Posted by psgels on 3 July 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


All right, one more moe-series before I’m going to dive into some of the more obscure stuff again. When Air starts, it’s typical Kyoani: there’s the sarcastic male lead without any responsibilities, there’s the shy girl without any friends, the sick girl, the smart girl, the spunky parent, lots of physical comedy is used during the lighter conversations, the females have overly large eyes, strange magical things happen, etc, etc. But damn; it’s such a sweet story.

Like Clannad, Air starts out predictably: there are three main girls, and the lead guy hops from one girl to the other and watches her story unfold, only to become something completely different with the second half. Clannad decided to drop the supernatural stuff and focus on its characters and slice of life instead, and as it turns out, Air did the complete opposite: the side-characters get dropped completely, and instead it develops into tear-jerking mystery-series. There’s one particular plot-twist that really sets this series apart from every other dating-sim adaptation, though. It involves the lead guy, but I’ll refrain from mentioning it for the sake of spoilers.

Let me just say that Air is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a sappy drama as well. I personally couldn’t stop crying in the final two episodes, even though a similar set-up in Kanon left me completely bored. Simply said: Air has been the best eroge adaptation and Kyoani-series I’ve seen, and successfully removed some of the bias I had towards both the genre and the animation studio.

Peculiar in this series is the magic system. Like Clannad, it’s never really explained properly. Things just happen and get blamed on the magic that happens to be there, and the creators just leave it to the imagination of the viewer to try and make sense of it. Somehow, it works: the things that aren’t explained aren’t of the kind that really needs to be explained, but if you like your anime to be complete, then you will end up disappointed.

Overall, I think that Air is a series that you’ll either love or hate. The final episode is also a recap, which in a way is the best place for such a thing: you can just skip it, without needing to worry about that possible two minutes at the end of it that might or might not contain new important footage, since the story already finished anyway. My only real problem lies within the first episode, I guess. The male lead sure happens to walk into and befriend the right people, but there have been so many series that made the same mistake that I’m not going to hold this against this series.

I think that my biggest beef with Kyoto Animation was that when I was seriously trying to give them a chance, despite their huge hype, it rewarded my patience with Kanon’s Makoto-arc and Lucky Star, which both bored me to tears. As it turns out, those were just the worst works of the studio (in my opinion, at least), just how every animation company has its good and bad series.

Overall, Air is more than just a story and characters. It’s got something surreal added to it that makes it special, along with a terrific cast of characters for a 12-episode series. It’s got the best male lead of any harem I’ve seen thus far, and despite the number of plot-holes, I loved watching it. It’s series like this one that show the power that 12-episoded series can have, and thinks beyond the box. The first half keeps the viewer nicely busy with random stories, only for the second half of the series to develop into something really special.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

16 Responses

  1. Radhabinod says:

    If you liked Air you are going to love the After Story of Clannad.

  2. AG says:

    You should be sure to check out the Air in Summer special episodes, they provide some nice comic relief ;)

  3. Tess says:

    Yeah, AIR is one of Kyoani’s better works. I became a fan of Kyoani because it was their first series I had seen, back when it came out. I really don’t like Kanon, so it’s funny how different the two are. CLANNAD, on the other hand makes me happy because it’s like a Kanon+AIR mix.

    The only other series I genuinely enjoyed by them other than AIR and Clannad, was FMP: The Second Raid. : / I also wait patiently for the day they work on something new. (ie not Haruhi, Key, Lucky Star) Not including FMP cause I’m waiting desperately for another series D:

  4. kdp says:

    Strange. I hated Air and loved Kanon. I think it’s because Air was tragedy with a message of hopelessness (was anyone better off in the end?!?), whereas Kanon was a harem series with a message of hope (to the point of being cheesy about it).

    Well, KyoAni makes great anime. I like that they can have all these different styles, so that everyone can have at least one show to like. :-)

  5. chris says:

    I think that the reason I like shows like Kanon, Air, and Clannad is for strictly male reasons of emotional escapism. To long to go into here but if you would like to read my reasoning for why I like these shows please read my review of Clannad 10. link provided http://animewriter.wordpress.com/2007/12/30/clannad-10-another-lonely-girl-and-emotional-escapism/

  6. Bruno says:

    Man, watched this anime long time ago, cried in the last epi too. But if you liked the anime you will like the movie better.
    Not that there is something new, but the story is better told in the movie, at less for me.

    cya

  7. Bruno says:

    Man, watched this anime long time ago, cried in the last epi too. But if you liked the anime you will like the movie better.
    Not that there is something new, but the story is better told in the movie, at less for me.

    cya

  8. CherylHew says:

    Spoilers wahahaha

    Wow, you watched AIR ^_^ I can easily say AIR is my favourite anime series of all time and well, of course I love it when people like it too LOL This was the show that introduced me to KyoAni and Key. I watched Kanon 2002 after AIR and got “Meh”, then Kanon 2006 came and it was more “Meh” >_>

    I don’t know, for me, the magic system in AIR just flowed smoothly for me, every magical thing finally related back to Kanna, her curse and her feathers and damn, her fate 1000 years ago was cruel ;_; When I watched AIR, I didn’t really get into Kanna’s arc because it was so short and flew by so fast I couldn’t really feel much for the characters, but the Summer OVA fixed that up nicely ^^ I myself don’t have the “KYOANI IS GOD” mindset, I only cheer when they announce they’re doing another Key title because I know it won’t be butchered XD More of a Key fan, now hoping for a KyoAni adaptaion of Key’s kinetic novel, Planetarian. If it comes out, do watch it, I bet my life on it that it’ll be good ^^

    MISUZU BANZAI!!

  9. Solaris says:

    Well… this is not a single anime but three really different animes pasted together.
    I didn’t like the sudden break the last arc added to the story, bringing the well developed pacing to a path of desperation an depression. The subplots developed within the frst arc are tied toghether in the second arc and we learn the happenings of 1k years before. In the third arc you’d long for a conclusion and some continuity, but everithing is changed into depression and sadness.
    Everything was developed before, was discarted and you’re left with three episode showing Misuzu slow and unevitable fall. The main lead char also disappears suddenly at the end of the second arc! Desperate, boring and depressing IMHO.
    Only the first 2 arcs deserve a full 90/100, but the last ruined it all! I rated it 70/100 Here

  10. Eonir says:

    I’ve been waiting for you to review this awesome series. You’re right – it’s love or hate, and it’s somehow special.

    It’s also one of the few anime that made me cry.
    I also don’t like it when some people are disappointed by the last arc. Just because it was puzzling, depressing, and all, it needs more attention and thought. More than just perception and emotion that is.

  11. Wyrdwad says:

    Wow, you summed up my own thoughts on Air perfectly. I honestly wasn’t expecting you to like this series, but I’m glad you did, as it really is deserving of all the praise it gets… it’s beautiful, it’s moving, and it does have the most mysterious, yet somehow believable magic of any anime I’ve seen.

    I disagree with Bruno, though: the Air movie was not very good IMHO. They dropped almost all of the supernatural elements, and turned the plot of this series into more of a typical tragic love story. The only thing that makes the movie worthwhile is its highly unique art style, with its whispy over-lit backgrounds.

    Also, before I forget to say something in the other topic: yes, the first season of Someday’s Dreamers was also very good, and I highly recommend checking it out sometime, as I can virtually guarantee you would absolutely love it. It has psgels written all over it. (:

    -Tom

    • Dinesh says:

      From what I notice, Gundam 00 doesn’t have any 5.1 audio atoeciassd with its episodes on its , so I doubt it has to do with 5.1 audio mixing. It is possible though, that the HD Editing role is only shown when the actual footage was HD to begin with, and any SD broadcasts that were intended to be SD have it omitted. It doesn’t explain Haruhi’s predicament though, and my guess is that they got lazy and left that role in. We will have to see what K-ON’s Blu-ray release looks like to make a final judgment though.Should also note that doesn’t have 5.1 audio either.

  12. ryvrdrgn14 says:

    Your images vanished D:

  13. psgels psgels says:

    Crap, make that four image-hosts in a row to crash on me. From now on, I’m just going to stick to imageshack…

  14. Firechick says:

    I first found this series when I was looking for episodes of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de (have you watched it? I saw it and it’s good!). I downloaded the first episode on a whim without really much information. But I saw it and I was roped it! I really liked it, and I have all the DVDs plus the movie (though I REALLY need to finish the dub)! It’s not one of my top 20 anime, but I’m glad to say that I really liked it and am glad that I gave it a chance.

  15. DrEpicFail says:

    Apart from everything you had mentioned, the violin version of the opening(Tori No Uta) is a masterpiece.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Friend
    (Tuesday, Dec 23. 2014 04:41 AM)
    Why in the holy name of Jebus do fleas exist? My cat came home with fleas and now I’m really paranoid about them.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Dec 23. 2014 03:12 AM)
    I think I’ve given up any hope of any shounen action series not disappointing me in some way.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Dec 23. 2014 02:30 AM)
    Despite all the action this week bahamut felt poorly directed today, I wasn’t feeling this episode at all.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Dec 23. 2014 12:34 AM)
    Also Ninjarealist had an idea he wanted to cover chaika, log horizon and wixoss but because psgels didn’t follow them he felt it inconsistent. I reckon that the writers should do some more full reviews though.
  • Cyril
    (Tuesday, Dec 23. 2014 12:17 AM)
    Oh, cool.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 11:12 PM)
    K-off was also finding it somewhat hard to write about certain shows when not in batch Review format.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 11:05 PM)
    Aidan dropped writing about Grisaia out of sheer disappointment at its adaptation.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 11:01 PM)
    @Cyril: K-off is busy at work and his political activism, Ninjarealist has said his real life has gotten busy, but I know he dropped akatsuki no yona out of boredom. I don’t know whats going on with lighteningbolt.
  • Cyril
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 10:43 PM)
    Ignoring the troll for a second, what DID happen to the other writers? I’m guessing they dropped the serieses they were reviewing because they were bad?
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 10:16 PM)
    @Zo, we love you too.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 11

Well here’s something you don’t see often in shounen series. Consequences. It’s another quiet episode and due to Shirou pulling that magic trick last episode he is now suffering from after effects. Having what looks to be a painful night and going through the day with the left side of his body numb. Though it […]

Recommendation corner 02 – Light novels #1

Its very easy to disregard the light novel genre completely as it is responsible for the creation of quite a number of unoriginal, bad and shameless pandering anime in recent years. However there still are worthwhile stories within the genre. They are just a little less known.   Mushoku Tensei Description: A 34-year-old NEET otaku […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 10

Very nice start to the beginning of the episode with the Unlimited Bladeworks chant. Sure, it has been parodied to kingdom come but I still love it and all it’s broken engrish glory. But now I can say it with certainty. This series is not suitable for being watched weekly. In watching this episode I […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 10

Fights blew past fast this episode. We had four fights in one episode so my previous fears of this getting dragged look to be untrue.  Notables being the fight between a mystery girl and a holy knight whose head is so disproportionate from his body that you could swear someone took the head of a […]

Gugure! Kokkuri-San- 06-10

So I’ve been gone for a while partially because of work, school, and my political activities, but also because I wanted to try approaching how I review in a (hopefully) interesting way. I’d be interested in hearing your feedback on this, as I am trying to inject more of my own personality into the way […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 09

The pattern continues with another building up episode. Admittedly I find this somewhat disappointing. I feel that this show would be better marathoned than watched weekly as the wait for what is a essentially a build up to the next episode can hamper the experience a bit. As I said before, this show would work […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 09

The fight between explosives girl and the sins was ended quicker than I thought. When King entered the fight it was settled almost immediately.  King made short work of her as Elaine provided some supposedly badass exposition saying how King is originally known as the king of the fairies, harlequin. I say supposedly because it […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 08

Another episode has come and gone. This episode marking the first casualty of the holy grail war. Looks like Rider is out of the running. It is a bit sad to see her go so unceremoniously and even defeated off screen. Well, we shall see you again in the upcoming heavens feel movie, where you […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 08

There was a few questionable things here this episode. The episode starts with the new villain quite literally killing herself to enter the kingdom of the dead. Which is a big risk considering it was based on one sentence from a child she was threatening. True being a shounen show there’s likely some magical biology […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]