a single sitting and a decision reached as to whether the anime will be added to the watch/review list or dropped and forgotten. For good.
First Impressions of Sonny Boy
I will admit, I’m terribly confused by the title of this one. Sonny Boy? What is it in reference to? Not that it matters given anime has a distinct lack of care sometimes if the title means anything or nothing. Anyway, I think I’m going to take Jack’s approach and just put the name to one side for now and maybe it will all make sense when I get to the end of the anime.
That said, I wasn’t exactly going in with no information. I’ve been reading reviews and episode impressions of Sonny Boy since the start of the season and finally decided it was time to dive in. Though a number of reviewers had mentioned this had a Lord of the Flies feeling that isn’t really the impression I’m getting, though there’s definitely some comparable points.
Anyway, the first three episodes each present a different situation the kids are dealing with as well as the ongoing exploration to find out what is going on and whether they can get home. These episodes also show case an array of powers the kids have as well as introducing the ideas of rules that apply in each space.
So what works and what doesn’t so far in Sonny Boy?
Sonny Boy Series Positives:
If nothing else, the first three episodes of Sonny Boy are intriguing and promise a potentially interesting reveal for a later time. What caused the school to start drifting and did the kids in fact have their powers before they crossed into a different dimension? This is yet to really be confirmed. I’m just hoping this isn’t like Lost which really felt like the plot was the only thing lost by the mid-way point.
Actually I’m kind of getting a The One’s Within vibe from this story so far though I am hoping the payoff is a little better than that one was.
The first three episodes of Sonny Boy have also each focused on one particular dilemma allowing us time to get to know a bit about the characters as they confront it. I suspect that the majority of the class will always remain a bit of a mystery, but by the end of the third episode the main players in the story have all had time to leave an impression.
Equally, each of the stories has followed naturally on from the previous one. At the end of episode one Nagara and Nozomi fall from the school and end up in an ocean. Episode two sees the characters adapting to the rules of the island and then episode 3 moves between both settings as Mizuho and Nagara try to figure out why some class mates are being frozen.
Visually, Sonny Boy works very well but I am finding the characters a little on the creepy side. Movements are very fluid and at times their smiles and expressions just kind of rub me the wrong way. That’s not a negative (which is why it is in the positive list) because the animation is very fluidly done and the settings have all been stunning. It does just take a bit to get used to.
Sonny Boy Series Negatives:
I think if anything is really going to put someone off this anime it will be the characters. Sonny Boy has introduced a lot of personalities but very few of them are likeable and far too many of the characters are really just blending into the background at the moment (to the point where I probably wouldn’t be able to identify they were even in the anime if shown a picture).
Equally, there’s no one yet who I’ve really connected with as a main character or someone I really want to see succeed here. While unlikable characters have their place, it has made it hard to really be too concerned about the plight of these students. Nozomi has had one or two great moments but she’s too chaotic to really be someone you can rally behind. Mizuho is righteous to a fault and as a result is angry at the world. Nagara is so passive he’s really hard to back. And Asakaze is pretty much a jerk. Forget the student council members. They are all awful.
That said, they all have potential and as they endure the various events and trials and we learn more about them, there’s certainly time for them to grow on me or to be changed by the events in the plot for the better. Certainly, they aren’t unlikeable enough to be a reason not to watch the story.
And honestly, that’s all I have for negatives so far. These first three episodes were pretty engaging.
So yes, I will be watching Sonny Boy when it concludes (or maybe do a few short viewings throughout the season). I’m very curious as to where it will go and it feels a bit different from the other shows I’m watching this season.
I’m in. How about you? Are you watching Sonny Boy?
Images from: Sonny Boy. Dir. S Natsume. Madouse. 2021
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Hope you enjoyed.