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.
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.
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.
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.