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Air (Theatrical Feature) PDF Print E-mail
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Now in Japan
Thursday, 03 November 2005 00:00
Air - Smiling MisuzuThe thing with releasing a movie adaptation of a story within a few months of a TV series covering the same story, is that it's far too easy to make comparisons.  Air's theatrical release tries to make itself stand on its own by making a number of changes to the fringes of the story, while leaving the main events intact & recognisable, but it still doesn't manage to have enough of itself in it to make it worthwhile.

I'm not going to go over the Air story again, as it's covered fairly well in the TV series reviews (linked at the end of this review).  The movie covers the same territory, but in a slightly different way - Kanna's story is told as Misuzu reads it from a library book in bits and pieces throughout the movie, for example, and the way she meets Yukito is slightly different, but while the fringes of the story have been redone, the essentials are all there where they should be, right up to the infamous "Goal!" scene.  "Essentials" unfortunately doesn't include the Kano and Tohno sidestories, which have been completely removed.

Other differences include an increased emphasis on Misuzu's illness, and Yukito hanging around in human form until the end.  The way Kanna's story is woven into Misuzu's throughout the movie makes it a lot easier to understand what's happening to her, and makes the connection between the "summer" arc and the main story a lot clearer to see.

Air - First meetingAir - Not sure where to look

Air - Ryuuya and KannaAir - Loving embrace?

Air - A rare action sceneAir - Goal!

On the technical side, the character designs have been tweaked slightly and in theory a proper "theatrical release" budget has been thrown at it - but you'd be hard pressed to tell.  If I was being completely honest, I'd have to say the TV series looks better.  The use of static frames in a lot of places just feels cheap to me.

I was also sad to see Tohno and Kano get completely left out - while they weren't important to the main story, their presence in the TV series added a lot and filled out Yukito's personality, but that's what big screen time limitations will do to a story.  The "Summer" arc was almost unrecognisable - whereas the TV series shows Ryuuya and Kanna escaping to find her mother, in the movie most of their appearances cover her time in captivity, with their escape being their final act.

One thing in the movie's favour is that it doesn't try so hard to rip out the heartstrings - sure, the ending is still very emotional and will get a reaction out of you, but it isn't done as cynically as I felt the TV series did the same scenes.  Apart from that, I have to say the TV series was better in just about every other respect.  Air's theatrical release is worth checking out for curiosity, but that's about it.

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