Rating: 3.5/5 – Should a Story This Grim Be This Cute?
Deciding his attempt at universe-making was a total failure, God has abandoned his creation (on a Sunday, hence the title), leaving humanity at a standstill. Nobody can die anymore, women can’t have children, and there is no afterlife to speak of. In his stead, God leaves Gravediggers – beings who are able to put souls to rest when it is their time, or more likely when it is long past their time. After her mother passes, young Ai inherits her mantle and becomes her village’s Gravedigger. She prepares graves for every inhabitant in her village, then lets life proceed as it will. Enter a mysterious albino. Never a good sign in an anime, but there may be more to this man than meets the eye. Is he Ai’s long lost father, or simply a murderous soul leaving a path of dead…and undead…in his wake? Either way, Ai’s job as Gravedigger is about to become much busier.
What Makes It Worth Watching?
The animation in this series is about what we’ve come to expect from anime these days, with lush, beautiful scenery that you could spend hours studying if that’s your thing. The character designs are well done, if a bit common to the whole genre. No new ground is being broken when your waifish heroine has the typical lock of hair arcing out of her forehead, or when your painfully thin, garbed in black younger man is voiced using that same world-weary tone typical to every character in that particular role. Still, none of that truly matters in anime. The tropes exist for a reason…most anime tell very similar stories…it’s the *way* those stories are told that helps build an audience, and a loyal fanbase. Time will tell if there’s going to be one for Sunday Without God.
What truly threw me was the juxtaposition of cute characters being used to tell such a grim story. I mean, think about it – God exists, and he doesn’t care about you anymore. You can’t die, even if you get badly injured or age beyond your years. Families are no longer existent, as there aren’t going to be any more babies. So it might seem a bit off-putting to have such cutesy characters populating this world, particularly Ai herself. Then again, this is anime, so perhaps I should expect no less, but it might dilute the overall message of the series to have such opposition.
And make no mistake, these are well-designed and thought-out characters, not only in the cut of their clothing (Ai’s main outfit and shovel-as-a-weapon) but in their motivations and backgrounds as well. Many anime fail because not enough emphasis is put on the world-building aspect – giving your universe a history, a timeline, and its people a purpose – and while this particular anime is more about world-destroying, it still does a great job getting you to believe this is a very real world undergoing a very real catastrophe. That, more than anything, may keep viewers coming back.
I enjoy anime which throw me for a curve. Higurashi: When They Cry, for example, started out one way, then went another way completely and in the process hooked me in. Sunday Without God just might be able to pull the same trick, but instead of taking innocence and moving it to a darker place (as in Higurashi), this series seems to start out in as dark a place as it can possibly get, and take us on a quest toward the light. While is encompasses many of the tropes seasoned anime viewers have come to expect, the overarching story seems to be one well worth checking out.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow – email@example.com
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