We Without Wings – 20 Question Anime Review

What’s the show? We Without Wings – Under The Innocent Sky (2011).

Quite the mouthful. Tee-hee.

Wow, not wasting any time with dragging down the tone of this review, are we? Trust me, this show was going to do that enough on its own, I’m just getting you prepared for what’s to come. Heh, come.

Oh lord, we’re back in ecchi town today, aren’t we? Next stop ‘Ecchi City’, population: 69.

Obligatory ‘Nice’ reply. Now that that’s done with what’s the show about? Oh boy, where do I begin? This is a hard one to explain without going to ‘Spoilersville.’

Just try, yeah? Well fine, it’s an anime that’s based on an erotic visual novel, and to put it bluntly it makes no god damn sense. Like I’ve watched David Lynch films that make more sense than this show.

You watch David Lynch films? I thought you only watch anime. There’s a lot about me you don’t know, I am an enigma.

You’re a pervert, but I digress. Try and sum it up as best you can. Right so there’s three male protagonists who all live separate lives, Takashi Haneda a high-school student who also occasionally visits a parallel fantasy world to battle the forces of evil of Gredaguard under the guise of a hero called ‘Lord Hawk Cyan-Blue’. Then there’s Shusuke Chitose, an author and part time waiter at a bar filled with beautiful maid waitresses. And then there’s Hayato Narita, an antisocial “fixer” who takes up odd jobs around Yanagihara city in Tokyo.

That seemed more like a character run down than a plot synopsis, not that I’m complaining because I was going to ask about the characters anyway, is it really that difficult to come up with a synopsis for the show? Listen, I could just wiki it, but I’m trying to convey just how beguiling this show is, and I don’t necessarily mean that in a good way.

Oh? It’s based on an erotic visual novel, which I know you don’t know what that is, so basically it’s an erotic romance game where the goal is to talk your way into the digital panties of one of many of the female characters. They’re very popular in Japan but almost have no presence over here due to the fact that they contain absurd amounts of plot and dialogue. The original ‘We Without Wings’ visual novel for the PC and PS3 is over 50 hours long, I can’t imagine how hard it was to condense it down to 13, half hour episodes.

50 hours?! But wouldn’t your hand cramp up long before that? First of all, gross, I don’t want to think of you masturbating. Secondly, you don’t play it all in one sitting, and besides its more like a long build up to an eventual pay off, it’s not all sex, it’s a lot of talking mostly with fan service thrown in. Except, well I can’t speak for the visual novel, but the ‘talking’ which amounts to the plot is some of the most buck wild nonsense I’ve ever seen.

Elaborate, but vaguely. Why do I have to be vague, no one’s going to watch this show, it’s a show that’s been out for 7 years that nobody ever talks about?

Just do it… vaguely! Ugh, fine, so there’s gang warfare, a lost bicycle, egocentric authors, a radio host announcer trapped in oblivion who breaks the fourth wall, people getting shot, a preteen American tourist who flirts with much older men, high-school drama, games of Twister, massive ejaculations caused by a fast talking witch, goths, crepes and upskirts (oh so many upskirts).

I’m sorry, did you just say ‘massive ejaculations’?! I was surprised as you were; and after all despite all I’ve said, this isn’t a hentai. That one scene aside there’s no actual sex in the anime. A bit weird for something based on an eroge but I suppose there’s limits to what you can do on Japanese TV – even if I’m pretty sure there’s more than a few scenes that would have been heavily censored, thank the anime gods for blu-ray!

You wanted to see that? I’m ever the advocate for no censorship in my anime!

As funny as these images are without context, I think this one is funnier with context. They’re playing twister. I’m sure you can guess what this ‘move’ implies.

Right. Pervert, how could I forget? Hey, you asked!

So we’ve gotten this far in the review and yet I still haven’t gotten a sense of whether you like this show or not. Do you? I do! Well, I like just how bat shit crazy it can be at times, it’s never not entertaining. I’m not going to pretend like this is a good show, because it’s messy as heck and pretty insulting and offensive at times, but it’s still a spectacle. It’s ambitious but it never takes itself too seriously, it’s funny but it’s not a comedy, it’s dramatic but it’s not a drama, it’s like arthouse cinema mixed with trashy daytime soaps mixed with the kind of anime fan fiction you’d never expect to be made, only it did and somehow it got an official English dub too!

You sound kind of in awe of its existence? That’s a very good way to put it.

So this is a recommendation? I guess so! It’s a guilty pleasure, even moreso than the likes of Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid. That was a guilty pleasure because it was like “what if fan service but that’s the plot?” This one is more like, “what if erotic visual novel was an anime but also a parody of erotic visual novels but not because it’s an anime now?” I don’t know if any of it works but all I know is it’s the only anime I’ve watched 3 times through, and for only 2 of those times I was drunk.

Final score? Add alcohol and you’ll probably have a better time, this show is confusing and seedy and angst-riddled and dumb. It has a lot to say but it doesn’t say it particularly well, the messy plot does begin to make some sense by the end but it’s clear there’s a lot missing from this adaptation. However, I just enjoy it so damn much that I can’t stay too mad at all its flaws. Approach with care; 71 out of 100.

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