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12 of 12 episodes seen
The first episode alone sets up the majority of the conflicts. We see Kazuhiro's dissatisfaction with being assigned to a helicopter rescue squad in a tiny, unremarkable city instead of the jet fighter pilot force he dreamed of joining as a young boy. We see his somewhat strained, long distance relationship with his big city girlfriend, Megumi. We see his confrontation with the helicopter unit's Major Hongo, who notices his lack of commitment to the rescue squad at a glance and chews him out for it immediately. Along with his various personal issues and his rather apathetic personality at first glance, Kazuhiro doesn't come off as the most endearing character at first, but the show makes a point to show his personal growth as he deals with the daily catastrophes that come naturally to his job, and his newfound appreciation for human life. Thematically, it's not the most original work, but nevertheless, it's satisfying to see Kazuhiro's outlook on life change throughout the story. While the show's main focus is on Kazuhiro, it also does a good job of establishing a number of memorable side characters. Yomigaeru Sora manages to establish a cast of distinct personalities, all with their own internal conflicts. One of the best things about the series is the way it shows how the JSDF members' work affects their personal lives.
The show puts a majority of its focus on the rescue operations. The rescue operations are edge-of-your-seat tense and can take many a twist and turn without coming off as incidental or contrived; the show does an excellent job at conveying the unpredictability and of a natural disaster and the powerlessness humanity holds over such an impersonal, destructive entity.. The show works on a personal level by not only showing the struggles of the victims but also how the JSDF members must deal with unforeseen hardships, make necessary compromises and face the everpresent possibility of failure, which rears its ugly head in this series quite often. Much of the drama comes from the JSDF members' struggles in the face of life-of-death decisions and their struggle between idealism and pragmatism; save everyone, or save who you can. When the scale leans towards the latter, the repercussions are felt and the impact can be quite touching.
While the rescue missions may be Yomigaeru Sora -Rescue Wings-'s centerpiece at a visceral level, the majority of the show is actually taken up by dialogue. Fortunately, Yomigaeru Sora -Rescue Wings- has a smart and nuanced script, with lines that flow naturally and plenty of amusing banter between the cast that serve to make them more endearing and human. Still, viewers who prefer their anime more action-heavy might want to skip this one, as it's a show that moves at a rather luxurious pace and the rescue operations really only serve as vehicles for character growth.
When it comes to art and animation, the best thing I can say about Rescue Wings is that both are unobtrusive. While this may sound derisive, it is actually meant as a compliment. Any visual gimmicks would be distracting and unnecessary for a show like this, and as mentioned before, this show makes a point to avoid typical anime cliches, so don't expect any super deformed characters here or blue hair or any of that nature. The show does a good job of making the characters look realistically Asian while giving them distinguishing physical traits which make it easy to tell them apart, without having to resort to color coding or exaggerated features. The show also makes use of CG for the helicopters and airplanes, which are actually used quite well and are lovingly detailed and animated. In fact, I suspect military otaku would get a kick of this show just for the realistic depiction of modern Japanese aircraft. If there's one complaint I can launch at the overall presentation, it's the somewhat overly sentimental orchestral score, but that's a minor nitpick at most.
While lacking the originality to be a truly remarkable series, Rescue Wings is one of the better offerings in this medium for viewers who want a pure drama without the excessive melodrama or childish silliness that usually plagues this genre. If you do watch this show, expect to be both thrilled and touched. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
Generally, mecha shows tend to fall into two categories: Boisterous and outrageous (think: TTGL) or grim and serious (think: Gundam). Dolores, i is one of the few series which doesn't quite fit into either. It has the lightheartedness of a super robot show and the realism of a real robot show without the utter absurdity or relentless angst that usually accompany them. In fact, Dolores, i subverts many of the typical cliches you would come to expect from a mecha show. There's no whiny teenage protagonist here; instead, you get James Links, a grizzled, middle-aged working class space trucker and the father of two fully grown working class children, who compose the rest of the main cast along with the the title character, Dolores. Dolores is the star of the show and may make or break the series for many people; she's a rosy pink mecha with the personality and naivete of a sheltered teenage girl, and yes, she talks. Her antics contribute to much of the humor of the show and her development as a character, while not particularly original (think: I, Robot) is still quaintly executed and ends up being surprisingly moving. This is bound to be too silly to some people, but it's a fresh idea in the series and is actually quite charming in practice.
While Dolores is a great character on her own, the rest of the main cast is just as excellent and is undoubtedly one of the best things about this show. The aforementioned James Links is a fresh of breath air, and is one of the most down to earth and sympathetic main characters I've ever seen in this genre. He's an everyman with a sense of humor, but also a man down on his luck, bordering on alcoholism and trying to keep the fracturing relationship between him and his children, Noel Links, an affable and tomboyish construction worker, and Leon Links, an image-conscious salaryman lacking self-assurance, intact, who blame him for their mother's death. His luck appears to get even worse when on a trucking job, he is framed for murder by space pirates attempting to steal his cargo. But when the cargo turns out to be an Orbital Frame (read: mecha) named Dolores, who holds a message for him coming from his long lost wife, Rachel, his goal in life shifts to finding the woman he presumed to be long dead, with his children going along with him being forced to by unfortunate circumstances. This journey takes them between all sorts of destinations in Earth and Mars, all while being chased as fugitives by police as well as a mysterious organization seeking to recapture Dolores and strengthening the bond between the main cast, whose internal struggles are relatable and whose growth as characters are soundly satisfying.
The plot isn't a work of genius, but it serves well as a vehicle to move the characters from scenario to scenario and manages to reach a thrilling climax and conclusion. The show moves at a perfect pace, never staying on any scene for too long and achieving a perfect balance between comedy, action and drama. The show has a charming and genuinely funny sense of humor without becoming too childish or absurd. The action scenes are directed and choreographed well enough, but aren't particularly outstanding. They get the job done, but make no mistake, this is not the show to watch if you're looking for pure action. Don't expect sterling production values, either. The animation and soundtrack are just about average, meaning they're nothing worth noting, but they're also not bad enough to be distracting. The animation is acceptable and the soundtrack is used appropriately without being memorable. The art fares similarly; it's unimpressive, but the character designs are still attractive and the mech designs are eye-catchingly sleek.
In conclusion, ZOE: Dolores, i is a fun, tongue-in-cheek mecha show with a heart and a sense of humor which isn't completely brain dead. It's a solid show from all angles and comes as an easy recommendation to anyone yearning for a good adventure romp. Very under appreciated series. read more