The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Air In Summer

Title: Air In Summer
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Company: Kyoto Animation/Pony Canyon/TBS
Format: 2 episodes
Dates: 28 Aug 2005 – 4 Sep 2005

Synopsis: Kanna is an unusual child of noble status who mysteriously has wings. Hunted down by an unknown group of enemies, Kanna must rely on the strength of her bodyguard, a swordsman by the name of Ryuuya, and her caretaker, Uraha, as she searches for her long lost mother.

The Highlights
Animation: Superb.
Comedy: Induces chuckles but not much more.
Character development: Sparse but present.
Plot: Moves without direction and goes nowhere.

The folks at Kyoto Animation must either be sadistic or they just really, really like money because, quite frankly, I don’t see why this has to even exist. Sure, there’s a touch of character development, but the overall product smells peculiarly like filler. My major qualm with this anime is “why now”? This should have been placed inside the series when I actually cared about what would happen to the characters. Now that all the fireworks are already over, it’s kind of cruel to expect an audience to watch how likeable these characters are when their fates aren’t exactly rosy. However, I must digress. There is one nice positive element to this project and that is nostalgia. This product undeniably caters to those who loved the original AIR anime.

Viewers who have yet to see the original will undoubtedly be confused – and should, therefore, ignore the rest of this review. This anime is a side story that fits into and further elaborates on the Summer arc of the original series. There are a few fleeting moments of character development, but the plot goes absolutely nowhere. Most of the dramatic moments degenerate into a comedic gag that is fun to watch but is not all that special. Even the truly serious moments feel a bit forced, although there is one moment that bumped a chord. As fun as final product may be, this is definitely not something I would expect from a studio of the caliber of Kyoto Animation.

What does shine through is the animation. Colors are bright and the movements are fluid. Even something as subtle as camera angles is a cut above the rest. The music taps into the same pool as the original, which is nothing short of breathtaking. However, what makes a Kyoto Animation so special is not merely the aesthetics. The presentation, the story and the strong writing are what comprise the cake. As it is, AIR in Summer is really nothing but icing: undeniably tasty but definitely not fulfilling.

I’m sure that there are viewers who will thoroughly enjoy the mindless fluff that this special presents. For those who want real meat, you’ll find a few scrape here and there, but it’s ultimately not worth the hunt. As an avid Key conversion fan, I am thoroughly disappointed that such a mediocre production was ever green-lighted. Then again, there is something to be said about listening to the oh so beautiful intro song as one reminisces about the television series.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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