Monday, July 29, 2013

Anime Review: Air

AIR: Some plot points are not established well, so the story becomes somewhat confusing.

The story of Air follows the life of Yukito Kunisaki, a travelling showman looking for ‘the girl in the sky.’ He finds himself in a small district beside the sea, where he meets new people, one of whom leads him to what he has been looking for all this time.

Like any generic visual novel adaptation, the story follows the formulaic approach of having a male protagonist surrounded by female characters -- characters that he would be helping from a particular problem. This has been exploited in the first half of the series, where he has been involved with the problematic lives of Kano Kirishima and Minagi Tohno.

I must admit that these story arcs have been able to trigger some emotional reactions. However, they are not that outstanding, for the unfolding of events is mediocre at best. The pacing is really slow that it comes to the point that almost literally nothing is happening to move the story to the right direction. There are too many random ordeals that don’t contribute to the overall story.

It’s a good thing that the emotional sequences make up for this trait. The other good thing about these arcs is the fact that Minagi Tohno’s story arc doesn’t start abruptly. It has been established during Kano Kirishima’s story arc, so the transition has been smooth.

Minagi Tohno and Kano Kirishima

This smooth storytelling doesn’t last long, however. In the second half of the series, the story takes an awkward turn. It suddenly diverts its attention to a medieval sequence that stretches for about two or three episodes. Sure, this is a significant part of the series, for it explains the back-story behind ‘the girl in the sky’. But I can’t help to see it as problematic because it starts too abruptly. Aside from that, it has also failed on effectively linking itself to the original story, but its attempts to do so is evident. This fact has turned the storytelling very rough and the plot very disorganized.

After the medieval sequence, the story goes back to the modern day, as abruptly as how it diverts its attention from it. Like the first half of the series, this has been able to trigger subtle emotions. In fact, it has been more effective on doing so.

However, it is far from perfect, and the major contributor to this is its failure to establish some plot points. Some plot points are so not established that they make the unfolding of events very confusing. In truth, the idea of ‘the girl in the sky’, the very idea that the whole story is paying homage to, is the most confusing plot point. Again, the medieval sequence is to be blamed for this.

As for the characters of the series, they’re not very deep, but not bad either. The only problem I have with them is that some of them don’t have proper closure. They just disappear as if they didn’t even exist. In short, the characterization of this series is not very remarkable.

However, the opening theme is not the same case. I don’t always include opening themes in my reviews, but Air’s is worth noting. Even though the video is of generic visual novel adaptation, its music is still so commendable that it is enough to make the opening theme worth praising.

Overall, Air has some serious potential. The concepts it represents are very interesting, and the only problem is their execution. Perhaps if the series has been longer, it would have had the time to properly express its ideas. It’s just too bad that the series is so short that even some of the characters are left out just to make room for the major chunk of the overall story.

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