Well, this episode begins with a flashback of a crying young girl watching older blonde haired female soldier getting ready to play a trumpet. Then the scene switches, and we see a young teen aged female soldier waking up on a military train. We overhear much older veteran combat soldiers talking about how glad they are to have survived the war, and how an armistice was signed six months ago. During a conversation between her and the veterans we find out that her name is Sorami Kanata and she’s a volunteer who wants to learn music.
During the opening song we see Kanata hanging out with the veterans while the train is traveling across the land. Once Kanata reaches her destination (the town of Seize) she driven by motorcycle and dropped and told she’s been assigned to Time-keeping fortress.
The town of Seize his holding a festival today, and Kanata wanders through town taking in all the sights as she makes her way to the fortress. Kanata then gets caught up in the town’s celebration which involves throwing water and other stuff on everyone. Once, Kanata is thourghly soaked a woman yells at her for getting soaked and brings her to her house so she can get cleaned up. While bathing, Kanata finds out that the festival is honoring a local legend that has Maidens of flame protecting the city.
While Kanata is in the bath, the older woman and her mother take notice of Kanata’s charm (?) and it’s familiar to them. Once Kanata finishes her bath she thanks them for their hospitality, and Kanata and the woman head out to the balcony where an owl flies by and snatches the charm from Kanata. The woman chews out Kanata because she almost fell off the balcony trying to get the charm back. Once Kanata is dressed she gets sent on her way to the fortress but she hears the sound of the bell inside the charm and gets drawn towards it.
The woman who helped Kanata plays the lead role in the festival honoring the maidens, and we get some back story on the legend. A long time ago a winged demon live in the ravines near the city and it rained fire on the land, causing pain and suffering to the people, it snatched the young babes living there and kept the prisoner (maybe just a dirty old man), then the maidens used a golden horn bestowed by god to escape and defeat the demon taking its head. But, the head continued to spew fire so the maidens took turns embracing the demon and the people poured water on them every day, and after a year the fire finally went out, now the town holds the water festival to honor the souls of the maidens who saved the city.
Later, we see that Kanata has followed the sound of the bell down a path going down the side of a cliff, and when she attempts to jump a gap she falls into the water. Kanata tries to swim but the weight of her rucksack drags her deeper underwater where she see the headless skeleton of a giant bird.
Well, Kanata finally gets the charm back but she’s says she got lost again, she also says she sucks, and she’s says she has fun meeting people and hates being alone. Then Kanata has a flashback to the first memory of the series where she’s told that her sound will reach her mother, so Kanata pulls out her horn and begins to play.
Well, Kanata’s playing interrupts the conclusion of the town’s festival drawing the attention of the woman and the other townspeople. Kanata hopes her sound will reach someone, and she breaks down in tears and dozes off to sleep when she hears another horn answering her horn.
The next morning Kanata is woken up by someone yelling at her, and she finds herself inside the Time-keeping fortress. Kanata sees that the person yelling at her is the woman from the festival, and she’s also in the military. She takes Kanata outside and up to the top of a tower, and tells Kanata she’s going to show her why this is called the Time-keeping fortress. She also tells Kanata that she has to be more careful in the future. At the crack of dawn, she plays her trumpet bringing in the new day. Afterwards, she introduces herself as Kazumiya Rio and tells Kanata that she’s going to be her trumpet instructor. When Kanata addresses her as sergeant she tells Kanata that the captain doesn’t want them to use rank so just Rio will do.
Once Rio gets Kanata started with her lesions, the whole town, along with Rio soon discovers that Kanata really sucks. Well, that’s all for this episode.
OK, I know that when this series was first announced and the character design were released, many people, me included, called this show some variation of K-On! goes to war. This line of thought was completely understandable considering how closely the character designs matched the designs from K-On!, and let’s not forget the music plotline. It would be completely understandable if other anime series were to copy the basic character designs of popular shows like K-On!, and Bakemonogatari considering how much cash they made for their studios, but it would be unforgivable to completely plagiarize those very same characters.
So, what’s my opinion of the first episode of sound of the skies, is Sora no Woto a K-On! rip-off. No, it would have been a shame if it was. Yes, Kanata and Rio do look very similar to their counterparts, Yui and Mio, from K-On! But, there’s a big difference between the behaviors of the main pair of Rio and Kanata from Sora no Woto, and Mio and Yui from K-On! First of all, Rio is much older than Mio, and Rio is more mature than her counterpart. Now, to the Yui look alike, Kanata, while at first glance she looks like a close match in terms of looks and personality to Yui. In K-On!, Yui was pretty much an airhead with no life goals, and almost no self-awareness to her own flaws and failings as she moved through life, whereas, Kanata begins the series with the goal of learning to play music, and she’s so dedicated to achieving her goal that she joined the military to facilitate her goal. Also, Kanata is fully self-aware of her failings and weakness, in fact, she tells us she sucks, and she freely admits to herself and others that she gets easily lost. But, Kanata is a more complicated than just a girl who sucks at her desired goal who gets easily lost because she admits to herself that she likes getting lost because it affords her the opportunity to meet new people, Kanata hates being alone.
Also, the settings for Sora no Woto and K-On! are completely different, Sora no Woto is set in a post war mountainous European-like area whereas K-On! was set in your typical anime high school setting. Another difference between K-On! and Sora no Woto is that Sora no Woto contains an element of magic and myth in its storyline whereas K-On! didn’t have that sort of element.
Well, my verdict for the first episode is that I found Sora no Woto to very relaxing and calming in the mold of YKK, Haibane Renmei, and others of that ilk. I also liked the post conflict vibe and the small dose of myth thrown in for good measure. I really don’t see the war restarting, or the fire breathing monster returning, but it adds enough to the mellow nature of the story to keep it interesting, so I’ll keep watching.