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
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 09:02 AM)
    @Bam: Thats becoming increasingly true, over the years I’ve found it also makes it very difficult to follow them all.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:54 AM)
    @Emma: I’ve found out that keeping too many shows, manga, games or books could lead to a sharp reduction of interest in all of them. That’s why I focus on a few “projects” at a time
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:40 AM)
    Even Tetsugaku letra too =<
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:39 AM)
    Jesus I’ve being dropping too much stuff lately, the makai ouji manga, sankarea, pandora hearts, put chihayafuru on hold, dropped the shigatsu no kimi manga too.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:37 AM)
    @Bam: True I suppose, still good tho =D
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:36 AM)
    @Emma: familiar tropes can still be entertaining if executed correctly. And regarding the twist I think it was heavily foreshadowed throughout the episode.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:29 AM)
    The biggest surprise for me with bahamut is that at first, before I watched it I had no expectations and despite it being so shounen heavy its still enjoyable to me.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:25 AM)
    @K-off: for sure.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:24 AM)
    I mainly say spoilers because it was quite the twist.
    Any case thanks for changing it.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:24 AM)
    @Emma: I’m not sure how many episodes this is going to be but I’m getting a 11-13 episode cour feel from the production here, in which case I don’t think they have that much time to get sidetracked.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis- 03

Okay, so this episode didn’t focus on Leone and Amira’s adventure. Instead, it focuses on building Kaisar’s character and it does so a bit awkwardly. This episode takes Kaisar and puts him into an overly bombastic situation in order to tell us about Kaisar’s past family problems, but it was so out of tone from […]

Gugure! Kokkuri-San- 03

This show has a great cast, but some chinks in the armor are starting to appear in the comedy. So far, this anime seems to lack a consistent tone, which shows through just how hit-and-miss the comedy is. It attempts to mix elements of light and dark comedy along with slice-of-life and tries to excel in all three […]

Psycho Pass 2 – 02

Episode two continues right where episode one left off and progresses about how you might have guessed. Akane chases the mysterious villain pulling the strings, getting only cryptic responses from Kitazawa. Shimotsuki confronts Akane with her misgivings about Akane’s handling of the arrest. And we finally get some subtle hints towards Kougami’s existence and how his disappearance might […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 02

The stage is set, the actors are in place and the curtain is rising. So I can say this episode’s title was certainly apt. Unfortunately this week we have no bombastic fight scene to ogle and instead we get a heavy dose of info dumping. This is not the most exciting of episodes but the […]

Grisaia no Kajitsu – 02

The grisaia visual novel was by no means perfect. In fact if I was to summarize it as concisely as possible I would deem it a mixed bag. Some great moments but quite a number of bad storytelling decisions. Still there was hope for this anime adaption. After all the Steins Gate adaption managed to […]

Parasyte-the Maxim- 02

Before I continue reviewing this anime, let me put up a disclaimer: I will be discussing the anime of Parasyte, not the manga. If you want to talk about spoilers, I recommend you go to a site that will talk about those things. Don’t be an ass and discuss spoilers down in the comments, because […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Grisaia no Kajitsu, Trinity Seven and Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de

Grisaia no Kajitsu Short Synopsis: Our protagonist joins a school that has five troubled girls in attendance. AidanAK47’s impression: Grisaia has all the elements to cause many to write it off as a typical harem anime. Protagonist who only wants a ordinary life? Check. Joins school with several female beauties? Check. Panty shots? Sigh…check. The […]

Akatsuki no Yona – 02

In the first impression I said I didn’t expect Akatsuki no Yona to succeed if it went down the serious drama route. However, after watching the second episode, I’m starting to think I might have been wrong about that. There were still a lot of moments that felt corny or derivative to me, such as the stand-off between Hak […]

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis- 02

This episode devotes its entirety setting up the characters as well as the journey coming ahead, and it does so very well. Here’s the thing-this season, we have a ton of shows packed with great style, animation, and direction, but none are as stylistic as Shingeki no Bahamut. I remember a few months ago when I watched […]

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 […]