Sunday Without God Summer 2013 Series Review

Oh yes

Oh yes

“God created the world on Monday, from a place of nothing into something.

God separated order and chaos on Tuesday, defining freedom and oppression.

God sorted each and every number on Wednesday, giving rise to wonderful and varied things.

God allowed time to flow on Thursday.

God looked at every corner of the world on Friday.

God rested on Saturday.

And God abandoned the world on Sunday.

Since that day fifteen years ago, no more men can bear children nor able to die.”

Sunday Without God is truly a beautiful and controversial post-apocalyptic story where wishes come true to those who really desire it. However, this is probably the furthest from being a happy fairy tale that most would expect from a world where wishes come true. In fact, I would probably label this as one of the most interesting stories to fall under the zombie apocalypse genre but I will get to that a bit later. Many elements of the plot include tear jerking scenes and many moments where I would feel a chill up my spine. The themes challenge the way we see mortality and the main protagonist, Ai Astin, is faced with a responsibility of saving the living where the true definition of “being alive” is challenged. Ai dives head first into an unknown world to chase her beliefs, making new discoveries as our views on ethics are broken. There are a few twists thrown in and a flurry of plot holes that can easily be disregarded due to the gravity of the plot as a whole. Without having read the light novel nor manga, I am satisfied with the pace and overall story. Being too objective with trying to understand the physics and mechanics of this new world will take away from the developments of the characters as they are trying to progress.

It seems Japanese writers are not afraid to dive right into creating controversial stories revolving around religion that receives much more heat in western countries. The premise and main conflict of Sunday Without God is that on a certain Sunday fifteen years ago, God abandoned the world leaving no human able to die nor bear children. With God’s announcement of abandoning the world, there became a loss of balance as strong human desires in the form of wishes are granted at certain limitations but still defying physics and most logic. Though, before God’s leave, he placed unto the world the Gravekeepers who are artificial beings with the sole purpose of putting souls to rest who would in normal conditions be considered dead (again I will clarify this shortly). Unlike other anime and manga revolving around personifications of a God figure or any character receiving divine powers, the God in this series is based on Roman Christian beliefs with scattered sci-fi elements thrown in.

Sad little Gravekeeper Ai Astin

Sad little Gravekeeper Ai Astin

We are introduced to the main protagonist of the story, 12 year old Ai Astin, who is living a peaceful life in a small remote European village. Seeing as humans have become unable to bear children 15 years prior to the setting, Ai is a mystery in herself but has kept innocently ignorant as she had been announced the town’s Gravekeeper since the age of 7. Right at the start of the show, she is thrown into conflict as she witnesses the mass murder of her entire town. She is left with the weight of her situation on her shoulders and is left to make an immediate choice to ensure her survival. The introduction of characters is well paced throughout the series and watching Ai’s discovery to the unknown world around her is compelling and had my curiosity peaked at every turn she made. In the end, with all the friends she meets along the way, and understanding how much of an anomaly she has become, she decides that she wants to save the world.

As I mentioned earlier, I felt this show can easily fall into the zombie apocalypse genre. Now let me explain the plot a bit before I get into details of why I think this is so. As God had abandoned the world to it’s own demise, he created the Gravekeepers as shepherds who would put restless souls to peace. It is explained early on that when a person’s body would normally find death, their normal bodily functions would cease but they would remain animated as their soul would still be attached to their bodies. In addition, as the now “dead” person still remains cognizant, they gradually become (as the anime explains) greedy and fall into insanity as they still attempt to remain alive. You might be asking, “How does this relate to zombies?” Well, excluding that the concept of zombies is that zombies are controlled by a parasite or some sort of disease in general, as the person falls into their insanity, they become aggressive and aim to kill the living, spreading death and the greed that brings around insanity. In other words, zombies. Though, in the anime so far, we have not witnessed a person who has become crazed but it is apparent as we are introduced to Gravekeepers on several occasions who can “sense” the walking dead.

The artwork is astonishing. Beautiful scenery and characters bring this show to life. Along with the background music, it does not fail to complement the emotional tension.

Final Hug

Story: 8

This is strongly original. Though it has its share of scattered cliches and tropes, you shouldn’t be worn out by any generic situations. Of course, this is a very strong example of a fantasy genre title, some viewers will feel overwhelmed by the amount of emotional scenes that may cause lots of viewers to drop the series early on. Personally, I enjoyed it and was very refreshing to watch right until the end.

Sound/Music: 10

The soundtrack including the OP and ED tracks are outstanding! There are many moments in the anime where a song will start to play during a scene and I start to get crazy goosebumps.

Voice Acting: 8

I really enjoyed the voice acting, however, I felt that Ai’s voice was a bit straining. Similar to Ilya’s voice from Fate/Kaleid, some of the dialogue in strong emotional scenes felt forced and a bit awkward. Still done great!

Art Style: 10

The characters feel unique and Ai is the cutest little thing ever! Well.. besides having an enormous head. The settings in the show are colorful and always beautiful. There is a lot of ambient lighting/effects that really adds to the impact of the scenes. Beautiful.

Animations/Effects: 7

Seemed to be budget(?). There were never any moments where the animation wowed me but the effects added were just to add to the scenery. This isn’t an action genre series so increasing character frames probably wasn’t the focus.

Originality: 9

It strays from having generic cliches. I considered it a zombie genre by just how the plot was explained. God abandoning the world? That’s pretty intense!

Overall Enjoyability: 10

When the ED started playing, I was on the edge of my seat! Despite popular reviews of the series, I felt this show was pleasantly paced and I was very satisfied! With all the elements I enjoyed (music, characters, relationships, etc.), I really wished it wouldn’t end so soon. I was hooked on episode 3 when Ai buries her own father.

About Clooby
I am half Korean from my mother's side while the other half is a mix of Cherokee Indian and German I grew up in Seoul, Korea swimming competitively and playing Counter-Strike, Halo 3, and Call of Duty semi-professionally for cash prizes. My favorite anime series include FMA, The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, Steins;Gate, and Gurren Lagann among others.

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