What a Trip: Sonny Boy

To call Sonny Boy an unusual anime is to make one hell of an understatement. When you start off with a setting of high school kids stranded in some isolated world while possessing superpowers, it seems like it’s gonna be some variation on Lord of the Flies. But Sonny Boy goes beyond even the expectations it sets for itself narratively while aesthetically occupying a realm that feels both hyperreal and surreal.

It’s incredibly hard to describe Sonny Boy, as it’s rarely ever clear what’s an important plot detail, what’s more for flavor, and where the latter might transform into the former. The series seems to focus on the notion of “possibilities,” but even that term seems to brush up against the contradictions within itself. It’s a combination of vast and unpredictable dimensions, along with the expansive yet narrow minds of lost teenagers. It’s like Twin Peaks with a heavy focus on high school drama.

I hesitate to make any concrete statements about takeaways, but one thing I felt by the end is the contrast between infinite potential unrealized as a kind of metaphor for youth, and the need to go beyond that world to actually get something done. That potential is valuable, but fear of losing it hurts people more than one might expect.

Sonny Boy is probably worth a watch again. Maybe it’ll help me process the series better. It feels like there’s so much underneath that surface.

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