DISCLAIMER: I don’t play erogames, I don’t like Bishoujo and I am not fond of everything that accompanies the aforementioned ones. This review makes generalizations that are negative towards those who like them. I know I shouldn’t be making them, but I have issues with some genres. Please consider them more comical rather than serious (especially while voting!).
Based on a very famous date sim game, Air is a mix of romance, drama, and magic, all cramped up in only 13 episodes. Well… 11 if you exclude the 2 recaps. It is a pretty box with a typical present inside and it didn’t age well so keep your shopping basket small.
It is animated by Kyoto Animation and directed by Ishihara Tatsuya, both of whom are for me the two names that defined anime during the first decade of the 21st century. And this is a claim based on popularity and not personal tastes regarding romcoms, of which I am not a fan. This decade belongs to the moe, like it or not, and as an overall the studio with the greatest success in the field (Kanon, Haruhi, Clannad) is KyoAni. All of those shows also happen to be directed by the same guy, Ishihara. So there you have it, one of the most famous anime of the passing decade, based on popularity.
Puke-invokingly good. Although I dislike utter cuteness and high- pitched voicing, I can’t lie at the fact that animation and sound were above average for the Bishoujo genre at the time it was made. I’m sure that all of you who prefer Shonen and Seinen series (like me) would rate this department much less, just because of personal tastes. I would to; but I am going to be a bit more objective than usual and admit that I HATE IT but it has AWESOME graphics and sound. They are detailed and of high quality and that won’t change no matter how much I bitch about it. Every aspect of it was made with care and love for this genre. At the same time I don’t consider them to be perfect either, since they haven’t aged that well.
Art wasn’t a 10 because the girls:
a) had really thin limbs.
b) had faces that made them look like 10 year olds.
c) had same body types. Without the different cloths and hair color, they will look the same.
d) don’t look so moe anymore, since the formula has been refined in later titles from the same studio.
Sound wasn’t a 10 because I have heard better J-pop songs and squeaky voices than the ones found here.
This is a show where people who disappear to thin “Air” since most episodes are stand alones. The story is about the leading male dealing with a personal issue of a different girl on each episode. Then the girl mysteriously disappears from the story after its issue has been dealt with. Meaning, you get no time to bind with most of the girls in the series.
Isn’t it great (and obviously fake) how girls seem incapable of deciding on their own and need the advice of a guy? And the strange girl with the wings in the end only gives a metaphysical side to a series that was supposed to be just about the every day lives and relationships of normal people.
I hear the story was a lot better in the game and that the adaptation removed many parts just to fit everything in 13 (or 11) episodes. Too bad for them; the story sucks big time because of that. Yet at the same time I can imagine how most don’t watch such shows for the plot but for the atmosphere; so in theory it is not that much of a problem.
Ok, dreamy-looking girls swarming a typical male is hardly realistic. But even if we leave this aside, most of them have only one episode of screen-time, making any character development really rushed, unreal and thus easily forgettable. Hey, I like her… Oh no, the episode’s over!
The several family and friendship relationships were nice to look at but without any REAL problem in their lives (a villain, a catastrophic event, a dark side in their personality), everything was really boring to stand for long. I know slice-of-life series don’t have rivals or villains but the lack of a common problem shared by all characters made me feel that the series was 8 short stories instead of one long and unified story.
Not my cup of tea but I can’t lie that it’s a very well made Bishoujo series. I would personally never see it again in my life but those of you who like this genre, you will get plenty of kicks out of it. The plot was slow at first, confusing when that flashback occurred and the ending was silly; but if you like Bishoujo, reasoning is not an issue. At the same time I must make it clear that after Kanon was remade and Clannad was completed, Air is now considered obsolete and it’s mostly its historical importance that gives it value. It was a major tear jerker before its successors came out but today it will definitely feel a much lesser work and passable before them. This is also the reason why I don’t include it in my lists of important anime anymore.
The following part has to do ONLY with my personal tastes, so don’t take it personal. I speak about superficial Bishoujo in general (there are exceptions) and don’t really mention how much I liked Air (which I consider superficial).
I HATE DATE SIMS, BISHOUJO AND EVERYTHING THAT PRESENTS THINGS AS IF WE STILL LIVE IN HEAVEN. This whole deal with perfect girls hanging from your (male) aid is simply impossible to swallow. Yes, I know date sims, eroge and visual novels are made to give males the illusion that girls dig them, at least in digital form. I believe those who play/like them are mostly bookworms and shy virgins who haven’t even kissed a girl. This sort of games and series only make things worse. They don’t teach you what girls really want from a man (nothing does, actually) and they simply make you overconfident without actually improving you at something. It’s like a drug in a way; made to trap you into a bubble of false security. Reality sucks, but so does becoming a gynophobic without noticing. Yes, I bitch a lot and I’ll probably get plenty of low votes for that. But I personally watch anime that “teach” you about people and don’t make you escape reality.
I also am very aware how such types of anime can easily be viewed by girls as well, and most of them will cry their hearts out with how emotional and ideal everything feels. I am not an emotional guy. I didn’t shed a single tear when I watched the Titanic, I didn’t get my privates wet when I watched Twilight, and I sure as hell didn’t feel emotionally moved by those skinny dolls with huge eyes. So there, I excused myself.
Kanon and Clannad. Made by the same production team and with an almost identical look.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 2/2 (smooth)
Visual Effects 2/2 (fluffy cinematics)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 0/2 (almost episodic)
Complexity 0/2 (none)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 2/2 (cheesy but solid)
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 1/2 (cheesy)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 4/10
Historical Value 3/3 (all-famous)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 0/4 (after Clannad, there is nothing much worth remembering it for)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Art 0/1 (looks typical and dated)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (feels generic)
Characters 0/4 (they are cardboards)