The Infinite Zenith

When life demands your A game, bring your A+ game

The Pilot’s Love Song- Halfway Point Impressions

This is the greatest STOL flying of all time.

By the halfway point in The Pilot’s Love Song, I can honestly say that the series has done well in keeping the viewers engaged with both what is happening presently, but more importantly, have depicted in good detail past events that have shaped Kal-El’s world view. The flashbacks answered almost all of the questions I had about his past, painting a picture of his losses following the Wind Revolution, and helping viewers understand a darker, albeit hidden side of Kal-El. The events in the Wind Revolution are, strangely enough, parallel those in the French Revolution, except the latter resulted in the execution of King Louie XVI, and Kal-El survived the events of his past, being taken in by the Albus family. Shortly after, a young Kal-El is introduced to flight and makes his decision to become a pilot. Back in the present, things at the Cadoques High have proceeded as would be expected during the training phase, being more relaxed in nature and showcasing the day-to-day events at the Academy, as well as the gradual hints into Claire’s past.

  • I’ll kick off the post with a scenic image of Isla. As per the usual order of business, there are twenty images, twenty figure captions worth of commentary and a typical, well-formatted discussion. I cannot quite recall when I started doing twenty images, but it is possible that this approach came out of Girls und Panzer, which I was discussing with great enthusiasm a year ago.

  • Kal-El wastes no time in asking Claire to be his partner for flight training. Despite the not-so-subtle implications, Claire and Kal-El make a remarkably good pair, performing exceptionally well during training exercises.

  • For one reason or another, practically every anime out there involves curry and rice. Originally introduced to Japan during the Meiji Restoration, curry has become very common in Japan; the Japanese spin on curry is much milder and complements rice exceptionally well, as I am wont to enjoy for dinner at home.

  • Despite being set on a floating island, at least their military base makes sense: you have the barracks, mess hall, aircraft hangers…in most games, the bases have a crazy layout, but it doesn’t faze me: my CV says I kick ass in ANY environment.

  • The La Hire family were the rulers of the Balsterios Empire until the Wind Revolution: from left to right, Gregorio La Hire, Kal-El and Maria La Hire. While the causes of the Wind Revolution are not known, the flashbacks do allow for a reasonable explanation to be formed.

  • Nina Viento was once ostracized for her ability to manipulate the wind, but a presumably political party catches wind of this power and uses it to aid their aims by overthrowing the La Hire family. Presumably, the revolution occurred owing to economic decline and a general resentment of those in privilege.

  • Lacking any other understanding of the causes behind the Wind Revolution, Kal-El sees Nina Viento as the sole reason why his family was destroyed. A quick glance at the voice credits last time found that Nina Viento is Claire, and as such, one of the (yet to be seen) elements will be how Kal-El will handle the truth: that his crush happens to be the same girl involved in the Wind Revolution.

  • For consistency’s sake, I will continue to refer to Nina Viento as Claire simply because the latter is easier to type. Early on, Claire wonders if Kal-El is Superman the son of the La Hire family; rumours circulate amongst the students that the Prince of the Balsterios Empire is on Isla on a quest for revenge.

  • The character animation is a little inconsistent in some parts, and both Ariel and Kal-El have hair colours that seem unnaturally vivid in contrast to the general lighting and colour palette in the setting. However, for the most part, landscapes look nice, and enhance the atmosphere in The Pilot’s Love Song.

  • A mishap with the pilots from noble descent cause Kal-El and Claire to crash land in the ocean.

The first half in The Pilot’s Love Song has thus far managed to hold my interest, making a balance between world-building and exposition. This balance does mean that the first half is a little slow as far as pacing goes, feeling more consistent with a slice-of-life anime rather than an adventure. However, as far as the sixth episode goes, things look to gear up after the midway point as Cadoques High and Isla arrives at the Holy Spring. The scenery is beautiful, of course, bringing to mind the blue expanses The Princess and The Pilot was known for, although I find the night skies to be a little unusual, with its perpetual greenish hue. I also find myself in disagreement with the upbeat J-pop song that serves as the opening song to every episode. It doesn’t seem to fit the overall spirit of The Pilot’s Love Song: I more similar to Kokia’s “Fate” would be fitting of this world. However, these are minor complaints, and are effortlessly outweighed by what The Pilot’s Love Song does well.

  • Last time, I said there were no call-backs to The Princess and The Pilot, but this moment, after Claire and Kal-El fall into the ocean, recall moments when Fana falls off their aircraft and requires rescuing from Charles.

  • Kal-El’s first experiences with flight motivate him to become a pilot, after he gets into a scuffle with other children following a dramatization of the Wind Revolution. It appears that the aircraft used at the Cadoques Academy have been in development for quite some time.

  • I have come across inadequate discussions that purport The Pilot’s Love Song is lacking in story, with things “not sure where they want to be”. This was a first episode impression, and as far as I’m concerned, a difficult-to-follow first episode does not necessarily mean that a series will end up being disappointing overall. The Pilot’s Love Song requires a few episodes to explore everything, and once things are setup, things become much easier to follow.

  • I think I’ve already mentioned this, but the aircraft resemble the V-22 Osprey aircraft in terms of rotor arrangement. These aircraft are not armed in any way, while the Osprey are equipped with  a rear-facing machine gun and forward facing, remote turret. The aircraft at the Cadoques are short takeoff-and-landing (STOL) units intended for reconnaissance, while the V-22 are multipurpose aircraft and are used in the deployment of ground forces.

  • Another talk out there claims that The Pilot’s Love Song is a commentary on class warfare, and that the “forbidden love” story doesn’t make this show worth watching. First off, The Pilot’s Love Song is not about class warfare, it’s about forgiveness and has thus far, been building up to that. Secondly, as with the previous “review” I’ve taken a shot at, this series takes a bit more time to develop owing to the complexity of its world. Similarly, here is another review written in a similarly lacking vein: the author’s inclusion of “mediocrity” in the talk is a major strike against it.

  • I personally don’t see the logic of using small arms against aircraft. While small arms fire can damage WWII-era aircraft, gunners would require an exceptional amount of skill to use the slow-firing bolt-action rifles against the fast-moving aircraft. WWII-era and modern anti-air and air-to-air guns have a high rate of fire, saturating the air with hot metal to hit the target.

  • The point of bringing up other discussions is to draw a comparison between other review approaches, specifically, ones that don’t particularly work. After reading those talks, I am not compelled to see their arguments simply because beyond “the show isn’t worth watching to me”: these writers do not justify why the show as a whole doesn’t work, but write with a tone that implies that no one should be watching The Pilot’s Love Song, which is, of course, rubbish.

  • Episode sees Isla arriving at the edge of the Holy Spring, and much of it is dedicated to watching Ariel and Wolf make Ari-men, a noodle dish so kickass everyone enjoys it. With all those reviews out there telling me that this series is terrible, will I continue watching it? Without question. I see a series that was a little slow to start off, but there is still another half left where things will pick up and darken considerably.

  • From left to right, Chiharu de Lucia and Mitsuo Fukuhara. The latter displays a high proficiency in aircraft knowledge, while the former says she doesn’t have any special characteristics (she sounds a little like Saki‘s Momoko as far as speech patterns go). The two acknowledge that they have feelings for one another in this episode, but this forebodes at what will happen next episode given the next episode’s title.

  • I started off with an image of the landscape, so I shall finish off with an image of the landscape. After the halfway point, I think we’re long overdue for some awesome air-to-air engagements, and I will try to catch up quickly such that I’m on time for the final impressions.

It’s time to speculate on what could happen in the second half: as far as Claire and Kal-El go, I know that a major part of the story will be forgiveness. Kal-El will have to come to terms with the fact that the girl who’s presently taken his heart is the same girl who was responsible for the Wind Revolution years ago. However, the tricky part will be delivering this moment convincingly without hamming it up. As for the unknown forces that have shown up, this could lead to some rather interesting possibilities as far as the Holy Spring goes. For all we know, Isla could be the invading force, and these guys are merely defending their turf, or there might be greater forces at play. This, however, isn’t for me to decide, and as the second half rolls in, I look forward to seeing how things are going to pan out.

6 responses to “The Pilot’s Love Song- Halfway Point Impressions

  1. Wild Goose February 26, 2014 at 20:52

    Actually, the El Halcons (the trainers the cadets use) seem to me more akin to the CL-84 Dynavert (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadair_CL-84) – note the hull shape and tilt-wing design, as opposed to the V-22 which is a tilt-rotor.

    Also, I’ll just say that there are questionable decisions with regard to tactics and doctrine made by everyone in this series, save for one notable exception in Episode 8: A blue fighter, looking like a cross between Spitfire and Spiteful, wearing Levhame colours – and the emblem of a white seagull.

    • infinitezenith February 26, 2014 at 21:28

      If you’re worried about spoilers, don’t worry: I’m fully caught up on the series :) I look greatly forwards to seeing whether or not a certain Pilot and a Certain Princess make another appearance…

      On a completely unrelated note, have you seen my Super Sonico The Animation posts yet? Forgive my candor, but I do believe I have the most unbiased, fair reviews of the series across the entire internet so far ;)

      • Wild Goose February 26, 2014 at 23:59

        Well in that case, time to squee as Fana may or may not make an appearance, and the Seagull is probable (hopefully!) Charles.

        As for bolt-action rifles against fighters, in the first ep, when the cadets are fighting for real, they’re using machine guns. I have a feeling that Isla’s leadership thinks training marksmanship with bolt-actions is better, because if you can reliably hit with a bolt action rifle, then you can reliably hit with a machine gun. *shrug*

        Haven’t gotten to your Sonico posts, but I generally don’t follow anime blogs. I’ve noticed a certain pseudo-intellectualism in anime blogs, where reviewers seem to have a perception that tearing down shows gives them more intellectual cred. Which makes this amusing when they get things wrong (I remember a certain Lupus and his criticisms of tactics in Library Wars, and it was clear he had no idea what the hell he was talking about).

        …and in other news, I’ve been watching Gundam Build Fighters and am enjoying it immensely. Even went and bought Gunpla – my very own Gunpla. ^_^; Great show, lotsa fun, and all the shipping is so adorable. Especially Reiji x Aila – one of the OST tracks lampshades them, and is titled “Aila – Reiji’s Custom Tsundere.” XD

        • infinitezenith February 27, 2014 at 09:10

          The point regarding the rationale behind training with bolt action rifles is perfectly valid: I never thought of it that way before. The possibility that Fana and Charles make an appearance somewhere down the line genuinely has me excited to see what is in store for The Pilot’s Love Song. I think I’ve said all I can for the series right now, so my next talk will be once this finishes.

          I don’t follow very many blogs (those I follow are the blogs I am interested in), and admittedly write for myself; this place acts as a little diary of sorts for me. As far as the pseudo-intellectualism goes, I find that it applies to forums, and that it’s a problem only when people are applying it to either 1) complaining about a show (e.g. Nihon Review) or 2) trying to insist on the correctness of a very specific view on a series that may be controversial (the fisticuffs over Girls und Panzer last year comes to mind). I think that trying to “objectively” defend why something is poor or push an obviously incorrect interpretation comes across as being overly patronising because the writers are forced to use more “formal” arguments to defend what are usually weak positions, hence the sense of pseudo-intellectualism. My preferred approach is to simply say that a show didn’t work for me for my own reasons, then follow up by saying that there are merits that appeal to others. Of course, if I really didn’t like something, I simply won’t talk about it :P Beyond that, blogs that take writing with a more formal approach read just as well as the casual ones, as long as the author is writing for fun.

          I too have been following Gundam Build Fighters: originally it was so I could keep up with conversations with one of my friends, whose knowledge of Gundam is, for all intents and purposes, equal to Sei’s (that is, “bloody impressive”). However, since episode 15, I’ve been watching of my own accord simply because of how good the series is. The atmosphere in each of the battles are charged, but the series always makes sure to present itself as a light-hearted one. It’s serious in the right places, and fun everywhere else. If memory serves, you’re building a GM Commander right now and have aspirations to make a company of GMs, right? There are so many joys about building Gunpla: my first was a HG 00 Raiser + GN Sword III, which I bought after my aforementioned friend told me there was a certain amount of magic in turning a bunch of runners into a 3D model. At the time of writing, I have six finished models, two sitting in my storage waiting to be built, and one on my wish list (the HGUC Full Armour Unicorn in Destroy Mode). I typically collect lead machines: my favourites are the Master Grade 00 Gundam Seven Sword/G and the Master Grade Nu Gundam Ver. Ka (those are links to my Twitter, where I’ve got pictures!).

          Lastly, the Gundam Build Fighters soundtrack is downright majestic, with some tracks having equal power and substance to the Gundam Unicorn soundtrack! I can’t wait for this one to come out, although I can’t quite recall the release date, either. An aside: this reply crashed once, and I had to start from scratch since I didn’t save it (>_<')

          • Wild Goose February 27, 2014 at 22:24

            All this talk reminds me that I still owe you an impressions/review/discussion on Arpeggio of Blue Steel. ^_^; Need to get cracking on that.

            As for anime, I think Master Chinran in Build Fighters said it best: “You like something because you like something. You don’t need to justify it.”

            And there’s nothing wrong with formal vs informal, so long as the grammar and English is correct – at least, that’s how I see it. Hell, How Do I Warframe?, the Spacebattles collaborative guide to Warframe, is written in an informal style. It’s all about the presentation. :p

            Anyway yeah, enjoying Pilot’s Love Song a lot, even if I facepalm at some of the derp, though at least there’s in-universe justification. And yeah, I’ve been watching build Fighters from ep 15 regularly.

            For some reason, I prefer the GMs. Don’t know why, but grunt units have always had a soft spot in my heart. Built a GM Command over the weekend, gonna build a GM Command Space this weekend, and then I’m saving up and I’ll buy a few more in April – probably get an ECOAS Jegan, maybe the Jesta and Jesta Cannon… there’s an online retailer where I can get HGUC kits cheaply, but most of what I want is out of stock, sadly. For some reason, the GM line and its sucessors appeals to me – the ordinary grunts of UC. That’s one thing UC did right that the follow ons don’t succeed with.

            And yes, Build Fighters OST is particularly awesome. It’s slated to come out on March 6th, next week. I’m particularly looking forward to the main combat theme, ~Yuuki, Three Times the Passion~ (Disc 1 Track 12), Meijin, Six Times the Passion (Disc 2 Track 11), and Allied Force (aka feels-infused Wing Gundam Fenice standing up/ My Name Is Ricardo Fellini). I’m going to wait until I get the OST, then build my Command Space listening to [Flamenco Intensifies]. ;D

            Also, humorously, Disc 2 Track 3 is “Aila – Reiji’s Custom Tsundere.” XD

            • infinitezenith February 27, 2014 at 22:31

              There’s no rush. I’ll still be around…at least until I invest all my skill points to my next thesis, leaving none for blogging :P

              Incidentally, I have a friend who really, really loves grunt suits (same friend who introduced me to Build Fighters. He respects them for their general designs, balance and exhibition of skill in the right hands, but laments that they get shot down so easily when they’re not being used by named characters. Both he and I wish that “grunt” suits are simply operated by someone unnamed, but still someone who should’ve received a standardised amount of training and therefore, should still kick a reasonable amount of ass.

              I took a look, and the OST release is March 12, rather than March 6. Still, that’s less than a week from now.

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