Yosuga no Sora: In solitude, where we are least alone: The Sora Arc

Our look at the anime series: Yosuga no Sora: In solitude where we are least alone, continues! And we have finally, finally got to the the infamous arc, but before we even start, I want to get this out of the way right now.

The portrayal of close sibling to sibling relationships is something that is part of the anime make-up. It is not part of every single series, but it is something that crops up more often then that. It’s there, it happens, and I’m not going to waste my time hand-wringing over that. This look at Yosuga no Sora was not to point and laugh at the series and its reputation, but to actually take a honest and serious look into the story. To judge the series fairly on what it is. It’s uncomfortable and unsettling, but that what art is sometimes. So join me after the cut as we dive into the final arc of the series: The Sora Arc!

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Sora Kasugano: The girl who doesn’t want to be left alone.

 

We’re more than brother and sister. We shared a womb. We came into this world together, we belong together. – Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones)

Now I wrote that little speech at the top because while many anime often play around with close sibling relationships, they are again, often played up for comedic purposes. Even hentai which ‘incest’ is one of the bread and butter genres, normally uses the classic “step-brother, step-sister,” approach to skirt around taboos. It is not often that anime decides to fully commit. Yosuga no Sora however does that, as the relationship between Sora and Haruka is a no holds barred, 100% blood related, brother and sister love affair.

Looking at this relationship and seeing how it develops over the course of these three episodes, and the character development sprinkled throughout the other arcs, it is clear on why this ends up like it does. Their parents killed in a tragic car accident, Sora and Haruka only have each other for support, and while Haruka is a well adjusted and healthy teenager, Sora is week, feeble and has spent far too much time in the hospital. She is an introvert, anti-social and would prefer to stay locked in her room then spend time with people. The only person she ‘lets in’ is Haruka, her twin brother, the other side of herself. With their parents gone, it is left to Haruka to now only take care of himself, but to make sure Sora is alright, safe and happy. It is a responsibility that he never should have had, a duty he shouldn’t have to fulfill.

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They may be twins, but Sora is still a young girl, terrified of a world without her brother.

While the initial part of the arc shows Haruka desperately trying to make himself love Nao, even almost forcing himself upon her like she did to him so long ago. It doesn’t work, and Haruka struggles to allow himself to feel something he knows may not be morally right. Sora meanwhile doesn’t, to her, the whole world revolves only one thing: Haruka. He is her life, her reason for being, her entire purpose to exist. The rest of the world, what they say, what they might think, doesn’t matter to her as long as they are together. Sora’s anger and clingyness in the Nao arc ties into this directly. She wants Haruka for herself, she doesn’t want to share him with anyone because to do so would mean that he might go away, and she would have nothing. Sora simply put, doesn’t want to be left alone in the world.

So when you take all of that, mix it together in an environment with zero parental supervision or the guiding hand of an adult. Add in rampant teenage hormones and the hurricane of puberty and ask yourself: Are you actually surprised that things ended up the way they did? The events that happen, while unsettling to many, are believable when you realize the situation and atmosphere these two are in.

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Sora’s demeanor changes upon getting what she wants. She is free to finally indulge in her desires.

What happens next, after they’ve confronted their feelings and indulged in their passion is well told. While Sora is happier than ever, knowing she can love her brother and that her love is returned. Haruka struggles with his desire and what people might say. His research in the library and now openly affectionate sister draw more than a few concerned eyes in their direction. And when those eyes follow them home and catch them in the throes of intimacy, well things go the way you expect. Haruka is ashamed, Kozue is disgusted, Nao is sad, and Sora is proud. She has everything she wants, and she pulls Haruka back to her, saying simply. “Look at me, just look at me.”

This all culminates in the finale, where (and credit for this arc to actually address the fact that these two have like no money) Haruka in to be responsible and end things by agreeing to the idea that they should live with separate relatives, drive Sora into a state of rage and attempts to end her life. It is only when Haruka saves her from drowning that the twins decide that their love is more important than what others might say, and they decide to pack up an start a new life in another country, one where they can be together without the judgments of their friends, who are left estranged, confused and in the case of Nao depressingly accepting of what has happened. It is a series that ends on a hopeful note for these two, but one wrapped in a sense of uncertainty about the future, not only for the Kasugano twins, but for the entire cast.

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The destruction of her room and the bunny, her last memento of her mother, shows you Sora’s state of mind before the climax.

Overall I went into this arc and left it thinking the same thing: This should have been the entire story. The relationship of Sora and Haruka, from the forbidden taboo, to the genuine emotion and history are probably the strongest out of the four. Seeing this relationship spread out across a whole series, watching them succumb to their desires and attempt to stake out a life, before being confronted by a choice, could have easily made up the whole twelve episodes. It sadly isn’t, but what is shown in the three episodes does the job quite well. This helped by the fact that a lot of Sora’s character is layered throughout the other stories, which allows the switch into her more easy to digest. It very much feels like the mirror counterpart to the Nao arc, but where that story dealt with Sora having to accept that her brother is going to try to rebuild his life, the Sora arc instead has the her coming out victorious with Haruka accepting that Sora is the most important thing in the world, and always will be.

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Each arc keeps ramping up the fanservice and sex, and this arc grand finale, with the most sex scenes of the four.

I don’t know if the Sora arc of Yosuga no Sora: In Solitude where we are least alone, is the best arc of the series. However it is the most gripping and thematically interesting. The plot is controversial, the history is tragic, and the characters display a struggle that tries its best to be believable. As always the series is helped immensely by it’s art design and soundtrack, which just submerges you in the atmosphere and feelings. Again, I don’t know if it is the best, or even my personal favorite (I still really like Kazuha’s), but it is the crown jewel of what the story is trying to tell you, and is absolutely the part that people will remember after they’ve watched the entire story. Whether you can stomach what is being shown is up to you, but Yosuga no Sora does it’s best to pull you into that world, and their feelings.

With that, our look at the four arcs of the series are over. Join me next week as I give you my final thoughts on the series as a whole.

5 thoughts on “Yosuga no Sora: In solitude, where we are least alone: The Sora Arc

  1. Only found your blog ~1 week ago when you released an article on Nao’s arc. Still, I wanted to say that I really appreciate you talking about Yosuga no Sora, as weird as that might sound. It’s not a particularly great anime by any means but its coverage of incest as a serious topic, like you said, is a rarity.

    I’ve always wanted to slip it into a recommendation to friends. The problem is that I never could since they needed to be fairly “experienced” with anime and comfortable with incest as a theme. So- thank you for covering it! Keep up the nice writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s not an anime for a beginner that is for sure.

    After having watched the entire thing, it is a 7/10 anime that gets an 11/10 for tone, atmosphere and music (like holy shit does this show just pull you into its setting), but it is more than the memes and jokes people have made about it. It doesn’t chicken out on showing the sex, and the topics covered are handled with at least a decent amount of grace.

    I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my post, and thank you for reading! I hope my other posts keep you around!

    Like

  3. Sora’s arc is infamous, but as it turns out, it is well-done, more so than any other arc save Nao’s: one might even consider this to be the antithesis of Nao’s arc. Whereas desire and mindfulness were balanced in Nao’s arc, sorted out through honesty and communication, Sora’s arc shows what happens when one gives in to their feelings in a very vivid way that won’t be easy to forget.

    It is in Sora’s arc where the environment becomes the central catalyst for everything that happens. Isolated from society, separated even from their neighbours and friends by the sheer expanse of verdant fields under a deep blue sky, the inaka itself creates the solitude and holes in both Haruka and Sora’s hearts, that drive the two to turn to one another to fill. The setting makes their relationship believable, plausible, even.

    I’m not terribly surprised about the level of discussion that is possible surrounding the morality and consequences of such actions, but it is, at least for me, something that came into being because of the setting: had Yosuga no Sora been set in the suburbs of Tokyo (say, as OreImo or Eromanga Sensei did), the effects would’ve been completely lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gonna reply to all four comments right here to save time. Overall, you put shit into words better than I do man, and your comments on the sitting and atmosphere of loneliness and solitude (fuck it’s even in the title man) made me slap my head and go “That’s what I should said!”

      On Kazuha: It is the most “vanilla” of the four stories, but it really does help set the stage, and the extra episodes really do help set up that setting that, again is VITALLY important to making this anime work. You’re right, putting Yosuga in any other setting but this one would completely ruin it.

      On Akira: It is still the weakest arc of the four now that I’ve watched everything. I still feel that Haruka is at his most passive in this arc, really being falling into the harem trap of being a plot device for the conflict between the two sisters. He and Akira’s relationship didn’t click as well as it did for the other four.

      On Nao: Nao understands what she wants (girl is thirsty AF), but I believe it was more that she didn’t want to upset Sora, more than Haruka, who (in contrast to Akira) is at his most active in this story, actively trying to make Sora realize that they have to move on with their lives. I loved her guilt at forcing herself on Haruka, and how the two sit down and talk about it, coming to terms and moving on. She is absolutely the sexiest of the three, and yeah, the anime not pulling it’s punches on both the sex and fanservice helps drive that home. Objectively it is probably the ‘best’ out of the four.

      On Sora: I think the setting absolutely plays a role, but I also Sora had these feelings regardless of where they were. She was alone, she had no one and her attempts at school weren’t going anywhere. Nao’s relationship pushes Sora to make her move, and Haruka (who is a hormonal teenager with zero parental oversight) just succumbs to it after seeing just how she ‘copes’ with her feelings. Again, the setting is ABSOLUTELY a factor (how could it not?), but I don’t think it was a literal factor, more of a metaphor for what is going on. But hey, that’s just me. I think Sora’s is the most important of the four arcs, and honestly what the story should have been about entirely.

      This is a really interesting topic, and I’m glad we discuss this anime seriously, not dismissing it because of its…interesting reputation. You put things into words far better than I can, and I’d love to discuss this at length in the near future!

      Liked by 1 person

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