Eva’s First Impression
Hoshiai no Sora started off on a fairly, sunny note with Katsuragi Maki returning to his old neighbourhood with his mother. He is a precious boy who does a lot to support his mother by taking care of their errands from preparing their meals, doing the housework, picking up groceries and so on forth. He is an incredibly friendly character who has a great spirit, which is why the pain and the suffering he and his mother faces makes it all the more brutal to watch. It’s probably fair to say, the moment we all saw the finger covering the peekhole, our hearts dropped. My gut told me things were going to get ugly, but mentally preparing myself didn’t make it any less nerving when we saw Maki shivering in fear, and then be beaten up because he refused to give him their money.
Their situation with this father leaves me with the impression they must have been moving around constantly in hopes of steering clear from him. And yet somehow, he has always seems to find them. Although divorced, Maki and his mother continues to be harassed and abused by his father, who not only steals their money but physically assaults Maki and likely his mother as well. It’s horrible that this appears to have been enough of a pattern that they have to go as far to hiding their money in fear he would appear, and yet he still manages to find it and get away with it. The fact he could just walk in and then out with what he wanted makes me nauseous. I don’t know if he will ever be properly be dealt with in the future, but I pray for both Maki’s and his mother’s sake that they won’t have to live in fear and dread of him showing up at their door.
PROTECT MAKI AND HIS MOTHER! Q_______Q
As for Shinjo Toma, captain of the Soft Tennis Club team, truthfully speaking, I am not sure what I think of his character yet. We know he is determined to keep the club running, and has been growing increasingly fed up with the members of his club. As long as somebody on their team gets a win, the club will survive the cut. But since nobody but Toma thinks getting a win at the upcoming competition is do-able, it really comes at no surprise the lengths he is willing to go to prevent to prevent the Soft-Tennis club from disbanding.
Which is why Toma sees Maki as their club’s lifeline. Maki’s quick reflexes and being in good shape (who’d rather take the stairs up to the eight floor instead of waiting for an elevator) are why he wants to train him to be him to be his partner in the summer tourbnament. And as far as we are concerned, Maki doesn’t appear to have any tennis experience (though he may know some of the basics based on the flashback with Ryouma showing him his racket), so Toma is counting on him to be dedicated enough to practice to make the magic happen. So in hopes to persuade him, he agreed to the condition of paying him, and went as far as offering Maki up to 30,000yen for his participation in the club. (Roughly 300$, which is crazy!) However despite Toma’s questionable approach, he has his own shares of problems at home. While he seems to have a fairly healthy relationship with his brother Ryouma (their club’s alumni who has reached Nationals in the past), he doesn’t share the same with his mother, who expressed she (for whatever reason) feels uncomfortable being with him alone. She seems to have some serious problems of her own, which just adds a whole another layer to the drama that exists in the two households. Both boys have it rough.
As for the team: Honestly, I am left to wonder how many of them are actually going to stick around at this point. Their shitty attitudes and lack of effort was incredibly off-putting to watch. Good grief, it’s no wonder they are a laughing-stock. With the exception of Toma, a lot of them didn’t even take it seriously when they were having a joint-practice match with the girls’ team (which really ticked off the girls’ coach). Gosh, it burns me up inside because I can relate to Toma’s frustration so much. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a group or team who isn’t interested in the activity nor has any motivation to improve. Way to spoil the passion of others who actually try their best! Hell, don’t even get me started on their reaction to the news of their club being at risk of disbandment. When you have these type of people loitering around, it really comes as no surprise why Student Council President suggested to enforce a new rule where clubs who fail to produce results would be disbanded. Does it suck? ABSOLUTELY! But its also a a warning for clubs who are lazying around to get their shit together.
To be completely real with you, by the end of the episode, the only characters I found myself caring about were Maki and Mitsue (a classmate who lives in the same apartment building as him). And as I mentioned earlier, I am going to need some time to get to know Toma better before I can really form an opinion of his character. But other than that, I really enjoyed the premiere and I am excited for what’s to come. Yes it definitely caught me off guard by how dark and depressing the drama aspect of the story has turned out to be, but I am also looking forward to their partnership in the upcoming competition.
As for covering the show, I wasn’t planning on picking up more than three titles this season, but if nobody else on the team is interested, I’ll try giving this show up to three episodes to see if it clicks with me enough to squeeze time some for it in my schedule. Otherwise I will be yielding it to another writer who is plans on picking it up (and I am sure someone will be!)
Possibility of Blogging: Moderate – Will give three episodes if nobody else is interested.
Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Quietcupcake’s First Impression
Coming into this episode, I was expecting a classic case of a struggling team trying to band together to overcome their administration. And to some extent, we got that, but we also got… so much more.
The episode started off with an introduction of the soft tennis club and their skills or lack thereof. Most of our team was lazy, clumsy, or completely disinterested in the actual activity of the club and instead focused on getting all the girls. But among all these stragglers we have one team member who can actually hold their own against their highly respective counterparts, Toma. At first glance, Toma really seems like someone who just cares deeply about the club and soft tennis as a sport and wants to keep it going, but we didn’t really get to learn about his drive for the sport in this episode. And I bring this up because in so many other sports anime we usually learn the main characters motivation by the end of the first episode, but for me I don’t know what soft tennis means for him, I don’t know the role that it has played in his life, and why he feels the need to fight for its existence. In fact, we learned very little about him in this episode. We know he’s acquainted with Maki, our other main character, his older brother Ryoma used to be a member of the club while it was successful, he’s fighting hard to keep the club together, and the relationship between he and his mother is… not good. I don’t want to speculate what their relationship might be at this point, because I’m unsure if the tone of his mother’s voice was fear or disappointment and after the ending of this episode, I think that it’s safe to say that this anime is willing to throw anything at us as viewers. So, I wouldn’t say I like Toma as a character, but I also don’t dislike him – if anything I just want to learn more about him.
However, Toma is not the only focus of this anime. We also have our other main character, Maki, a cheerful looking boy who recently transferred to Toma’s school and is now the focus of recruitment. Maki is introduced to us as a bright and cheery type of character, he’s usually got a smile on his face and is ready to get things done. During a majority of the episode, I was definitely under the impression that he was someone who was just raised that way… and to some extent, you could definitely argue that. He’s recently moved back to his home town giving us a connection to Toma, but if anything the two don’t really seem like they’re friends, which probably means we’ll have some backstory to dig up for those two in due time. However, we were able to learn that Maki is definitely interested in Ryoma. BUT! What gets me the most is just how many hints they dropped about Maki’s life during the course of the episode. Why did he move around? Why are struggling financially? Why did his parents divorce? All these questions, at least for me have become ideas that I have stopped questioning while watching anime – these are all things we see fairly often. But I think the part that gets me the most is the flashback to young Maki, with bandages and bruises, admiring Ryoma. I just attributed those injuries to being a kid, but then the ending of the episode came and it all clicked.
I won’t go in depth about what happened in the ending, but I worry for Maki and his mother moving forward. It makes me very nervous for what is going to happen as the series progresses. However, the absolute absence of music at the end, aahhh it sent shivers down my spine, it was very uncomfortable and it just ended. There was no ending theme, no conversation, just… silence and that sat with me for quite a bit.
It’s hard to think about where to go from here, but I wanted to take this back around to the soft tennis club as a whole. Like I mentioned before, a lot of them were lazy and did have bad attitudes, but at the same time they were all still working together. They were all still trying to recruit new members, but they weren’t very good at it. It was lackluster effort, but at least there was some effort there? I don’t think all of them will stick around for much longer, but I do think there will be a couple of team members who will provide valuable support for our main duo.
After this episode, I don’t really know what I should be expecting. I’m nervous for our characters and what’s going to happen. Like Eva I was definitely caught off guard, but I’m eager to see how everything begins to develop and come together.
Possibility of Blogging: Pretty High!
Possibility of Watching: High