This would have gotten an A+ if it were directed by Makoto Shinkai. So many wasted opportunities for cloud porn. Still, I enjoyed it immensely.
The story follows a pilot who rises to the top ranks of the military’s aces, despite having been born in the gutter as part of a despised racial group and becoming an orphan at an early age. He’s given a secret mission to fly the future empress alone through enemy territory to the capital.
It seems like a straight up boy meets girl adventure story, and to an extent it is, but there are a few aspects that set it apart. The biggest one to me was that their relationship didn’t progress as smoothly as these things usually do. It takes the two a while to warm up to each other and break down the social barriers separating them, even though they’re alone together for the entire time. He treats her like a princess, and she treats him like a soldier.
So it takes a while for their relationship to get off the ground, and even when it does, things don’t go all that smoothly. She is betrothed after all, and he’s a man of honor.
All of the flying scenes were amazing as well, including some great action sequences which were filled with superb piloting while being believable at the same time. (Of course, the clouds could have been prettier…)
On the negative side, why did they have to make these two childhood friends? This was just silly. It was fairly tasteful compared to the usual take on childhood friends, although it was still completely unnecessary.
The last twenty minutes were a bit of a letdown as well. The final villain (shown above) was comically evil. The rest of the show was filled with shades of grey, so this guy felt completely out of place. And the show ended with five minutes of dancing in glitter, which was silly.
But overall I’d highly recommend this movie.
- Storytelling – B – Good until it stumbled at the end.
- Voice – A – Excellent feel for the setting, especially the planes and airships.
- Characters – B – The two leads were excellent for the most part, aside from being childhood friends. Terrible final villain though.
- Attention Grab -A – Kept me glued to the screen.
- Production – B – It wasn’t Makoto Shinkai!
- Overall – B+
Recommendations – The Place Promised in our Early Days, The Sky Crawlers