Warning! The review has some spoilers!

Welcome To The New World

Sunday Without God starts out with a grim reality that God has quit on the world. WHAT?! God quits? What do we do now? Well in this new world no one dies anymore because Heaven is overcrowded, and now 12 year old Ai has a responsibility of being a Gravekeeper in her village. You see, since no one is dying we have a problem. People are still alive despite being dead inside. If someone is actually dead, they are not because they can still function. Immediately I will say, the dead people in this show are like advanced zombies because they keep legit memories and can disguise themselves as one of the living. In fact, these dead people are fully functional as if they are alive. Only Gravekeepers or someone closely affiliated with Gravekeepers can tell the difference between the dead and the living. Gravekeepers put these walking dead people to rest with their shovels and once they are buried that person rests in peace. Truly this world is grimly set because the more you see this show you see the wasteland that was once God’s creation. The world is barely populated and everything seems to be lost. However, the Arc storylines that takes Ai Astin and her supporting cast through this grim new world seems to be the show’s downfall because the concepts may leave viewers asking for more depth. Then again, that’s what you get when you only have 12 episodes to explain so much and it really does not circle back to the premise of a world without God.


Meet Ai. She’s sweet, polite, helpful, and innocent. She is the last gift God gave the world.

Valley of Death

Sunset in the Valley of Death is breathtaking.

Okay, Ai Astin has to basically start out in her village in the Valley of Death Arc. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”-Matthew 5.5. Basically, I’m quoting scripture because the quote directly ties to Ai. She is the gentle soul that has inherited the earth. Ai is cute and adorable, but her innocence is bliss. She as a Gravekeeper has to bury the dead and she is taking her mother’s place. You see, in Ai’s village her mother was the Gravekeeper, but she passed away and now Ai has to fulfill that role. But, her whole world is turned upside down when a mysterious man name Hampnie Hambert shoots everyone in the village. In the course of the first three episodes prepare for twists and turns that pull on the heart strings. Learn Ai’s past and how she has to always remember her past to move forward.

Emotions well… Ai’s Emotions at least.

Emotions is one thing that is flushed out the most, but most of the emotions belong to Ai. Sunday Without God focuses on building strong emotional ties with every character Ai meets, but the balance is like 80 percent Ai, and 20 percent everyone else. Everyone Ai meets teaches her new lessons because she does not know what to do most of the time. When it comes to saving the world, she is winging it, but she has to be the person that saves everyone, because she has inherited the earth.

Ortus

Twilight in Ortus.

Ai’s first stop on her journey to save the world is here. The Ortus Arc is quite interesting, but three episodes here does not help anyone appreciate this city that harbors a dark secret. The citizens wearing masks creates great symbolism and I loved how Ai meets someone who is basically her opposite, but I wish more time was spend here. Ortus unlike Valley of Death does not hit the highest note, but it does create a great concept that threatens Ai and her group. I would say Ai learns that death does not mean the end for people now, but possibly it means a new beginning.

Goran Academy

Don’t we look important?

Now, this Arc really does no favors in making Sunday Without God improve itself. It takes Ai backwards and thus the show is put in reverse. From the strong start, we get this…

Ai getting kidnapped and placed in a Academy that is basically a boot camp, made me think of Taken mixed in with Shawshank Redemption and maybe The Breakfast Club. Nevertheless, Goran Academy made me think Ai might be in over her head. The goal for Ai and her motley crew of students is to escape. But, sadly the Goran Academy Arc is only told in two episodes, and besides meeting a major duo Goran Academy seems like a stumble.

No character, besides the major duo really impacts Ai. The students of Goran Academy are good on paper, but did we need this Arc? Hmmm, that is something a person has to debate, but if you ask me, you need it on the bare minimum. Goran Academy introduces you to the major duo who gets a separate Arc to end the Anime, this is where special unique abilities are introduce, and Ai starts to doubt herself here. But, Sunday Without God could have been broken down into different Anime for each story Arc.

Sunday With Ai?!

Doesn’t she look like the sun? So warm, gentle.

Now, before I go on giving my take on the background episode and the other major Arc I want to say Sunday Without God seems to lose its edge at Goran Academy. I mean, the concept of God in the Valley of Death and Ortus Arcs played a major role. At Goran Academy Ai’s complex of not knowing how to save the world seems to replace the actual feeling of God abandoning the world.

We lose the world that God left behind, in favor of Ai’s emotional struggles. Some people might say Ai hijacks the show and changes it completely. The struggle of dealing with God’s new world gets axed in favor of Ai’s side quests. Goran Academy and Class 3-4 are prime examples, because instead of dealing with the world God left behind she is taken into different situations of saving students from imprisonments. One imprisonment is a literal jail like environment, and the other imprisonment is another world completely that needs to be destroyed.

I won’t go too far and say Ai’s quests are useless, rather we do see Ai’s character develop. She becomes completely flushed out and matures from the beginning to end. I will remain neutral here and say just like God cut ties with the world, the world cut ties with God.

But, twelve episodes does not give enough credit to what concepts it lays out. I want to fully invest in everyone else, too! But, Ai keeps earning my attention with what she says, does, and how everyone else drops everything to gravitate toward her. If there was more episodes I can say this show could have really changed the game, but the storytelling just feels rushed with only 12 episodes.

Where Gravekeepers are Born
By far, this episode really does a great job in circling back to the world and how life has nothing worth living for. You live just to die, but somewhere in between in order to avoid utter depression or insanity you have to celebrate the things that once meant something worthwhile. Otherwise, even when you are alive you’re dead and age really is just another number. More background into what Gravekeepers are also helps make this episode stand out. I think watching this episode at least gives the audience an appreciation to what the world is really like, now that Gravekeepers, humans, and the dead are just left to deal with it.

Class 3-4 Arc
Now, in terms of storyline I give much respect to twisting and turning things right till the very end. I like it very much. Reset. Reset. Reset. Keep that in mind when you watch this Arc, because it plays a major role. I will say Ai makes a major impact during this Arc without even knowing it. Now, is this the best ending to Sunday Without God? When you watch it, maybe not depending on your tastes.

I will say it went too perfect. For a world that is basically hopeless, this ending didn’t quite work the way it was intended to. Ai is not really given an incentive to go back on her original journey to save the world that God abandoned.

I will give credit to Dee and Alis for getting my attention away from Ai throughout most of this Arc, but mostly at this point the disappointment is too much. Sunday Without God boasted a world where characters had to deal with the world God gave up on. However, it was outweighed with side quests. The cleverness of this Arc could have been its own Anime featuring Ai, Alis, and Dee.

Final Verdict

Give this show a try if you’re going for an emotional roller coaster. But, don’t be shocked if the storytelling stops you from wanting to see it all. Overall, it disappoints and does not fully commit to its strong concepts. Ai is a very strong character and certainly does so much for the show, but everyone else around her did not get nearly as much development as she does. More episodes could have really given this Anime the boast it needed, but as it stands Sunday Without God delivers very little on what it sets out to accomplish or at least that is my humble opinion. The settings are done great with sunset and twilight looking beautiful. The setting adds to the emotions. I love the animation and face expressions really tell the story of what is going on. Emotions drive the anime and thankfully the music will make you equally emotional. The voice acting is perfectly done and Ai’s voice actress Aki Toyosaki deserves so much praise for the crying scene. Ultimately Sunday Without God falls under the category of having so much potential, but never fully realizing it.

Grade: 5/10 Mediocre

Positives
Great Lead Character
World Without God is Worth Exploring
Emotions Are Memorable

Negatives
Storytelling Feels Rushed
The World Without God gets Abandoned
Other Characters needed more development
Never Realized It’s Full Potential

For More Information: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=15105

Advertisements