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The Movie: Good Story, Godawful Presentation
Air: The Motion Picture is, essentially, the first episode and the last two episodes of Air: The Anime. Traveling puppeteer Yukito rolls into town, meets an ill girl named Misuzu, the two become friends, Misuzu has some issues with her mother, yada yada yada. You know the drill. In theory, the movie should be a nice way to re-experience the meat of Air, the most important parts of the story and the biggest tearjerker. Unfortunately, the effect is severely weakened due to some extremely poor art and editing choices.

Rather than telling a smooth, coherent story, the movie feels like someone laid out the storyboards for the three episodes of the anime and hacked them up with a rusty axe. Misuzu and Yukito make eye contact for a moment, and suddenly the movie cuts to them having a conversation as if they've already met. Misuzu offers for Yukito to stay at her place, and suddenly they're there, with hardly a transition to be seen. You can count the number of full conversations on one hand, and I don't think there was a single scene in the movie that lasted over a minute. It's constantly pushing forward, cutting to new scenes or random shots at every available moment. I know they had to compress a whole series into an hour-and-a-half film, but this was not the way to do it. It feels more like an extended flashback than a real movie.

Adding to this flashback feeling is the art. The character designs are the same, sure, but every shot is completely saturated with... something. If the characters are outside during the day, there WILL be a ray of sunlight across the screen. If it's nighttime, expect everything to be glowing slightly. Sometimes the movie cuts to some manner of tree or plant to fill the entire screen for a moment. Color and light is good in animation, but this is simply too much, and it's very grating to look at for the whole film.

Still, the story remains mostly intact from the anime, so hardcore fans will probably appreciate the film, as will anyone who can look past the jarring presentation. Of course, the actual anime is freely available at this point, so there's no real reason to watch the movie unless you literally cannot afford to watch 6 hours of show instead of 1 1/2 hours of movie.
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