Air is an anime based off of an Eroge, or erotic game. No, I have not played the game, but it’s pretty disturbing when you notice that most of the major female characters look and act like they’re around thirteen or fourteen years old. Fortunately, the anime removes all the erotic content. So the real question is if the story aspect is strong enough to gain appeal by itself or if the game was only somewhat popular for the shameless and disturbing sex appeal.
The story revolves around a young traveler named Yukito who arrives in a small village. He collapses from hunger and ends up meeting a strange girl named Misuzu who offers to let him stay at her house. Yukito quickly gets caught up in the strange events surrounding several girls in the village, including Misuzu. The story is pretty simple, but it’s very sloppily written. There are several episodes that exist solely for unnecessary exposition, I call it “unnecessary” because you should have figured out all the details that are relevant to the major plot if you’ve been paying any kind of attention. Then there are important details, like the thing with Sora, that are glossed over and don’t make much sense. The ending could have been really strong, but the last few minutes of the twelfth episode are just really random and stupid and then there’s a pointless recap episode. As I said, very sloppy work.
Most of the characters are pretty flat. They only play a major role in a couple episodes and then they fade into the background. You aren’t given time to acclimate to them or any real reasons to care about them. The only characters that you have any incentive to care about are Misuzu, Yukito and Haruko. To be fair, the three of them do get some really good interactions and develop nicely over the course of the series, but the lack of depth or development for the other characters makes those few episodes surrounding them rather pointless.
The art is decent. The character designs are pretty well done, but the backgrounds look pretty bland most of the time and there are a few moments where the art visibly degrades for no real reason.
The voice acting isn’t bad but it isn’t anything special either. There aren’t any really spectacular performances nor are there any really terrible performances. It’s all very mediocre. The music is really soothing and does suit the series pretty well.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. All of the major interactions between female characters explores a familial bond, mostly maternal. You get some interaction between Misuzu and the other girls, but she’s more of a passive observer during those moments and she doesn’t really interact with the other girls in any substantial way.
My final rating for Air is a 5.4/10. It’s mediocre overall. It has some charming moments, but the writing is really sloppy and every truly good moment is offset by several pointless and/or downright stupid moments. If you like Kanon you’ll probably enjoy this as well, albeit slightly less. Otherwise, you may want to try it since it’s short and does have some charm, particularly in the last couple episodes (not counting thirteen). Just be aware that you’re going to have to slog through a lot of pointless interludes to reach those moments so you might just want to skip it if this type of narrative isn’t your thing.