There is no single genre of media that I have
more contempt for then the harem comedy. And all you have to do is look at that genre
tags to see why. “Harem Comedy.” “Harem”. Okay, so the stories going to involve a single
male character being lusted after by a bunch of women, and the plot will no doubt be forced
to revolve around a bunch of perverted scenes shoehorned in for the sake of the audience. But because it has to be PG 13, the male character
will no doubt be a sexless wimp, and nothing will ever actually come of this. Granted, there might be the occasional token
romance scene, but at the end of the day he’ll never actually pick a girl to date because
that would mean insulting everyone else’s waifu, which means we’re just gonna be blue
balled by the end of it all and forced to rely on doujins. And “Comedy” in this context basically
exists as an excuse to pad all the bits without fanservice, and more quickly move us along
to the bits with fanservice. But the problem with using comedy as a filler,
is that A: The target audience won’t care about any of that and will end up skipping
through the episode to get to the parts with boobs, and B: both comedy and romance rely
heavily on good writing and characters, and since no one involved in the production actually
cares about anything besides placing as many characters with boobs onscreen at once as
possible, the writing will inevitably suck, which means the characters will be shit, which
in turn means that the comedy won’t be funny and the romance will be hollow. Tan-fucking-fastic. Can’t wait to start watching. That’s why I think it’s very important
going into this that you understand that Heaven’s Lost Property is not usually the kind of show
I would even bother to watch, let alone top my favorite anime list. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t touch
a show that looked like this with a 100 foot pole, but that hasn’t always been the case. Back when I was 13 and had first gotten into
watching anime, I actually liked these kinds of show. And, of course I did. I was a teenager and these shows had boobs;
I was the target audience. And a dangerous combination of infinite free
time and a complete lack of taste meant that I watched ENDLESS amounts of this shit. Kampfer, To Love Ru, Cat Planet Cuties, Good
Luck Ninomiya-kun, Kanokon, Rosario Vampire, Sekirei, and many, many, MANY more. So I’m not exaggerating when I say that
Heaven’s Lost Property was the catalyst that changed all of that. After I had finished watching it, I tried
watching a different harem comedy like before, but I don’t remember what it was, because
I dropped it 2 episodes in. Then I tried watching another one, and the
same thing happened again,… and again. I couldn’t watch this garbage anymore, because
I had been spoiled by Heaven’s Lost Property; a show so mind blowing good, that it singlehandedly
gave me taste. And so it became my favorite anime. But surely that was then, and this is now,
right? I’ve seen OTHER amazing shows since then. Steins;Gate, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood,
Cowboy Bebop, Code Geass, Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill, and way more. I mean it was fine to have a show like this
as my favorite anime back when I was 13, but it’s been 7 years since then. If I’m still holding onto this notion that
it’s anything more than a mediocre show at best, surely it’s just nostalgia or my
emotions and biases blinding me, right? Well I’ve thought that exact thing several
times, that I was remembering it through rose-tinted glasses and that it was time for me to grow
up and stop liking it, but everytime I rewatch it, I come away with a renewed confidence
in its long-held position as my #1 favorite anime. But how could something that looks like this…
and has jokes like this… and was advertised like this… possibly be anything but awful? Well, that’s why I’m here today. Ladies and gentlemen, I thrilled to finally
present to you, a video series 7 FUCKING YEARS in the making, A Love Letter To Heaven’s
Lost Property. ——- So Heaven’s Lost Property AKA Sora no Otoshimono,
or SnO which is the way I’ll mostly be referring to it as, was originally a manga written by
this god of man, Suu Minazuki, which started its run on March 26th, 2007. And look at that! It just so happens to be the 10th anniversary
of the manga today! What a coinkydink! It ran for 77 chapters, and for exactly 7
years. Around 2 years after the manga started, production
studio AIC ASTA announced that it would adapt the manga into an anime, which eventually
ended up with two seasons, Sora no Otoshimono and Sora no Otoshimono Forte, and later also
had two movies, The Angeloid of Clockwork and Eternal My Master. …Huh, that was ominous. We’re going to be looking primarily at the
anime, because for awhile at least, they both follow the same plot pretty much scene for
scene. Now, you know how there are some shows with
a hook that instantly grabs you? Like, guy gets sucked into a video game and
has to survive or die, or giant man eating monsters are attacking and guy has to defeat
them or die? Yeah, SnO doesn’t really have a hook like
that, at least at the start, which makes explaining why it’s so amazing really difficult. I mean, if you just listen to the general
plot description, you’d be in danger of falling asleep. The story follows the life of a an average
high school kid named Sakurai Tomoki who one day has a girl literally fall from the sky
and swear her life to him, claiming that he is her master, and the story, at least initially,
is about how his life changes living with her. Again, without having seen the show and without
proper context, that sounds like the kind of anime I would absolutely despise. Which is why, for the first episode at least,
I want to do a deep dive and examine each scene individually and explain how SnO sets
itself apart. I’ll move into more broad analysis in future
videos, but for the time being I think that’s the best way to start. Also if you want to watch along… well, unfortunately
the American streaming license for the show expired a few months ago, and while you can
still buy the DVDs, as I will explain in a later video, Funimation did everything possible
to ruin SnO, so uh… fuck ‘em. I’ve taken the liberty of putting a torrent
link in the description below. (But you didn’t hear that from me.) So, the first episode opens on a dream. Our protagonist, Sakurai Tomoki, stands opposite
an angel, while a narration plays telling us that they both deeply love each other. But then… the sky steals the angel away,
and he wakes up from his dream. Then we cut to a white haired man standing
spotlit in a room, who introduces himself as Sugata Eishiro. He shows us a computer screen with a map of
Earth open, and a black hole moving around it. He explains that the black hole is a disturbance
in the Earth’s magnetic field, that’s existed for at least as long as Humanity has
been able to monitor it. There have been many possible explanations,
but Suguta declares that their hypothesis are flawed because their methods are grounded
in reality, and he has a theory as to what that disturbance really is. A whole new world, floating up in the sky! Now even without any future knowledge of the
show, this is already a really interesting way to begin the first episode of a harem
comedy, because what just happened is solely plot related. Like, if you’ve watched as many shitty harem
comedies as I have, you’ll find that the vast majority of them usually start with an
action scene. Kampfer for example, opens up with two characters
fighting each other, a blue haired girl running away from a red haired girl with a gun. We have no idea who they are, why they’re
fighting, what the stakes are, or even something as basic as their names. The way the blue haired girl is able to dodge
all the bullets and jump off a cliff onto a moving car tells us that they have probably
have magic powers, or are at least superhumanly enhanced, so in addition to not knowing what
the hell is going on, know we now don’t even know what’s possible. Like, the blue haired girl is getting shot
at, but is she in any real danger? If she is superhuman, would a bullet even
kill her if it hit? And at the end of the fight, she falls off
a building and it looks like she’s in trouble, but we have no reason to think that the fall
would be lethal considering we just saw her survive a fall from great height. Oh, and the cherry on top is that this fight
isn’t even a cold open into a future episode or something, it’s literally pointless. It’s pretty much happening in an alternate
universe from the rest of the show, and will never come up again. Okay, so Kampfer is a shit-fest. We all know that; why am I bringing it up? Well, the question this brings to mind is,
“Why did Kampfer open with a shitty fight scene that had nothing to do with anything?”. It’s not even like Kampfer starts off slow
and picks up later. There’s literally another fight scene 3
minutes after this one ends. So the only answer I can come to is, “Well,
their target audience is a bunch of perverted 13 year old guys, and the creators were probably
afraid that if they started off the show with anything but explosions, the target audience
might have gotten bored in the meantime and… I dunno, gone off to set small animals on
fire.” You remember all those shitty harem shows
I mentioned watching earlier? 3/4ths of them opened this way, and the other
1/4th had boobs prominently placed on screen within the first minute. The producers lack of faith in the audience’s
attention spawn is what I believe causes a lot of shitty anime to open up us this way,
and you compare that to SnO’s opening, which is spent entirely introducing characters and
plot elements, some of which won’t even be important until way later in the show,
it boggles my mind! “Okay, whoopdy shit” you might be saying,
“so it’s not as bad as Kampfer. That award also goes to 99.999% of all other
anime.”, and yeah, that’s a fair point. This slow opening doesn’t automatically
make SnO a good show, but I do think it reveals a difference in in the attitudes of the creators. By not opening with mindless fighting, explosions,
and boobs, SnO is trusting that you won’t just get bored, or distracted by shiny lights. I mean sure, we’ll get to the sillier parts
of the show momentarily, but the point I’m trying to make is the fact that the show opens
in such a unique way would have already had me interested if I was watching it for the
first time. So getting back on track, we cut to Tomoki
in bed, while a girl named Sohora attempts to wake him up for school. She rips the blanket off his bed, and discoveries
he has morning wood. She screams, and Tomoki says, “You know,
I hear that’s a good sign”, as Sohora karate chops the shit out of him. Now huge fan of this show that I am, I don’t
like this scene. It’s pretty generic, I know SnO can do a
LOT better, and it makes it THAT much harder to get anyone to watch the show, when that’s
the first joke. But… being the massive fanboy that I am,
I can justify it a little bit. First of all, it’s the only bit of slapstick
comedy we’ll have for the next 10 or so minutes, and after the unusually serious opening,
it’s important to establish that SnO is also a comedy, albeit one with a really good
story. Second, even as cliche as the joke is, SnO
does manage to put a unique spin on it. In most other shows, when the guy gets hit,
that’s sorta it. Just cut to the guy being hurt. But here, as Sohora hits him, it cuts to a
professional black belt chopping the top off a bottle, both to show the strength of her
hit, and to not so subtly imply that she broke his dick off. And finally, with my future sight which I
shouldn’t be using, I know it leads to a MUCH better callback joke in season 2. So, overall, could’ve been better, but it’s…
fine as it is. We later see Tomoki at school falling asleep,
and again the angel appears to him in his dreams again, cryptically telling him that
the sky holds her captive. Sohora wakes Tomoki up from the dream, and
we see that he’s crying, for an as of yet, unknown reason. Again, I appreciate that SnO is taking time
to foreshadow and set up plot points that won’t even come back into play until the
very end of the story. Anyways, apparently these dreams have been
recurring ever since he was a little kid, so Sohora suggests that Tomoki go see Suguta
Eshiro, apparently the smartest person at the school, and see if he knows anything about
what could be causing it. Tomoki is against the idea, mentioning that
he’s too weird to even be seen in the presence of, but Sohora quite literally strong-arms
him into it. Suguta starts off by showing the pair the
thing he showed us in the opening, the disturbance in the Earth’s atmosphere that he believes
to be a new continent. He immediately jumps to the conclusion that
the disturbance and Tomoki’s weird dream are linked, and as luck would have it, it
just so happens that the disturbance is set to pass over their town that night, so he
suggests that they all go observe it. Cut to later that night, and mitigating circumstances
have conspired to keep Suguta and Sohora busy, so it’s just Tomoki all alone. But just as he’s about to leave, he looks
up and sees a giant hole in the sky, and something shooting out of it at incredibly high speeds. It crash lands just in front of him, and at
the bottom of the crater is… an angel. Tomoki’s immediate reaction is to get the
hell out of there, when his path is suddenly blocked by a falling pillar. And not just the one, but dozens of them are
falling out of the hole in the sky. He again starts to run, but stops himself,
realizing the angel might be in danger. He drops down into the crater, and lifts her
unconscious body out. But Tomoki looks up, and realizes that one
of the falling pillars is seconds from flattening him. He closes his eyes and screams. Suddenly, the sound of flapping wings, and
Tomoki is soaring above the town. The chain from the angels collar begins to
lengthen, eventually wrapping around his hand. She brings him back to the ground, and says,
“Nice to meet you. I am a Pet-Class Angeloid, Type Alpha Name:
Ikaros. I am here to fulfill your every desire, my
Master.” So I’m going to pause here and tell you
something I think is interesting. Despite being an action show, and fight scenes
playing a huge role in the story later on in the anime, and even more so in the manga,
this scene of Tomoki first finding Ikaros is the closest we’ll get to an action scene
until Episode 8. You heard right, EPISODE 8! Like I said earlier, the fact that it didn’t
open with an action scene is impressive enough, but to have the restraint to hold back for
8 episodes before having the first real fight scene in a show like this is a commitment
to narrative pacing I wouldn’t think was possible! Again I think this reveals a difference in
the priorities the creators of SnO had. If there first instinct was, “let’s make
money” they would have thrown action scenes everywhere, a la Michael Bay. But instead, they hold back the reins for
8 whole episodes. And do you know why? It’s specifically to avoid being like Kampfer,
or To Love Ru, or Cat Planet Cuties. SnO spends a large part of the first 7 episodes
building up it’s characters personalities and further establishing the plot, so when
shit does finally hit the fan and things get moving? We know exactly what’s going on, why it’s
happening, we understand the characters and their motivations for fighting. And you know what all that gets you? It means you actually GIVE A SHIT. Instead of, “Oh, I guess these two people
I don’t know are fighting, and I don’t really care what happens or who wins.” you
get, “Wow, these two characters that I’ve grown invested in are fighting for reasons
I totally understand, and I REALLY want to know what’ll happen next!” It’s such basic shit, but you’d be surprised
how many shows can completely screw it up! Anyways, back to the first episode, Tomoki
saves Ikaros, and Ikaros saves Tomoki. We cut to the next morning, where Tomoki’s
just woken up, and remembered what had happened last night. Ikaros then starts moving towards him, asking
him if there’s anything at all that he desires. Of course his immediate thought, as any teenage
guys would be, is her boobs, but he stops himself and quickly changes his answer to
money instead. He then has a mini-panic attack in the corner
thinking about he almost got it on with an alien, before Ikaros interrupts asking if
1 billion would be enough money. He says “Yeah, sure – whatever.” and Ikaros pulls out a card. A warning: the following effect is bad-fucking-ass. Oh god I love that so much. The way the card bursts open slowly, then
rapidly speeds up. The way the wind blows Ikaros’s hair and
wings like that, the way whatever it’s transporting is spawned into reality as glowing lego blocks
build it, and then the way transport effect collapses in on itself and disappears. It just looks so fucking cool, and it looks
even cooler when it happens to entire cities later in the manga. Anyways, Ikaros then types the desired amount
of money into the device, and it is spawned accordingly. As what just happened sinks in, Tomoki asks
her how the hell she did that. She explains that the card is essentially
a teleportation device that delivers the required equipment from Synapse. Tomoki asks what the hell Synapse is, and
we get the classic, “I had no other information stored regarding Synapse” line. And spoiler alert for the none of you who
haven’t figured it out from those two sentences, that giant hole in the sky is Synapse. So Tomoki, the protagonist of an ecchi harem
comedy mind you, now essentially has a really hot robot genie who can grant wishes. So in the average harem comedy, what would
happen? Well, nothing, because every harem comedy
protagonist is generic nice guy wuss, who would just forget about it until he accidently
tripped into her boobs. Meanwhile, what does Tomoki do with it? Pretty much everything you’ve ever dreamed
of doing. He turns himself invisible and both spies
on girls changing, and gropes them. He stops time, and wanders around town naked
just because he can, pervs on more girls, shrinks himself, steals shit, and has Ikaros
cook a feast fit for a king. Hell, he even has Ikaros strip for him, which
is something I’m pretty sure no other harem protagonist would ever have the balls to do. Admittedly he does wimp out and ask her to
stop, but she doesn’t, saying that, “She was not designed to rescind orders.”. But still, the fact that he even asked her
in the first place says a lot about the kind of character he is. I have plans in a future episode to go WAY
more in-depth on why I think Tomoki is a fucking great protagonist, but this is just a little
taste in the meantime. Anyways, after a long day of bending the laws
of space and time to his will, Tomoki goes to bed, offhandedly saying that all that’s
left to do now is conquer the world! The next morning he wakes up to… nothing. He goes outside, and sees Sohora’s clothes
on the ground. Ikaros walks up behind him, and informs him
that World Domination will be completed shortly. You see, Ikaros activated a card based on
Tomoki’s offhand comment, and because no human on Earth would recognize Tomoki as their
ruler, the program decided the most efficient route to world conquest was to just delete
everyone else, which is simultaneously really dark and really funny. So Tomoki, realizing just how much he’s
fucked up, asks her if she can reverse it, to which she replies that she cannot. As established earlier, she was not designed
to rescind orders. Tomoki runs around town just to see it for
himself, and yes, everyone else is gone. It’s just Tomoki and Ikaros, the only two
people in the entire world. Here, and again, something unusual for an
harem comedy, we actually get a really touching character scene. Tomoki’s dealing with the grief from having
basically killed everyone on Earth, and Ikaros feels awful because her actions made her Master
feel that way. Ikaros says that she could destroy herself
if she had become a burden to him, and Tomoki sarcastically says, “Yeah… wouldn’t
that be nice.” So Ikaros, oblivious to sarcasm, spawns a
gun, aims it at her head, and almost pulls the trigger, before Tomoki tackles her to
the ground. He says that it was just a joke, but Ikaros
again says that she can’t rescind orders. Tomoki interjects, saying that it’s his
fault everyone’s dead, and begs her to stay with him, to not to leave him all alone. Ikaros agrees, as Tomoki cries into her shoulder,
and says that he wishes this was all just a bad dream. Suddenly we cut back to Tomoki’s dream,
where the blue haired angel tells him, “Treasure your angel. Never part ways with her.”. The next morning, Tomoki wakes up to Sohara
yelling at him. He freaks out for a second, before Ikaros
reveals that because he wished it was a dream, she activated a card that made it all a dream. Of course, the show also subtly implies that
the angel in his dream had something to do with it. Tomoki thanks Ikaros profusely, before collapsing
onto his bed in relief. But Ikaros is confused about something. She recalls that he asked her to stay by his
side, and wonders if that should have been left as part of the dream. To that, Tomoki says, “You should do whatever
you want….” Ikaros responds simply, “Yes, Master.” WHEW! So that’s the first episode of SnO, now
time for the broad analysis. If I had to describe it in one word, it’d
be “efficient”. Efficient as fuck, even. As you may have figured out from how long
it took me to explain, this episode has so much going on that it barely has a second
to breathe. I mean, in just this 24 minutes, we been introduced
to almost all the major characters and gave each of them time to leave an impression,
introduced major plot elements, both immediately relevant as well as setting up for stuff that
won’t even matter until the very end of the story. We had an entire Monkey’s Paw esque “you
get what you wish for” arc, covered the fallout and consequences, and capped it off
with Tomoki learning his lesson. It set up the romance for Tomoki and Ikaros,
while also taking the time to have a LOT of really funny comedy. I mean fuck, just chart the progression of
the tone in this episode to see what I mean. We start serious, then it turns humorous,
then we go all the way to slapstick comedy, have a sweet moment, another serious moment,
funny scene, serious scene, funny scene, sudden action scene, then the tone goes to romance
momentarily before cutting away and going into comedy. Then we go serious again, and finally end
off on upbeat and romantic. And here’s the thing. In any other show, a tone progression like
that would cause it to implode in on itself. On paper, this doesn’t fucking work. But one of the things that makes SnO special
is that it can not only do it, but do it WELL and better than any other show I’ve ever
seen. And I don’t know whether to chock it up to
the fantastic writing or excellent direction, but it just works! At no point in the episode did I feel like
I was suffering from tonal whiplash, or like a scene felt out of place or disconnected
from everything else. One of SnO’s biggest strengths is that is
has an uncanny ability to transition seamlessly from comedy to action to drama to romance
and back to comedy, all without missing a beat, and this episode is the perfect example
of that. In fact, it’s the perfect example of pretty
much everything in the show. One of the things the first episode does REALLY
well is setting your expectations. SnO is a drama. SnO is a romance story. SnO is a perverted comedy. And SnO is an action show. This episode had every one of those elements
present here. Were they a bit rushed? Maybe. I feel like it could have really benefited
from an additional minute or two of runtime to stretch out its legs a bit, but I’m not
about to fault it for being a bit fast considering everything it was able to accomplish. And another thing that I think really sets
the show apart is the meticulous details hiding everywhere. As I mentioned early I adore all the detail
that goes into the card transporting effect, but but there’s a ton of other stuff I like. For example, I like how every few seconds,
Ikaros’s armor and receptors blink. Or the multiple references to another Suu
Minazuki manga, Judas, like Peter appearing on the money, or how Eve is on Tomoki’s
wallpaper, with art that was drawn by Suu Minazkui himself! (By the way, Eve and Mizuki also appear later
on as a background characters.) Or, how after Tomoki gets naked, you can see
Ikaros carrying his pajamas throughout the day. Or how when Tomoki goes to spy on Sohora,
he starts off hiding behind a bed sheet because he didn’t know if the invisibility would
work or not, and didn’t want to get caught if it didn’t. Or how in the end credits, all those pillars
are gone, and everything’s strangely back to normal, barring some acorns lying on the
ground, one of which goes onto grow into a tree that becomes a plot point later on. Just so much attention to detail everywhere
you look! But I think my favorite example is the credits. Usually in a show like this, there’d be
some lazily animated slideshow with some generic song playing in the background. If you’re lucky you sometimes get bits of
animation here and there, but even then, it’s never anything interesting because it’s
just the credits, and who cares about the credits, you know? But no, that’s not the case in SnO! The credit scene is animated exactly the same
as the rest of the episode, with some really nice hair animation by the way, and has a
good song playing over it. Which may make you think, “Oh, this must
be a one time thing and we’ll get that slideshow next episode, right”. No, because believe it or not, there is a
new completely original ending animation and a different song for EVERY. SINGLE. EPISODE. I cannot even begin to tell you how much that
blows my mind. Every single one of the 25 episodes of SnO’s
two seasons has different credits animation and a new song. That’s 25 total songs just for the credits,
and about 36 minutes combined of extra animation, which would be enough to make almost 2 complete
episodes! I don’t know of a SINGLE other anime that’s
ever done that, because you’d have to be insane to put that much effort into something
so meaningless, right? That right there, is how I know I’m not
crazy for loving this show as much as I do. That kind of effort and passion? That isn’t something that comes from a harem
comedy that was only ever made to make money off of honey teenage boys. That is something that can only possibly be
motivated by artistic passion. That’s the kind of thing that happens when
you have really amazing people on your staff who want to make an equally amazing product. Someone, somewhere, CARED about SnO. The studio put a lot of effort into making
it as amazing as it could ever possibly be, not just for the credits, but in every aspect
of the show, and they went above and beyond. If I had to sum up why SnO is good in a minute
or less, I would say that it’s simply the best in it’s genre by a country mile. It has multifaceted characters that grow and
change over time and are more than just archetypes with boobs attached. It’s comedy is so completely out there and
batshit insane, that I guarantee you’ve never seen anything else that holds a candle
to it. It has a really fascinating narrative hiding
in the background that starts off slow but gradually ramps up to an epic battle between
gods for the fate of the universe. Believe it or not, most of the characters
are dead by the end of the manga. Yeah! Dramatic, impactful character death, in an
harem comedy! Bet that just blew your mind. SnO takes risks, does things differently,
and above all else, it put being good above being profitable on the priorities list. Because… when you’re not just motivated
by money? Because when you see past the boobs on the
poster and find the potential in a project like this? Because when you actually give a shit about
what you’re making? Well… the sky’s the limit. [record scratch]
Wait a minute, where do you think you’re going? That was just the part 1! I’m not even REMOTELY close to being done
explaining why I love this show so much. But… there’s a snag in all this. You see, I have difficulty believing this
video will ever come close to making it’s money back. I’m operating under the impression that
it’ll be 110% a passion project, and probably a waste of time I could be using to make something
that pays rent. So I’ll just say this now. My Patreon? Think of that as a direct correlation line
graph. The more money I make from that, the more
time I have to spend working on this. So if you want this Love Letter To SnO series
to come out faster, than I ask that you head over there and throw a few bucks my way if
you can. In the meantime though, I wanna shoutout everyone
who’s currently helping me out. And not just the usual $10+ patrons. This is a special occasion, and I want everyone
to know how much I appreciate them. So without further ado, special thanks to… Thank you all VERY much for watching, and
I’ll see you guys, next time. Later!