Sunday Without God – Anime review

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Sunday Without God ended up being one of the pretty hyped anime of the season, despite the poorly translated name. Set in a world where death is no more, and with many mysteries to unearth, just how interesting was this show?

The simple answer is very, once you get past the first arc. The series starts off by explaining a little about the world. Our story takes place in a world which God has abandoned, where people can no longer give birth or die. The gates to heaven have been closed and now people can no longer truly find peace unless they are buried by people known as ‘gravekeepers’. We’re introduced to our 12-year-old lead character, Ai. Ai is the gravekeeper of the village in which she lives after taking on the role from her mother whom passed away when Ai was only five. Ai’s mother forever told her stories of her father, Hampnie Hambart, whom she claims will come and visit Ai one day. It’s with their meeting that our story truly begins.

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The first story arc of Sunday Without God is somewhat shakey. It’s doing its best to introduce us to Ai and the world in which she lives, yet a lot of what it does is also for the shock factory and to draw you in and keep you interested. As the show proves from the second arc and onwards it doesn’t actually need this shock factory as the overall setting is perfectly captivating as it is, and thankfully it does take things more slowly from the then on. From the second arc onwards Ai has left her hometown after certain events unfold, and thus she’s travelling the world for the answers of which she seeks and the wish that she wants to save the world.

All in all Ai is an okay character, and while she isn’t badly developed, she doesn’t have that much depth to her. She’s a cute character who knows what she wants and really, she’s purely there as an object for us to see the more than interesting world through. This can be forgiven however as she isn’t a bad character and the others who show up throughout the series have far more depth to them and will leave you wanting to know more about them. We have Scar the gravekeeper and Julie, a childhood friend of Hampnie’s, both of whom travel alongside Ai throughout the series. Each new story arc also brings with it its own new set of interesting characters that are all different enough to keep you entertained and enjoying the show.

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Most stories are played out across three episodes, aside from one one-shot episode about halfway through which didn’t really need more time spent on it. Three episodes might not seem like a lot, but Sunday Without God handles this pacing very well, a lot of the time the stories don’t need more time spent on them than that and the quick pacing means the arc is over and done with before you ever have the chance to be bored with it. Interestingly enough Sunday Without God even manages to pull off two arcs set within a school setting pretty much back to back, yet both are different enough where you don’t grow bored of the setting or the characters involved. It’s pulled off quite impressively all in all and I was surprised to find myself so engaged with those two arcs considering the fact they shared the same setting, even if the overall plot for the two was different. Frankly one of the biggest credits to Sunday Without God is the world and setting. Once it pulls you in there is no going back, it will have you wanting to know more and more, and while after twelve episodes I am satisfied, it still feels like we’ve barely touched the surface of all there is to know about this place.

The light novels the series is based on are still on-going, and thus Sunday Without Godleft its ending pretty open to continue if the demand was there for a second season. That said, the final episode does end things off nicely and I was more than satisfied with how they left things. It ended off the current arc nicely, but also left us quite safe in the knowledge of how things would progress from there. It managed to tie-up most, if not, all of its loose ends too, something which not a lot of such short anime seem to have been doing well lately.

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As far as the animation goes it’s handled by Madhouse, and looks extremely pretty all the way through. Attack on Titan might win this season for how crazy and fast-paced its animation is, but some of the Sunday Without God scenes are just simply stunning to the eye. It’s all very pretty and vibrant so there is always something pleasing to the eye, even when the series takes some of its darker turns.

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To go along with its stunning animation the series is also treated to an impressive 34 track soundtrack, all of which are very pretty tracks and always hit the right note to go along with the animation and story. When I was watching the series I felt like it was reusing a lot of its tracks, but listening to the soundtrack on its own and thinking about the series a little deeper I realise that isn’t quite the case. It actually does have a large collection of tracks which are all use to the fullest where they should be and I honestly can’t fault it there.

All in all Sunday Without God ended up being my favourite show of the season and rightly so. It has a nothing less than captivating world and setting, with lots of interesting characters and mysteries to explore. Twelve episodes will never feel like enough, but it still managed to finish things off nicely. I’ll cross my fingers for a second season at some point.

Scores:

  • Overall: 9.5/10
  • Animation: 9
  • Story: 8.5
  • Soundtrack: 10
  • Characters: 8.5

 

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