One theory is that SnW is set in an alternate universe where the Axis powers won WWII, or rather, they never really lost, and the war was drawn out indefinitely.
The remaining super powers continued to fight, sometimes with words, most times with guns, all up until some point where everyone was fighting with mechs and other crazy technology.
I theorize that, like the Fallout universe, technology continued to advance while the aesthetics of the time remained more or less unchanged. Constant war made it impossible for any cultural advances to take place, so everything remained static within the chaos of impending doom.
It is also possible that nuclear weapons were never invented in this universe, and the arms race focused more on building bigger, better, shinier tanks than bigger bombs. This would explain why the whole world isn't one big, radioactive, glass crater in the current time.
WW3 starts in 1947 after a much messier division of Germany between the Anglo-Americans and the Soviets. All Korea is controlled by the Soviets. Nukes aren't too common yet - only Moscow and Leningrad are snuffed out. In their retreat from Germany, the Soviets adopted scorched earth tactics, packing up factory equipment and deindustrialising the area. A large slavegang/worker's reeducation group of justice composed of captured Japanese from Korea were used in this - their eventual fate is unknown, but they seem to have fled to the alps in the confusion. The war drags on and shifts east to west, west to east over a ravaged northern europe. Edinburgh is nuked by a soviet submarine that managed to slip through the blockade. Huge armies are massed and destroyed - use of tactical nukes becomes more common.
As the bodycount rises and political will on all sides dwindles, the war comes to a halt shortly after Stalin's death in 1953, with the border roughly from Hamburg to Karlsruhe. The Eastern front of the war had been quiet - the americans aided the Nationalist Chinese, and the Soviets aided the Reds, Vladivostok was nuked, but that's about it. After the uneasy peace, the Soviets and Americans produce nukes at ever increasing speeds. As more and more money is thrown to the militaries, they begin to develop strange, impractical weapons on the side. Legged tanks, for example. They seemed almost to be doing it for fun moreso than to get a tactical advantage - such was the nihilistic atmosphere of the time. After a few warscares, at roughly equal nuclear capacity, the Anglo-Americans and the Soviets destroy eachother in 1966. Northern and Central Europe, however, being a godforsaken wasteland (tens of millions dead, tens of millions starving, absence of medical care fostering plague, large cities reduced to rubble), was largely ignored in this exchange, with the exception of military bases. Switzerland survived kinda-sorta unscathed, except for the famine and the radiation sickness and the economic collapse and so on.
1. Japan refuses to hand over Russia's pacific coast to the new Bolshevik govt. in the 1920s. 2. Russia can't counterattack strongly enough due to the dreadful state of the railroads and everything else really. Japan keeps the land. 3. Japan rides out WW2 with a different military dicatatorship than they had historically. No war in central China, no oil embargo, no Pearl Harbour - so they keep their holdings in Northern China. 4. Somehow or other Russia and Western Europe are wrecked in either a prolonged WW2 or another world war a few decades or so after. Japan suffers due to the damage to fish stocks and such, so millions head off to the colonies in Manchuria and the Russian Far East. Settler colonisation of mainland asian conquests was planned historically.5. A trade route develops through the ruins of Eurasia from Germany to Manchuria, whence the use of the yen and the presence of japanese in western europe.
1. Pearl Harbor is better planned and coordinated. Japan destroys all of America's carriers. America cannot fight the Japanese and has to capitulate. 2. As a result, Japan can attack Russia and assist Germany more directly. 3. Russia is unable to spare the forces to push Germany back at Stalingrad, and both sides keep advancing and taking Russian territory. Stalin is captured and executed. 4. Germany and Japan can then turn their attention entirely to Britain 5. Americans develop the Nuke, and gives all it's models to Britain 6. Britain nukes Germany's biggest cities and troop concentrations, then invades. 7. Japanese reinforce Germany from the east, and are the second to develop the bomb. British/French cities are nuked. 8. A slow nuclear war devastates western Europe. Massive migration of cultures to Switzerland 9. Miniature nuclear winter destroys ecology, oceans die out 10. Long lasting stalemate, neither side can effectively fight each other. Both work on superweapons such as spider tanks, completely overriding other technological possibilities. 11. War resumes. More small nuclear exchanges, all of Western Europe is Chernobyl. One side being what is left of Britain and France, the other being Germany/Japan which is completely relocated to Switzerland due to fallout 12. Armistice.
This can be taken pretty literally after episode 7. Definitely not a nuclear war now.
A long time ago, long before the world turned out this way a winged demon lived at the bottom of this town's valley.
The demon spit fire, shook the earth, and caused the people suffering.
The laser seen in the flashback.
Finally, it carried off the Maidens that lived in the fortress, and held them in an underground labyrinth.
But the Maidens lost no heart.
Calling on each other with golden horns, granted to them by an angel, they escaped the labyrinth.
With the aid of a giant spider, they defeated the demon and took its head.
When they did, an intense fire sprung from its head.
If left alone, the town above would burn to the ground.
To keep the springing fire from the town, the Maidens, each in turn, held the head of the demon.
Every day the townspeople cast water upon the flaming head and upon the Maidens.
Theory by "KC"Edit
Posted by an namefag.
- "I know that /a/ thinks that Sora no Woto (sound of the skies) looks and feels extremely similar to popular moeblob anime K-ON!, which was produced by Kyoto Animation a while back. Sora no Woto, however, is being produced by A-1 Pictures, a group totally unrelated to Kyoto Animation. I'm sure that you all feel that A-1 Pictures is just riding the "moeblob" wave that K-ON! set off, but I tended to notice some smaller details. In episode two, did anyone else notice that the classroom that the students used looked almost exactly the same as the one in K-ON!? What else is interesting is that the school is broken down, untouched for decades or centuries, but the dream that Kanata Sorami had of her and her friends playing instruments depicted them wearing the same uniforms portrayed in the book she found earlier. Besides the obvious character design similarities, notice the personalities of Kanata and Yui, and how they are similar, if not almost the same.
- I have a theory. A-1 Pictures and Kyoto Animation have brought together a magical masterpiece. On the outside, a happy slice of life anime about teenage girls. Once the dots are connected, the series turns, presenting a depressing post apocalyptic world full of injustice and misinformation. A-1 and Kyoto Animation have partnered up, and made Sora no Woto take place in the same world as K-ON!, but at a different time, when the world has changed, and the old ways have become forgotten and lost. Upon examining the series, we can observe many illogical aspects. What is the purpose of a guard tower with only a handful of untrained teenage girls? Why do the people need to protect their borders if the town looks as if it has never been attacked before. Why is there a long spindly bridge leading the guard castle to the town if their services were to be summoned up immediately?
- In the beginning, Kanata Sorami, the main female protagonist, is depicted as a child. There is a woman dressed in an armed forces uniform carrying an instrument in the rain. Kanata cheers up at this scene, and this may have sparked her desire to learn music. She grows up, and joins the armed forces as a volunteer.
- Now, lets look at it for a second. Normally, a child like that would not be affected by a woman with an instrument. Even if she was, she would be thinking more about how the woman just saved her or such, rather than about music. Obviously she lived in a war zone, so music was probably not her first priority, if she was being attacked every day why did she think "music"? I believe that Kanata Sorami is a descendent of Yui Hirasawa, from K-ON!. Some global event has occurred, and the boundaries of the world have been mixed up. This global event most likely had to do with the legends that the town celebrated in. Many people have died, technology development has been impeded, and the world is living in a more basic state. After the great apocalyptic event, small "countries" formed out of the rubble remaining in the world, and those countries warred with each other for resources. Computers, cell phones, and such would all be rendered useless in a situation when a person may be alive in one instant and dead in another. Current infrastructure, such as landlines and railroads, however would still be functional, due to the heavy duty protection that they have. This explains why there are trains and telephones in Sora no Woto, even though much of the world is very low tech. This also explains why there are such high tech machines such as the spider tank. Since war and chaos would be the effect of an apocalypse, and such weapons were needed and perfected. The spider tank doesn't use wheels, but rather uses legs, which indicate the fact that wheels are less useful. Although roads would probably not be destroyed, they would be impractical in event of war and apocalypse. I believe that during the great apocalypse, many people went into hiding. Yui Hirasawa and her descendents would probably be in hiding too, but in hiding, the skills of musicians would be passed along. Musical talent runs in the family, just like the great innovators such as Bach and Scarlatti. The legacy of Yui would probably have passed through the generations, until Kanata Sorami, one of Yui's distant descendents, heard of it. This is what probably what set the initial idea in her mind to be a musician. She is reminded of the legends told when she was a child about the world before the apocalypse, when all was well and teenage girls like her would have lived in peace and safety. This is what filled her vision when she saw the classroom. "It hasn't changed". The writing on the scrap of paper, the traditional 5 lined depiction of music, has not changed in centuries. During the late Renaissance and early Baroque, the 5 lined staff was standardized, and is considered to be one of the most perfect ways of writing music. Certainly, even in the future this would not be changed. Kanata has probably been trained by her parents and grandparents on the ways of reading music.
Helvetia vs French/Swiss borderEdit
- Of course I have no evidence yet to support my claim/theory of this, but through my many connections, I am currently trying to obtain an interview with the director or a fellow staff member of the Sora no Woto project."
The map shown of the Helvetia frontier has some resemblance to a part of the French/Swiss border. Furthermore, Helvetia is the latin name for Switzerland and Seize (French for sixteen) is located on the map where the Swiss Autobahn 16 lies. Turns out there even is a Japanese border school (mostly for music) in Switzerland although it is about 100 km south of Seize.
In episode 13 (OVA2), we can see Rio showing a map of the world to Kanata :
We can see Helvetia in the center (Republik Helvetien in German) & Roma (Romische Reich) on an island so maybe it was Japan. Rio also speak about Eurasia which is completely destroyed and became a desert.Ptilopsis Leucotis). It is found in a band across Africa between the Sahara and the Equator.
The owl is likely to be brought to Seize/Helvetia by the army either as a mascot (see emblem) or because it has some usefulness in war, this would explain why it was out of place and why it features prominently on their emblem. It's possible that the owl is a major weapon against the "winged demons" (it seems to possess spiritual powers) or perhaps it's used as a scout. It's entirely possible that they might be controlled by the trumpetahs which could explain why a whole fort is meant to be held by 5 shoolgirls.
One possibility is that Helvetia/Switzerland is the last bastion of humanity against supernatural/alien forces (like in H.G Wells' War Of The Worlds) where the rough terrain is used for protection and hit and run tactics. Owls in this case would provide excellent scouts and it would also explain why the tanks are walkers rather than tracked. Perhaps the girls are some kind of forgotten unit designed to hunt and kill invaders using the tanks and owl.
The Comoro Scops Owl, Otus pauliani, is an owl endemic to the Comoro Islands.
This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae.
This owl is found only on Mount KARTHALA, an active volcano on Grand Comoro. It has an estimated population of 2,000. It is classified as Critically Endangered due to it being restricted to such as small area, which is being rapidly deforested.
The owl is helping the girls?Edit
By stealing Rio's bell, she caused Kanata to chase after her, and thus find out about the giant winged skeleton (why leave the bell hanging on such a place if not so Kanata would try to get to it?).
When Kanata and Kureha were exploring the school, they were about to run into the ghost. The owl chased the mice, which in turn scared the girls and made them flee in the opposite direction from where the ghost was.
This wasn't enough to dissuade them, however, and when they were in the piano room and the ghost was approaching unseen, the owl sprang into action and scared the girls away herself. This had the plus of making them belive they'd found what they were looking for, so they wouldn't spend any more time in the school and thus they would get away from the ghost.
See Facts section: [Owls in Mythology] If would make sense that the owl would show up in a place with war, girls, ghosts, singing, and some kind of sickness. The Owl could also be taken symbolically, representing the current state of the world. This may be the reason an Owl was chosen as a symbol of the unit.
Relationship between Rio and the blonde soldierEdit
See also: Princess Iliya
Kanata and Rio obviously share some form of common past. The bell charm, first shown around the neck of the blonde female soldier that helped Kanata when she was lost, is now in Rios possession and given to her by her father(The Archduke of Helvetia). This would mean both girls were inspired to join the army and learn the trumpet by the same person.
They're half sisters, same father but different mother.
Japanese Influences in HelvetiaEdit
For those wondering about what a japanese school is doing in Switzerland.
Copied from a thread on /a/ (where else):
I stumbled over this in another board: http://kumon.ac.jp/klas/english/ The homepage for a japanese boarding school in Switzerland., though that schools position is several kilometers south of where Sieze is supposed to be though, so it could either be a coincident, or it could be one of the inspiration for setting the show in Switzerland.
some interesting things of note about that school. It put emphasy on culture exchange. According to thier website, then more then 50% of the students in the school is involved in music related activity.
CurrencyEditThe currency they use is the yen ¥, the value apparently has suffered an enormous devaluation, and they changed it recently since people in town still aren't used to the change. Previous 2,750,000 yen is now 2.75 yen.
Also it uses a peculiar punctuation ¥10_25 which equals to 10.25 and it means 10 yen and 25 sen (100 sen = 1 yen).
There are among others 10 yen bills, small round golden (?) coins worth 1 yen, bigger round golden coins (unknown value), rectangular silvery coins worth 10 sen and oval coins worth possibly 5 sen.
"Anon #1: With this smuggling business you guys are talking about I rather just think it was a reference to Germany back in the days of the treaty of versailles when they had a hyperinflation causing the mark to lose nearly all of it's value. Though this is depicted the reverse with this being that she was given 2.75 yen change really but the keeper stated it was 2,750,000 yen. This could mean there is a lack of materials to make more currency so its value went up to save materials which could be used for war purposes (create more weapons and bullets and the likes) or it may be just be the fact that they lost the technology to produce more coins (this could also relate to why they are using yen instead of the local currency as the local currency may be near none existent and so is being substituted for foreign money which might of been brought over by soldiers during when the fighting was going on).
Anon #2: I think the theory with Helvetia pulling a Zimbabwe is more likely. Old Yen hyperinflates due to war -> the currency stabilise at some point, goverment going..."oh hell, that's too many zeroes. let's reinstate the sen and say 1 mill old yen = 1 new yen" -> happened recently, so grocery guy says 2.75 mill yen out of habit, before getting corrected.
another anon pointed out the same thing happening in europe when the euro was introduced, people still using the old currency name for some time out of habit.
Anon #1: This may be another explanation but from what you just said this hyperinflation may still be related to a similiar case with what happened with the Treaty of Versailles, as about 6-12 months after it was signed the value of money decreased and the way they solved this problem back then was to introduce a new currency which from what you said might of happened here. Maybe there was a similiar case here?"
Posted on a thread in /a/. This may explain, or be a root to explain, why the currency in the area is yen and why the shopkeeper said 2,750,000 yen instead of 2 yen 75 sen. It is also pointed out that Germany had a similiar case in money problems after WW1 with the time of the 'Treaty of Versailles'. The Germans introduced a new currency which stabilized the money value and made the money more easy to handle (being that Germans used to carry wheelbarrows full of money yet it only used to get them a loaf of bread), this could also be the case saying that the money to buy simple goods used to be extremely high (shown by the shopkeeper's "force of habit" by saying 2,750,000 yen change, which would mean the original money given must of been a higher number to 2,750,000, instead of the speculated new money which was 2 yen 75 sen) and so they introduced new currency which sorted the hassle of carrying large amounts of money which was almost worthless.
Correction to this overthinked issue: Actually, when the shop keepers says "Your change is 2,750,000 yen", it is an old japanese joke told to kids. Not used in this times, but in the 90's was very popular. Hence the phrase at the end: "No sense of humor?"
Water-Splashing Festival in XishuangbannaEdit
The 2005 Water-Splashing Festival -- held on New Year's Day, 1367, according to the Dai calendar -- was celebrated by both visitors and residents in Jinghong, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China's Yunnan Province from April 12 to 18.
The annual Water-Splashing Festival is most important holiday of the Dai people. Held during the sixth month of the Dai calendar, usually falling in the middle of April, it is also known as the Festival for Bathing the Buddha.
Although there are numerous legends about the origin of the festival, one of the best known tells of the long-ago days when there was a devil in the village where the Dai people lived, doing all manner of evil. All the people hated him but his magic was too powerful for them to overcome.
One day in the sixth month, his seventh wife, who had been kidnapped from the village, tricked him into revealing his weaknesses. As he slept, his wives used his hair to cut off his head. But the head began to burn when it touched the ground, and the fire would die only if one of the women held the head tightly in her arms.
So the seven wives took turns holding the head, each for a period of one year. Every year when they changed, people would splash water on the woman who had been holding the head for the past year to wash away the blood and a year of fatigue.
As time went by, the ritual became a happy -- even raucous -- way to send off the old year and greet the new.
The days of the Water-Splashing Festival are filled with various activities: song and dance, dragon-boat races, the launching of rockets and the flying of Kongming lanterns, parades and fairs.
But water splashing is central to all because water is the symbol of holiness, goodness and purity. People gather along the roadsides and in public parks and squares armed with buckets and basins of water or carrying squirt guns to drench each other in wishes for good luck and a happy new year.
The Dai people account for 34 percent of the population of Xishuangbanna and form the biggest ethnic group in Yunnan Province, home to 25 of China's ethnic minorities.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Li Xiao April 28, 2005) 
(translated by /m/ anon)
The Water Splashing festival is the time when everyone splashes water at each other. This isn't to keep cool, nor is it about hygiene. There was a mythical reason for it.
Once upon a time, there was a demon. Violent and cruel, he killed whenever he liked, did whatever he wanted to. He was extremely powerful, invulnerable to weapons, fire or drowning. He often gathered slaves and treasures from the surrounding villages, but no one could defeat him.
The demon was extremely perverted, and had a harem of 6 women he had kidnapped. Each was more beautiful than the last, but he still wasn't satisfied. So he kidnapped his 7th woman. This new wife, however, he became attached to. She was extraordinarily beautiful, and very charismatic. She knew exactly what to say and do to keep him happy.
One night, when the 7th wife caught the demon in a particularly good mood, she tried to test him. "I heard you are so powerful, that you can't be drowned, fire can't burn you, and weapons can't harm you. Then surely you will live on for an eternity?"
"That's not quite true, I have my weakness!" Said the demon.
"How could it be? You are so powerful, what could you possibly be afraid of?" Asked the 7th wife.
"This, I will tell only to you." The demon whispered. "I fear others strangling me with my own hair,"
"You fear nothing in the Heavens or on Earth, why would a strand of hair scare you?"
"Don't underestimate my thin stands of hair. They could strangle me!" Said the demon, at an even lower whisper.
The 7th wife grinned to herself, and thought "If a mere stand of hair could strangle him, then it would be for the best. It would spare many other women in the future."
She waited until he fell into a deep sleep (the original Chinese words may or may not imply it was after sex, you know how traditional folklores try to hide things like this.), and then lightly plucked a strand of his hair, then wrapped it around the demon's neck.
As soon as she pulled the hair, the demon's head came cleanly off.
The 7th wife was pleased that she slayed the demon, yet the decapitated head suddenly rolled to the ground, and flames erupted where it had landed. And then monsters spawned from the flames.
The 7th wife screamed in fear. The other wives heard her cry, and rushed to her aid. One of the braver and more intelligent of the women decided to pick up the head up off the ground. Surprisingly, as soon as the demon's head left the ground, the flames and the monsters vanished.
The wives dared not to put the head down anymore, so they took turns carrying the head. With each wife carrying it for one year. Before the demon truly died, the head often bled. Therefore, on the day when the head was passed from one wife to another, everyone would splash water on her, both to wash away the blood, and to prevent the formation of flames. This went on every year, with the water splashing repeated seven times, one per wife, before the demon's head finally expired.
From then on, every year on the same day, everyone splashes water at each other. And it is called the water-splash festival.
"Myths and Legends of China" Reader's Digest Association Far East Limited 1987 ISBN 962-258-069-6
- Page 112.
The state of medicine as revealed in episode 3Edit
In episode 3, the bottle reads [...]brifuge, which can be interpreted as "Febrifuge," which, according to Wikipedia:
- Herbal remedies with a fever-reducing effect are called febrifuges, and include catnip, chamomile, sage, wormwood and yarrow.
Yumina is also seen treating Kanata with her own herbal medicine, brewed in a tea, as explained when Yumina gives Rio a package of the mixture.
- The fact that "processed" febrifuges appear to be a limited commodity (only the platoon seemed to possess such a bottle), and that it was the preferred treatment for Kanata's fever indicate that pharmacology (study of drugs) has not progressed very far. As a comparison, Aspirin was discovered in 1853 and came into wide use by the end of the 19th century.
Also, Yumina's statement regarding the Malaria infections is particularly telling. She tells Rio she encounters this disease often, as the children who show up at the church for the first time come down with (tertian) Malaria shortly after arriving.
- Today, we would quickly come to the conclusion that the building was probably contaminated, but historically this concept was not fully understood until the mid-19th century. This indicates that pathology (study of disease) has not progressed very far either. As a comparison, the famous "Broad Street pump" incident (linking a cholera outbreak to a contaminated well) occurred in 1854.
TL;DR: Looks like the field of medicine was knocked back to the early 19th century or earlier.
State of the SeaEdit
According to what is said in Episode 4 the sea has become an uninhabitable place since the previous era, so much that Kanata does not know what dolphins are. Probably all sea fish and mammals are extinct now. (Maybe nomansland used to be the sea?)
This dam could also have formed the man-made lake that surrounds Seize. The state of the lakes around Seize though is questionable
There exists a lot of debris from the past along with no visible life within.
Nature of the Helvetian StateEdit
According to Noel in Episode 4 the Helvetian state is or was a monarchy ruled by a line of Archdukes. There have been at least twelve, with the twelfth named Akira Arkady III.
Akira is a Japanese name; Arkady, a Russian name. Arcadia is a region of southern Greece that was in classical antiquity proverbial for a peaceful countryside. Akira means 'bright', 'intelligent', or 'clear'. This double-barrelled Japanese/Western name is one of the many indications of some sort of Japanese influence in the past of what is obviously a European country.
Interference in radio waves?Edit
There's obviously no wireless communication in the show: the direct line with HQ is a phone, rather than a radio, and (as seen in Episode 5) even communication between units in the field is restricted to sound. This was also the case back when the tank was first deployed, this being the reason why it has a sound system that can simulate a trumpet.
My theory is this: during the war the tank was first used in (but before it was designed) an event happened that knocked out wireless communication all around the world, and armies started using trumpets for signaling again; all tanks after that event were designed with a sound system, so they could communicate even in the event that the signaler was killed or incapacitated (the tank commander would simply need to type out the message in the tank's computer, and I wouldn't be surprised if it could translate signals into text). This would also neatly explain why signalers are so important for the army when they are rarely used in the real world.
It remains to be seen what this "event" was: I can't currently think of an explaination that would cause the radio blackout to continue to the "present day" except a specialized weapon, designed with technology not currently available. Or, possibly, the blackout was temporary, but after technology was knocked back a few centuries by the war nobody remembered what radios were for: all they got was static when they turned one on, they were deemed useless, and the knowlege to build them was lost since it wasn't used anymore, so by the time the blackout was over there were no radios around anymore.
In episode 12, the Takemikazuchi is clearly shown to have two radio antennas on its left side, in closeup during its big reval. (13.37) During other scenes it is shown to have another set of antenna on the right side as well. The Takemikazuchi was clearly desinged to use radio communication for voice and computer communication but as technology degraded, and perhaps with the aid of some sort of long term radio interferance attack, radio simply slid into the "I wonder what those were for" category.
Old era observation devicesEdit
Apparently they run on the same type of energy the tank runs, since they still work after all this time.
They were there since the previous era, so are they pre-war? maybe entrance buildings for the CERN?
Speculation about KanjiEdit
While Kanata and Kureha state they can't read Japanese Kanji in ep2, some people there (at least Kanata and Rio) know how to write their names in Kanji. One anon speculates that since the priest gives the names to newborns and gets them from long forgotten ideograms (Japanese language) it would explain why people can write their names in kanji but not read it.
First mentioned in ep06.
Most likely a chemical or biological weapon because the populations targeted were wiped out with few survivors.
- Confirmed to be Noel's title in episode 12.