Kiyono YasunoAkio OhtsukaAzumi WakiHiyori Kono
Are You Lost?
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2019: A
Also known as: Sounan Desu Ka?
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2019
Director: Nobuyoshi Nagayama
Writer: Touko Machida
Original creator: Kentaro Okamoto, Riri Sagara
Actor: Akio Ohtsuka, Azumi Waki, Hiyori Kono, Kiyono Yasuno, M.A.O
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 twelve-minute episodes
Website category: Anime 2019
Review date: 2 October 2020
Sounan Desu Ka
It's great. I loved it. Not all reviewers did, mind you, but as far as I can tell they're often complaining about the fanservice. I sort of get it, but... nah. I didn't really notice. If anything, the show's unrealistically modest.
Four girls get stranded on a desert island, each with their own special survival talents. That's the whole show. Girls on a desert island. Can they stay alive? Can they find food? It's a simple formula and it's probably good that the episodes are only half-length. Bite-sized is perfect for this series.
Anyway, Asuka Suzumori is cheerful, sporty and strong. Mutsu Amatani is brainy, adaptable and can do maths. Shion Kujou is, um, a bit of a princess and the most likely to do or say something stupid. Then, finally, there's Homare Onishima, who's like Survivalist Supergirl. This isn't her first desert island. She knows about survival. Her father taught her about eating moose testicles, when it's okay to drink urine and all the different ways of killing your prey. His idea of a bedtime book was SAS training manuals. She'll see something flying past, catch it in mid-air and eat it before the other girls (or the audience) have processed what just happened.
Homare is awesome. You'll worship her, especially in ep.11. I'd watch a series where she was reading the telephone directory. She'll teach you amazing things, although admittedly they're unlikely to be useful in daily life. The dandelion trick in ep.9 is worth knowing, though, while her raft navigation technique in ep.12 is so simple that it's brilliant. The wrasse fact in ep.5 surprised me. The girls make stone knives, a lightning rod and natural suncreams.
Also, importantly, Homare's blind to embarrassment, disgust and other natural reactions to some of the things she makes the other girls do. Her hydration technique in ep.12 made me howl.
The girls often strip to their underwear and so on. Ep.8 is fanservice by any standard, but the situations aren't sexual and the girls' behaviour seems realistic and normal to me. In fact, I'm not convinced by the girls' habit of swimming in their underwear. You'd dive nude, surely? But this is a TV show, so... yeah, underwear. The real question is how they're keeping their school uniforms so clean.
It also occurs to me that the girls are lucky to be Japanese. They like stuff like sea urchin. (Someone who couldn't eat seafood would have died.)
This show is great. It doesn't really have a plot, mind you, except in the last few episodes when we're reminded afresh how dangerous the girls' situation is. It's just a show about Homare getting everyone to eat horrible things and do things they couldn't have done without her help. Ep.6 is disgusting, incidentally, and squeamish viewers might want to skip it. (They catch a rabbit.)
One day, maybe I'll follow Homare's ep.2 recommendation with cicadas.