What They Say:
After the tragic death of their parents, Haruka and his twin sister Sora move out of the city to the rural town where they spent their childhood. At their new school, Haruka gets reacquainted with many of the local girls who are now grown-up and attracted to him. Multiple romances bloom for Haruka until he discovers a forbidden love that threatens to disrupt the siblings’ quiet life.
Based on a popular adult visual novel and a PC game, Yosuga No Sora: In Solitude Where We Are Least Alone is cleverly divided into four distinct but overlapping story arcs based on the four female characters- Kazuha, Akira, Nao and Sora- that interact and profoundly affect Haruka’s life.
Yosuga No Sora, presented in Japanese PCM 2.0 instead of its more popular relative, Dolby Digital, sounds absolutely excellent. The audio quality is well-mixed and equalized, remaining clear and crisp throughout all twelve episodes without any dropouts whatsoever. The series, which comes to us without and English dub, actually boasts a rather impressive soundtrack — most likely due to the fact that its visual novel predecessor boasted one as well. There a few viola bits in this show that come through so incredibly clear that they remain in your head long after the series has passed.
Yosuga No Sora is not the most visually impressive series out there. It’s art style while remaining true to its source material, is rather blase’ and overall uninteresting. The color palate is so diluted that watching the show actually feels kind of creepy at times. And while I wish it was, I doubt that this trait can be attributed to foreshadowing the fourth arc. All this being said, Media Blasters did what they could with presenting the series in HD and, overall, it looks okay.
I’m going to put aside the fact that my copy arrived with a broken cover and just chalk that up to UPS not doing their job correctly. I can’t imagine everyone else only received 98% of the case as well. Even with that out of the equation, however, there isn’t anything about the packaging that really jumps out at you. Its boring cover art matches the boring, minimalist tone of the story while the back half of it lazily displays a few thumbnails and a [very] brief synopsis of the plot. Another thing I don’t really understand is why “This program consists of 12 episodes creating 4 distinct story arcs” is placed in a huge box in the upper right-hand corner as if it were an advisory warning of some sort — like some kid is going to pick up the bluray and be like, “Man, this series looks boring. I guess I’ll…Wait, does that say 12 episodes that uniquely configure to create 4 distinct story arcs!?”
Strangely enough, the menu screen is actually the highlight of this release for me. The entire scheme is masterfully laid out and polished, essentially dwarfing releases from other media outlets (I’m looking at you, Sentai). Each girl has their own still and navigating the menu is like second nature. Another thing I loved was that the stories were conveniently separated so you could choose to watch either the entire series or just a specific arc. I mean, if you’re going to milk the whole “Twelve episodes and four arcs!!!” gimmick you might as well play it up, right?
While the case may mention that the only special feature included is the CG gallery on the first disc, I’m going to count the shorts at the end of each episode as a feature as well. They play no part in determining the outcome of the plot, so overlooking them as additional content just seems silly to me. That aside, the CG gallery is actually pretty great. No, there are no ‘lewds’, so don’t watch all five minutes or so of the gallery expecting to find any — but some of the artwork is actually pretty great!
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
I was first introduced to Yosuga No Sora during an ecchi panel at AnimeBoston several years ago. Me, being your run-of-the-mill otaku, thought the incest subplot was AWESOME and I threw the series onto my watchlist immediately. I mean, anyone who says they don’t ship brother/sister pairings in anime literally all of the time is a liar. Unfortunately, that part of the series doesn’t show up in full force until the last four episodes of ‘FOUR DISTINCT STORY ARCS”. The rest of the series is just Haruka trying to bang other girls that he is less compatible with. There’s the oujo-sama, the shrine maiden, the next-door neighbor, and even the archetypical class president who’s love is never reciprocated! Now that we’ve got the building blocks for our harem, the only thing we need is an incredibly dense and mundane protagonist.
Queue Haruka Kasugano. In the beginning of Yosuga No Sora (Aptly named after the indisputable best girl), Haruka and Sora move to some random town in the country to cope with the recent death of their parents. Fortunately, they don’t seem to care about this tragic event in the slightest and worry about more first-world concerns like, “Where are we going to buy groceries?” or “Why don’t our cell phones have any reception?” The biggest problem for Sora, however, is that she is so sexually attracted to her twin brother that she comes off as a friggin’ stalker half of the time. Being stricken with mysterious health issues that she’s had since birth (I think?), Sora is a bit of a roadblock for the other girls that want to jump on Haruka’s yaoi stick simply due to the fact that he has white hair — or something. I don’t know what anyone sees in this guy. He’s essentially Makoto from School Days with an IQ slightly higher than 10.
Yosuga No Sora follows that confused formula many visual novel adaptations suffer from where they try to animate every single arc instead of focusing on a unified ‘true’ route. As is customary, this results in plot that feels detached from any form of realism as Haruka spends three episodes with each girl trying to get into their pants and one episode of patting himself on the back for doing it. It isn’t until the second half of disc two where Sora finally halls the balls to just try and bang her brother and, what do you know, they become sexually obsessed. In fact, they become so obsessed with one another that, even when one of the other girls walks in on them boning literally at their front door, they don’t even stop. What’s even less believable is that ten minutes later, no one even cares anymore. Now, I know Japan has different standards than America when it comes to certain familial relationships, but this is still totally not normal. The only girl who seems to understand this is the class president — IE: The only one that never gets to bang Haruka in the first place.
At the end of the day, this is a story about three unlikable, uneducated girls falling in love with an equally unlikable, uneducated protagonist. The only character that edges over that ‘more than meets the eye’ marker is Sora who, depending on the way you look at things, is a narcissistic weirdo with forced, plot-induced health issues. Hell, Yosuga No Sora spends literally 50% of its duration retelling the story about how Kazuha and Akira might(?) be sisters but literally none of that even matters once we pass the halfway point.
Now, even with its many shortcomings, Yosuga No Sora is still kind of enjoyable. I mean, it’s pretty much a softcore hentai series with actual downtime between sex scenes. And while that downtime is incredibly stiff (Pun not intended) and boring, it still exists. Yosuga No Sora is daring — that I give it props for. It’s a slightly less mainstream series that actually dared to animate a brother and sister getting it on, remaining true to the roots of the game. I just wish that those periods of downtime were filled with something a little more than static characters trying to figure out how to take their pants off.
The only reason you want to watch this show is the incest. Don’t lie to me- I know you. I am you. Fortunately, I bit the bullet for everyone and can safely say that you only need to watch the last four episodes of this series to get what you came for. Everything before that point is just a forced reiteration of the nonsensical romance you’ve already seen in the many harems before this. The only bonus is that Yosuga No Sora has a load of fanservice and actual softcore sex scenes. The downside is that 75% of those sex scenes would be exactly the same if Haruka was boning a body pillow.
Japanese PCM 2.0 Audio, English subtitles, CG Art gallery, animated shorts.
Content Grade: C-
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: C
Menu Grade: A-
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Media Blasters
Release Date: March 27, 2017
Running Time: 309 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen