Yukito Kunisaki is a traveler searching for the “Girl in the Sky.” He passes through towns making little or no money by performing curbside puppet shows. His travels bring him to a small, seaside town where he meets three high school girls…Misuzu, Kano, and Minagi. The story follows Yukito and the three girls as their lives become connected and intertwined.
A plot that would seem easy enough to follow, right? Wrong. Throughout most of this show I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I kept wondering if this was a story about reincarnation, with a supernatural influence related to the sky. What I do know for sure is that the show is divided into arcs and each arc consists of four episodes.
The first arc is titled Dream. In this arc, Yukito arrives in this seaside town and has his initial encounter with Misuzu Kamio. After Yukito moves in with Misuzu and her aunt Haruko, most of this arc is centered around them. The relationship progresses between Misuzu and Yukito as he learns about her “illness,” loneliness, and inability to make friends. The bond between them deepens even more when Yukito begins to suspect that Misuzu is the “Girl in the Sky.” During this time, the viewer is also introduced to the two other key female characters, Kano and Minagi which Yukito also plays an integral role in their lives.
Kano Kirishima, a bit odd and always in the company of Potato (a dog…or so I think), is possessed by the spirit of a mother from the Feudal Era that took her own life in order to save the life of her child. As a result, Kano at times does not have control of her actions, even going as far as to strangle Yukito. Kano (or the woman inside her) released her grip, but not before leaving bruises on his neck. To save Kano, Yukito combines his magic with a feather at the shrine and frees the tortured spirit from her body.
Minagi Tohno is extremely polite and reserved, but yet quite likable. Her friend, a very loud, wild and obnoxious girl named Michiru is always by her side. Minagi’s mother suffered a mental breakdown after a miscarriage. Because of this, she believes that Minagi is the daughter that she lost in utero and named Michiru. She has no recollection of Minagi’s actual existence. Yukito asks Minagi to leave town with him, she eventually accepts and meets him at the old train station. However, instead of leading Minagi out of town, he instead leads her back to her home where Minagi discovers that her mother has completely regained all the memories she had of Minagi. Later Michiru reveals herself to be a wandering spirit that came to earth to cheer up a sad and lonely Minagi. Her purpose served, Michiru fades into the sky. Minagi is devasted, but happy to have her mother back and a friend in Yukito.
Summer, the second arc, goes back 1000 years before Yukito’s arrival in the seaside town. In this arc, how the 1000 summers of reincarnation began are uncovered. It’s the story of Kanna, the last winged being; Ryuya, her guard; and Uraha, her attendant and possessor of telekinetic powers. The story follows their escape from the shrine that Kanna is being held captive in and their dangerous journey to reunite her with her mother. Unfortunately, after freeing Kanna’s mother from her shrine, the guards catch up to them and the Buddhist monks place a curse on Kanna as she tries to get away. The curse? Kanna must endure constant reincarnation and death whenever she finds love. This is the confirmation that Misuzu is one of Kanna’s reincarnations.
The last arc, Air, was a little difficult for me to understand. It goes back to the beginning of the Dream arc. Misuzu is seen befriending a crow and giving it the name Sky. From this point forward, everything that the viewer sees is through the eyes of Sky, who may be a possible reincarnation of Yukito. Sky bears the same voice, and bears fuzzy memories of Yukito’s time spent with Misuzu. At the same time, Sky is witnessing everything that happened between Yukito, Haruka, and Misuzu in the original Dream arc. Confusing, yes?
As to be expected from Visual Arts/Key, the animation itself was amazing. The sky, the ocean waves, wind-blown hair, flowers, and leaves, birds in the sky and the motion of characters and their facial expressions were all flawless. The character design of the females, on the other hand, drove me up the wall. Visual Arts/Key please stop with those creepy eyes!!
There is nothing adorable about eyes that take up 60% of a characters face! This is not cute. This is the stuff that nightmares are made of!! The proportion of the eyes against the nose and the mouth just…eek! And…it’s more than just the size of the eyes…it’s the eyes themselves! There’s no definitive pupil and they look like they would be better suited for an alien rather than a character that is supposed to be human. They are human, right?
The score was whimsical, jolly, and at times surreal. It definitely fit well with the supernatural vibe of this anime. An up tempo beat during the fun times that Yukito and Misuzu spent together and music with an almost mystical aura during those times that called upon a magical feeling. Those sad moments, when having to say goodbye, the background music took on a very solemn and melancholy tone. A person would have to have a heart and mind made of stone to not feel the emotion from the music and visuals during such scenes.
Voice Acting: 10/10
I watched the English dub done by FUNimation. Vic Mignona, one of my favorite FUNimation voice actors is the voice of Yukito Kunisaki. It was superb. As of yet, I still have no complaints about any of the voice actors for FUNimation Entertainment. Even though I found Michiru’s and Misuzu’s voices to be extremely annoying, the acting was still on point.
For the first time in my history of watching anime, I finished a show without having a favorite character. And no, it’s not because I liked them all. There wasn’t really anything outstanding about any of them. It was an ensemble cast, and they each served a purpose…no more, no less. Even Yukito Kunisaki, a protagonist, and a very important part of the show…the most I can say about him is that he was quite nice to look at.
But, it takes a just a tad bit more than good looks to make a character my favorite. They need to have a certain kind of “Umph” to them…something that makes me want to pay more attention to him/her instead of the other characters around them. Yukito’s character just didn’t have that.
I didn’t like Air TV, but I didn’t dislike it either. Initially, I found the plot to be all over the place. I didn’t understand how Kano and Minagi’s experiences fit in with the overall story. As it moved into the second arc, I began to get an understanding, but still felt as if they were pointless characters. The story would have moved along just as well if they were simply minor background characters. They may as well have been, since they are never seen again until the very end of the Air arc…and it’s only for a brief moment. Even though there were many moments that were emotionally gripping enough to make me cry, there’s still not one episode that I thought to be better than just fine. I didn’t eagerly await the Netflix arrival, nor was I excited about watching each episode. It was the fact that I was determined to finish the series that was driving me. So, with that… Overall score: 6/10