Messy finish ruins an otherwise great, and emotinal, show.
Jan 31, 2010
I've been on the look out for sad and depressing anime ever since finishing Now and Then, Here and There, so when someone pointed me towards Air TV I was more then happy to try it out. At first glance Air seems like the pure definition of a heartwarming, yet sad tale, but once you get past the initial tear jerking moments found in abundance in volume one, the story really has very little to offer. Yukito is a young traveling puppeteer who moves from town to town searching for a mysterious person who he calls "the girl in the sky." one day, tired and hungry, he stumbles into a small coastal town and meets a young, energetic, girl named Misuzu who seems to be as clumsy as she is cute and charming. Although Misuzu is the main focus of the show, Yukito meets three other misfit girls, each one, much like Misuzu, hide their own secrets and deal with their own personal problems, some of which will leave your breathless. If I were to compare this show with another anime, I'd say it has a lot more in common with Haibane-Renmei then anything else, but where Renmei slowly builds up its momentum to a captivating finish, Air slowly fizzles out and allows itself to die out long before the closing scene. This show, in all honesty, should have been four episodes shorter, for although I understand where they were trying to go with the ending, I couldn't help but feel that it was rushed, unprepared, and mellow dramatic. Where the opening is nothing but pure heartbreaking tragedy, the ending manages to somehow turn an otherwise great story into a cheesy soap opera with Misuzu and her mom taking center stage at the expense of every other character the creators of this show worked so hard to develop.
And that's where this show ultimately fails, in my opinion. Characters like Kano, Tohno, and Michiru get so much attention in the first half of the series that when they suddenly drop off the map nothing felt right anymore. They are very well developed characters with some very serious problems but after maybe two episodes devoted to each, after their lives are suddenly and magically put back together thanks Yukito they are no longer necessary parts of the story and are dropped altogether. Why, I wonder, did the writers bother to put them into this story if they weren't going to play any significant role in the overall plot? Why bother? It isn't as if the story needed them, although they did add some touching moments. Their characters were far too well developed and their stories far too touching to be dropped completely after they served their purpose.
The art work is nothing sort of amazing. I defy anyone to show me an anime series more visually beautiful then this. Every frame is a masterpiece of artistic brilliance found only in anime movies such as Voices of a Distant Star and Place Promised in our Early Days. the characters designs may be a bit cliché, with the stereotypical long hair, enormous water eyes, school girl uniforms, the works, but they have a personal feel that ultimately made the characters seem more real, more alive, and that's all that matters in the end. to accompany these visuals, this show boasts a very quiet, very sweet and haunting musical score, mostly piano pieces that reminded me very much of Voices of a Distant Star. I didn't even realize until the last few episodes that they were just playing the same three songs over and over again, and even then it didn't matter. Numerous times I found myself ignoring the dialogue and just listening to the sweet melodies of the soundtrack and watched the beautiful visuals.
In all this show starts out extremely strong, but somehow manages to ruin an amazing story with an ending soap opera writers would be proud of. The series really ends at volume three, or at least that's where it should have been, everything after that, although it has its occasional moments, ruins all credibility this show had as a drama. Watch this show for the visuals, the soundtrack, and heartbreaking opening, and nothing else.
Replay value; Very low.
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About the reviewer
Jonathan J.D. Lane (A1CJonathanLane)
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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Based on the "all ages" version of the game for the Dreamcast and Playstation 2, Air TV is about a boy named Kunisaki Yukito who travels Japan aimlessly in search of the "girl in the sky" as spoken of in the legends passed down through his family. When he wanders into a sleepy coastal town, he meets a sweet, innocent girl named Kamio Mizuzu who instantly takes a liking to him. What follows is a touching story of love and freedom. ~ Cammila Albertson, All Movie Guide