The Pilot’s Love Song- First Episode Impressions
January 7, 2014
Posted by on
One of this season’s strongest contenders opens up in a world with sweeping skies, floating islands and exotic aircraft. The premise sets Kal-El, the protagonist, as a conflicted prince whose old life was destroyed by a hitherto unseen war, and at present, remains at odds with his settings. At present, Kal-El appears to be a slave to emotions, but late in the episode, a chance meeting with Claire Cruz seems to capture his heart quickly; this will form the basis for the events to unfold in later episodes and admittedly, seeing this development would be very nice. From the audio-visual side of things, the presentation of aircraft and airships is reminiscent of Last Exile (I’ve heard about the series and was halfway into Fam, The Silver Wing before interest waned), and the atmospherics present that of a unique world that definitely merits further exploration. Sound effects are rather nice, especially where gunfire and aircraft engines are concerned, and the soundtrack is majestic, fitting of such a world and reminds me of Valkyria Chronicles.
- I’ve heard that The Pilot’s Love Song is only going to be twelve or thirteen episodes in length, which means that there could very well be a lot of activity packed into a short amount of space. The Pilot’s Love Song is based off a light novel, and immediately, I get a good vibe from this series from the vibrant colours.
- Kal-El Albus is the series’ protagonist: resembling Broken Blade‘s Rygart in appearances, but apparently has some difficulties with his emotions, especially where the white-haired peoples are concerned. His name is spelt exactly the same as that of Superman’s name. Some have joked that Kal-El Albus must be derived off Harry Potter‘s Albus Dumbledore, as well. Whatever his name is, I’m going to spend the remainder of the series thinking about Man of Steel now: this could prove entertaining.
- Blue skies and slick aircraft mean that I will definitely stick around for the aircraft battles, and the fact that the setup accommodates character development means that this could easily be one of the more entertaining anime this season. On a side note, I’m now some ten hours into Battlefield 3, and I have not once boarded a jet for combat in the skies, preferring to stay on the ground. This is partly because controlling a fighter jet with the mouse is a little clunky and unintuitive.
- Despite only being an episode in, I’m already looking forward to the soundtrack. The larger vessels are propelled by turbines that remind me greatly of the designs from Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and although they look impressive with their 16-inch guns, the battleship was displaced by aircraft carriers and cruise missiles following World War II because naval engagements proved that a aircraft had a much greater range than even the largest of battleship guns, and nuclear warfare completely negated battleship armour.
- Unfortunately, either I missed some details or more will have to be introduced. For instance, the only thing I know is that this is Nina Viento, and because she is voiced by Aoi Yuki, it is possible that Claire Cruz is the same person. For now, one can surmise that the white-haired individuals serve some sort of significant role in Kal-El’s backstory, although patience will be required to determine their specific role.
- Floating worlds continue to captivate viewers as they represent a sort of mystique that defies all known physics. A long time ago, I used to play World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade, which introduced Outland. One of the regions in Outland, Nagrand, is characterised by lush grasslands and floating islands. I had a flying mount and spent a few hours hanging out on these islands, but I’ve stopped playing World of Warcraft since 2009, and I feel that Skyrim is probably one of the closest games I’ve got that emulate the level of exploration in World of Warcraft, though Skyrim is a single-player game and therefore more suited for days where one feels like exploring on their own.
- Kal-El’s interactions with Ariel are immensely entertaining to behold: the latter mocks him after a stray gust of wind blows his aircraft off course. It seems that the former hates being called otouto (younger brother), whereas Ariel throws exceptions when Kal-El calls her imouto (little sister). They later enjoy a shouting match, but is interrupted by the death glare from Igancio Axis. I imagine future episodes will elaborate upon their interactions and significance further.
- This is one of the reasons why I watch the fantasy and science fiction genres: fantastical worlds demand impressive world-building, and authors who successfully do that have the power to immerse readers and viewers. Aside from having a solid central storyline, sometimes, subtle details in the environment make things even more engaging, whether they be books one can read in a world, or newspaper clippings and news programs seen within a world.
- Claire Cruz (right) is introduced late in the episode, after Kal-El encounters her trying to fix her bike. She’s voiced by Aoi Yuuki, who also supplied the voice for Puella Magi Madoka Magica‘s Madoka Kaname and Sora no Woto‘s Nöel Kannagi. Here’s another amusing point: Ariel Albus is voiced by Ayana Taketatsu (think Azu-nyan of K-On!, Kirino Kousaka of OreImo and Fuu Sawatari from Tamayura).
- If this series follows through and paces things properly, in addition to being consistent with its outcomes, I think we will have a fine story about a young man coming to terms with his past and maturing thanks to a girl introduced into his life. At episode one’s end, I think Kal-El is in head-over-heals, but I imagine that the story is about to get a little more serious, too. On an unrelated note, I might pick up Buddy Complex, since I’m itching to watch something with mecha in it, and Gundam Unicorn‘s finale isn’t coming out for another four months.
A beautiful setting and the upcoming adventure the characters will set out upon, both in their journeys in the world and finding peace within themselves, means that I will be following A Pilot’s Love Song very closely. There are many elements that this opening episode that definitely capture my interest, whether it be Kal-El’s background, his upcoming relationship with Claire, or the technologies powering the aircraft. The latter is of note: tiltrotor aircraft and fuel-cells are part of the A Pilot’s Love Song world, although some of the blogs have mentioned that this technology is well beyond our reach for the present. This statement is both true and false. Tiltrotor aircraft exist in reality, including the V-22 Osprey (fielded by American forces as a short take-off and landing aircraft for rapid troop deployment). As for the “hydrogen-battery stacks” (fuel cells), modern aircraft still are largely dependent on fossil fuels, although hydrogen fuel cells have been successfully used on aircraft as early as 2003. Of course, both technologies are operational, although their prevalence is nowhere near that of A Pilot’s Love Story, so it will be interesting to see the combination of unusual technologies in conjunction with World War II-era aircraft designs. As per tradition, I will return at the halfway point to present my thoughts on this series, and then return once more to share reflections on the series as a whole.