Sonny Boy is an original anime series, produced by Madhouse and directed and written by Shingo Natsume. It was released during the 2021 summer season.
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.
Sonny Boy provides examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight: The gigantic talking black dog,Yamabiko, tells his backstory as a set of flashbacks in Episode 8.
- The Ageless: Anyone who ends up in the other dimension doesn't age or change with time. (More annoyingly, if you happened to have a broken arm when you arrived, it will never heal).
- Baseball Episode: Episode 4 has Nagara and the other characters compete with Ace at baseball, playing for the right to win a flashlight that would let them see baseball-playing monkeys.
- Bittersweet Ending: Nagara and Mizuho make it back to their own world, with Nozomi’s Compass ensuring they arrive back at the moment they began to go adrift. Everyone who died in the adrift world is back to life, Yamabiko in his human form and his friend are seen too. However, only they retain any memory of going adrift, and the world they came back to is the same they left, with all of the societal trappings and melancholy. Nagara also doesn’t keep his promise to engage with Nozomi, who in their original world, is dating Asakaze. However, both Nagara and Mizuho are hopeful for their future, with the closing line by Nagara summing up their new outlook: “Our lives are only beginning. What lies ahead will just take a little bit longer”.
- Cast of Snowflakes: No two characters look similar, and even those who do, you can easily identify on their own. Special mention goes to Cap and Rajdhani, who have extremely different eye designs from the rest of the kids.
- Driving Question: How and why did 36 students end up trapped in another dimension? And, more importantly, how can they go back to their own world?
- Establishing Character Moment: The promotional art used as the illustration on this page depicts the four main characters on the school roof, and manages to tell plenty about them from their poses alone. Nagara is timidly keeping himself far away from the roof edge, indicating that he's a quiet boy who doesn't like to stand out much; Nozomi is riskily hanging from the fence with one hand and reaching out with the other, indicating she's a blithe and brave girl full of optimism; Mizuho is sitting, looking away from her fellow students and at her cats, indicating that she is distant from other people; and Asakaze is sitting gloomily at the top of the precarious fence, indicating that he's rash, independent, and emotional.
- Hidden Depths: Tsubasa is able to discover these thanks to her mind reading power, which she keeps hidden from everyone else. Special note goes to her finding out how madly in love Asakaze is with Nozomi, going to moments throughout the series where he acted harshly towards her to show his true intentions. Given they end up together in the original world, this makes sense.
- Mind Screw: The plot is anything but easy to interpret (sometimes jumping days/weeks ahead and leaving it to the viewer to piece what has happened), strange and confusing things happen in every episode, and straightforward explanations are rare. For example, in episode 4 the characters suddenly start to talk about baseball-playing monkeys... which apparently only select people can see, and which have learned baseball from the students and formed their own baseball league with years of history (even though the students themselves have only been there for a month or so, tops). The anime is also chock full of surreal visuals, usually related to the bizarre alien worlds the students travel to.
- Narnia Time: Time in the other world apparently flows in bizarre ways. In particular, the students eventually meet other drifting students from the same school, some of which are from classes in the future, yet have apparently arrived into the other dimension hundreds or thousands of years ago (from their perspective).
- Psychic Children: Several of the kids end up having super powers after ending up in the other world.
- Resurrective Immortality: Apart from not dying of old age, apparently the trapped students can't die permanently at all, period. Asakaze has his brains bashed out with a bat in Episode 1 but recovers almost immediately without a scratch. Similarly, in Episode 7 after Futatsuboshi gets eaten by the... thing... inside the cave, he is later seen near the end of the episode, seemingly okay.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Episode 5 has the students rescue Armstrong, a sentient computer mouse which acts like a living pet mouse and has the power to unravel things.
- Robinsonade: Downplayed. By the time of episode 2, the students end up on a tropical island in another world and need to grow food and build shelter. However, compared to typical Robinsonade stories, their burden is lessened due to at least one person having The Power of Creation, providing them with whatever materials they can't find.
- Wham Episode: Episode 6. The class seems to finally find a way home... only to find out that they're (apparently) just copies of their real selves, who have already graduated the school. There's no home for them to return to. Oh, and Nozomi is dead in the real world. What's more, there are many other drifting students just like them. This is the episode where the mood of the series takes a major shift.