REVIEW: ‘Sonny Boy,’ Episode 2 – “Aliens”

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Sonny Boy Episode 2 - But Why Tho

It is a whole new world in Sonny Boy Episode 2, and this time the high school and teens are stuck on an island surrounded by water. Written and directed by Shingo Natsume (Space Dandy; ACCA: 13) the anime original production comes from studio MADHOUSE. An entire school is transported to another world, and some of the students discover they have superpowers. Quiet student Nagara observes how his classmates puzzle through this world in a show that echoes stories such as Lord of the Flies.

Sonny Boy Episode 2 continues its trend of challenging viewers to piece together information rather than include much, if any, exposition. Unless a teen directly states what their power is, we are left to visual cues from scenes to piece together each person’s abilities. Flashbacks are once again utilized, this time centering Mizuho and her previous conflict with the student council. Hoshi is still manipulating behind the scenes, but good luck trying to figure out his (or anyone’s) true motives just yet. It makes sense. Everyone is so focused on surviving and figuring out what happened to them that setting larger goals wouldn’t make much sense. Additionally, it is nice to see Radjhani getting more screen time and becoming a central figure as the students try to solve the many mysteries of their situation.

And mysteries certainly abound, but while the supernatural element is always present to continue to give Sonny Boy Episode 2 a layer of unease, much of the tension is interpersonal once again. The show cleverly illustrates the woes of being a teenager, how rumors can start and misinformation spread through a game of telephone where everyone only hears what they want. It is smart writing that works because of how atmospheric the show is. It is committed to being an abstract teen drama. This comes with a few woes. Nagara isn’t that interesting of a primary character to follow. Additionally, Nozomi tends to fall more into a “manic pixie dream girl” role. She’s “quirky,” but most of her screen time is spent pushing Nagara forward.

Once again, the show’s soundscape hits all the right notes (pun intended). Sonny Boy Episode 2 takes advantage of the unsettling island location to populate viewers’ ears with loud cicada sounds. Any time the suspense increases, the cicadas got louder. Additionally, the episode noticeably broke from the first: it included music at a key point in the story. This choice was smart and made the climactic moment stand out even more because the show had gone so long without music.

Sonny Boy Episode 2 is another great installment for the show. It puts trust in the viewers to piece together the puzzle and therefore gives almost no exposition. The Lord of the Flies style of the story (especially with this setting) creates suspense when there is conflict within the class. Mizuho’s flashbacks opened up a bigger picture as to who might become major “antagonists” in the group. The only real downside is Nagara being rather uninteresting, and the show confining Nozomi into the “manic pixie dream girl” role.

Sonny Boy is streaming now on Funimation, with new episode premiering Thursdays.

Sonny Boy Episode 2
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Sonny Boy Episode 2 is another great installment for the show. It puts trust in the viewers to piece together the puzzle and therefore gives almost no exposition. The Lord of the Flies style of the story (especially with this setting) creates suspense when there is conflict within the class. Mizuho’s flashbacks opened up a bigger picture as to who might become major “antagonists” in the group. The only real downside is Nagara being rather uninteresting, and the show confining Nozomi into the “manic pixie dream girl” role.