Saturday, April 02, 2005

AIR : Series Review and Impressions.

Just finished watching AIR 12,ending off one of this season's most beautiful anime.T'was a bittersweet ending though and I didn't understand fully the ending.But in all, it was a good show nonetheless.

AIR was from Key, a famous game company in Japan that produces dating sim games(correct me if I'm wrong), so understandably, AIR also originated from it's game, which from what I've heard, has quite a fanatical following in Japan, so, news of the anime followed with a heavy promotional campaign which released quite a lot of previews,in fact, I've seen AIR previews subbed in September last year(from what I've remembered). The amount of publicity was what attracted me to watch it in the 1st place.

On watching the first episode of the anime, the first thing that instantly strikes the viewers is the awesome art(which Stripey aptly puts it as having the budget of the GDP of a small country) which encompasses the whole of AIR from the character designs to even the backgrounds.In fact, Kyoto Animation's background rendition of the sea, clouds and the sky(one of the hardest things to draw) are one of the best ever and most detailed ever seen for an anime.

Not only the art is good, it's also detailed and full of movement, unlike some animation studios which employ the still techiniques to reduce costs.I have not come across any usage of stills in the anime yet, with even mundane parts animated with movements.I was suitably impressed by it and AIR will definately hold the title of best & most detailed anime art for times to come.Kudos to Kyoto Animation for that.

AIR also features a superb cast which are all likable and cute.Yukito is definately a breakaway from the traditional stereotype of the protagonists in this genre.He exudes an aura of coolness yet he's very approachable and understanding.I definately liked him a lot, in fact, it was him that made me stick to AIR ;). The 3 girls of the show, as usual are cute and pretty, keeping up to standards of this genre of anime, but personallly, I like Tohru the most ;), too bad she's gone after Episode 6 :P (oops spoiler).

Which brings me to one the weakness of the anime, the pacing. It was quite sad to see that after wrapping each individual's arc, the girls will inevitably be left out of the anime :P. Understandably, in the original game, the players had the choice to choose which girl he/she likes and go on to finish the game with different endings for them.I understand Key's choice to only focus a bit of each girls and then proceed to the ending with the most popular one(Misuzu in this case) but it would be much better for the viewers to see what happens to the others as well. The pacing of the anime was also highly criticised in Japan, apparently because the plot was going on way too fast for their liking, but IMO(w/o the bias from the game), AIR develops quite good and manages to make me feel as if 1 episode were 2 instead, very hard to do,I assure you.

Plus, the anime isn't fully understandable, especially in the later episodes, for those not who have not played the game before. That definately took out some fun of the anime for me.The ending also is very biitersweet and quite unexpected, ending in somewhat a loop.Maybe a sequel in the works? I wonder.But as they say, sometimes the journey is more important than the destination and AIR is definately of this type, for me.

In all, AIR is a great show, a must watch for the great art in itself. Even though suffering from some setbacks and weakness, AIR still manages to entertain and awe the viewers.Those looking out for a nice romance drama will find AIR good enough to fulfill their needs with an apt doses of humour, joy, sadness and love in equal settings.

+Great Art
+Good Drama
-Where are the other girls?? I need more of them!!
-Sufficient understanding of the original game is needed to understand some parts.

Rating : 8/10
Definately recommended for those to see the full potential of anime art.