Okay everyone, this is one weird anime, but it merits a discussion because it is your standard harem anime, but it’s not standard in the way it will subvert a few expectations.
A Bridge to the Starry Skies began as an adult visual novel in October of 2010. In April of 2011 an anime based on the series started releasing. Written media for the series came out in June of 2011, and ran until February 2012, with two manga volumes released during that time.
I say all of that so that you know where this anime hailed from, because it’s important to know where it all started; harem related material. Now, this is about the anime, not the visual novel or the written media it’s based upon.
That being said, this anime follows one distinct rationale; don’t judge any anime at first glance. Upon the first impression, viewers will get the implication that this is going to be an incestuous romance between two brothers. That’s the way it feels early on, and knee-jerk reactions being what they are, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that a sibling romance is what you’ll find here… news flash though, you won’t.
In truth though, A Bridge to the Starry Skies isn’t about that at all. Actually, subverting my expectations is one of the reasons that I watched this series back when it came out in 2011. I was told it wasn’t about incestuous romance, and I wanted to find out for myself. I was dubious of course, but my friend turned out to be right. Actually this anime isn’t half bad, not even for a harem.
The main plot is this; Kazuma Hoshino is a high school student. His younger brother, Ayumu is very ill. They both move move to Yamabiko to seek a better living due to Ayumu’s asthma (more on this later). While settling into their new surroundings the brothers become acquainted with several locals, many of them female. Romance, slice-of-life, and hilarity ensues.
A little light on the plot there, right? Well, that’s because it is.
Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi or also known as A Bridge to the Starry Skies feels like your general run-of-the-mill harem anime. If you’re a fan of that trope, you know the drill. A bunch of cute girls clutter the screen, and generally speaking one male lead attracts all of the attention. Also, generally speaking, harem anime don’t tend to have any firm or clear romantic ending. There can be multiple reasons for this, but notably it’s because you want the audience to be able to pick the relationship they want to root for.
A bridge to Starry Skies is an interesting type of harem anime. It follows a lot of the same tropes, such as the male lead falling all over the place, which leads him to kiss a girl in the first episode. Yet, it’s also strangely unique as well, but for those reasons you’d actually have to watch the show. All in all, it has a lot of heart, but it’s also messy as hell.
Is it more focused on romance, or the family related plot lines having to do with a very ill little brother? I can’t say really, because the show doesn’t quite seem sure what it wants to be about. All the way onto the last episode, the series doesn’t have a tight narrative, and it lacks a lot of focus on its themes… that said that last episode, holy merciful crap. Seriously, talk about a shocker ending, worth the watch for that alone, I’d say.
Now, I know what you’re thinking if you’ve visited this blog for any length of time. I’m an anime fan that demands a decently driven plot, and I generally hate harem, so why in the hell would I be talking about this show? It doesn’t tend to tick any of the boxes I like in anime. Well, yeah, you’d be right. Typically I’d absolutely hate a show like this… but I like this particular one.
Sure, it doesn’t have a strong plot to praise. The illness the little brother has is vague at best. The romance is about what you’d generally expect. The main character’s stupidity and contrived notion of what a harem is stands firmly at the forefront of the show… that’s true too.
So, why did I like it?
Frankly, this series took my expectations for what a harem anime was and it cast it aside. This series reaches beyond what a huge number of non-harem fans (and likely a huge number of those that are) and kicks those expectations right out of the way… because as I said, there’s a lot of heart here. There are moments that will hit you, draw you in and make you care.
While the plot is weak as hell and I’d never defend it, the characters themselves aren’t half bad. Between that and the decent art style, it isn’t an awful anime to look at. It’s crisp, it’s clean, and you notice that right from the first episode we can see a great care was taken to its production value. The series doesn’t ever hit an all-time-low.
if you’re looking for an unusual harem anime, you might like this one.
This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.
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