Shingo Natsume is a fairly famous animator who has now been given the chance to develop his own straight to TV anime. With such a fantastic mind at the helm of this ship, Sonny Boy is shaping up to be not only one of the most popular Summer anime of 2021 but one of the most popular anime of the year. With so much hype already behind it, let's dive into what makes Sonny Boy so special.
Sonny Boy's story is hard to understand. At first glance, it seems to be a mix of several different genres including mystery, drama, science fiction, and several others. From the first episode, we're dropped right into the action with a light exposition dump. We discover that a school has been transported to some kind of unknown dimension, leaving only a handful of students behind. Some of these pupils have been imbued with unique powers while others are just along for the ride. The students must work together to discover the mystery of their apparent abduction and, hopefully, return to their homeworld.
As the story progresses, we learn that the blackened void the students inhabit during the first episode is but one of many different worlds. As the students travel between these worlds, they learn of the different rules in place that must be abided by by anyone who sets foot into this particular dimension. In a very Lord of the Flies-esque narrative, the kids bicker over leadership, freedom, and self-imposed rules, all the while trying their best to work as a team—utilizing each other's powers to the best effect in hopes of finding a way home.
Sonny Boy's Aesthetic
One of the most striking things about Sonny Boy is its art style. The colors and palette choices here and breathtaking and wonderfully animated. The design choices for not only set-pieces but character facial expressions and movements are also beautiful to see play out.
There's also a fair degree of the patented Nisio Isin Monogatari style of unquestioned absurdity. Characters will walk into scenes with caramel frappucinos picked up from a discarded vending machine, before making their way to a pink and gold-encrusted sofa accompanied by some kind of balloon animal dog that can fly, without as much as a second glance. It's better to just accept that this is the way the world of Sonny Boy works and focus on the story at hand instead of nitpicking every last irregularity. The worlds of Sonny Boy are meant to be confusing and by diving headfirst into the strangeness, they ensure that we as an audience are just as baffled by the events transpiring as the characters on screen are.
Shingo Natsume Strikes Again
For those unaware, Shingo Natsume is delivering us Sonny Boy hot off the press from such works as One Punch Man and Space Dandy. As you can imagine, with such wonderfully animated works as these, Sonny Boy was bound to provide some draw-dropping spectacle. Rest assured, Sonny Boy's worlds, environments, and characters look great as well as each character's unique power. It would be easy to show someone with telekinesis breaking windows but, instead, Sonny Boy twists and contorts the screen around each character to show that someone's power is being activated, and the supposed psychological shattering it has on those within the vicinity.
Sonny Boy is just as much a mystery sci-fi thriller as it is a set of character studies. Similar to Lord of the Flies, Sonny Boy takes us on a journey through the human condition. What does it mean to set rules? Can man ever truly be free? Sonny Boy aims to answer all these questions and more whilst simultaneously providing audiences with a thoroughly entertaining and engaging narrative.
Sonny Boy is not for everyone. The slow pacing, abstract narrative, and unique art style might be enough to turn some people away. However, those who stick around will be rewarded with not only an incredibly breathtaking artwork but a thought-provoking story to boot. After only three episodes, Sonny Boy has cemented itself as one of THE anime to look out for this Summer and, potentially, the entire year. We hope the progression to its eventual climax is just as engaging. What did you think of Sonny Boy? Let us know down below!