27 CommentsAnime Analysis, No Anime is Dropped Forever / By Scamp /

No anime is dropped forever: Air

There’s no point in doing these ‘no anime is dropped forever’ posts if I don’t actually watch any of the anime featured. I’m waiting until I get out of university so I can torrent Macross Frontier so I can’t watch that yet. Instead, I decided to take a look back at the earlier posts, before I started implementing polls, and pick up something from there. So I picked up Air (which also came up in JP’s ‘what I was forced to watch this week’ post this week, whose post format slightly inspired me to start these posts).

Picked up on: Epis­ode 7

Why I picked it up again: The main reason behind picking up Air again was because picking up Clannad After Story again turned out to be a good decision. Why not try recreate that feeling again by picking up yet another Key/Kyo Ani series? Not only that, but I’ve been mightily impressed entertained by Angel Beats. Jun Maeda seemed to be on a bit of a roll with me recently. The other reason was because I only had a few episodes left to watch anyway. Nobody was exactly falling over to recommend it to me when it showed up in the first of these styled posts, although maybe that was because they were too busy talking about this new post format of mine…

Review: …or maybe it was because they knew I wouldn’t like it.

The problem with critiquing Air is that the many reasons I have for not liking it are also reasons why others do like it. A small example of this would be the extent this show went to show how immature Misuzu was. It went to quite ridiculous extremes. The summer diary, the teddy dinosaurs, the ‘will you play with me’, right up to the point when she cut her hair, she could have just as easily been 6 years old and I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. But that’s not really criticism, is it. It’s just something I didn’t like. It’s like criticizing Hanamaru Kindergarden because no real child has the depth of  knowledge Hiiragi has. It’s like “so? that’s what makes her awesome!”.

The entire second half of the show was basically one huge sob drama story. Everything was tossed in to make this story even more sob-inducing than before. I’ll keep away from spoiling anything but making the lead female character sicker with every passing episode and making the mother feel even more attached to her with each episode felt way too manipulative. Not that there’s exactly anything wrong with being manipulative. Often it’s the sign of a good story teller. But never once did I give a fuck what happened to anyone in that show. Some people get sucked in incredibly easily into sob stories and for them, Air constantly throws them moments to feast upon. I suppose you could say that Air needed more episodes to make me care about these characters but I don’t buy that. Double the episode count and all I can see happening is doubling the amount heartbreaking situations involving Misuzu.

I don’t care. I just don’t care and fail to ever care about these manipulative sob stories. I liked Clannad for the double blow of excellent storytelling and the character of Tomoya, but rarely cared that much about the sob stories beyond how they fitted into the story. Air never felt like it was composing a coherent, well structured story. It was just flinging these bloody baawwww situations at the screen over and over and never once did I care. In fact, I can only think of one time I did care. That was when that winged girl was trying to juggle for her mother. As someone who’s quite good at juggling myself, I know the pain of having to constantly pick up those blasted things, although I get the feeling that wasn’t what I was meant to be sad about.

I suppose it didn’t help that there was a year break between watching the first half of the series to the second, followed by a mini-break of watching Berserk where I was incapable of thinking about anything else afterwards. The first half of the series wasn’t exactly that bad either. At least it created the atmosphere of summer well and I quite liked the lead male character. If the second half of the story had continued the formula of ‘guy spending two episodes chatting, two episodes solving magical problems for these girls’ I might have made some unenthusiastic review where I said it was a rather average anime. But the second half wasn’t that at all (they turned my favourite character into a fucking crow!). The baawww heaping is what made me severely dislike the series, which is also why others love the series. Hence it’s not really criticism of what it did wrong. Just what I didn’t like about it.

Was it worth picking up again: No, my opinion of it plummeted upon completing it. Jun Maeda is better when getting chance and maybe some luck as well.

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26 Comments

  1. dirty weeabro
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I had a similar feeling when approaching Air when it first aired (no pun intended) years back. I found the characters to be annoying and like you, could care less about what happened to them. Which explains why I never finished this series (and I don’t think i ever will now).

    • Scamp
      Posted May 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      I never really found them ‘annoying’. They were just…there. They never did anything for me.

  2. Topspin
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Air was my first Maeda anime, and firmly pidgeonholed him in my mind as “the melodrama director” (much like Shinbo has established himself as “the director that is fascinated with eyeballs”).

    I have never quite figured out what to think of Air, and to this day I remember it as “that show with the crow and sad stuff”, much like True Tears is “that show with the chickens and sad stuff”.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 26, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Shinbo and his eyeball fascination. I wonder why he has such fascination with eyeballs anyway?

      But back on topic, Angel Beats is quite a step away from this. There’s still obvious signs that it’s a Maeda but it’s quite different in tone

  3. Posted May 26, 2010 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    I am going to watch this one day for the hair porn.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      When I saw this comment in my e-mail I automatically assumed it was on the season preview post discussing the sex hair anime

  4. Vinnie
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I gave up on Air around episode 9. It was almost becoming a parody of itself. There’s one scene, where, to make the audience sob (or balk in horror, as I did) where one of the girl just cries her heart out in front of the camera. The characters really are too unrealistic to care about, as you said. There are so many anime characters where immaturity is just a character quirk… Not an extreme defining trait, you know? Air got so bad that I forgot the characters’ names and just remembered them by their stereotypes.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 26, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      That was, IMO, the scene where this anime jumped the shark. We need this show to be more depressing, lets make the female character start crying for absolutely no reason now!’ bleh, it wasn’t that bad a show until that scene. I think that’s where I dropped it originally

      • Vinnie
        Posted May 26, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        So true. You know, I couldn’t believe how godawful and cheesey that scene was! I appreciate the art of a good story that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you feel for the character, but like… An entire minute of them sobbing and wailing into the camera is just ridiculous. This is usually why I prefer J-dramas if I want a heart-wrenching stories. Anime tend not to do them as well in my experience. Often they just tend to be like Ben Mitchell from Eastenders… Where the writers just pile up horribly sad and more and more ridiculous storylines to garner sympathy for him. You know what I mean? ^^

  5. luffyluffy
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    This is my last of the Key foursome that I need to watch.. Once Angel Beats finishes anyway. Hmm.. maybe I shouldnt.. :I

    • Scamp
      Posted May 27, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      The only one I’ve got left is Kanon, although I’ve heard that’s the most Key-esque of the lot. Moe girls dying in snow all over the place

      • luffyluffy
        Posted October 30, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

        I’ll have you know, Kanon is one of the greatest shows I’ve ever watched, so much so that I even bought the series boxset from FUNi.

        Also, I’m watching Air now, so that why I’m here. I’m on episode 8~

  6. Posted May 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t sold on this one too and should have heeded my friends’ advice when they told me it’s mostly about the art. The retro-shift was just confusing as all hell when they jumped around that none of it really made a huge amount of sense. I do think this anime could have used another 12 episodes to fully flesh out the characters since there’s not a whole lot of development as it is.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 27, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Maybe I’ve been ruined by Clannad but I don’t see what’s so great about the artwork here. Everything about the artwork in Air, Clannad does several times better

      • akani
        Posted May 29, 2010 at 1:21 am | Permalink

        Just pointing this out, AIR was made years before CLANNAD. Of course they would improve in animation and art over time.

      • Scamp
        Posted June 1, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Animation would improve obviously but the artwork is also several times better. Artwork is not something that should typically change that much over time

  7. Leah-san
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I really liked Clannad and Clannad: After Story, but Air was too much for me.
    Some anime have the power to tell about sad things without rubbing it in your face. You can feel it behind the story, the characters. It just stays quiet and lets the watcher think. If they rub it in your face, it’s like they want pity or something. Thats why I didn’t like Air, and I didn’t like Saikano either.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 27, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Subtlety. I feel it’s an underrated quality in many anime. I’m not just talking about being laid back either, there’s a way to have subtle changes inside giant plot twists. I don’t think Jun Maeda is much a one for subtlety though.

  8. Posted May 27, 2010 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    I like the mother/daughter theme that runs through Air, though I must admit I care about Haruko a lot more than I care about Misuzu. The moe moe retard shit kind of got to me, too, haha.

    But if I could pick one place to live for the rest of my life, it would be that seaside town. Holy crap, that beach! Argh. So wonderfully summery. ;-;

    • Scamp
      Posted May 27, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Oh you and your parental fixation~

      • Posted May 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        I’m turning into an Eva pilot!! Oh no!!

  9. Posted May 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Air has tons of problems (like not making any sense), but making it longer would’ve just made it drool-inducingly boring (like Kanon). Either way someone like you or me is gonna be left high and dry.

  10. Posted May 30, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    AIR caught me by surprise back when I first watched it and the final ep left me shedding a few manly tears. I was new to anime back then so I guess it was pretty much to be expected.

    I tried rewatching it recently but I only got to around halfway through. It just doesn’t grab me like it did back then, so I guess I will have to agree with Scamp here and say that it’s not that great.

    Also, I think it’s better to just think of Misuzu as a retard. Seriously, it makes her character feel much more realistic.

    • Posted May 30, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      “Also, I think it’s bet ter to just think of Mis uzu as a retard. Seriously, it makes her character feel much more realistic.”

      Agreed. I told myself to disregard everything else up to that point, and I found a heartwarming parent and child story in the last couple eps.

  11. Posted June 1, 2010 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Hi there!
    Thanks for commenting on my ‘true opinions’ blogpost. You certainly do have a point, because people indeed use that argument to get extremely defensive on their opinion ^_^ However, the most important part to me is just that I don’t like arrogant people who think they’ve figured it all out. I’m not particularly defensive in my own opinion; it even happened more than once that I changed my view on a series after hearing someone else’s interpretation :-). My views are not unchangeable, not carved out of stone. They are indeed more of a fleeting concept ;-)!

    I just grew somewhat tired of flaming comments on reviews that didn’t reflect common opinion but were written by intelligent people and from a refreshing standpoint.

    By the way, haha, I’m one of those people that liked Air for all the reasons you didn’t like it :p. Even though I thought it was a pity too that our lead was reduced to a mere crow. I was still awfully touched by all the things happening to misuzu. And the ending, ah, the ending… Sadness… Still, I couldn’t care less for what happened in the first half of the series. Still thought it was a pretty decent watch. Somewhat darker than Clannad and Kanon.

  12. Elecman
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Heh, this is pretty much the same experience I had with Air. I dropped it after Episode 5 when I realized that saying Misuzu dies is like saying that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father, Soylent Green is people, or Rosebud is a sled. Also, I had started watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann before dropping Air, realizing that TTGL is much more of my type.
    I’ve never heard anyone say that Misuzu saved the world or anything…

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