aka Four Rhythm Across The Blue
After the invention of Anti-Graviton Shoes, aka Grav-Shoes, an experimental competition league is formed on a Four island Archipelago. Kunahama Institute is one of several schools specializing in a game based on using the new shoes, known as Air Circus or Flying Circus (a cross between Quidditch and baseball.) The anime follows the lives of several students as the new transfer student turns out to have a gift for the sport, as well as the ability to help a former ace rediscover his love for the game.
The visual novel was developed and published by Sprite, the same company that brought you Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate in November 2015 and the anime began airing as a part of the Winter 2016 Anime season.
The anime currently can be viewed here for free at Crunchyroll for people living in the following areas: United States, Canada, Central and South America (including the Caribbean), South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands. Funimation released the anime on Blu-Ray on September 11, 2018, complete with an English dub.
A PS Vita port has been announced and released in 2016.
An Android (and later PC version) mobile game called Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm -ETERNAL SKY- was released in 2016.
A sequel to the visual novel entitled Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm: Zwei has been announced at the AnimeJapan event on March 2016. However, it is officially cancelled following Sprite's announcement of its permanent closure at the end of March 2019.
The visual novel is getting an official localization in 2019 courtesy of NekoNyan.
This visual novel provides examples of:
- Archipelago of Adventure: The Four-Island Archipelago
- Air Jousting: Taken Up to Eleven, especially during FC (Flying Circus) matches. In the Visual Novel, there are many scenes (not seen in the gallery) like for example a battle of Asuka vs Saki◊
- Applied Phlebotinum: Grav-Shoes aka Anti-Graviton Shoes
- Artificial Gravity: It's all about the anti-graviton membrane, baby.
- Beach Episode: The second half of episode seven has several of the main characters relaxing at a beach. Though Misaki doesn't join them, Mashiro has a brief Imagine Spot where Misaki shows up wearing a bikini.
- Beginner's Luck: Asuka manages to score a point against Reiko in their first FC match. What makes it more awesome is that she manages to pull off an incredibly advanced technique that most veteran FC flyers have trouble learning, thus surprising Reiko when it's used on her.
- Bleached Underpants: The anime understandably scrubs out the naughtier parts of the game.
- Boobs of Steel: Asuka and Misaki, both of whom are considered the most talented athletes in the VN and anime at FC, are also two of the bustiest girls in the visual novel and anime. Reiko's not too far behind them on both skill and rack stat either.
- Cat Smile: Arisaka and Tobisawa both do this.
- Competitive Balance: Present in Flying Circus matches, exemplified by the three types of player:
- Speeders are FragileSpeedsters; they're the fastest of the three, who focus on scoring points by striking buoys, as exemplified by Saki, Rika and Mashiro.
- All-Rounders are Jack-of-All-Stats; they're slower than Speeders, faster than Fighters, and equally adept at scoring by striking bouys or dogfighting, as exemplified by Asuka and Shindou.
- Fighters are MightyGlaciers (relatively speaking); the slowest of the three, they focus on scoring by dogfighting other players, as exemplified by Misaki.
- Conveniently Seated: Anyone who's watched a school anime before knows where the three main characters sit.
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- The students at Takafuji generally win their matches against Funahama, the school the main characters attend, since have a full fledged team with some elite players. Meanwhile Kunahama's team mostly devolved into a fan club until Mashiro, Misaki, and Asuka join.
- Shindou's match against Inui ends in one. Inui's unconventional tactics, such as flying extremely high and maneuvering a lot to force the other player to follow them and prevent them from doing anything aside from chasing after her, completely shatters the playstyle he's used to.
- Asuka's match with Inui in episode 8 also ends in one against Asuka's favor.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique:
- Inui's playstyle can be interpreted as this. In episode seven she draws on a style used by Kagami-sensei once where a player uses very unconventional tactics such as flying extremely high in the air and then forcing the other player to chase after them rather than attempting to fight or simply speed past them. While effective, it's not very sporting, and defeats the purpose of Flying Circus, as one player is essentially dominating and forcing the other player to do whatever they want, rather than simply attempting to fight or get past them as was the usual playstyles. Shindou is caught off-guard completely by this in his match against Inui as a result.
- Inui's second trick is that she turns her balance limiters to half power or fully off, showing the viewer that everyone else on the planet has been flying with the equivalent of training wheels, while she's practiced for months without them. Asuka turns hers off as well for their final match.
- Demoted to Extra: Masaya in the anime adaptation, thanks to his status as main character being relegated to Asuka instead. To a certain extent, Rika too since the anime doesn't adapt her route and because she's not a student of Kunahama High, unlike the other three heroines. It's also because of this that Kasumi, the antagonist of Rika's route, gets this treatment too, being reduced to merely Cannon Fodder, who doesn't even have more than a few minutes of screentime, for Asuka to show how much she's improved in the summer tournament.
- Evolving Credits: The final shot of the ED changes starting from episode 9 onwards, symbolizing how close Asuka and Misaki have grown during the series.
- Surprisingly minimal considering the anime's roots, but the girls' FC suits sure are a tight fit...
- The scenes where Masaya keeps seeing Rika in her underwear from the visual novel were kept intact in the anime.
- A blatant one is done in episode six, when Misaki unzips Asuka's suit to help her cool off after the latter appears to be suffering from heat exhaustion. The camera then does a Male Gaze focus on Asuka with her suit hanging slightly off her body for a few moments.
- Fictional Sport: Known as Flying Circus, players score points via touching their opponent's back or tagging buoys at the points of a diamond, similar to running the bases in baseball.
- Foil: Misaki to Asuka and vice versa. Best illustrated in the way they see Flying Circus as a game and highlighted in the anime's ED.
- Forgotten First Meeting: Episode 9 all but states that Masaya befriended Asuka when they were kids, and that inspired her to fly. It's also hinted that Misaki was the newbie who beat him at the last game of his career.
- Girl Next Door: Hinata and Rika's bedrooms are right next door to each other, mere feet apart. As a Running Gag, Hinata keeps running into his new neighbor while she's changing clothes in her room. Queue the simultaneous screams.
- Green-Eyed Monster: The look on Misaki's face while watching Asuka's match against Shindou in episode six strongly suggests this. Several of the other girls talk about how Shindou is forced to go all out against Asuka, whereas in her match against him earlier, he mostly just toyed with her, and didn't seem to play very seriously. Made worse by the fact that Asuka is a total beginner at Flying Circus, yet was able to hold her own against the top student player for most of their match.
- Harem Genre: True to the genre, the game lets you couple the male lead with one of the girls. Averted in the anime, where the romance takes a backseat to the Flying Circus aspects.
- Heroic BSoD: Misaki suffers one in episode seven, after watching Shindou's match against Inui. Though he loses, he doesn't give it up, and says he'll quit if it stops being fun. This leads her to then quit her team.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Though Shindou is already a great athlete, he doesn't utilize his full potential until his match against Asuka. He is caught off-guard when she manages to successfully counter some of his attacks, forcing him to go all out.
- Instant-Win Condition: Reiko says that if Asuka can score one point against her in their FC match during the first episode, she would win. She does this because Asuka is an absolute beginner at flying, so was providing some handicaps for her. Despite Reiko's lead in the score, Asuka manages to score one point, thus winning said match.
- Late for School: This is how all three of the main characters are introduced.
- Mr. Exposition: The little girl at the sports store explains the differences between speeders, all rounders, and fighters when Asuka is picking out her first pair of flying shoes.
- Mundane Utility: The grav shoes, which allow anyone wearing them to fly. This allows people to travel faster and further than they normally could by simply walking or running.
- Panty Shot: Deliberately averted in the first episode, as Hinata deliberately looks away from Asuka's skirt. Also, despite the fact that there are four islands worth of schoolgirls in skirts, the camera never seems to take this liberty.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime merges together Asuka's and Misaki's routes (though Asuka's route remains as the anime's main focus), trims down certain scenarios to make sure their character arcs and events don't conflict with one another's so the narrative doesn't wind up as a mess, demotes Masaya's role in favor of making Asuka the main character of the anime, and completely removed the romance so the anime can focus more on the Flying Circus sport instead.
- Scenery Porn: Quite a lot of time is spent showing the beauty of the Four-Island Archipelago.
- Super-Deformed: Like you wouldn't believe, since it was part of the original game play.
- Sweat Drop: Various characters are afflicted, due to the art style.
- Tender Tears: After Asuka loses to Inui, badly, and after falling into the sea as a result of her Grav Shoes suddenly failing in mid-air requiring Misaki to go rescue her, Asuka sheds these. And was it a sight to behold.
- Training from Hell: Not as extreme as most examples until Kagami-sensei decided to join them to help them train, but the main characters go through a strenuous training regimen in episode 10 to help prepare them for the Fall Tournament.
- The Watson: Asuka, who has dreamt for years of flying, enrolled at a school where everyone has flying shoes, yet has never heard of them before. This is graduate-level cluelessness, so everything gets explained to the audience through her.
- 20 Minutes into the Future: Far enough into the future to have had anti-gravity devices for 10+ years, but near enough into the future to have absolutely no differences otherwise, not even flying cars or toys.
- Wham Episode: Episode seven ends on one, with the main characters meeting each other at the club room save for one. Misaki puts in a resignation letter stating that she's quitting the club, after failing to understand how Asuka and Shindou can still be so upbeat after their losses in the previous tournament.
- Worthy Opponent: A few worthwhile examples:
- Averted with Shindou towards Misaki. He doesn't take her too seriously during their matches, and almost seems like he's just goofing around while she's trying to put up an actual fight. This doesn't sit well with her after she sees his match against Asuka, where he is forced to go all out due Asuka managing to tie him in points.
- Played straight with Shindou towards Asuka. Despite only learning how to fly and play the Flying Circus game recently, she manages to give him a run for his money. Though she ultimately loses, both of them had a lot of fun playing against each other, as Asuka's random tactics catches him off-guard a few times, which then forced him to go all out, something he's never done before due to playing against lesser skilled opponents.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Pink, dark purple, lavender, etc. And those are just the main heroines' hair colors.