Home > Episode Reviews, Series Reviews > Yosuga no Sora Episodes 5 through 12 – Someone’s Dark, Twisted Fantasy

Yosuga no Sora Episodes 5 through 12 – Someone’s Dark, Twisted Fantasy

When I last left the anime adaptation of erotic dating game Yosuga no Sora, my interest was at an all-time low. A poorly though out story arc combined with a staggeringly unnecessary and exploitative sex scene all combined to make me lose interest in writing about the show.

But, as you can see, I kept watching the thing, even though the next arc was just more of the same. I kept at because I had a feeling that there would be one moment that would make the whole miserable endeavor worthwhile.

And finally, in the tenth episode, I found that moment.

I knew from the first few episodes just how powerful the relationship between Sora and her brother, Haruka, had the potential to be. Sora’s isolation, the tragedy of losing their parents, the insular, tight-knit relationship they had developed, her misplaced lust for her brother: all the elements were there for a beautifully tragic tale of dark, twisted love.

Melodrama, often to ridiculous levels, is almost a requirement in any adaptation of a dating game, but that limitation works to Yosuga no Sora’s advantage. You know from the very beginning exactly what is going on, from the moment we see Sora clutching to her brother on the back of a bike. We know how it’s going to end: it’s just a matter of getting there, to that moment.

That moment: Haruka has begun dating Nao Yorihime, girl next door and childhood flame. His attempts to keep it secret from his jealous sister have failed, though, and she has complained that she fears he will leave her.

Haruka wakes up late one night to get a drink of water, and hears his sister moan his name. Wondering if she’s in trouble, he cracks open her door, finding her on the floor, masturbating, while panting for ‘Haru’.

There is still a bit of censoring, which is bewildering considering what gets left uncensored

It’s a beautiful scene, seeing years of pent-up lust and frustration spill out in one moment, unwittingly laying bare a terrible and painful secret. It’s a perfect moment of horror, a revelation that, despite our best intentions, we are broken and pitiful people, bearing scars so embarrassing, painful or terrible that we dare not show even to the people closest to us. It’s a moment of staggering vulnerability that is familiar and human, even if, or perhaps because, the exact circumstances are somewhat exceptional and foreign.

I think that exceptional nature is what makes stories about incest so fascinating. It’s something dark and terrible, the ultimate taboo, but it’s also removed from most people’s common experience. That makes it safe, conveniently alien enough to use it to explore people’s darker impulses.

Unfortunately, that allure and its inherent sexuality also makes it something ready and willing to be fetishized, trivialized and turned into a cheap thrill. And if there’s anything anime can do, it’s fetishize.

I wish I could say the rest of Yosuga no Sora is totally worthy of that moment, that it builds up to it and uses it as the fitting climax (yeah, not going there) of its story. I wish I could say that this scene starts in motion a whirlwind of tragedy that ends either in despair or catharsis. But I’ve been watching anime long enough to know better.

The fact is, too much of the show is used as an excuse to get to more awfully-rendered, completely unnecessary, relatively uncensored sex scenes. Every girl gets one, at the end of her arc, and they’re all as tasteless and explicit as they are gratuitous. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a TV anime ever be so explicit.

Haruka and Nao's prior relationship is one of the show's better uses of sex

I’ve no problem with sex if it’s used for a reason, to make a point about a relationship, to evoke a theme, anything. Here it just seems like a ‘thank you’ for putting up with another lazily-written tale of dark romance, a happy ending to an otherwise dreary few episodes. That doesn’t make it worthy or interesting; that makes it pornography.

There are two exceptions, in the last two arcs, which are about one and a half stories. Nao’s story is the beginning to Sora’s, so those episodes are aired together because it makes sense chronologically. Each girl’s arc branches off from the first episode or a previous arc, trying its best to stay away from Sora’s story, which is the only interesting one.

So, you’re left with a fairly good five episode arc: episodes 1, 7, 10, 11, and 12, intertwined with seven episodes of useless filler. And even Sora’s arc isn’t the high tragedy I was hoping for.

After Haruka realizes his sister’s feelings for her, he begins to feel them too, forsaking Nao in favor of his sister. Their relationship becomes wild and sexual, careening out of control until some of their classmates find them having sex at home.

This image is perhaps the best emblem of Sora and Haruka's relationship: Sora clutching firmly to Haruka's shirt

The show does a good job of amping up the tension, of building the suspense for the ultimate confrontation, when everything is going to fall apart. We wait for the forces of society, represented here by class representative Kozue Kuranaga, to come down on the forbidden love.

But in the end, that really doesn’t happen. There is a climactic encounter between Haruka and Sora, but although it’s dramatic, it’s also lacking.

It’s not until the relatively upbeat conclusion that you realize the show has been pulling its punches, aiming for a happy ending. Which is not only a horrible cop-out that betrays the tension it spent the last two episodes building up, but it makes you realize that all this was just a pretext, just an excuse for the sex.

The only thing, then, that separates Yosuga no Sora from a show like Kiss x Sis (actual pornography, in other words), is that moment, and the suspense and tension that follows from it. It’s a breathtaking moment, no doubt; enough to justify watching the entire series and enough to make it memorable, to me, at the very least, but not enough to save it from the worst fate that can befall an anime: mediocrity.

Advertisements
  1. cuc
    March 1, 2011 at 12:29 am

    I didn’t watch the show to the end, but I’ve seen people very effectively argue the ending to be in fact a tragedy ending in which Haru and Sora committed double suicide. How will this change your perspective on the show?

    http://bridgebunnies.com/?p=2271

    By the way, you blog is one of the best anime blogs on the internet. Keep up the good work!

    • Don
      October 30, 2011 at 7:22 pm

      I haven’t watched this anime yet but now you spoiled it for me. thanks

      • January 23, 2013 at 7:42 am

        he saved you then 🙂

    • January 23, 2013 at 7:38 am

      what happen at the end?

  2. March 1, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    I just deleted Yosuga no Sora from my computer last night (I knew I would regret that!), so I can’t go back and rewatch the end of the last episode to form a definitive opinion.

    I will say that I find parts of that blogger’s argument unsatisfying, like Kazuha sending a cell phone message pretending to be Haru. There just doesn’t seem to be any evidence for it.

    I also think that it would be very weird for a show like Sora, which revels so much in its pathos, to be so opaque about its main characters’ deaths. If the creators of the show really intended the Haru and Sora to kill themselves, I think they (and most dating game adaptations) would be more straightforward about it. I don’t think they’d be able not to.

    In the end, it wouldn’t make me think that the show was any less of an excuse for its sex scenes, it would just make me very confused that the directing and animation, which did a consistently good job of conveying drama and emotion (even where none should have existed), would fall apart so much in the end.

    Also, thank you for your kind words. We want to be the best place on the Internet for intelligent anime writing, and it’s great to hear that other people appreciate our work.

  3. Bobijoe
    July 8, 2013 at 10:47 am

    BanKai :
    he saved you then

    This anime was great, wtf are you guys talking about? Just because there are sex scenes (if you dont like those, just go watch another anime) doesnt make it bad, it takes all sorts of anime for all sorts of fans.

  4. Bobijoe
    July 8, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Bobijoe :

    BanKai :
    he saved you then

    This anime was great, wtf are you guys talking about? Just because there are sex scenes (if you dont like those, just go watch another anime) doesnt make it bad, it takes all sorts of anime for all sorts of fans.

    «all sorts of fans» doesnt mean perverts, just means people who like crude anime 🙂

  1. January 29, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: