The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa nai

Title: Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai aka OreTsuba aka We Without Wings – Under the Innocent Sky
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Company: Nomad
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 4 Apr 2011 – 20 Jun 2011

Synopsis: Chitose Shusuke is a freeter who makes ends meet by working various part-time jobs. His usual hang-point is a small street-side restaurant called “Alexander”, where he has mundane conversations about organizing mixers with the joint’s perverted bartender. Narita Hayato roams the streets of Yanagihara late at night, running a one-man company he calls “Narita Construction”, in which he offers to do odd jobs for anyone with spare cash. Haneda Takashi is both an average high school student with a strained relationship with his girlfriend, and a brave knight from a mythical world called Gretgard. These three individuals lead separate lives, but they all have something rather surprising in common…

The Highlights
Fanservice: Obnoxious, and rather embarrassing; watching this show alone is advised.
Characters: Way too numerous; hard to keep track of.
Character designs: Same-old, same-old from Nishimata Aoi.
Pacing: All over the shop; slow at the beginning, too fast at the end.
Concepts: A surprising number of quirky ideas that aren’t revealed straight away, but are let down by execution.
Subplot endings: Underwhelming across the board.

It’s almost a minor miracle that Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai ends up making sense at all. The story is devoid of focus, the pacing is haphazard, and the cast is way too bloated, considering there’s only twelve episodes to do anything with the characters. Based on a visual novel from the creators of the regrettable Shuffle!, one could be led to believe that OreTsuba is a throwaway ren’ai adaptation chock full of fanservice. It is, however, surprisingly quirky. Unfortunately, a poor script and a lamentable obsession with cheapening itself means that it only occasionally rises above the limitations it had seemingly created for itself at the outset.

OreTsuba doesn’t make good first impressions. It’s almost impossible to tell just what it is, after a first episode that jumps between several different characters, settings and comedic tones. Part fanservice comedy, part anime parody (which continually misses the mark), OreTsuba fails to come off as anywhere near as clever as it seems to think it is, particularly with its aimless sex jokes and T&A sequences that border on being embarrassing to watch. The first four episodes verge on incoherent and bewildering, until a plot twist a third of the way through the series finally reveals the anime’s hook. Now, I have no issue with slow pacing, so I’m not going to chastise it for taking so long to reveal the crux of its premise. However, while the central idea (which I’m not going to reveal since I consider it a spoiler) is certainly quirky and ambitious, and in a similar spirit to some of the better visual novels I’ve read, the anime never takes full advantage of it. Ultimately it wastes too much time on fanservice and low-brow comedy to effectively explore the ideas it brings up.

OreTsuba has way too many characters, and the vast majority of them fail to be meaningful, let alone likable. Characters like Martinez, Platinum, LR2001 and his gang of rappers, DJ Condor, Morisato, Hariu, Yamashima and even Itami are, at best, plot devices, and at worst props. Sure, they do add to the unique veneer of the show, but you only need so many extras before it becomes disorientating to follow who does what, who knows who and why they’re at all important as they each frenetically enter and exit the stage. Character-wise, the biggest problems arise from two of the more important characters, Takashi and Asuka. Takashi is an utterly limp wet fish with inadequate coping mechanisms, making him very difficult to sympathize with, while the only thing that makes Asuka stand out is that she happens to be prettier than everyone else – she has no other distinguishing traits. As lead characters, both are very weak.

While OreTsuba has a bucketload of pacing and script problems, it isn’t irredeemable, and it’s nowhere near as bad as it initially lets on. I’m happy to pay it points for its ambition, and I did end up finding a small handful of the characters likable, particularly Hayato and Tamaizumi (even if their respective subplots had underwhelming endings). Unfortunately, I can imagine the obnoxious fanservice being a pretty major barrier to this ever capturing a wider audience… and even if you overcome that, at best all you’ll find are a few quirky ideas that are executed poorly.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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