Sonny Boy Episode 1 Review: Island at the End of Summer

The Summer Season of 2021 continues as we are back with our review of Sonny Boy Episode 1, the newest anime by Studio Madhouse. What does this sci-fi adventure anime bring to the table? Let’s find out!

Sonny Boy Episode 1 Overview

Sonny Boy is based on an original story written by prominent director Shingo Natsume, previously known for directing shows such as One Punch Man. It is being produced by Studio Madhouse, the powerhouse anime studio behind absolute classics such as Hunter x Hunter, Death Note, and No Game No Life!

Sonny Boy Episode 1 first debuted on Youtube on June 19th on Funimation’s channel, but the regular seasonal broadcast begins from July 16 onwards.

Sonny Boy Episode 1 Review- The Plot

Sonny Boy Episode 1 Plot
Sonny Boy Episode 1 Review: Island at the End of Summer 7

“Empty classrooms, boring days. It was supposed to be a normal summer vacation just like any other. Suddenly, the school begins to drift through another dimension, and 36 boys and girls are left there, awakening to their supernatural abilities. Amidst the whirlpool of questions that come to mind one after another, survival in a supernatural world begins.” – MAL News

If you’ve ever read Lord of the Flies and thought that it would be better if the characters had superpowers, you’re in the right place. Sonny Boy has a plot that is inherently weird and off-putting at first. Everything is set up in just the right way to make you uncomfortable yet induce a sense of familiarity.

Sonny Boy Episode 1 Plot 2
Sonny Boy Episode 1 Review: Island at the End of Summer 8

The characters get Isekaid to another dimension, which would have caused me to lower my ratings for the show (If you want to know why that is, read my review of How a Realist Hero Saved the Kingdom Episode 1). However, the show establishes quite early on that the characters aren’t going to enjoy their time in this universe. Not much was revealed about the rules of said universe, but the show established enough context to make me believe that it is not a typical Isekai show.

The premise is also fascinating and something that the show knocks right out of the park. Self-governing kids heading towards their doom is a concept I’m surprised that not many other anime have done before, and it works flawlessly in this context. What can I say, the children are interesting! Speaking of children-

Sonny Boy Episode 1 Review- The Characters

There are a lot of characters. Thirty of them, in fact. In typical anime fashion, our protagonist is probably the least interesting out of all of them. Nagara is the typical silent main character type, and we don’t know much about his personality so far. That will undoubtedly change in the later episodes, and the other characters more than make up for him.

The token mysterious main girl is Nozomi, and she’s obviously hiding something. The Student Council is also there, running the school however they wish for now and figuring out the rules. That Hoshi is up to something, I tell you. Overall, good enough!

Sonny Boy Episode 1 Review- The Art and Music

The animation is quite striking. The low amount of details and the watercolour like palette sets this anime apart from its peers. The character design was done by Eguchi Hisashi, who was also the character designer for Perfect Blue, which tell you all you need to know about it. In case that didn’t mean anything to you, check out Perfect Blue. You’ll be a better person because of it.

Sonny Boy Episode 1 Art
Sonny Boy Episode 1 Review: Island at the End of Summer 9

The design of the anime also seems inspired by Perfect Blue director Satoshi Kon, and I say that with the utmost respect and admiration. There is also some Masaaki Yuasa in there, but that could be because of the purposefully dated visuals. Those two are certainly not the worst people to be inspired from, and the show shows a lot of promise in its art direction.

Sonny Boy Episode 1 doesn’t have any music in it, apart from the opening theme, which plays at the end. The lack of music contributes to the lack of ease and comfort brought upon by the anime. I can accept this as a one-off, but 12 episodes without music will be a bit much. The sound effects also sounded scuffed, which I am assuming is also due to the surroundings of the setting. Overall, not a huge fan, but I can’t find anything particularly wrong with it either.

Verdict

Sonny Boy Episode 1 is unnerving, uncomfortable, and unlike any other anime running right now. The first episode set up the universe quite well, and I await the second episode eagerly.

If you liked this review of Sonny Boy Episode 1, check out our review for the next episode in the series, Sonny Boy Episode 2, which is available right here!

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Overall

SUMMARY

Sonny Boy Episode 1 is unnerving, uncomfortable, and unlike any other anime running right now. The first episode set up the universe quite well, and I await the second episode eagerly.

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