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Anime / Sound of the Sky

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From the top-left, clockwise: Rio, Filicia, Noël, Kanata, and Kureha

"This sound strikes a chord. Whether in Rome or Helvetia, it is the same."
Kanata Sorami

Sound of the Sky (So Ra No Wo To) is an anime that aired in the winter of 2010 and was directed by Mamoru Kanbe. Produced by Aniplex as a part of TV Tokyo's Anime no Chikara project, it is an Anime First, and follows fifteen-year-old Kanata Sorami, who joins the 1121st platoon of the Helvetian Army in the town of Seize. So Ra No Wo To was streamed on Crunchyroll and Funimation, although it was delisted from the former in 2021. In 2011, Nozomi Entertainment released it on DVD as Sound of the Sky, the English translation of the series title.

At a young age, Kanata was inspired by a trumpeter's rendition of "Amazing Grace", and thereafter, decided to become a bugler. While on her way to the Clocktower Fortress, Kanata loses her way and stumbles into a festival dedicated to the Fire Maidens, who saved the town from a fire-breathing demon in a legend from a forgotten age. As the other platoon members train her to be a bugler, Kanata's own cheerfulness and innocence, drives the other members to find their own happiness in a world devastated by conflicts.


Over the next year, Kanata adjusts to life at the Clocktower Fortress, learning more about music and the events that shaped the world around her, all the while brightening up her brigade's day. The series follow their misadventures, from exploring the pasts of her friends, to saving the townspeople from a huge storm, and finally battling the sadistic antagonist, Colonel Hopkins, who wants war to break out for his own pleasure. Even as the calm in Seize gives way to the threat of war, Kanata's optimism brings the legend of the Fire Maidens to life once more.


Sound of the Sky provides examples of:

  • After the End: A major war that occurred roughly three hundred years earlier reduced the world's population and regressed technology to early twentieth-century standards.
  • Alternative Calendar: The war with "Them" had far reaching consequences on society: The date was changed to AP to denote the number of years after the war ended. To give a sense of scale, the series begins during 271 AP.
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: The central musical theme, which drives Kanata's desire to play the trumpet and ultimately embodies forgiveness, when Kanata plays the song during the confrontation between the Helvetian and Roman forces.
  • Ambiguously Brown:
    • Aisha is a Roman soldier introduced in the anime.
    • Kyrie Kuon is a character exclusive to the PSP Visual Novel.
  • Apocalypse How: The world is initially presented as having undergone a Class I. Relics from the past civilization remain, but much of the world is uninhabitable save small regions. However, the consequences of the war might lead to a Class IV; with the ocean receding and the surface succumbing to desertification, despite said war having ended centuries ago.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: By the end of the series, the fact that the 1121st know people in high places prevent them from being court-martialed for disobeying orders and doing what is right.
  • Art Imitates Art: The opening sequence recreates paintings by Gustav Klimt in great detail.
  • Artistic Licence – History: The artists went to great lengths to correctly represent some German WWII equipment such as the Karabiner 98k rifle or the Zündapp KS750 motorcycle and sidecar, but the VW Kübelwagen Type 82 is made for left-hand drive and, perhaps more oddly, is front-engined, evidenced by what is supposed to be the rear engine compartment being used as storage. (Like the Beetle it's based on, the Kübelwagen is rear-engined, and all were made for right-hand drive).
  • Batman in My Basement: The crew decides to hide Aisha to avoid wrecking the peace talks.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Takemikazuchi has an unusual gait, moving with a far higher degree of mobility compared to the slow strides of other spider tanks in the era.
  • Big Bad: Though he doesn't appear until the last two episodes, Colonel Hopkins, the Demon of Vingt, is the main antagonist who wants to instigate war with the Roman Empire, plots to kill the Roman soldier Aisha for this purpose, and tries to take over the 1121st Platoon, pitting the heroines of the platoon against him. He is also responsible for the psychological issues of Noël, a recurring problem for her throughout the series, as he manipulated her into unknowingly unleashing a bio-weapon that killed millions.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rio's timely arrival allows her to enforce the peace treaty between the Helvetian and Roman at the end of episode twelve, preventing an all-out war from breaking out.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Aisha's lines are in German, and the lyrics of "Servante de Feu" are in French, along with most of the writing in the show.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of the series finale, it is made clear that a vast majority of Earth's surface is undergoing irreversible desertification. While small regions are recovering, the biosphere itself was damaged beyond repair. Despite this, the heroines managed to defeat Colonel Hopkins and stop him from restarting a war that would have destroyed what little remained; instead, peace between Helvetia and Rome has been finalised, and Rio plans to go find the legendary land that escaped the desolation.
  • Black Box: The technology that remains from the previous age has become inoperable by humanity, including a Ragnarok-proofed system located near Helvetia's border with No-Man's Land that serves an unknown purpose.
  • Blatant Lies: When Kureha points out that Yumina shouldn't be in a mock battle with them.
    Kureha: This is not a game!
    Yumina: I swear to the eight million spirits, I'm not doing this just to try on the uniform.
  • Bookends: Episode one takes place during the Maiden of Fire festival (with Rio as the maiden) with the girls standing at the fort entrance waiting for Kanata to report for duty. The last scene in the TV broadcast ends with them at the same spot waiting for Rio's replacement. The bonus thirteenth episode, which marks the final episode of the entire series, take place exactly one year later during another Maidens of Flame festival, this time with Kanata as the maiden.
  • Bottle Episode: The events of episode eight occur within the confines of the Clocktower's dining room and a few nearby corridors.
  • Break the Cutie: Save Kanata, all of the female soldiers experience this to some extent. In particular, Noël suffers greatly near the end of the series, due to having helped revive a weapon system that wiped out several towns and killed lots of people, which Colonel Hopkins is only more than happy to point out repeatedly to her.
  • Breather Episode: The first DVD exclusive episode is a whimsical, lighthearted story, occurring between episode seven and eight. Similarly, episode eight acts as a breather episode built around waiting for a phone to ring.
  • Call to Agriculture: Klaus has expressed interest towards moving into an agricultural occupation.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Played straight with most of the girls, who seem to get drunk rather easily in the first OVA. Kureha, on the other hand, Never Gets Drunk no matter how much she drinks. Consequently, she doesn't understand why the girls go into Serious Business mode during the mini wargame, and remembers every little detail that happened during that day, including being forced to bathe with them while they were all drunk.
  • Child Soldiers: Most of the main cast are in their teens yet are enlisted servicewomen. Kanata and Kureha in particular are fifteen and fourteen, respectively, while Noël is fifteen but had been participating in military activities ever since she was deceived into developing biological weapons as a little girl. Rio is seventeen, and Filicia is eighteen, being only slightly older than the other members of the 1121st.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Entering the army thinking she'll get to play music as a bugler, Kanata's experiences with the 1121st give her greater perspective on music, and the true significance of being a bugler.
  • Command Roster: The 1121st Squad is at the minimum size for a tank platoon in the Helvetian army.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: While the rest of the world has fallen into disrepair, small regions (like Seize) remain habitable, with its residents going about their everyday lives as usual.
  • Crapsaccharine World: On the first glance, this is K-On! set on the battlefield: the landscapes are beautiful, girls bond and have memorable adventures. However, the characters are essentially teenaged soldiers having gone through trying events in their lives and have issues (with Kanata as the exception). Furthermore, humanity's losing war against "Them" led to the deterioration of the Earth's biosphere. However, it is a World Half Full, as the PV (and the lyrics of "Servante de Feu") reminds us:
    Beauty, grimness, pain, happiness; it is up to you how to deal with them.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Even after the Epic Hail fails, Amazing Freaking Grace proved to be successful.
  • Creator Provincialism: A rather unusual subversion is present; initially, the setting is an Expy of Switzerland, with European architecture, and minor elements derived from Japanese culture present to give the impression that Japanese customs are more universal. Similarly, some Japanese nuances make their way into the anime, such as the Kübelwagen's steering columns being on the left side (they are on the right side in reality).
  • Creator Thumbprint: Similar to the opening of Elfen Lied (also directed by Mamoru Kanbe), Sound of the Sky's opening is a recreation of Gustav Klimt's paintings, featuring their respective shows' characters.
  • Credits Running Sequence: The sequence features Kanata running around Seize or against a blue sky backdrop.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: A large number of references are made to background details about the setting; while there's no attempt to explain them, this arises because no one alive knows what happened anymore.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Helvetian Orthodox Church is polytheist, yet integrates elements from Liturgical Christianity with Shintoism, as demonstrated by the western-style church adorned with paper shide.
  • Cue the Sun: The sun appears at the right moment every time Kanata needs a striking background for her trumpet performances.
  • Culture Chop Suey:
    • Helvetia is French-speaking, celebrates Chinese and Japanese festivals, and uses pre-1950's Japanese currency. Its military dresses and has gear like WWII Germany, and its rulers hold Austrian titles.
    • The country named Rome is populated by Middle Eastern people who speak German, with American WWII gear.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Takemikazuchi disables several tanks from the 9th division, and applies the "stomping" element in a literal sense during the finale. When humanity squared off against "Them", Spider Tanks were on the receiving end.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: Episode five opens with the 1121st platoon engaging in combat with an unseen enemy. When their rounds hit, Rio leaves the cabin of the Takemikazuchi to signal for an advance, but it turns out that they are inside the hangar, and participating in a combat exercise.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All the girls minus Kanata, ranging from being a Heroic Bastard to My God, What Have I Done?.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Filicia had one during the battle of Binnenland.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Rio "sings" the opening theme while drunk.
  • Drawing Straws: This is how they decided the Maiden of Fire is chosen; Filicia rigs it so Rio is chosen.
  • Dream Melody: Amazing Freaking Grace is immediately recognizable by Rio, Kanata, and even Aisha. It is part of the Takemikazuchi's OS and carries symbolic importance for all of them.
  • Drives Like Crazy:
    • Klaus's reckless driving leaves Kanata in tears in the first episode.
    • Kanata herself causes Yumina to thank the gods for being alive, thanks to the realistic consequences of her Driver Faces Passenger tendencies.
  • Due to the Dead: The Obon Festival and the trip to the outpost are to pay respects for the dead, and moving humanity in a better direction for their sake.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The girls are afflicted with anything from minor confidence issues (Kanata) to more significant issues, such as Filicia's post-traumatic stress disorder, and Noël's guilt over her part in the Invisible Reaper plague.
  • Earth All Along: In episode thirteen, Rio receives a map of the world and points out to Kanata, that Helvetia is not in Europe, but in Japan all along.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It may take fighting your own army, but things can work out in the end.
  • Eat the Dog: Rio's immediate reaction to Shuko's appearance is to try to make dinner out of the owl, but Filicia adopts her as the Team Pet instead.
  • Emotionless Girl: Noël for the most part.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: In the episode seven flashback, the entirety of Filicia's squad mates are killed after their tank is hit. Being the sole survivor, she considers suicide out of grief.
  • Expy: The crew is often compared to K-On!'s cast, despite the lack of similarities in some of the characters (such as Ritsu and Noël). In episode two, Kanata imagines the 1121st in a normal high school music club.
  • Eyecatch: A short one, consisting of simplified drawings of the main cast, along with an upbeat tune, is shown at the halfway point of each episode. The music is absent in episode seven, and the eyecatches are dropped altogether in episode twelve.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Klaus is not really the Desert Wolf, but is merely someone with the same name and similar appearance. However, this doesn't stop him from becoming a real hero, and saving Kureha in the middle of a typhoon.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Seize is an animated replica of Cuenca, Spain, and is set in the country of Helvetia, a Switzerland stand-in where Helvetian (French) is the main language. Elements of several other cultures are present, especially those of Japan. Furthermore, in Rome, people are Ambiguously Brown and speak German.
  • Festival Episode: The festival in the first episode has many distinctly Asian traits despite being set in an Ersatz Switzerland. Episode seven also features Toro Nagashi / Fiesta des Lumiéres.
  • First-Name Basis: Filicia, the leader of the 1121st, prefers that everyone call each other by name instead of rank to promote friendship.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the third episode Filicia comments on Rio's lack of manners with: "What would your father say if he could see you?"
    • A more subtle example is seen in episode four, when Noël asks Kanata if she is frightened by a machine that's killed many people. After the revelation that Noël is the Witch of Helvetia, she was asking the question with respect to herself as well, rather than the Takemikazuchi alone.
  • Forgiveness: Seen in Aisha and less obviously in Filicia.
  • Freak Out:
    • Noël has one near the end of Episode eleven and throughout episode twelve, the latter being induced by a Hannibal Lecture delivered by Hopkins.
    • In episode seven, Filicia recalls how she had lost her faith in a fair world after her ordeal, and recovers by following the example of the person who rescued her, Iliya.
  • Freeze Sneeze: Causes Rio to take pity on a soaked Kanata, and give her a warm bath and a clean uniform in episode one.
  • From Cataclysm to Myth: The degree to which Helvetian and Roman mythologies are true is unclear, but share similarities in that both accounts are embellished recollections of the great war they fought, and involve supernatural punishment of some kind.
  • General Ripper: Colonel Hopkins goes to great lengths to instigate a shooting war with the Roman Empire.
  • Gilligan Cut: In the second episode Kanata and Noël think that they saw a ghost in the barracks of their base. Kureha disagrees, suggesting that they're seeing things. Rio agrees with Kureha, but the scene cuts to Kureha and Kanata standing at the entrance to the barracks, with Rio ordering them to investigate before turning around and leaving (all the while shouting those orders from a safe distance, no less).
  • The Glomp: Kanata and Kureha are particularly fond of this maneuver, doing it to Rio in the finale. Kanata also glomps Kureha in episodes two and five, and Kureha does it to Rio in the ED.
  • Goal in Life: In the second OVA, Kanata discusses with various characters what their life-long dreams are.
  • Gratuitous English: The ending theme throws in English lines, and the Takemikazuchi's OS uses rather weird English in its displays, such as "NOMARL".
  • Gratuitous French: Helvetians write and presumably speak French, but many names are in Japanese, despite no-one other than priests, being able to read and write the language in any fashion (children are named by the priests and their parents are presented with their name in kanji, or "ideomoji", in order to create their Personal Seals, in Seize at least). Any ancient text they discover is in Kanji, and thus illegible to them.
  • Gratuitous German: The Roman soldier, Aisha, can speak German reasonably well (albeit with a heavy accent) and has a Middle Eastern name.
  • Great Off Screen War: The War with "Them" is only mentioned in the passing, but otherwise not discussed in any detail.
  • Group Hug: All the girls, but Rio in episode seven.
  • Hate Sink: Colonel Hopkins embodies the evils of war. Believing that War Is Glorious and desiring to reignite war with Rome, in contrast to the anti-war heroines, he had previously manipulated Noël Kannagi into killing three cities full of people with a plague. In the present, as part of his plan to kill the Roman soldier Aisha Aldola, he takes over the 1121st platoon, and mocks the girls as he boots them out. Later, he takes the entire town hostage, and later outright tries to murder the girls in frustration. Showing a disturbing willingness to manipulate and kill innocent girls, to pursue his ambition, Colonel Hopkins is a sociopath willing to drag two nations back into war, just to satisfy his craving for bloodshed.
  • The Gunslinger: Rio has a high degree of proficiency with small arms.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Sister Yumina cares for several orphans, including Seiya and Mishio, both of whom become closer to Kanata.
  • Homage: The opening sequence presents the main characters in the style of painter Gustav Klimt.
  • How We Got Here: Episode eight begins with Kanata in a tacky dress sitting, looking quite distressed, and then flashes back to a few hours before.
  • Humans Are Flawed: The series comes close to upholding Rousseau Was Right, but not quite. Colonel Hopkins finds war the motor of civilization, and someone in Seize ratted out on Aisha's being sheltered in the castle.
  • Image Song: There are five so far, each featuring various combinations of the cast.
  • Imagine Spot: In the second episode, Kanata imagines what the world might've looked like if not for the war, with the girls all practicing music while wearing school uniforms.
  • Improbably Female Cast: The 1121st Platoon and Filicia's old squad consist entirely of females, but the rest of the army appears to be entirely male.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In the first OVA, the "bullets" from Noël's gatling water gun can be seen practically bending around Filicia.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • The Fire Maidens.
    • The Desert Wolf, although it does not refer to Klaus.
    • The Witch of Helvetia: Noël.
    • The Demon of Vingt: Colonel Hopkins.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Rio/Filicia and Kanata/Noël.
  • Last Fertile Region: While much of the world does not have arable land, a handful of regions, such as Helvetia, Rome, and some of their neighbouring countries, remain fertile.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Something is being kept from Kanata by the rest of the platoon, and Naomi is in on it too; episode six reveals it to be, the fact that the 1121st illegally distills and sells calvados to the mob, to make up for lack of payment from HQ, and has been since, before our girls were stationed there. Following an epic drunken mock battle (with a low tech version of paint ball as discipline), Kanata finds out about it in the first OVA.
  • The Mafia: The 1121st deal in bootleg liquor, alongside various other goods.
  • Mauve Shirt: Filicia's old crew seen in episode seven.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • The ghost that Kanata and Noël saw is left ambiguous in the anime, heavily implied to be a misidentified owl in the plot, with only closer examination in the background revealing something else really being there. It is ultimately revealed to be a girl who died many years before "They" attacked in the drama CD. Rio helps her with her Unfinished Business and she disappears.
    • Whether Filicia's Dead Person Conversation was an hallucination or real, since the extreme trauma she was suffering at the time, could have explained just about any memories of that day.
    • The winged skeleton is only ever seen by one character and never commented on, leaving the viewer to wonder whether or not it arose from supernatural or evolutionary means.
  • Meaningful Background Event: The ghost from episode two is implied to have been observing Kanata and Kureha the entire time they were on their recon mission.
  • Mildly Military: The 1121st do not strictly observe military discipline and have a much looser command hierarchy, regarding one another more as friends.
  • Military Moe: The Fire Maidens are an all-female unit, with the anime detailing both the daily interactions between the girls, as well as their aim of preventing an impending war, between Helvetia and the Roman Empire.
  • Mood Whiplash: The entire story alternates between slice-of-life elements and exploring the harsh realities of war.
    • Episode seven is in essence a Wham Episode about the darker side of warfare and ends on a contemplative note, creating a contemplative mood right up until the upbeat ending song begins playing.
    • Episode eleven ends with the cliffhanger with a gunshot being fired and it's unknown if it's the Roman soldier Aisha or Noël who's been hit. The scene fades to black, only for the ending song to begin playing.
  • More Dakka: Noël uses a water gun-based gatling gun in the first OVA. It's a rather large gun, requiring Kanata to hold the tank of water, and Yumina to push the weapon around, while Noël fires it from the gunner seat.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The battle with water guns is regarded as a military exercise, but everyone except Kureha behaved quite over the top, with Heroic Sacrifices and dramatic last words, a consequence of being drunk at the time.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Spider tanks possess rappelling gear that proves to be highly useful for rescuing people.
    • Rio uses the Takemikazuchi's audio system to play Amazing Grace for Kanata, who had heard the song as a child.
  • Music for Courage: From the very first scene of the series.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Kureha gets sick from drinking without experiencing drunkenness: This leads to her sorrow in the OVA, where everyone else gets plastered.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The preview for Episode seven was the girls making cicada noises over a visual of Noël and Kureha doing laundry.
  • No Sense of Direction: Kanata does have a tendency to get lost easily, although she enjoys it. This is averted in Noël's case, who manages to find the observation stations despite having lost their compass, although it does take them a little longer than they would otherwise have.
  • Not So Stoic: This is humorously done with Noël in the first OVA, where the garrison (plus Sister Yumina) play a war game, and she goes on a rampage with her modified water gatling gun. While this might have been a consequence of Filicia spiking everyone's tea with Calvados, it further reinforces the fact that Noël isn't a Rei clone.
  • Nuns Are Mikos: Sister Yumina's outfit was based on a combination of Shinto Miko and Roman Catholic designs.
  • Paintball Episode: The first of the DVD-exclusive episodes centers around the 1121st, and Yumina partaking in a mock battle with dye guns.
  • Personal Seals: Kanata uses her stamp to sign the transfer order in the first episode. It's implied that everyone gets these soon after they are born, with the "ideograms" (Japanese kanji) for their names carved into them.
  • Posthumous Character: Princess Iliya is only seen in a few flashbacks, the first one opening the series. She died two years prior to the time the series takes place, having drowned trying to save a child in a river.
  • Potty Emergency: Kanata suffers through this throughout most of episode eight, except it elevates to Potty Failure.
  • The Power of Rock: Subverted in that while Amazing Freaking Grace does stall the two armies from fighting for a short time, it takes Rio and her peace treaty to actually stop them.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Clocktower Maidens have uniforms similar to those of the German Wehrmacht, they're not the bad guys. Conversely, the warmongering Big Bad Colonel Hopkins and his troops, who are also part of the army, have the most threatening and SS-like uniforms, complete with black color, to signify their villain status.
  • Real-Place Background: Seize is Cuenca, Spain, with some structures and outdoor locations from the close-by village of Alarcón.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: In the finale, the soldiers toss helmets into the air upon learning that they didn't have to fight. The celebration seems well, or at least until loaded rifles begin appearing up in the air with those helmets.
  • Retro Universe: Helvetia models their military uniforms and gear after the World War II-era German Wehrmacht, and technology is consistent with designs found during the middle of the twentieth century.
  • Royal Mess: The Republic of Helvetia is apparently ruled by a Duke whose daughter is a Princess.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Princess Iliya was evidently an extremely competent tank commander and even went on a tour of the country to raise morale. She even died trying to save a child from drowning.
    • Rio becomes one at the end, averting a war by riding on top of a tank between the two armies, and announcing the peace treaty.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: This is apparent in No Man's Land and in the flashbacks to Binnenland.
  • Sacred Language: Japanese has apparently become this in French-speaking Helvetia.
  • Scavenger World: Some of the ancient technologies can be operated, while others (such as the facilities in episode five) serve unknown functions.
  • Scenery Gorn: No Man's Land, a vast desert from which ruined skyscrapers jut out.
  • Scenery Porn: The regions untouched by the war are beautiful landscapes with lush vegetation and blue skies.
  • Schizo Tech: The 1121st are equipped with World War II era equipment, but happen to have an inoperational computerised high-tech Spider Tank in the garage. This is clear in episode four: Glass-blowers replicating a machine-made laser-sensor lens using traditional manual techniques, find that the task is challenging.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Filicia does this when they bring a wounded Aisha, a Roman soldier, to their fortress. Kureha suggests they report having captured a spy, but Filicia won't allow it, at least not right away, since it would mean Aisha taken to the capital, and likely tortured for information. She even goes so far as to hold a superior officer hostage to prevent them from taking Aisha away later.
  • Sempai/Kōhai: Filicia and Rio are seniors to the other three, but it's most notable in how Kanata and Kureha look up to Rio.
  • Serious Business: The water gun war-game in the first OVA, in which Rio, Kureha, and Filicia play against Kanata, Noël, and Yumina. As the characters get "hit" with shots from the water gun, they play it up as though they really were shot, and end up "dying". Kureha seems to be the Only Sane Man during this event, wondering why the girls are talking as though their squad mates were really killed. She later records the evening's events into a diary and how since she did not get drunk, she is cursed to live with the knowledge of what happened that night.
  • Shout-Out: Kanata mentions swearing the Oath of Parador when joining the army in episode four — the series 'creator' is named as "Paradores". In Spain, a parador is one of a chain of luxury resorts located in a picturesque location, often a historical building. The Clocktower Fortress just happens to be modeled mostly upon Cuenca's parador, which was originally a convent.
  • Sick Episode: Kanata goes down with malaria in episode three, and Rio is the only one home to take care of her.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Episode six presents the same events seen from the team's and Kanata's perspective respectively.
  • Snow Means Death: When episode ten sees the coming of winter into Seize, things become increasingly grim.
  • Something About a Rose: A prop used by Filicia during a fake calvados deal gone bad, put on to scare off the more violent central Mafia edging into Seize.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: An intense tank battle is set to to the slow, melancholic Servante de Feu.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Filicia, rather than Felicia or Phylicia.
    • Noël, rather than Noël, Noelle, or Noeru.
    • Takemikazuchi, rather than Takemicaduchi, Take-Mikazuchi, Takemikaduchi, or any other variant.
    • Iliya, rather than Iria.
    • Olga, rather than Origa.
  • Spider Tank: Armour is designed in a way that allows them to scale buildings, wreckage, and sheer cliff walls, which is highly useful given the geography of Helvetia.
  • Staged Shooting: Noël and Kureha unload their machine guns at two men, causing two members of the mafia to flee in terror. It turns out the guns were loaded with blank rounds, and the two men fired at, regularly do business with the Clocktower Maidens.
  • Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: Seen in the Binnenland flashback.
  • Standing Between the Enemies: After Kanata manages to stall two armies from charging each other with Amazing Freaking Grace, Rio steps between the armies astride her red Spider Tank, and commands them to stand down.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Noël can come across as emotionless at first glance, but it just takes a lot to get her to express them, such as when she was confronted with her past in episode eleven, or having enough of Kureha's gripes in episode five.
  • Surprisingly Good English: Aisha's VA, Nami Miyahara, grew up in Austria. German viewers claim Aisha speaks somewhat informal, but otherwise fine, German.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • Kanata on phone duty: "I haven't been sleeping! A-Absolutely have not been sleeping!"
    • Seiya's description of Kanata reads as follows: "She's easily amused, she forgets everything, she's just like a little kid, and she's not sexy at all!"
    • On the first drama CD, Kureha explains how she's never heard strange noises, felt like someone's watching her, or generally felt the presence of a ghost in any way. Ever!
  • Synthetic Plague: The Invisible Reaper (In "Roman", it's called "Unsichtbarer Teufel", which means "Invisible Devil").
  • Take a Third Option: Peace talks between Helvetia and Rome seems to be breaking down, and war likely to break out again. So the girls do something rather drastic which halts the fighting long enough for an actual peace treaty to be worked out, by going between both armies and playing Amazing Grace, which both sides are familiar with.
  • Thanks for the Mammaries: Noël does this to the captured Roman soldier, Aisha, in episode eleven after the latter wakes up, and attempts to overpower her. Aisha's scream is enough to cause Kanata and Kureha to come to the medical room.
  • Team Pet: Shuko, the owl from the first episode was also the mascot of Iliya's platoon.
  • Technical Pacifists: If it wasn't for their usage of a Spider Tank, they might be closer to Reluctant Warriors:
    Kureha: Do you think you could shoot a gun at someone?
    Kanata: If I thought it was the right thing to do, I might.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The Spider Tanks are named after mythological figures, including the Greek Arachne, and the Japanese Takemikazuchi and Torifune.
    • Helvetia's neighbouring countries are named after old European countries, mostly Francophone: Gaul, Franconie, Geneve...
    • Seize and the names of all of the nearby towns are French numbers.
  • Title Drop: In the first episode, and several times later, usually referring to Amazing Grace.
  • Title-Only Opening: The final episode begins with the resolution of the previous episode's cliffhanger ending, without the opening theme. There's also no closing theme, with an epilogue taking place as the end credits roll, and the eyecatches are gone.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: There is a struggle between duty and morality; the 1121st platoon girls representing morality by wanting to make peace with Rome, while Colonel Hopkins represents duty, following his orders and desiring a war with Rome. Ultimately, morality prevails.
  • Translation Convention: Based on the written texts that appear, Helvetian is French. Some text appears to be Japanese kanji, which only the priesthood seem able to read. Strangely, one of the lanterns in episode seven has English writing on it, and some signs in Seize are written in Spanish.
  • A Truce While We Gawk: Both the Helvetican and Roman armies temporarily halt their advances, when Kanata plays Amazing Grace in the midst of the battlefield.
  • 12-Episode Anime: With two more exclusive to the DVDs.
  • Unsuspectingly Soused: Everyone in the first OVA, find themselves drunk, and even Filicia, who planned the sousing, overestimates her own tolerance.
  • War Is Hell: Episode seven exemplifies just how much of a hell it is.
  • Wham Episode: Episode seven reflects on Filicia's post-traumatic stress disorder from wartime. There's very little death in the rest of the show, so it hits pretty hard.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The second episode establishes the pre-war function of the barracks to have been a roughly modern Japanese school, and the second bonus episode shows an approximate world map that places Helvetia, as being located somewhere around eastern China. But Helvetians speak and write in French, and cannot read the "ideograms" left behind by the apparently Japanese former residents. The "Romans," who have dark skin and speak German, live right next door. Adding to the confusion, Seize is a near-replica of a real town in Spain (see Real-Place Background above).
  • While Rome Burns:
    • Filicia believes that sweets and a cup of something hot are the ideal thing to have prior to a war breaking out.
    • For a less literal example, Rio laments in episode thirteen that the nations of the world are wasting their time with wars while the Earth slowly dies, and mentions Holy Rome turning into a desert as an example.
  • Yodel Land: The entire series take place here, complete with snowy mountains. Despite the location being Japan, the town, buildings, and countryside are actually based on the Spanish town of Cuenca, right down to the odd rock formations, and the house on the edge of a cliff.

Alternative Title(s): So Ra No Wo To