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Light Novel: Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta

At the age of nine, Karl La Hire, Prince of the Ballesteros Empire, lost everything to the Revolution of the Wind. The orphaned boy then sets out on a journey, hoping to one day seek revenge on Nina Viento- the symbol of the very revolution that robbed him of his family and his status. Six years later, we find Carl- now renamed Kal-el Albus to protect his identity- living with a middle-class family, having been adopted as the son of Michael Albus, an airship mechanic. Kal-el and his adopted sister Ariel eventually enroll at Cadoques High School on the levitating island of Isla to receive training in order to become pilots. While there he meets a girl named Claire Cruz, who he eventually falls in love with.

Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta (Love Song of a Certain Pilot) was originally published as a series of five light novels between 2008 and 2011. The series was written by Koroku Inumura, and takes place in the same fictional universe as Inumura's Toaru Hikushi E No Tsuioku. An animated adaption by TMS Entertainment is scheduled to air on January 6, 2014, and will be streamed on Crunchyroll under the title The Pilot's Love Song.

The anime can be viewed here at Crunchyroll's website for viewers living in the following areas: US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Central America, South America, United Kingdom, Ireland, German speaking Europe, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark.

Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta contains the following examples:

  • Ace Pilot:
    • Two show up in Episode 8, complete with personal emblems. First is the Sky Clan's Silver Fox, who decimates the cadets and goes head to head with Kal-el and Ariel. The second is Levamme's Seagull, who is strongly implied to be Charles Karino.
    • Kal-el seems to have become one by episode 11, as noted by Ignacio thinking about it as they're fighting off enemy planes, as well as him telling him where enemy planes are at so the latter can shoot them down. By the series' finale, he gains a Super Prototype and shoots down the Silver Fox.
  • Action Prologue: The beginning of episode 1 drops viewers in the middle of an aerial dogfight.
  • Aerith and Bob: With the exception of the main character, who is under an alias, all the characters names are real somewhere. It's just that it's an odd mixture of Japanese and English names, so that you have names like Mitsuo right next to Benjamin.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Ariel is called "Ari" by everyone, she sometimes calls Kal-el just "Kal" and later calls Ignacio "Igna", Noriaki is nicknamed "Noripii", Nanako has her name shortened to "Nana", Benjamin is called "Benjy" and Chiharu decides to refer to her partner Mitsuo as "Mi-chan"(Mitty).
  • An Arm and a Leg: Benjamin suffers from this in episode 11, when he loses his right hand in an explosion. However, it's a small price to pay considering their side manages to destroy the enemy battleship thanks to his and Noriaki's scouting information. By the finale, he gets a prosthetic one.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Ariel, who's a day younger than Kal-el.
  • Anyone Can Die: Yes, they can. By Episode 8, most of the Van Whyl class, including Fausto, are dead, and at least two members of Centezual - Mitsuo and Wolfgang - join them.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Fausto Fidel Melze is a huge jerk. This trope doesn't apply to Kal-el (a former prince) and Claire (a young noblewoman), though.
  • Ascended Extra: Ignacio Axis. The anime seems to be treating him as one of four protagonists, if promotional material is anything to go by. In the novels, however, Ignacio is considered a supporting character, as the story revolves around Kal-el, Claire and Ariel.
  • A-Team Firing: Benjamin in episode 10. Because of this, he fails to protect their allied spotter plane, which gets shot down moments later.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Isla soldiers receive this order in episode 8 after Ignacio snipes some of the Sky Clan paratroopers.
  • Babies Ever After: Kal-el and Ariel's oldest sister has been married and has an infant in the time since they've been gone, as seen in episode 13.
  • Balcony Speech: Kal-el gives one to the people of Ballesteros, not to incite them to anger, but to instead tell them about how he found that love and forgiveness is key to growing closer to each other. So he proposes a second expedition, this time to rescue Nina Viento from the Sky Clan. Because of the way he played up the love/drama aspect, the crowd rallies behind him, and later on Ballesteros and Levamme ships and planes are seen taking on the Sky Clan again.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 5, which takes place at a beach (in addition to survival training).
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: One of the reasons why Claire became so fond of Kal-el was was that he was the first person her age who had been nice to her.
  • Berserk Button: Nina Viento is this for Kal-el. The sight of her is enough to anger him. It's also implied that he would have crashed his plane into her had Ariel not interrupted his murderous thoughts.
    • Kal-el himself seems to be one for Ignacio Axis. The latter glares at the former every time he sees him.
  • Blow You Away: Nina Viento possessed the power to summon cataclysmic winds that could shred battleships like tissue paper.
    • De-power: She lost that magic as she grew older and now is an ordinary girl. This fact is kept a secret from the public.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: In the final episode, Kal-el leads a massive fleet to attack the Sky Clan in order to rescue Claire. However, the Sky Clan already knows they're coming.
  • Boom, Headshot: A few Sky Clan paratrooper suffer this fate in episode 8 by Ignacio.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 6 is fairly lighthearted and focuses on character development. Then episodes 7 and 8 fly in with a big battle...
  • Burial at Sea: The beginning of episode 9's funeral memorial for those killed in the previous two episodes. Several of the characters are uneasy as names of their fallen friends are called out and their bodies tossed overboard.
  • Call Back: In episode 8, Isla is assisted by a fighter from The Holy Empire of Levamme, which delivers a message from a Fana Levamme. This is a clear reference to Toaru Hikushi E No Tsuioku, and may even be referring to the titular princess Fana herself.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Happens to Ariel after surviving being shot in her arm during the battle in episode 8. She tells Kal-el she's quitting the pilot school because her arm won't fully heal which will prevent her from controlling her plane properly, so she's going to focus on being a mechanic instead.
  • Cassandra Truth: In Episode 3, Nanako excitedly repeats a rumor she's heard, that Crown Prince Karl didn't die in the Wind Revolution, and he infiltrated Isla to seek revenge on Nina Viento. The rest of the class laughs it off, including Kal-el (though he doesn't take it so well, because he is Crown Prince Karl and he is on Isla to take his revenge on Nina Viento).
  • Chekhov's Gun: The scarf Sharon gives Benjamin in episode 10 becomes extremely useful in episode 11, when he uses it to as a makeshift tourniquet after his right hand is blown off.
  • Childhood Friends: Benjamin Sharif and Sharon Morcoz.
  • Church Militant: The Sky Clan could arguably be this. They view anyone entering their territory as trespassers and attempt to wipe them out, as Isla finds out the hard way. They only stop because they view Nina Viento as a savior and demand she be brought to their people in episode 12.
  • Cliff Hanger: Episode 10 ends on one, with the Isla spotter plane being shot down, Noriaki and Benjamin decide they have to risk their own lives to help spot for their allies, knowing full well they're heading into a hornet's nest. Kal-el and Ignacio meanwhile follow behind them...
  • Cool Airship: As this trailer will show, some of the planes shown in the series are fairly realistic. Others are definitely examples of the trope.
  • Cool Plane: The main fighter Karl/Kal-el and his friends fly resembles a fighter version of a CL-84 Dynavert, crossed with a seaplane/flying boat.
    • The Sky Clan's main combat craft resembles a Bf-109, while their bombers are Stukas.
    • And then there's a blue fighter with seagull emblem in episode 8, which resembles a cross between Spitfire and the Spiteful.
  • Corner of Woe: Several of the guys who failed at tossing the noodles do this. Kal-el joins them after Ariel praises Ignacio's successful attempt.
  • Cry Cute:
    • Ariel after Kal-el and Claire are rescued at sea in episode 4. The first thing she does to him is hit him repeatedly for making her and their fellow cadets worried.
    • Several of the girls do this in episode 10 after a few of the surviving boys volunteer for the suicidal Escort Mission.
    • Ariel again in episode 13 after watching Kal-el fly off to rescue Claire. Followed shortly by Chiharu when she's visiting Mitsuo's parents.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Twice in Episode 8. First, the Sky Clan make quick work of the cadets' stationary defensive circle with boom and zoom tactics. Secondly, a Levamme fighter with a Seagull emblem shows up, returning the favor towards the Sky Clan.
  • Daddy's Girl: Ariel is impled to be this. One of her first scenes in the anime had her bawling her eyes out when saying goodbye to her father.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Ignacio seems to be heading down this route very, very slowly. He's still a loner for the most part, but he doesn't object very strongly when Ariel drags him off to join the gang's activities. His recent interactions with Ariel also show that he doesn't mind her presence as much as one would think he would.
  • The Determinator: A couple of characters:
    • Kal-el survives all this time after being deposed to ensure he can have his revenge on Nina Viento. Fortunately he forgives what she did by episode 11.
    • Benjamin, after nearly being taken out of the fight in episode 11, remembers the promise to Sharon to return alive, so he tries his darnedest not to die, even after his plane is blown up.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Ariel does this to Kal-el in episode 13, punching him in the gut before he could say something that seemed important to her.
  • Enemy Mine: Levamme offers an alliance to Isla partly because they share a similar religious/cultural background, but also because the Sky Clan had been attacking both of them.
  • Escort Mission:
    • The students are given one in episode 10. None of them are too happy to give it, and Sonia privately tells them they should go seek a bomb shelter instead. However, Benjamin, Noriaki, Kal-el, and Ignacio all volunteer for it.
    • Kal-el and Ignacio do this for the Luna Barca after she's heavily damaged by enemy bombers in episode 11. Fortunately they don't have to do it very long, since they're down to about one bullet by that point, and Claire regains her powers long enough to blow away the other enemy planes.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While the level of evil is debatable (as it's clear the King wasn't popular at all), the only reason Kal-el managed to survive is because even the most hardline revolutionaries drew the line at the public execution of a nine-year old boy. note 
  • Eyes Always Shut: Shizuka appears this way, sometimes opens them when providing the cast with helpful tips.
  • Festival Episode: Episode 6 has one. It doubles as a Breather Episode, as things get quite intense afterwards.
  • Flash Back:
    • Episode 3 shows a lot of Kal-el's backstory and how his parents were overthrown in a revolution. He was saved largely because Michael, his adopted father, saved him, and asked the warden to tell everyone that Karl died shortly after his mother did.
    • Episode 4 has Ariel share some of her backstory with Kal-el to the other cadets while he's stuck out at sea with Claire after their plane flew offcourse.
    • Episode 10 shows what Ignacio went through when he was younger, and why he hated the emperor so much, along with Karl for having such an easy life.
  • First Kiss: Kal-el and Claire in episode 9.
  • Fog of War: Used regularly throughout the show. The Sky Clan attempts to hide their presence as much as possible, whether it's flying through clouds, or even emanating a massive smoke screen, forcing the use of spotter planes by the Isla military.
  • Forgiveness: Karl's mother tries to teach him this in the short time they have left together. She tries to teach him not to hold onto hatred, and instead to forgive. It doesn't work too well early on, as his main motivation is to kill Nina Viento due to her part in overthrowing his parent's rule and their executions. In episode 11, the meaning and impact of her final words to him finally make sense.
    • In a flashback, Ignacio's late mother was shown asking this of him, as she believed that she had put him through a lot of suffering.
  • General Failure: Leopold Melze is a low-key example. While they technically win their first major battle, he doesn't utilize his military assets very well, and several of the characters are killed as a result, including his son Fausto. He also constantly falls for the traps and diversions the Sky Clan sets up.
    • It gets particularly egregious in Episode 11 where Benji and Noriaki risk their lives transmitting vital targeting information to the Isla forces, and Leopold is reluctant to listen to them due to the sole fact that they are trainees and not full pilots.
  • Genki Girl: Ariel, who also counts as a Motor Mouth and a Fiery Redhead. She and Kal-el often engage in good-natured teasing and arguing.
  • Gentle Giant: Wolfgang. In episode 2, he approaches Fausto after the latter hits Noriaki for accidentally getting some ice cream on his uniform. It looks like he's about to beat up Fausto, but then he pulls out some cleaning solution and cloth, and wipes Fausto's stain off.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Ignacio gives Kal-el a beating with this in mind.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Ignacio gets a little jealous at how good of a pilot Kal-el has become by episode 11, although he doesn't have much time to dwell on it due to being attacked by enemy planes at the time.
  • Gunship Rescue: A fighter in Levamme colors swoops in to rescue the cadets in Episode 8. The seagull emblem implies the pilot may be Charles, the hero of Toaru Hikushi E No Tsuioku.
  • Guy in Back: The El Halcon trainers and Isla's frontline fighters have two-man crews: a pilot, and a gunner who mans a machine gun ring. Both alternate their positions regularly, and the brass encourages mixed-gender pairs.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Kal-el and Ariel sometimes engage in these, usually when they try to call each other "little brother" and "little sister". The others are left guessing who's truly the older sibling. Episode 4 reveals Kal-el is one day older than Ariel, as he was born on June 6th, while she was born on the 7th. By episode 8 this becomes a term of endearment to them, signifying their familial bond.
  • Happily Adopted: Kal-el by Michael Albus.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • Kal-el goes through one shortly after he sees his mother one last time in the Flash Back during episode 3. He suffers another one in episode 9 after he finds out who Nina Viento is.
    • Chiharu goes through one in episodes 8 and 9 after Mitsuo is killed.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Mitsuo does TWO. First, he voluntarily gives away his position by firing flares at an enemy air fleet so the Sky Knights can get a visual on them. Then, after getting mortally wounded, he has Chiharu bail out while he continues to pilot the plane in an effort to draw enemy planes away from her.
    • Benjamin and Noriaki in episode 11, when they fly a recon extremely close to the enemy battleship to give their allies the precise location needed to fire at. They're then caught in an explosion...although the trope is ultimately subverted as they barely survive, and are later rescued by Banderas.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Claire receives one in episode 11, after she gives a Love Confession to Kal-el, and is told by him to live instead of trying to sacrifice herself. She then manages to recall her magical powers and blows up the remaining enemy fighters.
  • Hidden Eyes: The expression on Ariel's face is obscured this way after Kal-el verbally confirms in episode 12 that he is in love with Claire, alluding to the possibility that Ariel's love for him is more than that between siblings.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight:
    • Once it's known that Claire Cruz and Nina Viento are the same person, viewers will suddenly notice they have the same unusual violet eye color, similar body shape, and voice actress. Until then most will not notice these traits...
    • Ariel is the only one who recognizes Nina right away. Every other student is unaware of her true identity, and Kal-el only recognizes it when the wind is blowing while talking to Claire in episode 9.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Claire's face goes beet red after Kal-el's towel accidentally falls off his waist in episode 4, despite wearing his underwear.
  • Hollywood Tactics:
    • Played straight during episode 7. Isla sends virtually all of their airworthy aircraft to attack the enemy planes. They never consider holding back part of their forces in reserve should the enemy have another fleet heading towards them or in case their planes are wiped out. One of the Isla officers does at least mention that the first attack is most likely a diversionary attack meant to draw their forces away from the island, considering how well their attack went against the first wave.
    • A partial case. During Episode 8, Fausto has his cadets form a defensive circle, a valid (if not ideal) defensive tactic. He then negates it almost entirely by keeping his formation in a stationary hover. note  The Sky Clan counters by making high speed descending attacks from higher altitude, to great effect on their part. note  Of course, this could have been intended as a mistake on Fausto and the recruits' part, given their inexperience with real combat situations.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Ariel seems to falls into this trope in episode 12. While she never really gave any clues as to liking him more than a brother, when she asks him if he likes Claire, he tells her he does. She seems saddened by his reply, then goes into her Genki Girl facade to hide her feelings, suggests they go see Claire, and calls him an idiot before running off to bed. She also tells him to bring Claire back in episode 13 after he takes off in a new plane and while fighting back tears after mentioning that some love songs aren't meant to be sung.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The entire notion of pilot trainees shooting down fast moving fighter planes while standing inside a fast moving fighter plane themselves with bolt action rifles is a bit ludicrous, to say the least. That said, Ignacio masters this technique, and takes out several enemy fighter planes in episode 10, albeit with a bigger rifle.
  • Instant Expert: Ignacio is able to replicate Ariel's method of cooking the noodles and throwing them into waiting dishes based simply on observing her for a short while. Contrast with Kal-el, who's watched her do it for years, gets it in, but not as cleanly, and two others who try completely miss the bowls altogether.
  • It's Raining Men: The Sky Clan drops paratroopers onto Isla in episode 8.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In episode 13, Kal-el is about to say something to Ariel before leaving. But she punches him in the gut instead, and tells him to bring Claire back. After he leaves, she mentions that some love songs weren't meant to be sung, and fights back some tears.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ignacio, who's largely by himself at school, but does things with the other students from time to time. And in episode 9 he helps Ariel to talk to Claire, as well as attempting to knock Kal-el out of his Heroic BSOD.
  • Killed Off for Real: Mitsuo is the first character to die. Kal-el's ominous narration suggests more will follow. Episode 8 has cadets from both classes dying in combat. Made more dramatic by the fact that many of them just get killed nonchalantly in battle, rather than being given a more heroic death.
  • Large Ham: Banderas is a loud, boisterous instructor compared to the more strict Sonia. He even goes on ranting about his pain for a good minute after Admiral Luis kicks him in the shins.
  • Love at First Sight: Kal-el seems instantly smitten with Claire when he takes her back town on her bike.
  • Love Confession:
    • Kal-el gives one to Claire in episode 9.
    • Claire returns it in episode 11, while also simultaneously asking him for forgiveness for her part in his parents being overthrown and executed.
  • Meaningful Name: In Spanish, Viento means "wind" and Nina sound quite similar to "niña" which means girl, so Nina Viento = Girl of The Wind.
  • More Dakka: Used regularly during the battles.
  • Multiethnic Name: Chiharu de Lucia
  • My Car Hates Me: Claire attempts to turn on an army jeep at the beginning of episode 8, but it refuses to start. Ignacio advises against going to Centezual as the Sky Clan is currently bombing their island, but ultimately relents and gets the car to start by applying a trick to it.
  • Mystical White Hair: Nina Viento, the Priestess of the Wind, who is said to be the child of Saint Aldista. It's actually a wig worn by Claire.
  • Noble Fugitive: Karl/Kal-el after the Revolution of the Wind.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Kal-el isn't Ariel's blood sister, although it's made pretty apparent early on that he was adopted.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Sharon gives one to Benjamin in episode 10 after he volunteers to go with Noriaki to their latest mission.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Implied with Ignacio. In episode 3, Ariel makes an offhand comment about how he doesn't particularly care for flying or using a rifle. The fact that he's the bodyguard to someone as important as Claire- AKA Nina Viento- implies that he's far more competent than he lets on. Episode 8 shows that he's actually got a very good aim when using a rifle, shooting down several soldiers without much pause. And in episode 10, he takes out several fighter planes using only one or two shots.
  • Off with His Head!: The fate of Karl's father after he's overthrown. It's implied his mother was also killed the same way, and were he not a young child, they probably would have killed him the same way.
  • Old-School Dogfighting: The first episode opens with this, in a massive air battle.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Ignacio kicks down Kal-el's door in episode 9, then punches him to knock him out, and carries him to a lake to beat him out of his Heroic BSOD.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Ignacio of all people is seen trying to defy orders in order to rescue Kal-el and Claire when they get lost during a training exercise. Makes sense once you realize that he's been appointed as Claire's bodyguard,; he was probably concerned about her safety only.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Nina Viento. In Kal's Flash Back during episode 3, she single-handedly takes down an airship and her attacks are seen tearing through mountains as well.
  • The Plan: Ariel's plan in episode 12 to see Claire before she leaves is to simply stroll up to the gate where she lives and tell the guards they want to be let through. It works, but only because Ignacio also shows up and orders the guards to let them through.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Kal-el tries this with Claire in episode 12, despite knowing that her leaving for the Sky Clan would mean they'd stop shooting at Isla and Levamme. While Claire appreciates his plan of running away, she decides to leave to stop the fighting, so he instead makes The Promise to her to find her again.
  • Plot Armor: Most of the named characters have some on. Meanwhile the background military pilots/soldiers become a Red Shirt Army, and secondary characters turn into MauveShirts once they've received sufficient Character Development which strips them of this protection.
  • Point Defenseless: As the name implies, the anti-aircraft fire used throughout the show doesn't seem very good at shooting a lot of planes out of the sky.
  • The Promise: Kal-el makes one with Claire that he would find her again no matter how long it took after she leaves to join the Sky Clan as part of the truce plan in episode 12. Ignacio also holds him to that, telling him to make sure he follows through with it as he joins Claire as an escort. And episode 13 shows him following up on it, starting a second expedition with Levamme to forcibly retrieve her from the Sky Clan.
  • Puppet King: It is heavily implied that Nina Viento- supposedly Principal Governor of Isla- is just a mere figurehead.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Isla wins the battle that takes place in episodes 7 and 8, but they suffer heavy losses, and have no way to resupply as their trip was intended to be one way, and even if they tried, they're at least six months travel away from friendly territory.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The two teachers, Sonia and Banderas. They try to look out for the students, and in episode 10, both of them try to resist their higher ups when the students are ordered on a Suicide Mission to escort their spotter plane, which has to evade enemy fire due to lack of sufficient pilots and aircraft. Banderas even goes out to rescue Noriaki and Benjamin after they're shot down in episode 11. From the looks of it he didn't have an easy time doing it, but at least they're all alive.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: It's implied that the Isla Project is merely an excuse for Ballesteros to get rid of people they don't want by sending them on a thinly veiled Suicide Mission.
  • The Reveal: Kal-el finds out who Nina Viento is in episode 9. He becomes very conflicted by this revelation, and goes through a Heroic BSOD. By episode 11, he decides that The Power of Love is more important than revenge, and decides to forgive Claire for her part in his parent's overthrow.
  • Revenge:
    • Kal-el's primary motivation in the story early on. He wants to kill Nina Viento for her part in overthrowing his parents and their subsequent executions. A young Ignacio also swears revenge on the Ballesteros Royal Family, for exiling him and his mother.
    • A more straight example happens in episode 13. This time armed with a much better fighter plane, Kal-el faces off against the silver fox from the Sky Clan that nearly killed him and Ariel in episode 8. After a brief stint of dogfighting, he manages to shoot down the Sky Clan plane.
  • Rock Beats Laser:
    • The wood and cloth airships the Sky Clan sends out a decoy end up being impervious to bombs and torpedoes, because the bombs punch straight through the ships before they have a chance to explode. Unfortunately for them it doesn't protect them against the big ship cannons.
    • Conversely, the planes the recruits fly are armed only with rifles, pistols, and one machine gun wielded by Wolfgang. Meanwhile the Sky Clan's other, more advanced planes are shooting at them with some rather big machine guns attached to the front. Despite the technological differences during this fight, the recruits actually manage to shoot a few of the enemy planes down, but they suffer heavy losses due to their lack of firepower.
  • The Revolution: The Wind Revolution, in which former king Gregorio La Hire and his family were overthrown. As a result, the Ballesteros Empire became the Republic of Ballesteros.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilised: The public execution of the King and Queen of Ballesteros by guillotine, on top of sending tornadoes into the capital, destroying the Empire's flagship and causing tremendous collateral damage.
  • School Swimsuit: The girls all sport these in Episode 5 while at the beach.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Happens a few times in episode 7.
    • Banderas takes off against orders, even with Sonia pointing a gun at him. In the end, they save one of the students doing recon. He regrets not arriving in time to save the other one...
    • Kal-el says they need to join the others despite their orders to stick around.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Several of the students, and even Sonia decide not to take part, or order the students, into the next mission during episode 10, knowing full well they aren't ready for another mission yet. Banderas for his part, tries to stop the mechanics from pulling the student's planes out onto the airfield, although he's quickly subdued by some soldiers.
  • Secret Identity: Karl La Hire, former Crown Prince of the Ballesteros Empire is now Kal-el Albus, son of the aircraft mechanic Michael Albus.
    • Claire Cruz and Nina Viento are one and the same.
    • Ignacio is an illegitimate son of Kal-el's father and a mistress (making them half-brothers) and Claire's/Nina's bodyguard to boot.
  • Secret Keeper: Two among the flight students- Ariel for Kal-el, and Ignacio for Claire.
  • Secret Secret Keeper: Ignacio knows that Kal-el is actually former royalty. Kal-el seems oblivious to the fact though.
    • Claire also strongly suspects Kal-el of being Karl La Hire.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Ariel looks stunning in the traditional clothing her family wears in episode 13.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Claire seems to be this. She's under the care of a very strict guardian, and is painfully starved from contact with people her age. Kal-el is the first person her age she's met who was nice to her.
  • Ship Tease: All over the place. Kal-el/Claire aside, there have been hints of Mitsuo/Chiharu, Noriaki/Nanako, Benjamin/Sharon and possibly Ignacio/Ariel.
  • Shrinking Violet: Claire is a fairly mild example.
  • Slasher Smile: A young Ignacio has this on his face when he sees the royal family being publicly humiliated. Considering his unkempt attire and his young age at the time, the effect is mildly disturbing.
  • Sleep Cute: Ariel and Kal-el briefly in the opening credits.
  • Smash to Black: Every episode ends with Ignacio narrating the On the Next, suddenly interrupted in mid-sentence by a black screen with the next episode's title. Interestingly episode 12 averts this, and allows him to finish his sentence before the episode fades to black.
  • Son of a Whore: Ignacio. His mother was initially the King's mistress, and it is heavily implied that she became a prostitute to feed herself and her son after they were expelled from the palace.
  • Spit Take: Ariel does one in the opening credits.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Shizuka is prone to doing these, especially during dinner time.
  • Street Urchin: Apparently Ignacio used to be this. In Kal-el's flashback, he can be seen with dirty clothes and unkempt hair. Contrasts nicely with how well-groomed he seems to be as a teenager. Episode 10 reveals more of Ignacio's upbringing. His mother was a mistress for the emperor, and they were kicked out of the palace shortly before the Wind Revolution took place. She then sold her body in order to provide food for him and eventually passed away. He swore revenge on the emperor and Karl because the latter has it so easy compared to him. Hence why he smiled when the royal family was being overthrown.
  • Sudden Humility: Kal-el goes from being the crown prince to prisoner nearly overnight. The shock of losing his prestige, as well as his parents, particularly his mother, hits him pretty hard.
  • Suicide Mission: The students receive orders again to fly out into combat. However, this time they're a little less than thrilled to go. Sonia even pulls her military insignia off, and privately tells them to head to one of the bomb shelters instead. Unfortunately for the girls associated with them, Noriaki, Benjamin, and Kal-el all volunteer to go on said mission for various reasons.
  • Supreme Chef: Ariel, of unintentional "Ari-men" (Ari ramen) fame. She gets a little fed up with the praise, though, because she wants to be a pilot, not a cook.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: Used in episodes 7 and 8. The Sky Clan uses older aircraft to lure the elite pilots away from Isla. After a second enemy wave is discovered, they attempt to intercept them, but are so far away from Isla that it becomes vulnerable to attack by the Sky Clan planes, who largely attack with feeble resistance from the ground and the recruit pilots.
  • Talking Is a Free Action:
    • Zigzagged in episode 8. When Kal-el is talking to Ariel after she's shot and not responding to him, the Sky Clan planes continue shooting at their plane. However, all of their shots miss, whereas earlier they were knocking out the recruit planes left and right. And after the talking scene, Kal-el's plane gets hit as well.
    • Played straight in episode 10. When Noriaki and Benjamin are discussing what to do near the end of the episode, there are no enemy planes chasing after them or shooting them despite having been chased by several earlier and being near some other ones still.
  • That Man Is Dead: Nina Viento objects to her uncle calling her by her old name, Claire, in episode 9. She insists she is Nina Viento from now on.
  • They Died Because of You: While it wasn't intentionally directed at her, in episode 4, Claire, aka Nina Viento, finds out that she was responsible for Kal-el losing his parents after she pieces enough of his backstory together. It makes her uncomfortable to look at him or even be near him for the rest of the episode.
  • The Quiet One: Ignacio. Most of his lines are in the previews.
  • Time Skip: Episode 12 takes place six months after episode 11, although there is a large Flash Back segment which shows what happened shortly after they fight off the Sky Clan.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ignacio. When he's first seen as a child, he's seen in dirty tattered clothing, and by the time the story takes place, he essentially becomes The Ace, shooting down planes with only a few shots, and mastering Ariel's cooking technique after observing her for just a short while.
  • Trauma Swing: Chiharu is sitting on one at school during episode 9 due to Mitsuo's death.
  • Tsundere: Both Ariel (possibly a non-romantic example towards Kal-el) and- if Noriaki is to be believed- Ignacio..
  • Walking Spoiler: Nina Viento is involved in as many twists as humanly possible. Claire is her Secret Identity; she was the primary WMD in the Ballasteros revolution and Kal-el, who is actually the prince, wants revenge on her for the death of his parents (she being the figurehead of the Wind Rebellion, and thus the personified target of Karl's hate), she secretly lost her powers at some point...
  • War Is Hell: The students at the start of episode 7 seem all too eager to jump into battle, even if it's only recon. By episode 9, they're given a very somber reminder that Anyone Can Die.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: It's unclear whether the Sky Clan or Isla started it, but both sides pretty quickly get into a "shoot on sight" mentality very quickly after their first contact with each other.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 4 reveals that Claire is Nina Viento.
    • In episode 5, Kal-el and Claire witness some of their allied planes being shot down by a hostile air group.
    • Episode 7 shows that the Sky Clan is far more advanced than the Isla leadership initially believed, with technology equal to or better than what they have. What's more, they have their own floating island, which they use to launch an attack on Isla itself. Also, Mitsuo ends up being the first of the students to die in battle.
    • Episode 8 has pretty much half the pilot trainees, including Wolf and Fausto, being shot down and killed. Also, Kal-El is rescued by an ace fighter sporting Levanne colors, which delivers a letter from a Fana Levanne proposing an alliance between Isla and the Holy Empire of Levanne.
  • Wham Line: Claire asks one of Kal-el in episode 9.
    Claire: Are you Karl La Hire?
    • Ariel also delivers one to Kal-el, with Ignacio overhearing it, by stating she's dropping out of the pilot school.
    • Ignacio uses Claire's line, along with two more in episode 10. One is that Claire is quitting the flying school, and the other that Kal-el was responsible for stealing her dream of becoming a pilot after he discovered her true identity. This, along with the beating Ignacio gives him, snaps Kal-el out of his Heroic BSOD after he gives it some thought.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In episode 13, Kal-el is about to say something to Ariel. What could have been a potentially Crowning Moment of Heartwarming turns into a Crowning Moment of Funny instead when Ariel punches him in the gut instead of letting him say whatever he was going to say. She then claims he was going to say something mushy, so she took the initiative to beat it out of him. Also turns into a Tear Jerker moment when we find out she did that to bury her feelings for him so that he could go save Claire. She even thinks to herself after he's taken off that some love songs weren't meant to be sung and wipes away some tears.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Episode 13 shows what the various survivors are doing after they return home. While Kal-el vows to retrieve Claire back from the Sky Clan, the others seem content for settling closer to home this time around. And with Kal-el, a short battle is shown with Ballesteros and Levamme facing off against the Sky Clan, and the ending hints that he'll be reunited with Claire.
  • Younger Than They Look: Wolfgang, who says he's the same age as everyone else, although he looks to be a few years older.
Super SonicoAnime of the 2010sTokyo ESP
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