Many of the criticisms and praises I had for the Clannad Movie also go for the Toei version of air: their big disadvantage lies only in their length. They’re short, and therefore not as engaging as the Kyoani-versions. But they’re still excellent movies that did a great job of cutting up their stories in only ninety minutes. If Osamu Dezaki would have gotten the same amount of episodes as with the Kyoani series, then I’m sure that the end result would not have been inferior to them. Both Air and Clannad have wonderful story-lines, and both Toei and Kyoani did a wonderful job in adapting them.
The visuals: also pretty much the same story. In technical terms, Kyoani did a more fluid and consistent job, but on the other hand the Toei version loves to play with different camera angles, visual direction, filters and interesting screenplay, that makes it a visual feast in its own way, and yet it doesn’t get in the way of the storyline unlike some of Shaft’s productions.
The characters? The same can be said again: the side-characters are still wonderful, and the lead female is actually much more strong-headed than she was in the Kyoani-version, which gives a completely different dimension to her. In exchange, the male lead again just isn’t as interesting as he was in the Kyoani version: again, instead of the male lead helping the female lead amidst his own problems, this movie shows the female lead as she helps the male lead amidst her own problems. It actually works really well.
Air again cuts away all of the side-stories, to focus completely on the main storyline of Air. It’s much more of a straightforward romance story this way, instead of a strange pseudo-harem, and it works pretty well. But yeah, the climaxes just aren’t as emotional due to the small airtime. In any case though, Key really was lucky that its works were adopted twice, by people with great but completely different talents. At this point, I hope that Genji Monogatari wasn’t the last we’ve seen from Osamu Dezaki, because this guy is a truly unique director, and he shows it in this movie yet again.
|Storytelling:||9/10 – Great cut and paste job to fit the story into 90 minutes.|
|Characters:||8/10 – Needed more time to flesh out characters, otherwise excellent in a different way from the TV-series.|
|Production-Values:||9/10 – A visual feast thanks to Osamu Dezaki’s visual direction.|
|Setting:||8/10 – Pretty nice, but not the main focus.|