Yukito Kunisaki, a wanderer with the unique ability of mentally manipulating puppets, arrives in a small rural town with the intent of amassing money at the local festival. While hunting for food and lodging he stumbles upon a small child carrying out a research project for her school. Astoundingly, their paths cross similarly to a mysterious event that occurred a thousand years ago. So here we have the black sheep of the Air franchise, which began with Key’s hugely successful ren’ai game, and grew into two parallel anime adaptations: a television series and this movie.
Since a movie can only have extremely limited playtime as opposed to a television series, I guess the producers of the movie have some big problems to contend with. First and foremost, how can you compress an entire visual novel game into less than two hours of movie playtime? A daunting task indeed. The animation of the Air Movie is somewhat similar to the series; however the production values have been upped a little bit. Where the Air TV anime contains many deus ex machinas, the movie takes a more realistic approach, forgoing many of the supernatural themes of the series to take a more subtle approach.
Although probably quite removed from both the Air series, the movie offers a sweet, simple, different sort of love story nearly flawlessly. While not particularly groundbreaking or huge in any way, this little film might just take you on a wonderful journey. However, I had trouble processing the random animation styles. They tried to make this similar to an art film. Radical cinematography, watercolor painted scenes, random fading, multiple camera angles, and a whole lot of other effects which I may have missed.
I viewed this movie with a friend of mine over the weekend and it had her in tears in many parts of the film. She was left crying for about 15 minutes after it ended as well. Air the Movie is classified as drama, fantasy, and romance. In many senses, this movie could be considered an emotional chick-flick as it talks about an eternal love. Where Air gets a bit more depth, though not to the same extent as the TV series, is in the storyline dealing with the past. But, at the same time I felt that for me, the Air movie suffered from simply too much to fast. If you enjoy Japanese anime and if you enjoy chick flicks as well, Air the Movie might just be the hybrid you’ve been looking for.