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[R2 DVD art (Japanese)]
AKA: The Promise I made over this Blue Sky, この青空に約束を― ~ようこそつぐみ寮へ~
Genre: Romance, drama, comedy
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently streaming on crunchyroll. (Even internationally.)
Content Rating: PG-13 (Light fanservice, adult topics.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Kanon, Clannad, ToraDora.
Notes: Based on a Hentai Visual Novel game by Giga for the PC, with a PS2 port plus a porn-free PSP port.
Rating: One Star

Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo ~Youkoso Tsugumi Ryouhe~

Synopsis

Wataru Hoshino is living in an otherwise female only dormitory on Minami-sakōjima Island, where he generally gets involved in the lives of the other female residents. The dorm itself is in danger of being closed down should the number of residents fall below five, but that's not the only problem Wataru and the girls face, one girl at a time.


Review

On Wednesday the 22nd of September 2010, I, Stig Høgset, declare the following: this is the absolutely worst anime I have seen. The record has now been broken. For all their depravity and callousness, Violence Jack and Battle Can-Can simply doesn't reach this level of indifference when it comes to the production than this does. And if I'm to believe what I can read in Wikipedia, this game has earned various Bishoujo game awards. Personally, judging by what I saw in this anime, I have a VERY hard time believing that.

The funny thing is, Kono Aozora is built in a way that makes it very easy to pick apart. In the show, each of the six girls get two episodes each to present their story -- as it was. The one thing the show forgot, though, is that when you make an anime centered around the characters and their problems, it is imperative that you actually like them, or at least respect their positions or opinions. It also helps that you have a main character who's not an asshole with stalkerish tendencies, but we'll get to that later. For now, let's just do a rundown of the girls and their problems, just so you know what you're dealing with.

The first lucky contestant is Sawaki Rinna. When you first meet her and her underwear, she's just waking up from... something. I don't know exactly what, but judging by the empty beer and sake bottles lying nearby, I can only conclude that someone has been lying to me. These are all high-school kids, most of them first and second years, and yet I had to be 18 to drink beer and 21 for hard liquor.

But it appears that Rinna has more to worry about than her state of undress. Her stay will only last for a year, so she concludes with the fact that there's no point in getting to know anyone, preferring to spend the year in a constant state of bitchiness instead, just so she can be spared the trouble of sad farewells. Wataru is having none of that, though, so he loudly proclaims that he's going to stalk her until she changes her mind. Probably due to the fact that stalking generally leads to restraining orders or jailtime, the plan is changed to a duel instead. A running duel, to be specific.

Once that is resolved, Wataru moves on to the next girl, who happens to be Rokujou Miyaho. She is the granddaughter of the school's chairman of the board, and now that her grandfather has passed on, she arrived on the island to do some research on his past. Eventually, she puts up a school project about his life, but Wataru has the nerve to tell her that the work she put behind it is incomplete, and so she proceeds to lock herself inside her own mansion... for a month. Let me make this absolutely clear; she locked herself inside her home for a month due to a hissyfit. A MONTH! All just because he didn't go there to drag her out by the toenails.

Eventually, he busts his ass finishing HER work, and all is settled. Wataru moves on to the next girl. Or rather, we move back in time -- again -- to before he met Fujimura Shizu, the introverted recluse of the group. She's got a problem with her parents never being there for her, not to mention the complete inability to keep her hat on her head on sunny days. Seriously. It happens in the intro animation and it happens several times in the show, partially due to the wind, and partially due to "there one second, gone the next".

As it turns out, her father is a workaholic and her mother is a slot jockey, so Wataru does the most reasonable thing he can think of; he takes her home with him. Here is where I grudgingly have to admit that things at the very least makes sense. Naoko is the first to point out that just taking her home with him like that might probably land him a kidnapping charge, but even if not, it's a rash decision to make anyway unless he's honestly planning on taking care of her until she's a full fledged adult. This doesn't stop the others from blowing things out of proportion, though, and, naturally, after all is said and done, things settle down once more, just in time for the next girl.

And you know what? I don't care to go into detail about that, because it's just so blindingly dreary. To put it short; Umi finds her courage, Saeri is called into a school council meeting while investigating, not making this up; the school principal's plans on turning the island into a vacation resort, which for some reason, involves tearing down the old dorm at all costs. The cad! As for Naoko, you're not going to believe some of the things she decides to do in the duration of her two episodes.

This is one of the biggest problems of this show; its utter failure at properly presenting the simple storylines it sets up for itself. Rinna needs to get over herself and try to make some friends. Shizu's story is basically your average "you have to take responsibility for your children if you choose to have them" story. Umi learns that you have to stand up and speak for yourself. Typical storylines that should long ago have started wearing thin unless you do something really special with them, but instead you get the kind of waffles as described above. Also, the shows seem particularly unable to understand that if you cheat or trick someone, they might not respond favorably towards your proposition, even if they go along with it, or that you can't just go and lecture parents on how they're not taking care of their kids, and then refuse to give them back when they decide to actually try. The show is actually so centered around the main characters and their desires that the stories it tries to tell borders on condescending.

Also, good luck trying to make any damn sense out of this show. Prepare to ask yourselves lots of questions, like how Miyaho can just stay away from school for a whole freaking month without anyone batting an eyelid. Or what kind of buildings a teacher can visit, but a student has no right even being seen outside of said place, even when it's not a curfew issue? What kind of school just goes straight into the voting session in an actual MEETING without even letting anyone say anything, or present their case? I'm also puzzled about how the principal had planned on getting away with turning the island into a vacation resort when the company that were responsible for basically most of the island's economy and population growth created such a ruckus in the first place. Why are all the adults we see either stern, stoic do-gooders or moustache-twirling villains? (Not counting Wataru's grandparents.) Why does this show even exist? What is its purpose?

There has been an abundance of anime based on videogames, and out of those, I have seen quite a few based on visual novel games, pornographic and not. Admittedly, a few of them have been very good, but most of the time we're dealing with shovelware -- mediocre, low-budget anime thrown out to please the fans of the games. Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo eclipses all of them in the department of fail and embarrassment. The art is wildly and never hilariously inconsistent, and the animation is just embarrassing to watch all around. The music is largely forgettable, save for the opening and ending themes, which are both just awful to listen to. Characters are just as I mentioned above here, desperately trying to give some meaning to this pedantic, trite story about a dorm and the people living in it, a story that does more timeskips than a Tarantino movie on steroids. Good lord, and I thought ANGEL BEATS held an erratic scedule? It's got nothing on Kono Aozora.

That it's possible to succeed with H-game based anime is no excuse for just unloading this utterly talentless hack job on your audience. The world is in ill need of Akibahara's leftover manure infecting our airwaves or our official streaming sites.

Also, since Tim went ahead and suffered through this show with me, I was more than happy to accept his request to be allowed to put in a few chosen words.

Tim: Like Stig, I'm absolutely dumbfounded about how (and why) this show got made. It doesn't manage to do a single thing right in its entire run. And of the six girls' arcs (which are thrown around all over the place, destroying any attempt at cohesion whatsoever), only one of them is even somewhat tolerable - and surprise, it's the token loli's. Combine the otherwise loud, obnoxious girls with an asshole male lead, terrible art, horrible animation, painful writing, horrific characterization, flat directing, bland coloring, and weak attempts at humor and fanservice, and you have Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo, anti-entertainment at its finest. If any of you readers ever meet any ArtLand staff member who worked on this show, be sure to smack them one for me, will ya?

A new milestone in horrible anime.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Some light fanservice and some rather vaguely alluded to adult topics. Outside of that, we have your average male abuse and slavery, mostly from one of the girls.



Version(s) Viewed: Crunchyroll stream, sub only.
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo ~Youkoso Tsugumi Ryouhe~ © 2007 Artland / Marvelous Entertainment
 
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