Posted by SuperMario on 29 January 2019 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai

It’s clear after the first three episodes that Kotobuki isn’t a show that focuses much on any thematic depth, nor is it a character piece. It has some nice settings, it has one core concept of these Kotobuki team members doing air combats against pirates, and it has extended well-choreographed flight sequences to back it up. It’s pretty telling how they sacrifice 2D character models so that they can go all out with the aerial combat set pieces. In terms of sound and sight, Kotobuki has its chops. It’s not in the level of extraordinary, mind you, but to animate those long battle scenes in every single episode and makes it as appealing as what we got so far is no small feat. The problems lie in the lack of actual story, or even characters that we feel worth spending time for. This week, I still don’t warm up that much to the characters. I do learn more about two of them. Reona (in red uniform), the leader of this group and the voice of reason as opposed to the impulsive Kirie and Chika last week, and Emma (the blonde) who frankly criticizes the mayor before gets rescued by him later on. I don’t mind this “you pick up on character traits as you go along” approach Kotobuk’s currently implementing, but I can see that this approach could turn viewers off because they don’t have a reason to care for the story.

It doesn’t help the case that the story this week is as bareboned as it can get. Rachma, their town was attacked by air pirates who calling themselves “Elite Industries”. The CEO, who acts as over the top as one could, is eyeing the town’s Raiden fighter, and fires off as warning once the town refuses to do the trade. I’m a bit let down by the way Kotobuki clearly makes a ruthless villain we all love to hate, and there is a clear black and white here. The other development this episode focuses on, however, is the town mayor’s indecision to make a final call. This thread works better than the punchable face CEO, but still leaves a lot to be desired. The small town villagers get a sense that they need to participate (and not relying on the girls) to protect their hometown, and the mayor, in a spur of a moment, decide to ride his Raiden and saves Emma, although at the cost of the Raiden.

So yep, story-wise and characters-wise, Kotobuki offers surprisingly very little to hold on to. What it sells so far is the presentation. CG planes look cool in motion and we can feel the impact of every hit the air jets receive. I also quite enjoy the rapid-fire conversations and clearly each girl sounds and behaves different, although to be fair it’s all style with no substance right now. The only way the show could improve is that they need to get more constructed, as fighting pirates week-to-week, quite fun to look at, gets dull rather easily.

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