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We, Without Wings -Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai- - First Thoughts PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 08 April 2011 22:21
Yanagihara is a bustling city, home to Chitose Shusuke, who's trying to make ends meet by working a series of part-time jobs. He's also looking for a woman, and it has to be said that he's not really setting his sights high her: anything will do. With a little help from soon-to-be-married friend Karuo, he starts arranging a little social mixer, hoping to use the occasion to score - but given he's only been inviting girls who clearly hate him, his chances of success don't look good...

Chasing crowdStar waitress

As with Steins;Gate earlier in the day, that summary's a little misleading: the series seems to be following the lives of several distinct men, and the girls around them, and Chitose is just the one who gets most of the attention this time around. There's also high-school students Haneda, and a few others that I didn't bother making a note of as by that stage I really didn't care.

Without Wings comes from Navel, who have a bit of a mixed history with me. They're the people behind Shuffle!, which after a so-so start developed a stunningly good, highly emotional story that I loved; but they were also responsible for Soul Link which was - not to put too fine a point on it - utter shite. I wanted Without Wings to follow in Shuffle!'s footsteps, but sadly it appears to be going the way of Soul Link.

The main problem is that in places it just feels wrong. Young girl Alice (at a guess aged 8, but with anime you never can tell) teases an older man about the "monster in his pants" that appeared after she flashed him her panties. Bartender Karuo talks about how real men don't use condoms and "put it in without a word". Within two minutes of the show starting, we have another character proudly declaring she's going to "do it with her brother". And hey, come the next ep preview, it's not "See you next week!", it's "See you next panties!" - it's like someone sat down, thought long and hard about how to make a series that ticked all the otaku fetish boxes that it could (real and perceived) and went ahead and made it. Throw in an end-of-episode "twist" that has one of the characters reveal he's really a prince from another world, and you have... a mess. A mess that feels wrong on several levels.

THE GOOD: Female character designs. They're a Navel strong point, and there are some very easy-on-the-eyes girls here. Some of the ideas that are being explored could potentially be interesting, done right. The use of some older characters is a nice surprise when being in high school or younger seems to be an anime prerequisite these days.

THE BAD: Too many characters, too many separate threads, the fanservice is on a level that's creepy rather than titillating, the male leads are mostly arseholes... I could go on, but I've got other things I want to watch tonight. Hopefully one of them will act as mental bleach.

It's not that I'm against fanservice / explicit stories - I can watch Yosuga no Sora and not even flinch - but the general tone of Without Wings just rubs me up the wrong way. Now, Shuffle! got off to a weak start (albeit not as bad as this) before going on to do great things, so I will apply the 3-episode-rule (again!), but the next few episodes are really going to have to do something special to get my attention...

We, Without Wings -Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai- is being simulcast by Crunchyroll.