Between the Sky and Sea

Between the Sky and Sea

Between the Sky and Sea anime cover art
Between the Sky and Sea Cover Art

Overview

Between the Sky and Sea (Sora to Umi no Aida / ソラとウミのアイダ) wasn’t exactly one of the best anime of the Fall 2018 season. In fact, I watched this series specifically because of how dumb the synopsis sounded, so it’s not like I had high hopes going into it anyway.

The story follows six girls who are roughly high school to college aged as they train to become space fisherwomen. Yes, you read that correctly, space fisherwomen. Now’s the point at which you ask yourself, “but why are they going to space in order to fish?” Well, because all the fish on Earth disappeared suddenly, of course.

Alright, so the basic premise of the series is bad, I think we can all agree on that. But, what may surprise you is that it actually gets worse, especially when you look at things a bit more critically. For example, if every fish on Earth suddenly disappeared, the food chain would break down and the Earth would be dead within years.

But, let’s pretend that the Earth isn’t dying for some reason and these girls really can fish in space. If this is the case, where are these space fish? Obviously they’re in giant spherical “tanks” of water spread across the solar system, which were made by humans after the disappearance of the fish.

Oh, and did I mention that in order to fish in space you need to pilot individual submersibles which are powered by your smartphone? Also, there are deities who reside within an app on said smartphone, and by making a contract with them you can gain their powers and weapons to fight the giant space fish. You know, completely normal stuff.

Other Problems

Okay, so maybe you’re thinking to yourself that this anime sounds strange, but not necessarily bad. Well, the first thing I have to say is that you’re wrong, but just to prove my point, let’s go over some of the other problems this series has to offer.

  • Space fishing is a man’s job.
  • There are sea monsters in the tanks.
  • It’s all a government conspiracy.

That’s right, although Between the Sky and Sea is clearly set in the future (albeit not that distant of a future), we’ve apparently gone back in time as far as women’s rights are concerned. There’s never actually a reason given for why this is the case, so I assume it’s simply because the original creator(s) couldn’t think of another form of adversity for the girls to overcome.

As for the sea monsters in the tanks, this is probably the plot point that makes the least amount of sense to me. These monsters are clearly in place so that there’s some form of suspense while in the space tanks, but the real question is why are they even there in the first place?

Remember, these tanks were all man-made, so we should be very aware of what’s inside of them, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Also, before you point out that these sea monsters may simply be irradiated fish due to being in space, let me say that water is one of the best protectors against radiation, so this doesn’t seem likely.

And, finally, everything is actually a government conspiracy. Not only is the government covering up the number of space tanks for some reason, but they also cover up any time a space fisher goes missing while on a mission. Don’t remove your tinfoil hat just yet.

Redeeming(?) Quality

Redeeming might be a strong word to use, but this next quality of Between the Sky and Sea is, at the very least, not detrimental to the series as a whole. And, of course, I’m talking about the fact that space fishing isn’t really the focus of the anime.

Yes, everything about this series revolves around the idea of space fishing, and the girls do go space fishing a number of times, but that isn’t the point. What this series is really about are the relationships between the six main girls and how they develop over time.

In this sense, Between the Sky and Sea is a lot like Love Live! I’m sure I’ve used this comparison before for at least one other series, but it’s the best way for me to express this concept. In Love Live! the focus isn’t really on singing, it’s on the chemistry between the girls, and Between the Sky and Sea is exactly the same in that regard.

So why is the fact that the focus is on the chemistry between the characters and not the space fishing a good thing?

The answer is simply that the space fishing aspect of the series makes way too little sense for the reasons I’ve already explained above. If the space fishing aspect of the anime was supposed to be the main attraction, it would be impossible to take seriously in any fashion.

And, before you say that not being able to take the show seriously is what makes it a good comedy, let me just point out that this isn’t a comedy. Not only is it not tagged as a comedy, but this series takes the space fishing scenes the most seriously, despite how easy it would be to turn them into a joke.

Characters

One good (and bad) thing about Between the Sky and Sea is that there’s a main girl for just about anyone. There’s the hyper, ditsy heroine, the tsundere, the mom friend, the tomboy, the nerd who’s also a hillbilly and is avenging the death of her brother, and the little kid who’s also a secret agent. You know, the basic character types.

Haru Soramachi is our hyperactive, ditsy heroine which is probably the most apt description of the majority of female leads in anime. Even Usagi Tsukino, Sailor Moon, is like this, and she’s supposed to be a champion for young girls who shows that they can do anything.

Just based on my initial description of her, you should be able to understand everything about Haru, but here are some other facts just in case. She’s loud, she’s bad at everything, she wants to be everyone’s friend, and she believes in the heart of the cards or something so she always comes out on top.

Haru Soramachi from the anime series Between the Sky and Sea
Haru Soramachi

Next up we have Namino Murakami, the tsundere. There’s not really much to say about Namino other than the fact she’s a tsundere. She hates Haru at first because she’s too informal, but later on warms up to her. She’s also the rich girl, as many tsundere characters tend to be.

The mom friend of the group is Makiko Maki, or Maki Maki for short (even though just Maki would be shorter). Maki has been Namino’s friend since childhood and the two have dreamed of being space fisherwomen together since they were kids. Maki’s father is also the chairman of the space fishermen’s board.

Makoto Mitsurugi is the tomboy of the group, and the series makes sure to remind you of this constantly by pointing out that she uses boku instead of watashi when referring to herself. But, you could also tell that she’s a tomboy just by looking at her and the way she acts.

Let’s skip the worst girl for a second and move on to Ruby, the apparent youngest of the group. Ruby Azumi is originally from the U.S. and is a self-proclaimed spy who’s trying to steal the space fishing technology of the Japanese and bring it back to the U.S. She’s also a fan of some children’s TV show about a bunny.

And now, worst girl Maiko Sakura. Maiko could have been a decent, but forgettable character if she was simply the nerdy girl who doesn’t think she looks good in bathing suits, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Instead, she was given an insufferable “hillbilly” accent which made me constantly hope she would be the next space fisher to go missing in action.

Not only do we have to listen to this accent, but we have to read it as well. That’s right, the subtitles actually give her a “hillbilly” accent too, and while it’s readable, you can feel your IQ dropping with every word. I can honestly and objectively say that this anime would have been better off without her.

Conclusion

In the end, Between the Sky and Sea is a 4/10. It’s a bad anime, but it’s not one of the worst anime ever made despite how little sense its general premise makes. But, that said, if you really like anime such as Love Live!, I still think you might enjoy this one because of some of the similarities I touched on earlier.

However, for anyone else I’d suggest steering clear of this anime. It’s bad, but not bad enough to be an anime that you can enjoy because it’s bad.

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