Air TV

December 4, 2010

The reason why I stayed away from watching Air TV was because I read it was a tragedy. Sure, at least towards the end or when the story is building up but other than that at times, a little comedy that will make people like me laugh. And so I have finally watched another one of Key’s visual novel adult games after my fair share of Kanon and Clannad. Those who have watched would definitely identify with the trademark visuals and art from the character designs to the backdrop and even the general flow of the story.

Basically I don’t really feel any harem factor here. Not because there are only 3 main heroines but rather the tragic development of the story. Though the story flow is similar to that of Kanon and Clannad, the main guy helping the girls with their issues, but it feels the lack of the romantic chemistry or that sort of feel between the characters as compared to the other 2 series. In Air TV, we have Yukito Kunisaki, a poor traveller who makes his living via road puppet shows. Not that he’s going anywhere big time although he really can use magic to make the doll move by its own. The entire series is set entirely in summer at a quiet seaside town as Yukito is trying to search for the girl in the sky with wings. Sounds like an angel, eh?

So in episode 1 we see him just arriving in the said town. No money, no food. Not even a ramen set he’s craving for. He lets the kids watch his puppet show but they aren’t amused. Maybe Yukito needs other ways to attract customers rather than asking the kids to pay up for watching his show whether they want to or not. His payment? They kick the doll away! I guess he’s so hungry he fell asleep. Thank God it’s seagulls perching on him rather than vultures. He wakes up and meets Misuzu Kamio who takes a liking for him (she also trips a lot). She buys him a peach drink he doesn’t like. After finding his doll, Yukito is irked Misuzu is following him. Seems she wants to play with him (nothing hentai lah). Since he’s hungry, he has no choice but to follow her home for food. She even offers him to stay no matter how much he refused! I guess he has to. That night her mom Haruko returns. How does she know? She crashes her bike into the shed! Haruko is the lively and cheeky Kansai accent mom who wouldn’t hesitate to do comebacks on Yukito. Initially she doesn’t want him around but allows him to stay on 2 conditions: He sleeps in the shed and be her drinking partner. She learns Yukito is a traveller and wants the freeloader to babysit Misuzu. Plus, she wants him to correct her each time she says her catchphrase “Gao~” (she thinks she’s a dinosaur?).

Next day after Yukito accompanies Misuzu to school, he sees a weird looking dog that goes “Pikopiko” instead of the normal “Woof”. He decide to show his puppet show to it but the dog steals it so Yukito chases it all over town and ends up in a river. He meets Kano Kirishima, who happens to be able to communicate with that stray dog, Potato. Why do all the people he keeps meeting are weird? Kano is fascinated with his doll and asks if he wants to use magic before parting. Yukito picks Misuzu up after school and arriving at an old train station, they meet Minagi Tohno, Misuzu’s classmate. Minagi’s a genius and astronomy club president. Not so sure about the genius part because she’s saying she’s sunbathing though it’s evening. Yeah, just kidding. They’re interrupted by the dashing in of a girl, Michiru who is infatuated with Minagi (Yukito was sent flying). Michiru and Yukito don’t like each other and after she calls him a pervert, they both get physical and fight! Since it’s getting late, Minagi takes Michiru away. At the beach, Yukito wonders why Misuzu is always facing to the sky. She says she has been doing that since young because she has a feeling her other self is over there and the thought of it sounds wonderful. Being able to see so far with everything below insignificant, one can discover a feeling towards others. Yukito notes it was the beginning of summer as short as a star’s twinkle but as long as eternity.

Yukito says the person he is looking for may be Misuzu’s other self in episode 2. There’s a girl with wings flying in the sky. That was a story his late mom told him. Back home, Haruko buys Yukito an ugly sloth doll. She tells him Misuzu once thought chicks turned into dinosaurs, thus her habit of saying “Gao~”. Next day Yukito accompanies Misuzu to school and continues his puppet show using the sloth. The kids aren’t amused with the freaky show and leave without paying. Yukito spots Potato and I don’t know why it’s trying to imitate the doll’s moves. Does he love it? Yukito happen to run his puppet show outside Hijiri’s clinic (Kano’s sister and only doctor in town) so she isn’t amused. After learning he does this for a living from town to town, Hijiri hires him to do odd jobs. Cut bamboo trees? As extra incentive, she will allow his puppet show in front of her clinic. Yukito bumps into a woman buying loads of rice sacks for her rick-loving daughter and helps her. Then a little girl Shino Saika is taken in by the sloth and hugs it. She seems lost. Yukito and Misuzu help her find her way home and leave the sloth with her after learning she’s going to be hospitalized soon. Later Misuzu tells him how she had a strange dream that she was in a sky and a world she had never seen before. She couldn’t tell how far everything was because everything extended endlessly.

Next day Hijiri has Yukito deliver her bento to Kano (he thought it was for him! Better not take a bite or else the doctor’s knife will end up across his throat). After making Potato stay put at the bush, he delivers it to Kano at the rooftop. She wonders if he can fly (of course not) and says she can use magic but only when she grows up. She also wants to fly in the sky. On his way back, Michiru greets him physically and cheekily steals his doll back to Minagi. She sews the doll for him and knowing he’s hungry, gives him a rice coupon. On the way back with Misuzu they stop by a shrine but nobody is around. Misuzu wants to play but that guy ignores her request. Eventually he had to watch her catch fish at the river and also joins in. When he learns today is her birthday, he tells her to go home first. He is trying to earn money via his puppet show but seriously would anybody be around at this late hour? A guy happens to pass by and requests to see it so Yukito struts his stuff. Though impressed, he says the kids won’t be fascinated by this. He gives his cake he was supposed to give for his relative but wasn’t home then as payment. After Yukito and Misuzu eat the cake, they watch the fireflies. As they head back, they see Kano stumbling her way and follow her to the shrine. She chants some words in which a bright light starts emitting from her.

They’re shortly transported to a grassy plain before back to the shrine again in episode 3. Kano regains consciousness and has no memories of what happened. Worried Hijiri comes by and misinterprets the scene of Kano in Yukito’s arms. She’s going to kill him! Luckily she tripped over tripped Misuzu. Luckily the misunderstanding clears up. Yukito decides to go back to the clinic to demand the pay Hijiri forgot to pay him today. Inside, he hears weird conversations from the sisters (Hijiri telling off someone?) so he leaves. Next day, Yukito helps Kano find missing Potato. He learns Kano tied a bandana to her hand because someone told her she could use magic when she grows up. Yukito remembers he left Potato at the school and they still find him sitting there quietly! Can’t believe it! He makes Potato acknowledge that it’s magic that he was able to know where he was! On the way home, Kano says how her mom died when she was young and Hijiri took over her role to support her. She feels useless. She wants to see mom so she could apologize but Yukito thinks it’s better to thank her since without her, she won’t be here. They talk about Yukito’s mom and how she’s looking for the girl with wings. Next day, Yukito learns Misuzu’s fascination with dinosaurs and her dreams of going back in time. Though she can’t explain why, she wonders where her dream is going. Later Yukito gets another whacked greeting from Michiru because she’s mad he wasn’t here yesterday (I thought she wanted him to leave? Tsundere?). He shows them his doll show so Minagi gives him a reward: Rice coupons. Argh! Sick of rice already! Yukito tells Minagi of the winged girl he’s searching. She says she once had a picture book of it and thinks there’s nothing wrong looking for her. That’s because everyone has their own special place they’re trying to reach. That night when Misuzu is pestering Yukito to play cards, Hijiri barges in and tells them Kano is missing. They go look for her. Following Potato, they see Kano at the shrine. Spewing weird words and a different look in her eyes, when Kano faces Yukito, she starts strangling him!

In episode 4, Misuzu manages to break them apart as Kano lay unconscious. Hijiri treats Yukito’s neck bruise back at the clinic. She reveals how it all started. During the 1st summer of their mom’s death, she and her dad couldn’t tell Kano mom died. Then wandering into a shrine, they see a shining feather. They touched it and put it back. Ever since, Kano has been acting strange like hating bright lights and talking nonsense. One night she almost could’ve lost her if she didn’t make it in time to stop her from slitting her own wrist. She concludes Kano wasn’t herself and had a split personality. So she gave her that bandana and made up that magic stuff to hide her scar. This was also the reason she decided to be a doctor and cure Kano. She thinks the root of the problem was Kano wasn’t mentally ready due to their mom’s death. Unknown to them, Kano was conscious and heard them. Next day Yukito spots Minagi and her mom (the one he helped carry sacks of rice). He notes how they’re both similar but she says she’s just a fragment of her dream. That evening Yukito finds a note from Kano. She says she’s going to fly to the sky and thinks everyone will be happy this way. She apologizes for always relying on her sister and will help Yukito find the person he’s looking for. They rush to find her and at the shrine, they see her unconscious and her bandana taken off. Yukito sees the shining feather, picks it up and feels uneasy. Putting it on Kano, they see visions and hear the voice from a woman Shiraho.

Long ago when she gave birth to her son Yakumo, the villagers think the birthmark on his hand was a bad omen. Shiraho received a shining feather from the sky and believed it to be a talisman from God. Soon war came and Shiraho’s husband was taken away and never returned. When she learns someone is looking for the shining feather, she left the village. She arrived at another village (the one in the present) as the kind priest allowed them to stay. Soon people started dying of an epidemic and blamed them for bringing the plague. The priest thinks Yakumo’s sacrifice is inevitable to calm to Gods of the land. Shiraho is unable to kill her own son so she hastily kills herself. Young Kano is seen meeting her mom in the clouds. As they chat, she thanks her for everything. Mom tells her she doesn’t have wings so be happy where she is now. Back in reality, Kano comes to. The feather disappears along with her wrist’s scar. Relieved Hijiri hugs her. Kano thanks Yukito but he says she did it with magic. Then she lets her bandana drift away into the sky.

Yukito dreams when he was young in episode 5 as his mom told him ‘she’ wanted to cross the ocean but mommy couldn’t take her. Misuzu also tells him of her dreams whereby she was flying in the sky but her body hurt all over. She also heard voices of people were trying to lock her up. After Yukito does his usual non-paying show, he goes to see Minagi and Michiru. The usual spat between you-know-who resulting in Yukito falling over Minagi’s bento. Since Minagi’s father was the previous station master, she had the key to the station for him to take a shower. She gives him and Michiru a bottle of sand particles, a precious gift she got from her dad. Then she takes them to the school rooftop for stargazing. Oh, did I mention she’s the only astronomy club member? She mentions how Michiru likes him because she’s always talking about him. Yukito denies but Minagi knows it’s true because they’ve been living together all the while. She notes his travelling habit and wonders if he has ever stopped to share his happiness with someone else. Yukito accompanies Minagi home. He notes her height. She’s proud of being tall as it makes her closer to the sky. Upon reaching her home, Minagi’s mom greets them. Minagi introduces him as a new astronomy club member but Yukito gets a shock when her mom calls Minagi “Michiru”. Back home after Yukito gives in to Misuzu’s pestering to play cards, she becomes clumsy with them. She starts crying hysterically but luckily Haruko was there to calm her down. Haruko tells him this happens every time she’s about to be friends with someone and has been like this since young. Yukito decides to leave the house to give some space between them though he’ll still accompany Misuzu to and fro school.

Next day, Misuzu tells him that Haruko is actually her aunt and was forced to take her in. She views herself as a nuisance, the reason why she always plays alone. Yukito sees Michiru depressed because Minagi didn’t come to the station so he cheers her up by blowing bubbles. Later as he goes visit Minagi’s home by himself, he is surprised her mom didn’t recognize him. She even says she doesn’t have a daughter and shuts the door! As Hijiri explains, she has a mental illness and thinks her first daughter Minagi is her dead second daughter. She visits her from time to time to check her condition. But it got weirder the same time her fantasy second daughter disappeared, she forgot all about Minagi. To her none of her daughters ever existed. Then learning from Minagi, she was supposed to have a little sister named Michiru. Because Minagi is closer to her dad, mom was lonely and chose to continue dreaming when Minagi wished she had a sister. But last night she dreamt that she miscarried Michiru and this caused her to face reality. As a result she doesn’t recognize who Minagi is. She notes this is the end of her dream as ‘Michiru’ and that her own wings have forgotten how to fly.

Since Yukito is staying at the station in episode 6, Minagi also stays with him and brought her kitchen stuff too! Michiru is happy that she turned up all thanks to the wish she made on the sand bottle. As Yukito accompanies Misuzu, she tells him of her dream this time in a forest where a guy describes to her the ocean. At the station, Minagi tells him how she and her dad often used to come here. Ever since mom’s miscarriage, their relation was strained. Eventually he left the family and married another woman in another town. Next day Yukito learns from Hijiri that Minagi’s mom is slowly recovering her memories. Now it’s all up to Minagi. Yukito tells Minagi that he’s leaving town and asks if she would like to come see the world as well. She agrees so on their way he stops in front of her house and tells her to decide on what she wants to do. Minagi goes in to see her mom. She recognizes her as Minagi as both ladies embrace while tears well up their eyes. That night at the station, Yukito learns from Michiru that she’s going to leave soon. She says there’s a sad girl in the sky always having sad dreams. She has tattered feathers but mysteriously powerful and contained lots of people’s dream in it. Michiru was given 1 of her feathers because she wanted to comfort someone. Though she doesn’t want to leave, “the stars will disappear once the sun rise”. She notes she is a fragment of a dream but a fun one though she can’t be born in this world. She starts breaking down so Yukito hugs her. Next day he learns from Minagi how she first met Michiru at the station soon after dad left. She feels guilty all this started by her own sin of wishing for a little sister. Minagi takes Michiru to see her mom. This is the first time Michiru has been into her home. Though reluctant, after Michiru says her name, Minagi’s mom continues to be friendly with her, making her feel happy.

That evening Minagi keeps Michiru’s sand bottle. Then Michiru disappears. Rushing to the school rooftop, they see her standing on the edge. Michiru insists on going back because the girl with wings continues to have sad dreams. She’s going back to give her fun memories they both gave her. That’s why if she they her, she wants them to give her more fun memories and release her from her sadness. Minagi is still reluctant to part but Michiru says her memories will still remain even if she wakes up from her dream. Minagi sends her off with a smile as Michiru turns into a feather and flutters away in the wind. Next day Minagi tells Yukito she’s visiting her father because his wife has got a child and this means she’s got a little sister. Guess what is her name? Yeah, looks, sounds and acts like a mini version of Michiru. Yukito says even if her wings can’t fly, it’s proof her memories from the days when she did fly. He goes back to Misuzu’s home but sees her unconscious on the floor.

Though Misuzu says she got dizzy and tripped in episode 7, it wasn’t anything serious. After looking at her pathetic picture diary (filled with nothing but what she did with Yukito), he wants her to write what she wants to do. She wishes to go to the beach with him. When he tells Haruko about this, he is appalled of her carefree attitude. He remembers the story his mom told him. She had a dream. A dream of the sky and then going back in time. That dream is killing her and she will forget everything. In her last dream, she will die and always be alone. To make matters worse, Haruko decides to go on a trip herself and leaves Misuzu in Yukito’s care. When he tells of the story his mom told, she didn’t believe him. Yukito takes weak Misuzu to the beach. But she starts having her fits so they abandon the plan. Back home after telling him of yet another dream, she says those dreams aren’t coincidence. She is going to continue having them in hopes of learning something and maybe help the sky girl. Though Misuzu gets up from bed, she falls since she can’t move her legs. Next morning after telling Yukito another dream, she says she gets weaker after each dream. He tells her not to think so much about her other self and focus on getting better. When he leaves the room, he sees violent visions. So real that he actually felt getting slashed and collapsed. Furthermore, he sees a slash mark on his back.

Since Misuzu continues to have painful dreams, Yukito thinks of leaving or else they’ll both die. She wants to come along but he tells her straight he’s trying to get away from her. Remembering the past whereby he did his puppet show while his mom provided background music and made everyone laugh. She told him how she wanted him to save her this time. There’re lots of unfulfilled wishes in that doll. Mommy and her mom before her sealed all their powers in it before they withered away. So that 1 day someone would release their wishes. She intended to become 1 of those wishes and he has to decide on how he wants to use them. Though he can forget about the girl in the sky, he’ll meet her someday. If he ever wants to save her, put all his heart into the doll. In present, Yukito gets a group of kids to watch his show and feedback on how to make it more interesting. He returns to Misuzu and the doll is now like his helper, able to do several tasks. He realized he wants to be by her side and would’ve been happy watching her smile. Wishing if he could redo everything again with her, a bright light starts emitting from the doll. Misuzu wakes up but Yukito isn’t in sight. The scene changes to the 5th year of the Shou Calendar 994 AD. A winged maiden Kannabi No Miko or Kanna for short, drops onto Lt Ryuuya.

In the palace in episode 8, Ryuuya thought winged maidens are messengers of God but she says this place is similar to a prison. They also meet Uraha (Kanna’s servant) who teases them for being close to each other. As they continue to live in the palace, Uraha and Ryuuya seem to love teasing Kanna. One night Kanna can’t sleep so Ryuuya talks to her. She mentions about dreaming of her past sitting in the darkness. She was scared and lonely but remembered seeing warm light in a human form and chased after it but disappeared. Ryuuya thinks it’s her mother so she wishes to see her. One day Ryuuya learns Kanna will be moved to the north to pray for the crops fertility though everyone else will remain. Uraha decides to take Kanna and run away from here as she can’t bear to see her in pain anymore. Ryuuya agrees to conspire with her. Since he is Kanna’s loyal servant, he has her order him to take her see her mother as an excuse to escape. The trio leave the palace that night. Ryuuya senses guards hunting Kanna. He interrogates 1 of them but he says they’re doing this under their captain’s order. Ryuuya is going to kill him but Kanna stops him. Chiding him for a disgusting method, she makes him vow never to kill as long he is her servant. They journey for a month (Kanna learning to juggle bean bags but suck big time even with all the practice) and during their stop, they watch a village doing a festival as belief their wishes will reach heaven. Kanna notes she has wings but can’t fly and wonders if their wish will reach heaven. Ryuuya believes they can as long as they pray with all their hearts. Entering the mountainous forest supposedly where Kanna’s mom is held captive, they are confronted with warrior monks. Ryuuya fights them but due to his vow not to kill, he gets slashed in the back. Eventually he wakes up in a cafe and at a safe distance the monks won’t come after them. Kanna feels guilty of making him vow that. Since he reminds her that he is her loyal servant, she orders him not to die. They enter the prison where Kanna’s mom is. Kanna shows her white wings and she is happy mom recognizes her. But mommy orders Ryuuya to take Kanna and leave immediately.

However they’re bent on freeing her in episode 9 so mom tells Kanna not to touch her because she’s tainted. Outside, they’re attacked by a hunting army and a couple of arrows hit Kanna’s mom. She unleashes her true powers and kills the entire army. Before she dies, she passes down an ancient prayer to Kanna, the dream of the stars. She wants her to live as a common girl free from the winged race fate. Kanna is inconsolable when mom passes away. They leave her body as it is like how she wished. While resting on their journey back, they talk about living together as a family probably near the ocean. But they are soon surrounded by soldiers. Kanna strips herself, spread her wings and kisses him. She gives her last order to Ryuuya: To live happily for the rest of his life. The soldiers fire their arrows as Kanna takes several hits. Ryuuya and Uraha hear chants and realize the monks are trying to place a curse on Kanna. Kanna got bound and then disappeared into thin air. As dawn breaks, Ryuuya is going to kill those responsible for Kanna’s death but Uraha stops him. She says Kanna doesn’t want him to become a bloodthirsty murderer as she can still Kanna’s faint cries. They are picked up by a couple of monks and taken to a prelate named Chitoku. He tells them how Kanna may be the last winged race who has watched over this temple. They also pass down dreams of the stars to every generation and provide human with knowledge. Due to the powers they possessed, they’ve been taken by high position people and used in wars. Kanna’s mom was tainted by the curse from the ones she killed. Those soldiers that were sent to kill Kanna were done under the orders of the Imperial Court to unify the religious faith of the country and eliminate the winged race.

Uraha decides to learn sorcery and stay at the temple. As time passes, Uraha uses her magic to see Kanna’s dream. They see her in pain and crying over Ryuuya’s lifeless body while thinking everyone has left her. To make things worse, her curse is compounded from her mom’s. Her curse will also kill anyone that comes close to the winged race, the reason the scar on Ryuuya’s back never healed. He realizes he will die within the year. Though the curse of imprisoning Kanna will wear off in time, Kanna’s soul will return to Earth and be reincarnated. But putting her soul into a human body is like putting an ocean into a jar. So Kanna will suffer reincarnation after reincarnation and die without knowing happiness. Uraha suggests a way to save her and that is for Ryuuya to have a child. His descendents will find a way to save Kanna so Ryuuya and Uraha marry. As time passes, Ryuuya compiled a book about the winged race so his descendents will find them useful if they find Kanna and Uraha will teach them magic. Back in the present, Yukito wakes up but he can’t seem to remember much. We see Misuzu getting along with a crow.

Misuzu calls the crow Sora in episode 10 and sees Yukito sitting at the beach where she always looked at the sky (gone back in time?). She brings Sora back but Haruko won’t allow it to stay (after pecking her eye of course). Next day Sora follows Misuzu to school. It causes a little havoc, meets Potato and Kano. Depressed Misuzu can’t seem to make friends but decides not to give up and do a picture diary. At the beach, she sees Yukito asleep with all the seagulls over him. She sums up her courage to talk to him and that’s when he woke up and saw her. She brings him back to her home and the scenes of how Yukito and Haruko met. Haruko talks to Sora and thinks of giving Yukito a chance since Misuzu doesn’t throw fits when he’s around. On a day when the relative came to give Misuzu her cake, Sora sneaks out. Haruko spots it on the road and takes it to the shrine (even the crow freaks out at her reckless riding). She tells Sora her sorrows like Misuzu’s belief in chicks-turning-into-dinosaurs and how Misuzu’s dad forced Misuzu’s care upon her. She throws away a plush dinosaur toy into the grass (supposedly to give for Misuzu’s birthday). Next day, Sora goes back to the shrine and tries to move the toy. Saika is praying with her mom when she sees the dinosaur move by itself and thinks it’s God. They put the dinosaur back in the shrine. Sora encounters Minagi who wants to take it home but it flies away. On a night when Misuzu has her fit in front of Yukito the first time, Haruko’s trip was actually to go see the Tachibana family (Misuzu’s grandparents) to negotiate and formally adopt Misuzu. Then the scene where Yukito decides to run away from Misuzu. Feeling lonely, Misuzu throws her fit till she falls asleep and hopes never to wake up. Then the scene Yukito realized Misuzu’s importance and wants to be with her. He remembers everything now. He used to be a human called Yukito. Sora turns into Yukito. He tells her never to give up as the embrace. He is sure she will find her goal because she’s a strong girl and will always be by her side. He then disappears.

Morning comes in episode 11 as Misuzu tells Sora how Yukito came back and gave her something important. As Misuzu and Sora take a walk outside, it seems Haruko has returned and manages to get custody of her. Though Haruko tries her best to be like her mother, Misuzu still prefers to play be herself. But slowly she opens up and both ladies bond. After Haruko cuts Misuzu’s hair too short, Misuzu thinks it’s like starting all over. The next morning, Misuzu doesn’t remember who Haruko is so Haruko takes this chance to restart everything as her mom. Haruko got a wheelchair to wheel Misuzu around town when they come into the relative, Keisuke and is Misuzu’s dad. He isn’t happy the way she handled Misuzu. He notes her not good with crowds, the reason he left her with Haruko in this quiet town. The adults argue so Keisuke wants to take Misuzu back. Haruko pleads to give 3 days to spend with her before letting Misuzu decide whom to follow. She tries her best again and 1 hot day as she wheels Misuzu to the beach, Misuzu wants to go home. She doesn’t care so Haruko got upset and left her in the middle of the road. Misuzu tries to move herself but fell off. Haruko came rushing back and regrets her action. Bringing Misuzu home, Haruko laments her fate of not being able to be a mother. But after she ‘saves’ Misuzu from a cicada, they started bonding and happily did things together. By the 3rd day, before she hands Misuzu back to Keisuke, she brings Misuzu to the beach. After handing her over and a short distance later, Misuzu starts throwing her fit. Keisuke is at a loss as Misuzu reaches her hands out to Haruko and starts calling her mother. Haruko rushes to her and they both emotionally embrace. After a long talk, Keisuke agrees to leave Misuzu in her care. Sora witnessing the events finally understood the person Misuzu was with the entire time was her mother.

In bed in episode 12, Misuzu starts writhing in pain. She says her wings are painful. Haruko remembers Yukito’s words that she’ll forget everything and die in her final dream. She tries to make her feel better by taking her to the summer festival tomorrow. However it starts pouring but Haruko still brings her there in hopes the festival is on. It isn’t. She curses God. She then spots the dinosaur at the shrine and has Misuzu take it. She is successful so Haruko gives it to her as her present. That night when Haruko went to sleep, Misuzu continues her picture diary and fell asleep on it. Next morning Misuzu wakes up and though she tells Haruko she dreamt her final dream, she feels fine. Haruko is relieved that what Yukito said was a lie. Misuzu tells of her dream that she has white wings and soaring in the sky. Though it’s a sad dream, but that’s the end of it and she’ll always be with her mom. As they go out for a stroll, Misuzu has Haruko and Sora stand at a distance. Misuzu tries to walk from her wheelchair to them as the goal. When she reaches halfway and says she already did her best and wonders if she can rest now, Haruko realizes she has been in pain all the while. Haruko fears the worse and doesn’t want her to reach the goal line because their happiness has just started. Misuzu says she did what she wanted and this summer had more happiness than her entire life. A summer where she met Yukito, lots of things happened though it was painful but she didn’t give up. Happiness was her goal and she’s not alone. Haruko still wouldn’t allow it but Misuzu grabs her. In her dying breath, Misuzu thanks Haruko before sleeping forever.

In the aftermath, Haruko talks to Keisuke about the nice things of being a family. Then she talks to Sora and wants it to fly because the sky is somewhere people can never go as they don’t have wings. He has to fly in their place and send their dreams and wishes back to the sky. Haruko leaves Sora as the crow narrates how it is looking at the sky ever since. A sky filled with colour of sadness. The blue colour that stretches into infinity and the girl who went back to that infinite world who is alone even now. That’s why it is going on a journey to find her and bring her back one day so that she’ll have a new beginning. Sora flaps its wings and flies away. After that story narration of Yukito’s mom, we see a couple of familiar looking kids at the shore. The boy says he wants to know what lies beyond the coastline, something which the girl felt she wanted to know too. Looking back and waving back at Misuzu and Yukito sitting at a distance, they leave while walking hand in hand. The boy notes how they’ll suffer a cruel fate for the rest of their days and they themselves are given a new beginning.

I don’t know why they need to show a recap episode 13. It’s a summary and abridged version of the entire series. New scenes? Nope. New revelations? Nil. New insights? Didn’t learn anything? New perspective? Same old, same old. Unless you don’t want to watch all the episodes again. But there are 2 special episodes called Air In Summer but this is an extension of the feudal era arc and is set during Ryuuya, Kanna and Uraha’s escape and journey to the see Kanna’s mom. With additional scenes and more footage, the episodes here are more light-hearted as we see the trio in their antics as they complete their quest.

Episode 1 begins with the trio escaping from the palace in the stormy night but pursuers are hot on their heels. Ryuuya creates a diversion by making the guards think Kanna fell into the river before making their escape. Then that scene Ryuuya interrogated a soldier and nearly killed him but was stopped by Kanna. As they journey through the countryside, the cute antics between them as they tease Kanna. Like pouring water over her head to cool her down, saving her clothes from a monkey but Ryuuya gets called a pervert and Kanna learning to juggle those little bean bags. Still flopping big time no matter how many times she practice. They reach a lively market as Kanna acts like a noisy kid. Her ignorance of the way things work in the world could really give her away since she acts like a princess. Thankfully Ryuuya is always there to take her away. When Uraha goes off by herself, Ryuuya is left to babysit Kanna as she got herself into a pathetic fight with a chicken! They meet a pitiful beggar so upon Kanna’s request, Ryuuya gives him his fan though he still has his reservations he may be a fake. When Uraha returns, she gives Kanna a walnut as a gift. As they’re resting at an away spot, Kanna tries to open the walnut with her teeth? When she leaves to gather firewood, Uraha tells Ryuuya the checkpoint down the market path with soldiers stopping young girls and inspecting their backs to see if they have feathers. Ryuuya notes they can’t take the main road anymore. When he doubts that he’ll keep his no-killing vow, Uraha tells him about the night they fled, Kanna was worried and wanted to go after him during his distraction stint in fear he may get killed. She questions back what he would’ve done if Kanna ordered him to kill that soldier. He replies he would’ve gotten mad and scolded her instead and that adults have to set a good example to kids. That night, Kanna wants to show Ryuuya something embarrassing.

No, she’s not stripping. But rather she wants to show him her bean bag juggling in episode 2. He’s not interested. He gives in after her incessant pestering. She still sucks by the way. She’s throwing it to the universe! Spending more time searching and retrieving? Dawn breaks and finally though she could juggle for a short while, Ryuuya says she did try her best. Waking up Kanna is hard. Ryuuya thought she was having a horny dream. “Please spare me. It won’t go in… No more, please”. She was just dreaming of eating… Eventually she wakes up after Uraha forcefully takes away her head pillow. While reading a map, Ryuuya finds Kanna can’t read. Uraha says she doesn’t want to learn. Flashback about some hell training Uraha tried to make Kanna memorize 200 poems in a night! There’s 4500 of them! Kanna burnt 6 volumes of it to make breakfast! Then they see a corpse of a monk died from emaciation. That night Ryuuya has trouble sleeping so Kanna talks to him as he reveals his past.

He doesn’t know who is parents are nor seen their faces. He was picked up by a strict travelling monk, travelling from one place to another. One day the monk got killed by bandits in a single sword slash while crossing the mountain path. They spared Ryuuya because they think he’s not worth killing. Ryuuya was alone and did what he could to survive like stealing and getting into wars though he has a change of heart later in life. But Kanna thinks the monk was great and his prayers answered because Ryuuya was spared. He realized he was saved then and wonders he might have gone a different path. Kanna wish he hasn’t because they would never have met. Then Kanna starts undressing for real and lets him handle the rest. Seems all this are part of Uraha’s plan. She was told he would tell the woman he love about their past. Ryuuya isn’t interested so Kanna thinks he prefers men! If not impotent! He has no choice but to move in on her. Now she’s trying to resist! Ryuuya knows Uraha spying and calls her out. When she appears, he backs down. That night when Kanna wakes up, she tells them she had a dream she was in strange clothes and in different shape and form. But she was with her mom and kind people beside her. She was happy. They wish that happy dream will turn into reality. Kanna starts juggling the bean bags and is successful though just a little longer. Next morning the trio continue their journey through the mountains.

Okay, that was really a tragic end to the TV series. I was a little confused about certain stuff and went to search for answers on the online forums. Well, let’s just say that many people had their own interpretations and versions of it all. Some said Misuzu/Kanna’s curse was broken on the 1000th summer (the setting of the present in TV series) when Yukito wished upon the power of his doll to be with Misuzu just a little longer. There are some who believed Yukito and Misuzu are reincarnations of Ryuuya and Kanna. I would believe that Yukito would be the descendent of Ryuuya but it bugs me about the time he had a scar on his back. If all Ryuuya’s descendents are cursed then I suppose all his children lived short lives when they come into contact with Kanna’s reincarnation. I mean, when Yukito turned into a crow, he starts losing his memory about his human self when he continued to spend time with Misuzu till her death. And those kids at the beach in the end some say are reincarnations of Yukito and Misuzu since the curse will be broken and he mentioned they will live a new beginning. Well, Yukito did exist in several forms at the same time at certain points, a human and a crow. Come to think of it, Sora does make cameo appearances here and there before this revelation.

Though the girl in the sky is most likely to Kanna, I felt this entire series was never about her. Did they find the girl in the sky? I don’t think so. It was all about Misuzu trying to find her happiness and ultimately Haruko to accept Misuzu as her own child. Initially she didn’t care for Misuzu even though she was forced upon the role because she was afraid she might grow fond of her and lose her if ever her real parents ever came to take her back. It’s the fear of losing someone close to your heart. Eventually both ladies changed and become stronger characters than they started off. It was really sad to see the main character died and though Haruko puts up a positive face in light of Misuzu’s death, but these life changing experiences definitely done them some good. Unlike in shows of this genre, Yukito as the main guy was reduced to a minor role and didn’t make his ‘real’ appearance in the final couple of episodes. Then the other characters like Kano, Potato, Minagi and Michiru felt like they serve as ‘fillers’ due to their short arcs and once that’s done, we don’t really see them again. Not directly at least. Sadly, I thought there could’ve been more character development for them rather than being tossed aside once their arc is over. I thought they would all come together somehow in the end and would be related to the girl in the sky because they did mention something in relation to her.

Thinking back now, most of the scenes do make sense like Misuzu’s dreams are actually the time when Kanna lives and vice versa. Kanna has got to be the most amusing character because of her childish behaviour even as the last winged race. No wonder Ryuuya and Uraha likes teasing her. There is also a movie length feature of this series as an alternate retelling but I didn’t watch it. There are obvious differences like the characters but having experience the tragic feel of the TV series, I don’t think I want to go through another heart breaking moment. Heck, I didn’t even play the game (by the way, as I found out the main character also dies in the game’s good ending). Though the opening and ending theme (Tori No Uta and Farewell Song respectively) are sung by Lia, the techno feel and beat made me thought it was from Kotoko (I found out she was an ex-singer of a band related to Kotoko). There are a variety of background music and some of them worthy and suitable for the scene it was tailored for. As mentioned that the art and animation is just like other Key’s game-turned-anime production, but I feel the scenery is quite astonishing. Sometimes I’d also feel the heat of summer with the brightness.

The subtle theme of this series is the sky (hence the title Air) and some of the characters share traits of it like Michiru’s fascination to bubbles, Minagi’s astronomy club and Kano’s wish to fly. But as endless the sky may be, it can be daunting and scary as the vastness overwhelms your tiny self and you have no firm ground to land your feet upon. How long does eternity last when you’re trapped seeing the same painful dream. If all it takes is just a wish and desire for one’s happiness, it sounded so simple enough but yet so complicated. But enough of me being poetic since I don’t want this to end on a sad note (partly I’m not good with it too). So the next time if you get up feeling your body aching everywhere and everything inside hurts like hell, it may just be you aging and getting old, that’s all :p.

Air