This work relies on stereotypes, but it uses them with a deft touch. The villains and heroes are easily identifiable as such, magic is obvious, and there is an alternate dimension locked in desperate struggle, in stark opposition to the daily lives of the teenaged protagonists.
The story begins in media res, with the destruction of a magical tower. The tower plummeting into the ocean is a powerful moment, even if we have no attachment to it or understanding of its demise except as unfortunate to those who had a stake in it. It is interesting to note that the scooter-riding elves, which would be ridiculous on their own, become simply small and victimized people when cast in the light of the destruction of something majestic. This has definite real world parallels to the falling man of 9/11, who would seem utterly comical if not for the tragic context in which he exists.
We then cut back to the real world, where our josei protagonist Yumemi wakes up and exchanges light banter with her mother and brother before leaving for school. This is where the genius of the show starts. In a completely surreal sequence, the girl leaps out of the house and into the blue sky, running amidst clouds. The transformation is startling, abrupt, and all the more unexpected because all cues primed the viewer to expect a lengthy real-world sequence. This magical interlude is quickly interrupted by the appearance of two other characters, but the point has been made to the viewer: the real and the fantastic are not so far apart as one might think.
The visual metaphor extends very well, with schoolgirls walking in the reflected sky as an obvious assertion that the dream world and real world exist side-by-side. For further symbolism, note how the three girls are arranged: the youngest-acting and childlike to one side, Yumemi in the middle, and her serious and reserved friend on her left. Are these not the mythical three phases of a woman’s life, being evoked within the limitations of schoolgirl ages?
Then the show slides back into stereotype, and yet again subverts it: the male lead shows up and desires an agreement with Yumemi, but instead of forging some sort of magical partnership that sets up the show, he is blocked! What was that magical barrier? Why did he choose her? Who is he and what is his magical society like?
Of course Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai is not without its references. Yumemi, the name of the main character, is an obvious reference to the dream-seers of X, both in name and in the suggestion that the sort of supernatural visions that occur to the main character do not come without cost. The show is a remake of Munto, though perhaps it deserves to be judged on a context-free basis. While other anime reviewers found the series ultimately disappointing, Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai‘s opening is ripe with promise.