Amaterasu Blog

4Aug/1219

AIR Review

Time for one of Key's ultra-famous nakige. This is the one that made ゴール "goal" the saddest word in the Japanese language (or so I've heard).

It's kinda tricky to pin down an opinion on this one since the quality seems to zig-zag on a pretty regular basis. For instance, Kano's route is pretty forgettable. Minagi's is nice and sad but then drags on at the end. On the other hand, the ultimate ending of the true route (arguably part 3 of Misuzu's route) is such an amazing tearjerker it seems as though it single-handedly makes the whole VN great. But you probably already knew that.

The most consistent part by far is the comedy. Though nothing phenomenal, it is always amusing, and sometimes even hilarious (my personal favorite was Sora's unintentionally silly narration in the true route). Plus, the slice-of-life/comedy portions of the VN never overstay their welcome.

Weirdly enough, the pacing is also very consistent and usually spot on (for some reason only sad scenes ever get padded out). Thus, even if you're underwhelmed by one of the early routes, it does virtually no harm to your desire to read the rest.

So the overall experience of reading AIR ended up something like this: the first half was constantly "nice" and not a lot else, but as I neared the end of Dream the story finally started to gain some kind of momentum, and it continued building it up very regularly until the final tearjerking climax, which is quite unforgettable. Though I never felt very much surprise or dramatic tension, I also never felt disappointed by their absence. And all the subplots did get their proper closure.

Score: 8/10

Polarization: (+1/-2)

If we ignore the side heroines, the entirety of AIR is building up to a single emotional moment at the very end. In other words, the destination is more important than the journey. No doubt many people will have some preference for or against this approach.

Routes/Endings Played: All routes, including both Minagi endings and several bad endings. I have 98% CG completion.