Quite often, movies suffer from being too epic. I understand that conflict is necessary, and trying to think big is a great way to do it, but there are also a lot of stories that have no business going there. To Aru Hikuushi he no Tsuioku understands this, and actually creates the right balance. Sure, there is a war going on, and one of the main characters is a princess, but it smartly doesn’t attempt to solve everything in its airtime. At heart, this is an escort story, nothing more, nothing less.
And because it understands this so well it’s able to do a lot of things that other movies can’t. It definitely stands on its own in terms of its plot, which is well paced and gives ample time for events to play themselves out and the characters to develop themselves and flesh each other out. There is relatively little action for a show that’s supposedly about a war, but the few dogfights that are there are really well directed, and the build-up between the quiet parts and the climaxes is excellent.
The characters in this series are also very good most of the time, and that is mostly due to the acting. The characters manage to show off a good variety of their personalities, and they act very believable. There are large parts of this movie dedicated to just showing the two lead characters play off each other, and they work really well together… most of the time.
It’s unfortunate that this movie has one major flaw, really: the romance itself can get really corny at times. The movie has good intentions, but the great acting just can’t hold up as soon as the characters get too sappy about their feelings. The ending also involves one particular twist that makes no sense whatsoever other than giving it a cheesy aftertaste.
So yeah, because of that it’s not amongst the best movies, but really: it has a lot to like. The thing sit does well, it does really well.
|Storytelling:||9/10 – Well told, and knows very well what it wants and doesn’t want.|
|Characters:||8/10 – Very believable characters… outside of the romance.|
|Production-Values:||8/10 – Great dogfights, although apart from that the animation is nothing special.|
|Setting:||8/10 – A bit too one-sided on the discrimination subplot, but apart from that we’ve got a believable setting that smartly stays away from being too epic.|