Category Archives: Light Novel

Iriya No Sora – Revisited (2014)


It’s been nine years since the anime adaptation of Iriya No Sora. In a way, I’m grateful of having remembered this series. A lot has been said about this adaptation, “flat characters”, “lack of explanations”, “horrible pacing”. I’m not here to defend those “attacks” against the adaptation because they are “correct”. When you see an studio shrinking what was supposed to be 12 episodes into 6 episodes, and the fact that the four light novel volumes contains around 320 pages each. It kind of falls flat at the hellish decisions that were made back then.

I think Iriya No Sora deserved more than that. It had a lot of things going for it, a very steady scenario and plot.

The story starts with Naoyuki Asaba, a high school boy making his way into a swim facility where he encounters Iriya, she’s startled by Asaba after he calls her out and falls into the pool. Little did Asaba know that she didn’t know how to swim.

[ReDone] Iriya's Sky, Summer of UFOs - 01v2 (DVD) [06C439CC].mkv_snapshot_06.33_[2014.01.11_21.28.06]

The series premise revolves around a secret war against human and aliens, however we find out that there’s more going on than just that. We learn that Iriya is actually a pilot destined to fight aliens.

The character traits Asaba carries are of an spineless boy trying to make himself likeable to Iriya. He’s sensible and doesn’t pretend to know everything. Iriya’s character sits on the clueless girl who just wants to learn how to swim, her background however is deeper than that and we later find out why she acts the way she does.

The cast of support characters are left unpolished throughout the series. We see a lot of jealousy, guilt, treason, and abuse as the series unfolds. They are but momentary glimpses, and it doesn’t develop further than that.

[ReDone] Iriya's Sky, Summer of UFOs - 04 (DVD) [F159EE2D].mkv_snapshot_24.48_[2014.01.12_11.59.45]

Iriya No Sora is itself a tragedy that tells the tale of love. The pacing of the story doesn’t help us understand how everything came to be. In many episodes we see that there’s a bigger plot under the surface, but due to the lack of time, and lack of episodes it’s impossible to admire them to the fullest.

[ReDone] Iriya's Sky, Summer of UFOs - 04 (DVD) [F159EE2D].mkv_snapshot_05.36_[2014.01.12_11.42.56]

In the end, I feel that the series has suffered by the insane choices made. It’s quite a pity, because for a series that had a lot going for it and there hasn’t been an attempt to reboot it.  Like I said, it deserves better.


Will light novels take over manga in the future?

There’s no denying that there’s a growth spurt in Light Novels. Groups like Baka-Tsuki are doing a great job in translating LNs (I will refer Light Novels as LNs from here on) and I thank them for that. I wish I could even donate money if I could. Truth be told I also want LNs to become even more popular in U.S. A lot of LNs have been licensed in the U.S, but most of the time they end up dropping it because it’s not really brimming with sales.

There are a variety of reasons of why I like light novels, one of the main ones is because we eliminate the barrier of art to focus on the characters, the surroundings, the plot. We have a closer look into the main character and his thoughts, to see if he’s critical thinker, or a dumb idiot, or a cruel bastard. In manga, it’s really hard for the mangaka to give a lot of exposure to the characters. Now imagine this with anime, which is only 24 minutes for 24 episodes (or 13) per season, creating a storyboard where we can push in all the dialogue in the story is mission impossible, or just simply impossible.

I always appreciate when mangakas work their hardest on covering small details in their work. Sometimes we see a lot of plot holes within mangas, especially in genres like harem there are a lot of questionable actions. Most of us feel uneasy because we end up comparing it to real life decisions therefore leaving a bitter taste. We musn’t forget that light novels or mangas are fictional work, sometimes authors don’t want to have realistic characters taking realistic decisions within the context of the story because it would kill the fantasy, maybe?

Anyway, I do like good stories. I don’t want to sound like I’m defending bad stories in mangas or light novel.

Rewinding back to the main question, do you think the era of light novels is here? I do love mangas, but seems that I will end up inclining to LNs in the future.