Anime and Manga Reviews

Asirt 08-28-2004 12:11 AM
Here is a thread where you can view other member's reviews of certain anime series and manga. If you wish, you may write one yourself, or request a review from someone. It doesn't matter what style of reviewing you use as long as you give out reasons as to why you like or dislike that series. Keep those reviews coming!
IamRogerSmith 08-28-2004 12:12 AM
This idea for a review thread is good but too inclusive. People should just ask for a review and have people who've seen it respond.
Asirt 08-28-2004 12:30 AM


Everyone is connected...

Intro to be added soon.

Story:
It starts out on a normal evening, when there is a schoolgirl on the top of the building, staring at the sky... She says something, and then falls. Everyone panics, as the girl had just commited suicide...
A young girl, named Lain Iwakura, is an 8th grader in middle school. She has her best friend, Alice, and her parents and her sister as well. It seems to be a normal day at school, when Lain starts to see and hear things. Later, she gets an E-mail from the girl who committed suicide, telling her that there is a god...
She then decides to get a new Navi, to connect to something known as "The Wired". She slowly becomes obssessed with it, and learns more about it...

First Impressions:
Back when I was 13 years old, I saw a DVD on a video store. It happened to be the first volume of Lain. However, I didn't look too much into it until three years later. I saw the last three episodes on G4 (back when it was still called TechTV), and I was very interested in the story. It wasn't until another year later when I finally got the complete box set.

DVD Quality:
The menu structure looks good; nothing fancy or special about it, though.

Voice Acting:
The English dub matches the characters well. However, the person who did Lain sounds a little higher pitched and more mature compared to the Japanese dub. The Japanese dub sounds greats. All the characters' voice seem to match their personality.

Music:
The music sets up a suspense mood for the series, and fits well in the episodes.

Review:
When I first saw this series, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I have heard many things about it, but it didn't prepare me for what I was about to see. It left me confused, yet for some reason, I was getting into it. I wanted to know more about Lain, The Wired, and the whole storyline in general. Although it got me into it, it drew me back also because of how the story and the characters was layed out.

Basically, I would recommend this series for those who want to wonder about many things in life. The first DVD shows that there is more mysteries to come. However, it shouldn't be something to watch if you're just getting started into anime. But a good start overall. I look forward to reviewing the rest of the series...

Overall Rating: 4/5

NOTE - Images removed. Review is being updated...
IamRogerSmith 08-28-2004 12:47 AM
I always tell people I review anime at my websites but I dont think anyone ever clicks the links I post, so I just quit.
Pygmalion 08-28-2004 08:08 AM
quote:
Originally posted by IamRogerSmith
I always tell people I review anime at my websites but I dont think anyone ever clicks the links I post, so I just quit.

I did, and I even read some of the reviews! (Gary and his cohort do review a lot of series, folks. It's well worth checking out!)

Pygmalion
Asirt 08-28-2004 10:12 AM


I knew I wasn't going to like this...

Review to be added soon...
Asirt 08-28-2004 12:58 PM
Some people via PM have asked me about this series recently, and why I like it so much. Well, for those wondering about this show, here is the second review.

Story:
Well, you have a normal life, with a normal school, in a normal city known as Tokyo. That is, until you meet these six high school girls. With them, everyday is a crazy day. First, you have a ten year old girl, who is supposedly a prodigy. Next, you have a quiet girl who loves cats and other animals, but the cats bite her all the time. Then, there's a very hyper and energetic girl whose goal is to become the best there is. There is also a girl who has glasses and is probably the smartest student out of all of them. Next, a girl who is extremely good at sports. And lastly, a girl who comes up with random thoughts and is a bit spacey... The series joins these girls on everyday life in school and outside of school. Many random things happen, and can be a bit crazy at times. They sure know how to make this boring life a funny one!

DVD Quality:
Footage looks well done, like most DVD's should. I do not notice any grainy images, or jerky movement as well. Menu is well done, almost every section is animated.

Voice Acting:
English voices sounds very close to the Japanese dub, but some of the high pitched voices can be a bit annoying. The only big change I noticed was Osaka's voice. It sounds completely different from the Japanese dub.

The Japanese voices is good, but again, the high pitched voices can be annoying at times.

Music:
I really liked the soundtrack contained in this series. It sounds very smoothing and light. There's a lot of upbeat and happy music as well.

Review:
The randomness of this series makes it a funny one. Expect to see a lot of comedy and some unique characters as well. The animation is very colorful. I have only read one of the volumes in the manga version, and the show handles some the of manga jokes well so far. Aside from a few swear words and suggestive themes, this series is good for the whole family. I was laughing hard pretty much in the first DVD. I look forward to the second volume.

Overall Rating: 4/5
Asirt 09-04-2004 11:05 AM
I'm sure many of you heard of this series before. I really like this series, and plan on getting the fourth DVD very soon. However, people wonder why a few of us LE fans are so into the series. Well, that's what the third review is for, isn't it?

Story:
In a quiet city, you have two young people, Claus Valca and Lavie Head, who have a lifelong goal to cross the Grand Stream, a difficult course in which both their fathers have died attempting to cross it. They greatly respect them and that is what makes them fly to the skies. One day, they get a job; to send a note to the captain of a ship. However, it was in the middle of a war, but they did it anyway. Once they have done that, they entered a race, but in the process, found a damage vanship with a little girl contained with the pilot. Little do they know, that they will be involved in a big battle soon...

DVD Quality:
Footage is very nice, no jerky movements or grainy images noticed. The menu looks nice, although it was hard to navigate at first.

Voice Acting:
Since Pioneer / Geneon distributed the series, the English dub is very well done. A lot of the voices seem to match their character and personality as well even though it is different from the Japanese dub.
As for the Japanese dub, the voices are also very good, although for some reason, I thought that the main character seemed to have a higher pitch voice than the English dub. Overall, very nice.

Music:
Personally, I really like the soundtrack contained in the series. From the start of the opening theme "Cloud Age Symphony" to the ending theme "Over the Sky". The orchestral music is very done, and goes along with the series.

Review:
The series is enjoyable. The characters are very original and well done. The animation in this series is very well done. I seem to think that the CG seem to fit the series very well. The story is pretty good so far, although it seems that it went by too quickly. Other than that, I really don't see anything wrong with this series that would make the experience a bad one. The setting of the series and the ship designs seem to remind me of the Industrial Revolution for some reason. Personally, I think GONZO has done a nice job so far with Last Exile. If you're into adventure, some drama, and lots of action, this show has all of those things.

Overall Rating: 4/5
[Nataku] 09-04-2004 01:24 PM
Here's my review of "Gundam: The 08th MS Team" Volume 4 (of 4)


Disc Ratings
Content - A
Packaging - B+
Audio - B
Video - A-
Menus - B-
Extras - A-



Features
Japanese Launguage
English Launguage
English Subtitles
Bonus Clips
Mechanical Profiles
Reversible Cover



What They Say
Universal Century 0079. The last battle in Southeast Asia is about to take place. As the Zeon’s being to evacuate their base, the Federation moves in for the attack! Zeon ace, Packard, rushes to engage the enemy in order to buy his troops enough time to escape, but Gineas has other plans...
Driven mad by his quest to finish the Apsalus, he turns on his sister and threatens to destroy the assembled Federation Forces! With the battle almost over, the 08th MS Team are left without a leader – Will Michael and Kiki find Shiro and Aina and put an end to the war once and for all?



Review
This is a great DVD. This OVA was made from 1996-1999 so the video quality really looks great! The story is deep, with a federation and zeon officer falling in love. These last three episodes really give a sense of World War II with the setting of the bombed out town.
Both Launguages sound great and lush throughout the featre.
There are some excellent bonus clips here that give you some great facts about the one year war.



All in all, this disc is great and should be apart of ANY Gundam, anime, or war fan!

Overall rating - 9.5/10
[Nataku] 09-04-2004 01:59 PM
Here is my review of "Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack - The Motion Picture"


DISC RATINGS
Content: A++
Packaging: A+
Audio: Jap. B, Eng. A
Menus: A-
Extras: A



FEATURES
Japanese Language DD 5.1
Japanese Language DD 2.0
English Language 5.1
English Language 2.0
English Subtitles
Booklet (12 pages)
Original Japanese Theatrical Trailers (3)
Tomino Filmography
Gundam Model Music Video



WHAT THEY SAY
Universal Century 0093, 13 years have passed since the events of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series. But the foundations of peace are once again threatened by a new Neo Zeon Army led by the infamous Char Aznable! Their ultimate goal is to initiate a nuclear winter upon Earth ushering in a new age of mankind into space.

Armed with the state of the art Nu Gungam Mobile Suit, Amuro Ray and the Federation Forces are all that stand against Neo Zeon. Torn between vengeance, duty, and love - The final battle between rivals Char Aznable and Amuro Ray is finally at hand!



THE REVIEW
The final battle between Ace piolt Amuro Ray, and rival Char Aznable is here! ...and it goes off with a BANG!

Video
This 2 hour motion picture was made in Japan in 1988. The motion is very smooth. Most of the battles are really fast paced so you get sucked into it really quick, you can't get enough! The characters are well done. The mechs look really good as well as the ships.

Packaging
This DVD comes with a reversable cover. AND a dark brown and gold slip case. It also comes with a 12 page full color booklet which explains the time frame and how it revolves around other UC series, as well as detail of the mechanical, and the diffrent setting in the movie.

Audio
The Japanese score sounds good naturally, but the real treat is the English track. They put in additional sound effects to liven up the realism of the movie, i.e, shattering glass, jet engine sounding thrusters, and missle fire. Even if you don't like dubs, I encourage you to listen to this one, it sounds great.

Extras
Original Japanese trailers. Clips from the movie with some Japanese promotinal text and gong sounds, narrator, and the main theme "Beyond Time" mixed in. They are nice.
Yoshiyuki Tomino Filmography. Basiclly: lists the anime he worked on since 1999.
Gundam Model music video: this shows the process of producing a gundam model (planning, computer work, molding the parts, packaging, and shipment out of the bandai wherehouse). It's cool.



Over all rating: 9/10

This belongs in any serious gundam fan's collection of DVDs.
[Nataku] 09-04-2004 03:47 PM
Here is my review of "Gundam SEED Volume 1 w/box"



DISC RATINGS
Content: B+
Packaging: A
Audio: Jap - A, Eng. - B
Menus: B-
Video: A+
Extras B-



WHAT THEY SAY
Cosmic Era 71. A war is under way between genetically enhanced Coordinators and unmodified Naturals. The Natural-dominated Earth Alliance, struggling to catch up with the Coordinators' superior technology, has secretly developed its own Gundam mobile suits at a neutral space colony.

Through a twist of fate, a young Coordinator named Kira Yamato becomes the pilot of the Alliance's prototype Strike Gundam, and finds himself forced to fight his own people in order to protect his friends.



THE REVIEW
Gundam SEED was made in 2002-2003, hence the excellent animation. SEED was an attempt to relaunch the Gundam Franchise in both Japan and North America by basiclly telling the story over again, hence it doesn't live up to other Gundam titles like Zeta or 0080.

Audio
For my primary viewing session, after watching the fansubs, I listened to the English track. No problems there. If you watched the cartoon network version, they added some really cheesy sound effects to tone down the war aspects for the kiddies, however none of those changes are present on this DVD, it is completly UNCUT! After that, I did go back to watching the Japanese track because I like it better. That is suprising for me because usually I prefer to watch the Dub of my anime. I guess after watching the fansubs in Japanese with subtitles, I have grown accustom to the original lauguage.



Video
This is the best transfer I've seen by far in my anime watching years. The colors look great, there are no blocky/glictchy areas. Everything runs smoothly. The light effects on the logo and in the mobile suit launch sequences on the archagel look absolutly beautiful, great job Bandai!



Packaging
The DVD cover looks great. The Box is a good hard, sturdy box to house the Vol. 1 through 10 of the series yet to be released. It has images of Freedom Gundam, Justice Gundam, Strike Gundam, the characters, and logo, all on a Black space and stars backround.


http://www.maj.com/gallery/goldenkanohi/...d-1-boxed01.jpg

Menus

They're easy to navigate. Though it doesn't seem like they tried their best on them. Not bad.

Extras
There's the texless opening "INVOKE"
Trailers of Ghost in the Shell:Stand Alone Complex, Infinite Ryvius, and Dragon Drive
And there is mechanical profiles for the Strike and the Archangel taken straight from Gundamofficial.com.



All in all, I give Gundam SEED Vol. 1

7/10
Asirt 09-04-2004 03:56 PM
Reserved for His and Her Circumstances...
Asirt 09-04-2004 11:07 PM


Saving the world, one plant at a time...

Intro to be added soon...

Story:
Meet Himeno Awayuki. She's your normal average sixteen-year-old girl who wants to have a normal life. Of course, when her father marries a rich woman, she becomes a rich girl who lives in a big house. Pretty cool, huh? But that's not the abnormal part. Her life gets worse when her two stepsisters give her nothing but trouble! But even that's not the worse part. The Princess of Disaster has awakened, and it's up to Himeno and the Knights of Leafe to save the world, one plant at a time...

First Impressions:

Animation Quality:

DVD Quality:
The footage is very good. The menu is a bit plain, and lacks extra features.

Voice Acting:
The English dub sound good. It seems to match the characters well. I do get a bit annoyed sometimes by Himeno's English voice, though.
The Japanese dub is very good; the characters sound very determined and match the characters' personality.

Music:
The music reminds me of Card Captor Sakura. The light, mellow orchestral music is very nice, and matches with the situation. And you also have the rock and pop music going as well, mostly in the battles.

Favorite Moment:

Review:
I was expecting this series to be a bit more lame than I have thought. It turns out that it was a nice series, but so far wasn't the best. It was a good start, though. The animation is very nice, although it is very bright in some scenes. The interaction between Himone and Hayate (leader of the Knights) is very funny and helps develop the show. It's really good so far. It makes me want to get the next DVD now.

Overall Rating: 4/5
[Nataku] 09-05-2004 12:01 AM
As you can tell, I am a big Gundam fan. I'll get to a Big O review soon.

Here is my review of "Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Special Edition"


DISC RATINGS
Content: B-
Packaging: A+
Audio: A-
Video: B+
Menus: A
Extras: B



FEATURES
Japanese 2.0 Language
English 2.0 Language (OVA only)
English 5.1 Language (Movie only)
English Subtitles
MS Encyclopedia
Textless Endings
Image Gallery



WHAT THEY SAY
AC 196. One year after the end of the Gundam Wing television series. Now, peace has spread through the Earth Sphere and the colonies are at peace. The Gundam pilots now find themselves attempting to rebuild their lives in this new era. And no longer having need of their weapons of war, they have sent their Gundams into the sun to be destroyed. But suddenly, Relena Darlian, who has become a high-ranking government official, is kidnapped by a colony with aspirations of total dominance. The Gundam pilots and their allies find themselves called into action once again. The Endless Waltz has resumed?



THE REVIEW
The sequal to the smash hit 'Gundam Wing'. This OVA/Movie was made in 1997-1998. It was first made as a three episode OVA. And then in 1998 was converted to a 90 minute Movie with new footage and music and soundeffects, as well as motion picture style credits at the end of the featre. Both the OVA and the Movie versions are presented on this DVD for a grand total of 180 minutes. WOW!



Audio
I watched this in the English dub format and sounded great. The same cast as the TV series is present. I also spot checked the Japanese track and noticed no problems there.

Video
This looks great. It is simmaler to Gundam SEED.



Packaging
The front cover houses the Wing Zero Custom Gundam front and center with the Endless Waltz logo in the center. It is all put on a holographic paper which shines though the light and gives off a rainbow glare. It is beautiful. The back cover stages the pretty G-Boys in their Preventer uniforms sitting on bar chairs.


Menus
Easy to navigate. The chapter selection menu has selections for the OVA, and the Movie.

Content
If you haven't seen the tv series, you will be sort of lost. In the first half of the movie, it swiches between present and flashbacks (which are hard to identify if you haven't seen Wing)
If you know roughly the basis of Gundam Wing you'll be fine.

Colony declares war on the earth under the leadership of Treize Ksushranada's daughter. After Quatre sends the Gundams into the sun, they have to go get them, they do, they kick ass, and it's over.
(that was a very summed up explanation, given I don't have a lot of time to go over this.)



I give Endless Waltz a

7.5/10

...Someone please make a review of Big O II Volume 4, w/screenshots!
Exhale Saga 09-05-2004 08:36 AM
Here's my review of Excel Saga volume #1.



The Story:

There isn't much of a story in Excel Saga so it's better to experence this insane anime for yourself, but I'll do my best to explain the first episode wich will probably give you a small feel of what it's like. It starts when Excel, a young, teenage girl is skipping home from graduation day blissfully unaware of evrything around her. Once she reaches the street she is flattened by a ten ton truck. It wouldn't be a good show if the main character died in 10 seconds into the first episode, though.

Excel appears in a space-like void where the Great Will of the Macrocosm tells her that life is too valuble to die now and if you did it would screw up the story. We soon get deeper into the plot. If there is one in this anime. Excel is working for the idealogical organaztion of ACROSS. They're goal is to conquer the city of F and in the long run, conquer the world. You have to admit alot of bad guys take it a step too far trying to dominate the whole world.

Excel is soon given her first assignment from her Lord Ilpalazzo, the leader of ACROSS. Her mission his to assainate the creator of this anime's manga. Koshi Rikdo.

The Characters

The characters in Excel Saga are very likeable. Excel, being the biggest spaz ever, she talks three times faster then a normal person. This is where the show gets most of it's comedy. Hyatt, the only other member of ACROSS has a a disease or something and is always coughing out blood. This makes for a few intresting scenes. Then, there's Lord Ilplazzo. You don't see him too much, but when you do this guy's hilairious. In the fourth episode he plays a dating video game on a Gameboy like console. There are also three slackers who live next to Excel and Hyatt's apartment, who, well... Slack.

There's no fourth wall here, either. The director even puts himself into the anime. He has a huge afro wich he can pull guns out of. That appears in episode three. O_<

The Art:

The art's not, "OMG! O_O" material, but it is actually pretty good. Though, at some times the animators got lazy and decided to turn all unimpotant towns folk into grey blobs. Not much more to say about the art...

Overall:

Overall, Excel saga is a good anime wich I would recomend to anybody who's looking for a good laugh. My verdict...

4/5

See ya,
Exhale Saga

P.S. Stick around because I'll be reviewing the first Excel Saga manga soon!
Asirt 09-05-2004 02:13 PM


Unlock the music within your heart...

This series is a special one. Although short, it tells a life story about a young girl who lives her life playing the piano. She tries to live a normal life; getting good grades, hanging out with friends, and experiencing love. Piano was released in 2002 and was eventually licensed to the United States by The Right Stuf International in 2005. This review will cover the entire series.

Story:
This is a life story. A story about a young girl who plays the piano. When she was younger, she used to enjoy hearing the sounds of the piano, and performing for other people. She was a very kind girl who wasn't afraid of being in front of people performing for them. The piano represented her life as she continues to play the piano.

Now as a young teenager, Miu Nomura is faced with many difficulties in her life. She is no longer the young girl that loves to play the piano. She has doubts as to why she keeps playing. She has a best friend, who always stick by her side, no matter how hard life gets. Miu also has a new piano teacher, who may be cold and cruel on the outside, but means well for his students. Not only that, but Miu also starts to first experience love. With so many things going on in her life, will she be able to enjoy playing the piano again like she did years ago? Only time will tell.




First Impressions:
To be honest, I would never heard of this series if one website didn't describe the series in a way that was interesting to me. There was no other information on Piano, so it was hard to find out anything about it. The only thing I had was the link to a fansub release, and I downloaded it, wondering what the series is about.

Animation Quality:
Although the animation wasn't exactly breathtaking, it was still very good for a TV series. The backgrounds have pretty good detail along with the characters. If you're wondering about how Miu can have a hairdo like that at such a young age, note that the animators also did the animated series Ah! My Goddess. It's very good, overall.

DVD Quality:
The footage overall was very good. I didn't notice any problem while viewing the series. The menu layout doesn't contain any animated scene, but the simple look works for a series like Piano. Extra features include interviews with voice actors, textless opening and ending, Concept art, and Character Bios.

Voice Acting:
The Japanese dub is well done. I felt that the characters had some sort of life in them, and also had personality. None of the voices are loud or annoying, and didn't get too overdramatic either. A great performance overall.

The English dub, on the other hand, is a different story. Now, that isn't to say that it was awful, but it didn't live up to the high quality of the Japanese dub. I felt that Miu's voice was out of place throughout the series. Yuuki's voice was pretty good, along with Mr. Shirakawa and Hitomi (Miu's mother). However, because of some of the acting in the English dub, I felt it didn't deliver the same dramatic emotion that the Japanese dub did.

Music:
Perhaps the best thing about Piano is the music. I enjoyed almost every song in the show, including the opening theme, "...to you", and the ending theme, "Sound of the Heart". The soundtrack contained in the series has some very mellow and slow music and also some songs from my favorite deceased composer, Frederic Chopin.

spoiler (highlight to read):
Favorite Moment:
Episode nine was the best episode in the series in my opinion. In the school that Miu goes to, she starts to act like she doesn't care anymore about anything. She says she will quit playing the piano, quit thinking about her crush, and quit thinking about the piano recital. Yuuki (Miu's friend) was pretty angry over what she said, and stopped being friends with Miu. A great moment that would lead to the ending of the series.


Review:
There isn't much that goes on in Piano, other than the life story of a young girl. However, as the story moves forward, there are a few things that the series make you think about the story a little more. I was also able to interact with the characters, especially with Miu and Mr. Shirakawa. This is the reason why I've gotten to enjoy Piano, ever sense the fansub release back in 2003.

However, I felt that the series wouldn't see a US release at all, which was why I was shocked when Right Stuf announced that Piano was licensed in the United States. One of the reasons why I thought Piano would never come out in the US is because of lack of interest from anime fans. To put it simply, there is nothing that stands out in Piano, which is why most people say it's a boring series in the first place. However, if you stick with the series, you'll learn to see that there is a hidden factor that makes the series stand out, and sadly, that is not revealed so easily.

Miu, for example, is a young girl who enjoys playing the piano until she began to question her motive as to why she continues to play. As she continues to doubt herself, there are other side stories that would reveal to the audience why Miu even doubted herself in the first place.

I felt that Mr. Shirakawa contributed greatly to this series, because of how similar he is to Miu.

Final Thoughts:
Overall, I would check Piano first and see if it's worth watching the ten episodes. If you do end up wanting to see Piano, I recommend watching the series in Japanese, as I felt the English dub could not live up to the high quality of the Japanese dub.

Piano is not for everyone. If you're a person who enjoys action or excitement, Piano is not a series to consider. If you want something different for a change, the series may give you want you need.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5
[Nataku] 09-05-2004 08:35 PM
Pics of the Gundam SEED Vol. 1 Box.... (with my dvds in it)







Asirt 09-06-2004 11:28 AM
Reserved for Super GALS!...
Exhale Saga 09-07-2004 06:38 PM
Better wait on the manga review. I'm starting to look like a fanboy! Embarrassed Sweatdrop

Oh, and I decided to use the other's layout this time.

Here's my review of Love Hina Volume #2.



Awhile back I heard a couple of great reviews on this anime, but in the end I was disapointed. It didn't live up to what I thought it would be. Oh, and if you're wandering why I'm not reviewing volume one, I haven't seen it.

The Story:

Keitaro has been more or less accepted as the new manager of the Hinata Apartments, but he failed his latest entrece exams into Tokyo U. So, he decides to take a trip to Kyoto to boost his spirits. Naru, depressed and disapointed about wasting her last three years studying, also decided she needs a break and sets off alone. On their travels they meet someone who they think would be the ideal match if only their glasses weren't broken and they could see!

Meanwhile, at Hinata Apartments the day passes by quietly. When the rest of the party doesn't her from Keitaro or Naru they mount on a "rescue mission." But just who is resuing whom? On the road to love, there are many bumps and bruises and Keitaro's going to experience them all.

(That's from the back.)

DVD Layout:

The image quality (SP?) was good. Not much else to say.

Voice Acting:

Maybe this was a good anime, but I was drowned out by Keitaro's annoying voice. It sounded like he had a stuffy nose.

Su's high pitched voice could get annoying, also. Infact, just about every character's could.

Music:

The music was pretty good, actually. It went alone with the feeling of the anime and had a very cheerful sound.

Review:

Well, you can probably tell that I'm very open to anime comedies, but this open this one doesn't live up to others. I did crack a few smiles and chuckle of couple times, but never laughing too hard.

2/5

See ya,
Exhale Saga
Asirt 09-09-2004 07:01 PM


The 1000th Summer... [Overall Thoughts]

[NOTE – Contain spoilers]

AIR was indeed a new experience for me. Although I have seen many dramas in my life, I felt that not one has truly moved me like AIR did. Overall, I was very pleased with the performance Key and VisualArt's has put into the series. The only thing left to look at now is the game itself, which should explain more about the three arcs. Sadly, there is only an incomplete English translation of that game.

Every time that I see another episode of AIR, I learn something new about the story. From the start, it looked like your average animated series with beautiful animation, but as the story progressed further and further, I was very interested in what was going to happen next. In fact, watching AIR like this was the same experience I had when I saw Serial Experiments Lain for the first few times.

spoiler (highlight to read):
I was sad at the very end when everything came to a close. However, I felt that the final event was going to happen because I felt it was better to die having happy memories than to die alone in total sadness. Because of that, I was glad to see that Haruko cared for Misuzu in the end, and started caring for her like she was her own child. However, even if she were to love Misuzu years before, the final event still would have happened, because she would have reached her “goal” earlier.

When I say her "goal", I mean the purpose of having a happy life. For those who saw AIR, remember that Misuzu is a fragment of Kanna, and Kanna's curse has not been lifted after one thousand years. The final event would have happened if she became happy, and would have continued to live if she remained the lonely girl she was until she met Yukito. Because she wasn't happy, however, it was up to Yukito to realize that his goal was to make Misuzu have happy memories, and eventually would help Haruko realize that as well.

The reason why Hakuro didn't want anything to do with Misuzu in the first place is because she didn't want to be sad if Misuzu's father took her away. Her mother died in Misuzu's early years, which would make Haruko her new mother. Before that, she was really her aunt. It was never determined what job Hakuro had, but it is said that she may have worked for a magazine company.





As soon as I saw all three arcs, I felt that all of them were related to the main story in some way. In the Dream arc, even though Kano and Minagi were not directly related to the events of the Summer arc or Air arc, they both served a purpose that would help Yukito realize that he has to stay by Misuzu's side forever.

spoiler (highlight to read):
Kano was sad because her mother died very early after she was born. She felt that she needed to apologize to her mother, wishing that she was never born (thus the reason why at some points, she would try to cut her wrist). Yukito told her that her mother would not be happy if she said that to her, and instead should thank her for giving Kano life. I felt that life is a very important gift for all beings, so I could relate to Yukito there.

Minagi, on the other hand, wished for a younger sister. Sadly, the sister was never born, so as Yukito put it, she was living in a dream world. Her mother would call her Michiru (the unborn sister Minagi was suppose to have), and forget that she ever had Minagi. She remains happy because of her friend (I think you can see where I'm going with this.). At any rate, she begins to realize that she can no longer live her dream, and parts with Michiru, who turns out to be a fragment of Minagi's dream. She then found that she did have a sister after all. Her parents separated long ago. Although it wasn't really explained in AIR, her father married another woman, and had a daughter. She goes there to meet her in the end. It's also important to note that by this time, she was able to show expression towards her feelings.





It's pretty clear that AIR mostly focuses on the main characters, Misuzu and Yukito. Although the three arcs tell a different story, all of them affect these two characters and their relationship. I felt that each arc leads to the ending of the series, and the overall theme as well. I found that to be the best thing about AIR; the three arcs were able to create an overall story and theme. That's why watching all the arcs are important to understand the full story.

spoiler (highlight to read):
Although the Summer arc was a side story different from the Dream and AIR arcs, it still had the connections with Misuzu and Yukito. As I mentioned earlier, Misuzu is a fragment of Kanna. Also, Yukito is said to be the descendant of Ryuuya. Every generation has a task to find "The Girl in the Sky", and that girl is Kanna. Each person is to find the fragment of her, and in Yukito's case, it was Misuzu that he was destined to find.


My favorite arc was the Dream Arc, because I was able to relate to the story and the characters. This was also the beginning of what was to come later in the series. However, even though I saw all three arcs, there are still a few things that I do not understand even after seeing the series and the movie.

The movie was a surprise for me. It was a shock to see the direction that the director has taken. Although it wasn't bad, I felt that I was watching something that wasn't AIR at all. This could be because I was spoiled by the TV series, but even so, I felt that the movie was a different story with the same ending.

The TV series was the reason why I loved AIR in the first place. If it wasn't for the animation, I would still have never heard of AIR at all, and would have missed out on its great story and characters. Even though it may look like a harem or romance series, it is much more than that.

If AIR did prove anything, it's that even an adult (That is debatable. There's an all ages version also available.) computer game can have a excellent story with memorable characters. This is a series that is not for everyone. It's definitely not an action packed series with giant robots and powerful fighters. Perhaps the only action that you will see is in the Summer Arc. This series is a drama that tells a story about having wonderful memories with your family (that was what I thought the main theme of the series was). Some people will not like this series at all, and will say it's boring because the storyline isn't clear to some people at first. However, don't give up on this series just because of this reason. Remember, this series was made for people who have played and enjoyed the game. That doesn't mean that if you haven't played the game, you won't enjoy it, but you'll have a better understanding of the series if you have.




Overall, I give my thanks to Key and VisualArt's for creating something that really moved me. I look forward to their other works, especially Kanon. I recommend this series to people who want to see something different, or like dramas. It's a great series that is well known in Japan, and may not see an US release. Regardless, I hope you give AIR a shot; it's well worth the experience if you make it worth it.

Overall Rating: 5/5