Yokito, a white haired near twenty teen, travels from town to town making money with a doll and telekinetic abilities. For generations his family has searched for a girl with wings, who flies endlessly through the sky in a haze of tearful dreams. He stops in a town, thinking it would only be for a little…but one thing leads to another, and he soon finds that not only does he not want to leave, but that leaving may be the worse choice he could make.
AniVillage, Kiyoto Animation
Ono Daisuke as Kunisaki Yukito
Kawakami Tomoko as Kamio Misuzu
Hisakawa Aya as Kamio Haruko
Tamura Yukari as Michiru
Yuzuki Ryoka as Tohno Minagi
AIR aired(hehe) from January 6, 2005 till March 31, 2005
AIR is a twelve episode series, with a thirteenth summary episode, and two specials.
AIR is a powerful drama with strong characters and a very touching, personal plot. In every way exemplary, it’s only fault is to fail to finish the story. For those of you who find the act of witnessing a bittersweet, last minute desperate love(parental, in this case) and death fulfilling in and of itself, instead of the dark before the dawn(i.e. the climax and turnaround, emotionally if not plotwise) then this could well be the best you’ve ever watched. If you prefer a more upbeat ending, however, look elsewhere.
The characters are very strong and endearing. Yokito seems gruff at first, but soon shows himself a compassionate man with a sardonic sense of humor. Misuzu is an excellent rendering of a childlike middle school girl-good natured, clumsy, and cute. She makes both an excellent comic and serious role, each element wrapping naturally around her as she smiles, trips, gets up, and smiles again. Misuzu’s mother, a semi-bimbo who loves Misuzu more than anything, even as she tries not to, quickly shows what place she should have in her heart – though getting there will take time. Kano, though she doesn’t take center role for long, is as endearing as the rest, in her own way, and makes a good job of those episodes that focus on her. As for Minagi and her sister, Michiru, their arc is strong enough to justify a series all by itself: Minagi, speaking in tones that never rise, with her own unique approach to conversation, and Michiru, unable to curb her enthusiasm enough to blow a soap bubble without breaking it, make an endearing duo, and their story is a strong one. All round, an excellent cast of characters.
Plot flow is typical of such series types: a series of mini-arcs of increasing intensity, increasingly closer to the elements that will make the final arc, the ones involving the lead characters. As a twelve episode series – the thirteenth is a summary, however that’s supposed to make sense – there are two initial arcs, then the final. As usual, the mini-arcs serve the dual purposes of building the main characters themselves in preparation for their spotlight hour, and building an understanding of the plot itself to follow. The characters are indeed built well, but understanding, in this case of the fantastic element that drives the series, is ever vague. Done right, the wonder and mystery is enough; understanding is secondary. In this case, however, understanding does indeed take second place, but only because it turns out the ending you expect is never shown. It could be said that AIR simply never finished: imagine if Full Metal Alchemist had ended right after showing that Ed was alive on the other side of the gate. All the pieces are in place, you know some victory is supposed to happen, and you’ve been given enough clues that you might guess how – but unless that situation itself somehow gratifies you, you wouldn’t be too happy, even if you did know what would probably happen. If the series doesn’t acknowledge that it happened, or will happen, then it’s no good. By the time things get really bittersweet in AIR, you’ve been given enough clues to know what’s going on, and why, that something is different, and that it’s important. But…the series suddenly seems to forget about all that and just plunge headlong into the tearful sunset-tinged misery of it all. Wallowing in the grief and cheated opportunity, its purpose seems to become nothing less. Despite having been given every reason to believe that there was a purpose to what you were seeing, and that something, something long cheated, was going to come of it, AIR chooses the path of tragic drama, and the resolution is left as an in-passing mentioned eventuality.
So, while powerful in the extreme, AIR is definitely not for people who want happy endings, or even just some sort of purpose for the sacrifices that occur. We all know that the death of a beloved character can be the catalyst for an immensely powerful climax – sometimes the greatest good can only be gained through the greatest loss, and it’s the price of things that make them valuable. However, watchers should be warned that this is not what AIR is: it’s purpose, in the end, is the death. I am here so that you can decide whether or not you personally would want to watch this anime, and I have done my best; however, as a reviewer, I have one personal privilege. And so – By the power vested in me, as a Reviewer of Boontan, I do declare said anime, AIR: A two(that felt good). You, of course, should make what you will of it.
Final Rating: 2/5
This review was brought to you by Z.N. Singer
Information such as cast and airtime are taken from the ANN encyclopedia listing. All else is and always will be the origination of the author.
5 Responses to “AIR Review”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.