Sonny Boy

Episode 11
by Steve Jones, Sep 28th 2021

Because the classmates’ initial unique brush with wandering, Sonny Boy has actually constantly had to do with the pains as well as happiness of separation, yet its penultimate episode takes shape those feelings into their sharpest, most fantastic factors. In other words, this episode made me cry. I was surprised by just how much I had actually grown to care about these characters as people, especially due to the fact that the program so often feels like an anthology of abstract thoughtful disputes using the skin of a sci-fi drama. However, I believe this proves that the real adhesive holding Sonny Boy together this entire time has been its splendid implementation as an item of animation. The person, intentional care this episode takes with whatever from its mounting to its character acting is simply an additional example of the series’ exciting visual top quality. Even if I had discovered the contacting be total rubbish (I do not), I still assume I would certainly have had a challenging time drawing myself away from Sonny Boy’s rainbow crave reinvention each week.

This phase opens up on a gorgeous instance of the series’ craft, as Nagara, Mizuho, as well as their pet friends collaborate to make a memorial for Nozomi. Mainly wordless save for the attractive song by The Natsuyasumi Band, the montage concentrates on the work itself, due to the fact that a memorial is not simply a single moment, place, or item. It’s the effort it requires to scour the island for ornaments and tokens that stimulate Nozomi. It’s the sweat and labor that goes into planning and constructing an area of ceremony. It’s the rips that fall, however long it takes for them to well up and also drop into the soil, where the earth may intern them, as it will certainly all other evidence that any one of us ever before lived. Nozomi’s pals memorialize her with the color blue. It’s the shade of the ocean they came from, still gradually engulfing the college, and it’s the color of the sky, where her Compass, willful and unwavering, still points. Blue is the shade of Sonny Boy.

The opening mosaic’s focus on job additionally foreshadows the remainder of the episode, which worries itself with construction on a much bigger scale. Rajdhani makes a rest stop on his multi-millennium trip to help his pals finish the Project Robinson they drew back when they initially uncovered the island, however much more importantly, he comes by to bid farewell to them. Assuming the ending concentrates on Nagara and Mizuho’s journey house, I believe it’s just suitable that Rajdhani gets the limelight in the program’s last full episode in the drift. Rajdhani is Sonny Boy’s Renaissance male. Out of all the copies we have actually seen, he’s the one that worked the hardest to be both the kindest and also most inquisitive– the most aware of his limitations, as well as one of the most figured out to accomplish their maxima. He’s the only wanderer that went back to pay respects to Nozomi. He’s a good person and a friend, and also it hurts to have to part ways with him.

Nevertheless, Nagara and also Mizuho still steel themselves to return home by themselves. In Sonny Boy’s common fashion, it rejects to explicitly state why just both of them will make that trip, yet it provides a lot of room for interpretation. To that end, Rajdhani acts as the episode’s thematic guardian, telling each of them a story from his 2000 years of travel. The one he informs Mizuho is the simpler to analyze, specifically in the context of the brewing separation: fond memories is inescapable as well as powerful, but we can’t allow ourselves be taken in by it. Nostalgia benefits from our imperfect memories to produce intoxicatingly perfect pictures that reality can never ever wish to reproduce. This is, probably, one reason that Nagara as well as Mizuho are “allowed” to make the trip residence. Neither of them hold any kind of particularly ideal memories they intend to lose themselves in; rather, as Mizuho says, they have points they still want to do. It’s a vague response, yet it’s a good one, since a correct future– one without torpidity– can only be unclear and also formless. It resembles the end of Adolescence of Utena; the outdoors may be a severe apocalyptic marsh, yet it’s still much better than being a living remains caught within the Prince’s doll house.

The pall of Nozomi’s fatality still hangs over Nagara as well as Mizuho, nevertheless. Rajdhani, subsequently, relays his 2nd story regarding the pupil who designed Fatality. Sonny Boy maintains its cards near to its breast, per common, evoking both the memory of War’s wrongs as well as teasing us with a peek of someone that looks a whole lot like Hoshi. Their actual identification doesn’t really issue, however I like to think Rajdhani was telling Nagara what happened to his old schoolmates– that they took care of to construct a paradise ultimately, yet were never ever entirely without darkness. Hoshi (allow’s think it was him), incapable to kill himself, designed a method to eliminate his individuality and also became a different individual. That’s a sort of death, besides. And regardless of the wrongs Hoshi dedicated, there’s no alleviation in Rajdhani’s voice when he shares what happened to him and also what he did to himself. There’s simply a somber sense of curiosity, and also the feeling of a vacuum where once there was something.

Rajdhani proposes that every one of the pupils will die eventually. Like the way a river, offered sufficient time, can grind a mountain to atoms, so as well will certainly the consistent buildup of experiences slowly wear down everyone until they are only a things– a gun, a compass, a lopsided opening, a furball that smells like the sunlight, and so on. It’s sad, but Nagara acknowledges that it’s sad in the same way our common temporal deaths are sad. There is no more and no less definition inside the maze of These Globes than there is in their residence globe. Both 70 years as well as 7000 years are just as infinitesimal compared to the limitless void of nothingness that borders them. Every little thing will certainly still disappear ultimately. But it’s that meaningless transience, nonetheless much it’s extended, that makes life so precious. Nihilism doesn’t need to consider us down. Nihilism can point us towards what we really require to value. Nihilism can be our compass.

If Sonny Boy has anything as basic as a “message,” then Rajdhani’s exclamation of nihilistic positive outlook– that absolutely nothing issues, but sometimes amazing points really do happen– is possibly as close as we’re going to get. That mindset similarly drives Nagara and also Mizuho. Nozomi could be gone, as well as nothing in the drift could inevitably matter, but they pick to follow her will certainly and go home with each other anyhow. Even if it makes it as if the drift never ever took place for them, it still did happen. Or right here’s another method of considering it: Nagara’s and Mizuho’s powers combined together to create the drifting sensation. Nagara’s dispositions towards retreat and also retreating inwards shown up as his capacity to produce and travel between a boundless variety of worlds included within an infinite number of trainees. Mizuho’s desire to not lose anybody manifested as an eternal life born from tension, where people that can no more die rather progressively condense as well as calcify over eons into irreversible unfeeling things. For them, especially, to return house, they have to decline these coping mechanisms and face reality head-on. No one else can do that for them. However they can still make that trip with each other.

And also what a way to show that trip! I have a great deal of made complex sensations regarding the realities of space expedition, but fortunately, Sonny Boy is everything about abstractions. And also as an abstraction, the construction of a Saturn V rocket is a fantastic method to represent a watershed moment in humankind’s growth. It’s a giant monolith to the power of modern technology, resourcefulness, and collaboration. They can not pluck it out of a Nyamazon box. They have to construct it. Also, speaking as a person that enjoyed Apollo 13 religiously as a child, it was a joy to see all of that careful mechanical detail and animation applied to the coolest rocket anybody has ever built. It’s also wild to take into consideration that this technical animation comes coupled with all of the meaningful character acting elsewhere in the episode, which likely gets here thanks to the show’s personality designer Norifumi Kugai both storyboarding and serving as computer animation supervisor. Sonny Boy really pulls out all of the stops in search of this episode’s extended psychological climax, as well as the outcome is as beautiful as it is heartrending.

I have no suggestion where or how this trip will certainly finish. I do know, nonetheless, that Sonny Boy finishes this episode magnificently, weaving together the lyrics of its signature tune with Nagara and also Mizuho’s last obstacle against God, the cosmos, or whatever else stands in the way of their residence. They have actually needed to part ways with their good friends, their peers, their family pets, their caretakers, and a lot more, now they’ve arrived at the last barrier, seated in a space lift, drifting far away from the island. There’s no place entrusted to go however up as well as forward, where Nozomi’s hand continues to point.