Laughing under the clouds is set during a time when carrying a blade is illegal. Where science is being born but there is also magic. It is the tale of three brothers fighting against people who want to change how things are. They are close and share a close bond. The three of them work as boatmen, delivering convicts to a inescapable jail which is in the centre of the lake.
The oldest brother is Tenka Kumou. Tenka is a joker, something which can be infuriating to the people around him as he is one of the best fighters. He used to work for the government but eventually quit to take care of his brothers after their parents were killed. The governments officers in the area don’t like him much as a result. Tenka loves his brothers but he is hiding his own secrets. One of which will bring about his death.
Second brother is Soramaru Kumou. Soramaru is the main focus of much of the anime but he isn’t my favourite brother. Soramaru works hard to be considered equal with Tenka, though he does love him. Soramaru has a tough road, dealing with nightmares and more but he is headstrong and steady. Willing to break into the prison to work out what is going on. Willing to beg to get the training he needs in order to fight.
Lastly and not least we have Chuutarou Kumou. A bit of a crybaby and naive but he’s 12 so we have to give him some lack. Tenka has pretty much brought him up and Chuutarou has his own good points. Though he does spend much of the time with an escaped convict so how good Chuutarou’s moral dial is, is a bit debatable.
There is one more member to the family. Shirasu Kinjou. Having been saved by Tenka, Shirasu works as the Kumou’s housekeeper and he very fond of the brothers. However he is hiding a dark past and not one you would first expect.
As the world collapses around these four individuals, we watch as the villain’s plan unfolds and watch as the three brothers rise together to stop it and save them all from hell. But situations are never as simple as they first seem.
This anime is a well told story and is not afraid to take risks. All of the characters are well rounded and their good sides and their bad. Quite literally. There are moments when actions are doubtful, when they make you want to scream with anger. But also cry from despair. The final scene with Shirasu is once such scene. When all you want to do is make him stop. But his actions are the ones which make you remember that humans are not good nor evil. That there is no such thing as black and white. That the world is made up of shades of grey.