Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $19.98 US
Running Time: 85 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
Love is in the air.
I have to admit that I never seen the television series of Air until our own Brenda Gregson showed me the Complete Series set. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a series that – to me – lacked the right touch of romance that was implied throughout the twelve or so episodes. Fortunately, Air The Motion Picture not only manages to recap the events from the series but it also adds two tales of an endearing love story that actually makes this slightly better than the series.
I should note that Air The Motion Picture does make a few changes to the story as well as adds more to the story that the series itself missed out. The story finds a young, delicate yet beautiful young girl named Misuzu Kamio who has missed out on school for reasons the movie slowly reveals. While it wasn’t her fault, Misuzu wants to take on a school project over the summer break in order to make up the time she lost. Her teacher does allow it and comes up with a project that normally should have been suited to more than one student. Her assignment is to write about the history of their small seaside town complete with pictures and folkloric legends.
As she goes about her assignment, a handsome young drifter named Yukito Kunisaki comes into town for the upcoming festival to display his puppetry skills in order to make some extra money. Yukito is on a journey, you see, to track down a legend his mother had always talked about when he was little. His mother had told him of a young “girl in the sky” who was meant for him and because of this Yukito is the only one who has the power to save the girl.
Misuzu and Yukito do meet as the young girl discovers a book about a local legend involving a “winged” girl and a palace guard named Ryuya who falls in love with this girl. Meanwhile, Misuzu takes a liking to Yukito and even invites him to stay at her house … something her mother enthusiastically accepts (unlike in the television series). The two spend the days exploring the town as Misuzu continues revealing bits and pieces about the love story between Ryuya and the “winged person” the palace calls Princess Kanna.
You see, the Princess was not allowed to leave the palace and her only real joy was getting to know Ryuya better. The two develop strong feelings for each another and their romance blossomed to the point that Princess Kanna utters the words that doom her. She tells Ryuya that she loves him and with that a curse kicks in that is slowly killing Princess Kanna. Since he loves her deeply, Ryuya does the unthinkable … he takes the girl and breaks free from the palace as soldiers chase after them.
In the present, however, something is clearly wrong with Misuzu and Yukito can see that it isn’t an easily treatable disorder. He presses Misuzu’s mother for more information but the likeable tough woman that she isn’t doesn’t even want to admit that something is wrong with Misuzu. What does become clear is that the girl has fallen in love with him and Yukito – for reasons of his own – pushes the girl away. When she tries to kiss him, he shies away.
A part of Yukito believes that his presence is causing Misuzu more damage than good and when he decides to leave, he comes to an unexpected realization. Just like Ryuya, who makes the ultimate sacrifice that ends the fable of Princess Kanna in a heartbreaking way, Yukito believes Misuzu is the girl he meant to save and runs back to town in time for another drama to unfold.
The story certainly plays up the drama but there are some lighthearted moments that might not be as plentiful as the series but it keeps things from being too serious. The romantic moments work beautifully in the movie, which makes me wonder why it was left out of the series. It’s also good to see the amazing animation from the series with its cute characters, spectacular backgrounds and arty visual effects.
Air The Motion Picture is a moving and gorgeous animated film that is a step above the series. Yes, there are times that the drama will weigh you down but in the end, the fact that it will make you feel the emotional depth of the tragic moments only means that Air succeeds in telling its story the right way. If you missed the series, do yourself a favor and don’t make the same mistake with the movie.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The story follows a beautiful young girl named Misuzu Kamio who takes up a summer project for school only to meet a homeless traveling performer named Yukito Kunisaki who is in search of a legendary “girl in the sky“ that he must save. Together the young couple discover the secrets of the town, a folkloric legend and love.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
Like the series, the movie has some truly gorgeous and delightfully colorful animation. Unlike the series, though, there are some artistic transitions and CG effects.
AUDIO QUALITY: B
The original Japanese voices are wonderful but the English dub soars thanks to excellent performances by Vic Mignogna and Monica Rial. The music comes straight out of the series as does the opening theme and that’s not a bad thing at all.
With very little in terms of extras here, all we can find are trailers in this movie set. We would have really loved some production art and even a audio commentary track.
While not as tragic and overly dramatic as the series itself, Air The Motion Picture leans more on the romantic side to give this story an almost traditional and epic feel. It tells two stories of love that connect with each another in a way that will not only break your heart but also make you glad that anime like this has the power to make you feel.