Pretty girls, crude boys and the appeal of watching them interact. Or something like that.
What They Say:
A Hypothetical Fairy Tale
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the visual novel game Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai that was released in 2009, and definitely an eroge game for the PC, We, Without Wings is a new series for the season directed by Shinji Ushiro with Takamitsu Kouno serving as the script supervisor on it with studio Nomad providing the animation production. You can get a feel for part of the series from the opening couple of minutes where it has a TV that shows a variety of images across it that are fanservice oriented, but it doesn't feel like it's something you can really put your finger on right away because of how it unfolds from there, with a sort of in your face approach due to the boombox that's used.
The series doesn't fare too much better when it gets past that as it introduces us to the restaurant Alexander where a seeming lead character named Chitose (who I will sadly always pronounce as Cheetos due to some cringe worthy dubbing years ago) who is a hyper personality, very outgoing and emotional, enough so that the main waitress there is ready to toss him the minute he shows up. But he's friendly with Karube, the man behind the bar, and seemingly has some familiarity with a few others as it progresses. Through Chitose, he gives us the breakdown on the people we meet, such as Kinako, the aforementioned waitress, who he tries to convince her girlfriends to come to a mixer that the restaurant/bar will be having soon at his suggestion in order to draw in more business.
The first half of the episode deals with these basic introductions and a lot of dialogue about who Kinako really is and the kinds of girls they want to try and get to the mixer. It's all very outgoing and in a way felt like it was trying far too hard to make itself seem more engaging and fun than it really is. It's a situation where you feel you'd tell a couple of these people to take it down a few notches because they're annoying. And it's not good when a couple of the first characters you meet and spend time with come across that way. They do try to compensate a bit by putting Kinako in a really cute uniform and giving us some upskirt style shots, focusing on the fanservice, but sometimes even a hot girl that's annoying loses her hotness.
Where the show really lost me though is just after the halfway mark when some younger boy comes into the place and proceeds to not only flip Kinako's skirt, but is hugely disappointed when he discovers that she doesn't have on striped panties but instead ones with strawberries on them. It's an out of nowhere moment that's never really dealt with and it proceeds to go even worse when he decides that she can't have them and he yanks them off of her. That sends Chitose off to the bathroom to cope with his huge nosebleed, but the whole things just felt wrong. And yes, that's why I was compelled to screencap it and use it as the image. To share the wrongness of it all.
It goes even worse in the next segment where one young girl decides that she ends up wanting to flip her skirt on her own out in the street between a couple of guys. She's the definition of a Lolita type who is overtly sexual. She comments on the monster in his pants and then asks if he wants to put it in her kitty. In a very lifeless kind of way. At this point, there's still another five minutes or so left in the show for it to introduce to us other men and women, all of which have their names subtitled as we see them in dialogue free pieces. It's just a quick way to introduce them all and show that breadth of beauties they intend to introduce and their general situations. Though I suspect many haven't yet gotten past the whole kitty statement. I know it left me wondering what the producers were thinking.
With most eroge games that go into mainstream anime shows, they remove a lot of the sexuality but still retain the fanservice. We, Without Wings come across as exploitive in a way that's unappealing. That sounds like an odd statement, but when you can take other eroge games and use the girls appearance and emotions together in a way to make a fun, interesting and engaging work, you're still exploiting it. Here, it just feels crass, oddly paced and without any seeming purpose based on this first episode. We get a fair number of character interactions after the first half or so when it gets out of the restaurant, but it almost left me wanting to just close the window at that point considering what it did. The saving grace to the show is that it does have some really good character deisgns and the animation flows well with a lot of detail, making it very pretty and appealing to look at, but it lacks any real heart right now. And it seemingly lacks, you know, a story.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.