REVIEW: ‘Sonny Boy,’ Episode 6 – “The Long Goodbye”

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Sonny Boy Episode 6

Watching Sonny Boy Episode 6 is the pinnacle of frustration, as the anime uses its bizarre nature as a crutch that leads to lazy writing. From MADHOUSE comes an anime original written and directed by Shingo Natsume (Space Dandy; ACCA: 13) that follows a class of students who are thrown adrift into another world. They slowly traverse between worlds in an attempt to get home, navigating social castes and newly developed powers as well.

Sonny Boy Episode 6 does the frustrating thing of telling audiences everything and nothing at once. While I often praise “show, don’t tell,” there are times where it is appropriate (and necessary) just to be explicit with the audience. Enough exposition to keep viewers on track is a good thing, and this show has foregone that almost completely. So much information is tossed out at random this episode that key details that would normally be compelling (a hint at the true identity of Ms. Aki) get swallowed up. There is less “solving” of the mystery than the show deciding to state who is “God” and claiming that everything just happened on a whim. It makes much of the journey so far feel meaningless, which isn’t a good feeling for those invested.

Only so much can be excused as “stylistic,” and Sonny Boy Episode 6 has exhausted all of them. Instead of spending more time with its already large cast, it adds two more characters: the principal of their high school, and a talking dog named Yamabiko. Yamabiko introduces the concept of time travel to this already convoluted plot. Some nuggets could be good here but have been robbed of any emotional weight. Nozomi discovering her future had so much potential, but there isn’t enough time to let it sink in with anyone, since viewers and the class are trying to piece together puzzle pieces from five different boxes.

If one looks exclusively at visuals, Sonny Boy Episode 6 looks great and continues to have clever tricks. At one point, there is a world that is a film entirely through the POV of Nagara. The show plays with this well. Along with the students attempting to return home, there is a bevy of enticing visuals. Still, combined with all the chaos of information thrown out via the plot, or lack of, it may disorient viewers…literally…you may get dizzy at one point.

Lastly, there is a possible red flag viewers should be warned of Ms. Aki and Asakaze’s relationship. While it is implied at one very brief moment that she may not actually be who she claims, she is now presenting as their teacher. (Additionally, this moment happens so quickly it is easy to miss.) Ms. Aki is clearly manipulating Asakaze, and since he is already feeling frustrated and unnecessary, he leans into her praise. Where it gets queasy is a specific moment where he leans in for a hug with Ms. Aki, his head smack in her chest. If all the manipulation weren’t there, maybe this wouldn’t be bad, but right now, it isn’t looking good. The manipulation storyline can be interesting, and a romantic teacher/student presenting relationship is unnecessary to make it so. Pray to any anime deities that this won’t become the case in the future.

Sonny Boy Episode 6 is a mess. The show refuses to stop and work with everything it has already thrown at the audience, instead dumping more scattered bits of information. Key details become swallowed up because there is too much happening, and the writing cannot seem to manage it all in 20 minutes.

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

Sonny Episode 6
  • 5/10
    Rating - 5/10
5/10

TL;DR

Sonny Boy Episode 6 is a mess. The show refuses to stop and work with everything it has already thrown at the audience, instead dumping more scattered bits of information. Key details become swallowed up because there is too much happening, and the writing cannot seem to manage it all in 20 minutes.