“The 1000th Summer”
I was visiting MAL one day, and saw that in my blogging club, one of them opened up a contest. Basically, it’s a contest where everyone had to watch an anime (Air, in this regard) and make a review out of it. Whoever wrote the best review will win and obtain the spoils. I jumped on the opportunity almost immediately,
though it’s still kind of dead at the moment. I hope I’m not the only one joining this >_>
Not including the 2003 Kanon, Air is probably one of oldest animated works by Key, being adapted into anime from the visual novel by early 2005. Air stars Yukito Kunisaki, a young traveler whose only source of money making is his puppeting skills. His objective is to look for the “Winged Maiden”, after hearing an old childhood tale from his mother. As he arrived at a quiet town, his journey was put on hold for a quick while and stayed there temporarily. However, his search for the “Winged Maiden” may inches much more closer then he thinks..
Air presents it’s storytelling with great pacing in just 13 episodes. Key uses their signature non fanservice-y humors at the beginning, and at the same time, it doesn’t waste any time and uses the chance to introduce and set up the characters. Later on, the anime breaks up into 3 “story arcs,” and show the more dramatic part of Air. The first arc deals with Kano, the second one dealing with Minagi and the last one dealing with Misuzu. The anime may be be short but as whole, the anime doesn’t feel rushed at all. Each arc ended splendidly and while they may seem like they didn’t relate to each other much, their subtle relations to each other works perfectly nice, since it sets and build up the final arc pretty well.
As Yukito began solving the problems of the final heroine, Misuzu, this is when the anime begins unveiling the secrets and truths behind the characters, in which they are connected even throughout the eras. While the former two arc is great in their own rights, it doesn’t take rocket science to know that Misuzu’s arc is the canon arc, as more then half the anime is concentrated just on her. At this time, there are scenes which showed perspectives from different characters, which is nice. I also like how they uses a lot of time to develop Misuzu’s mother/aunt, and her change in character is positive to the series.
Speaking of characters, Air had one great cast, as expected of Key, who is known to create many likable characters. Yukito, is Air’s main protagonist and is at times cool, always putting his hands into his pockets, and at times goofy, always messing around with Michiru. He is also compassionate and had no problem lending a helping hands to those in need, even when he still has his own mission of searching for the Winged Maiden.
The other heroines are quite likeable as well, the outgoing girl Kano, the reserved girl, Minagi and the dojikko, Misuzu. I also like how some of the supporting characters relate to the main plot more so then you think, from the dude who brings a cake out of nowhere, to the housewife who carries multitude sacks of rice, and from her to the kids. There is no way of telling just what character will be the main focal point of the series, one character who showed up all of a sudden, might have a major involvement in one of the arcs. The only flaw I can find for the characters is that in the later part of the series, the heroines for the previous arcs are hardly ever shown anymore.
As for the visuals, it’s not bad. Yukito’s character designs look pretty stylish. As for the other character designs, specially the girls, are a reminiscence of old typical Key-style designs, round face and big eyes, and looks slightly unoriginal. I can’t help but feel the designs of the character faces look quite disproportional at times too. Some of the backgrounds are a feast to the eyes though, and the vibrant colors used in the anime is eye-pleasing, especially dat beautiful sunsets.
Likewise, the audio department isn’t the greatest, especially if we are talking about the background music. Although they sound calm and soothing, most of them are bland and doesn’t sound quite much attractive. Most of the tracks use almost the same instruments and tones throughout, without a hint of diversity. This is actually a recurring problem within most of Key’s works, and I can say they are improving slowly over the years. The seiyuu’s voice acting is great and natural, not much problems I can find generally. Ono Daisuke, is ironically my favorite seiyuu in the anime, probably because I was so used to his calm demeanor in his portrayal with Koizuki (Haruhi) and Sebastian (Kuroshitsuji) so much that I can’t help but admires how he can use his calm voice for loud retorts as well, shown countlessly with Yukito.
Air is a great piece of work, and showed just what Key is capable in. Though in my opinion, it is easily overshadowed by Kanon and Clannad, Air has a lot of great elements too; The soothing atmospheres, the fairy-tale romances, the lovely characters, all these make Air a force to be reckon with in it’s own rights. Air is definitely an anime worth your time watching.