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Ooyukiumi-no-Kaina-wallpaper-667x500 Ooyukiumi no Kaina (Kaina of The Great Snow Sea) Season 1 Review - A Decent Series With Fantastic World Building

A Decent Series With Fantastic World Building

  • Episodes : 11
  • Genre : Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Shounen
  • Airing Date : Jan 2023 – Mar 2023
  • Producers : Polygon Pictures

The Winter 2023 season has finally ended, and so does most of the anime for this season, one of them being Kaina of the Great Snow Sea. This is a new series that came from the collaboration between Tsutomu Nihei and Polygon Pictures. In the past, they managed to produce cult classics like Blame! and Knights of Sidonia. That means Kaina of the Great Snow Sea has the ingredients and potential to be as good as its predecessors. Now that this series has finally released its last episode, let’s talk about whether Kaina of the Great Snow Sea manages to live up to that expectation. This is the review of the first season of Kaina of the Great Snow Sea.

Discussion Time

The story of Kaina and The Great Snow Sea takes place in a world where the planet has been engulfed by a deep sea of snow with countless colossal trees that grow towards the orbit and cover the earth with a translucent membrane called the Canopy. Kaina is a boy who has spent all his life atop the orbital trees, living as a hunter for the only village left on the canopy. He is the only young person in the village, with the rest being his elders who taught him everything from hunting to reading the lost alphabet of the past.

On that fateful day, Kaina is on his way to find a good hunting spot when a basket attached to a floating insect hovers above his head. When he comes to inspect this curious object, an unconscious young woman suddenly falls from the basket. Kaina brings her to his village, and the elders nourish the girl back to health. As it turns out, her name is Ririha and she is the princess of Atland, one of the kingdoms that thrive at the great snow sea.

According to Ririha, The clean water supply at the snow sea has been rapidly diminishing in recent years, leading one particular nation, Valghia, to invade other kingdoms and steal their water. Atland is the next one on Valghia’s list. That is why Ririha decided to reach the canopy and find help from the legendary powerful sage who is said to reside on the canopy. Unfortunately for her, there’s no such thing as a sage in the village. That being said, the elders decide to ask Kaina to escort Ririha safely back to her kingdom. And that is the beginning of the unbelievable and mind-blowing journey of Kaina and Ririha as they climb down the orbital tree, travel across the snow sea, and face the military might of Valghia.

Why You Should Watch Ooyukiumi no Kaina (Kaina of The Great Snow Sea)

Ooyukiumi-no-Kaina-wallpaper-667x500 Ooyukiumi no Kaina (Kaina of The Great Snow Sea) Season 1 Review - A Decent Series With Fantastic World Building

1. Amazing World-Building

Similar to Tsutomu Nihei’s previous works, especially Blame! and Knights of Sidonia, the main focal point of this story is the fantastic world-building. However, if the aforementioned titles take place mainly in outer space, this time around, we stick to the nearly unrecognizable face of the Earth. The story will explore the two distinct features of this foreign world, the colossal Orbital Trees, and the vast snow sea. And both of them have so many interesting places to explore.

So what makes a good world-building? The short and simplest answer is in the details. A well-thought-out setting will have countless intricate details to ensure the story takes place in a truly lived-in world, not just a random place mentioned by the protagonist. The world of Kaina of The Great Snow Sea is the epitome of that principle.

Just from the Orbital Tree alone, there’s its towering size, the boundless translucent canopy, the hollow bark and branches where humans and insects live, and the countless pipe-like structure within the bark that contains clean running water, just to name a few. These details help us understand that the orbital trees are not just a bunch of massive trees, but there’s actually a complex ecosystem in them. And as the story progresses, the world gradually opens up to reveal a lot more interesting places, curious living beings, and strange habitats.

2. Great Character Development

In order to present good character development, the characters, especially the protagonists, have to undergo some sort of changes that makes them different from who they are at the beginning to who they end up as at the end. At the beginning of the series, Kaina only knows the calm and mostly uneventful way of life of the village at the canopy. There’s no conflict, and everybody has a skill and abilities that they can use to contribute to the betterment of the people in the village.

Once he climbs down to the great snow sea, he sees the world where it is normal for people to not only hurt but also kill other people. He sees the different way of life between the rich nobles and the poor children. He was shocked at first, but he quickly regained his composure and tried his best to adapt to the world and the society that is so foreign to him.

At the end of the series, Kaina is no longer the naive young man that he used to be when he was still hunting bugs at the top of the canopy. There may not be any visible changes to his physique, but his mind and his heart have certainly grown and changed a bit, for better or worse. Other than Kaina, Ririha also undergoes a noticeable character development, albeit on a different path from Kaina. This kind of character development is what makes the story of Kaina of the Great Snow Sea so interesting to follow.

Why You Should Skip Ooyukiumi no Kaina (Kaina of The Great Snow Sea)

1. A Slow Burn Story

In its pursuit to present an amazing world-building and prepare great character development, Kaina of the Great Snow Sea has to sacrifice its pacing, at least for the early part of the series. The story is barely moving anywhere for the first couple of episodes. When episode 4 comes along do we get to fully engage in the story and enjoy the conflicts that are promised to us in the second episode. Not that the first three episodes are bad or anything, but if you’re not into a slow-burn story, then Kaina of the Great Snow Sea may not be for you.

Ooyukiumi-no-Kaina-wallpaper-667x500 Ooyukiumi no Kaina (Kaina of The Great Snow Sea) Season 1 Review - A Decent Series With Fantastic World Building

The first season of Kaina of The Great Snow Sea is a decent series for the Winter 2023 anime season. It might not be able to stand among the best that the season has to offer, but it is certainly not a slouch either. Its world-building and character development are top-notch, but the pace leaves a lot to be desired. If you intend to watch this series, just know that episode 4 is when the story finally finds its groove.

Have you watched Kaina of the Great Snow Sea? If you have, what do you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Ooyukiumi-no-Kaina-wallpaper-667x500 Ooyukiumi no Kaina (Kaina of The Great Snow Sea) Season 1 Review - A Decent Series With Fantastic World Building

Harry is a manga addict first and freelance writer second. While he hasn’t read every manga under the sun, he has read an unhealthy amount of Shounen and Seinen manga. When he’s not writing in Honey’s Anime, you can find him in his personal blog: MangaDigest.com.

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Kaina of The Great Snow Sea Season 1 [Anime Review]