Air is one of the most memorable shows I seen besides Kanon, Clannad or even 5 Centimeters Per Second since it was Kyoto Animation’s first Key Adaptation that was faithful to the Visual Novel. As a result of how well Air done in terms of animation and story, it gained a fandom and hatedom.
In spite of this, Air still remains a masterpiece for several reasons; it conveyed the summer theme rather well. Also, it had a historical backdrop and scenes with emotional impact the viewer receives. 1
The story primarily focused on the three girls in addition to the Summer and Air arcs:
- Misuzu Kamio – a very happy, but clumsy girl.
- Kano Krishima – a energetic girl, but rather eccentric.
- Tohno Minagi – a very shy, quiet and smart girl. 2
In the girls’ stories, there are a lot of flashback and supernatural events that usually involved the winged girl from the sky. For instance, Kano Krishima’s condition resulted her mind being taken over by a disarranged mother who sacrificed herself to save her child. For Kano’s and Misuzu’s story, the flashbacks took place in the Heian period, which was 1000 years earlier than the current time period.
The way the scenery and music conveys the summer theme is what makes Air so special. The usage of songs like Natukage along with the blue skies, beaches and the oceans makes the viewer feel that it was summer. In the Summer Arc, the style of the music was slightly different to make it feel that the characters are in the Helan period while maintaining the summer theme.
Towards the end of Air, a lot of emotional music was used for the emotional scenes between Misuzu and Haruko. That song would be Aozora, which was sung by Lia. There is also an instrumental version played when Misuzu reunites with Haruko on the beach after her father tried to take her away. There is no underestimating the emotions of this song; it was so powerful that it left most the viewers in tears. It was just that good.
Unlike Clannad and Kanon, while Air had a few scenes in the high school, it primarily set outside of the school. In a way, this could be an advantage for Air since the school scenes are sometimes tedious and they were clichéd since many of the shows set the story around a high school life.
If you watched any Key adaptations, you will notice immediately that Air has a lot of melodrama. Most of the melodrama involved Misuzu and the Summer Arc. The Summer Arc is the oddball out of the arcs in Air not only since it was the most lighthearted. This could be resulted from Ryuya and Uraha picking on Kanna and herself reacting like a complete tsundere. Besides their arrival to their destination, it focused on Kanna’s exploring of the outside world. Towards the end, her death of Kanna’s mother and the monks placed a curse on Kanna made me felt sad since she could not live a happy life with Ryuya and Uraha.
In the last part of the story, the Air/Misuzu arc was where things got very emotional. With Haruko’s struggle with Misuzu’s father over the custody of Misuzu made things feel hopeless. In the last three days Haruko had custody of Misuzu felt sad since Misuzu had amnesia and could not remember Haruko. It was not until one and a half days later they started becoming like a family. On the last day when Misuzu’s father takes her away felt touching. Misuzu struggles from her father and finally calls out “mama.” Haruko ran towards Misuzu and they reunited.
In the final scene where Misuzu reaches her goal, it was the most heartbreaking and heartwarming scene in the whole show 3. Since Misuzu was able to remain strong with the help of Haruko’s affection, this allowed her to reach her goal for happiness. The final words after Misuzu hugged Haruko when she died in Haruko’s arms were heartwarming. Even though Misuzu did not made it, Haruko became a stronger person and the curse on Kannabi no Mikoto was finally broken with their next lives being the happiest.
Like Kanon, Clannad and 5 Centimeters Per Second, Air is one of the shows that will always have a special place in my heart. Air practically made life a rather beautiful thing to the point where we do not want to give it up. Even though Air is not perfect, I would still recommend it for those who enjoy melodramas, not just fan of Key since it had an emotional story and beautiful settings. If you decide to watch it, be sure to have a box of tissues in front of you because you are going to need them.
9.5/10, A, Masterpiece
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- Original Picture Source ↩
- She still kind of resembles Kotomi from Clannad. ↩
- Pretty much the most heartbreaking out of the shows I had seen with the death of Nagisa being the second. ↩
6 Comments… read them or add your own.
Even now, I’m not sure what to think about Air. It really suffered a lot from not having the kind of length like Kanon (2006) did to build up its cast and really explore the show in greater depth. Plus, that little reboot towards the end was sort of odd and it took me a few watches to even figure out what was going on.
That bit of clumsy execution was made up to in the final dramatic moment though.
Yes, I do think they could of used more episodes so it wouldn’t feel rushed. At least it wasn’t like Angel Beats where is was very inconsistent because of the number of episodes it had.
But damn, come to think of it, Clannad had 49 episodes to play with and the others have 24 and 15.
I love Air. Agreed about the last part. It is such an emotional arc. It really brought me to tears. And not just the eyes glistening kind, but full on drops.
I have to agree that Air has to be the most emotional out of the three. Clannad and Kanon both have happy endings, which could explain why Air could be seen emotional since the ending is rather bittersweet, but heartwarming in a way.
Air is definitely somewhere in my heart for anime. It was the only Key adaptation I could get into immediately because it created an excellent atmosphere for an epic tale.
There are a few things that drag it down, and that is that the other stories for the first 2/3rds are so are so disconnected from the main story. The route integration was not as refined as Kanon or Clannad and so the story as a whole just didn’t make that much sense, as well as being very meandering. I also felt the story was a bit more convoluted than it needed to be, and became kinda mind screwy at some points.
However, it is very good at manipulating the audience’s emotions, and the ending is particularly memorable and satisfying. The tragedy element is also very strong, and the resolution required a great deal of sacrifice for the bittersweet ending without any use of deux ex machina. While they may not have succeeded totally, at least the chain of suffering has been broken.
Yes, Kano’s and Minagi’s Story is just thrown in with only two-three episodes to focus on the girls! As a result, the viewers did not get much of an impression on them. I guess they were pressing for time since they needed to fit the whole visual novel into 13 episodes. Also realize that even though the Air Visual Novel looks short since they don’t have many character’s arcs to cover, its still pretty long.
Also, Kano’s and Minagi’s stories are pretty independent from the main story that they could have done a Amagami type of thing. Cover the two girls arcs first and then focus on Misuzu’s Story, the Summer arc and the Air arc. Nevertheless, it still worked even though it wasn’t perfect.