Set in a continent divided into two commonwealths that have been engaged in war for hundreds of years, Allison and Will go on a mission to search "the treasure that will put an end to the war". Their hope is inherited to their daughter Lillia, who strives to thaw the torn nations into a united country. This anime encourages young generations to believe in a world without hatred or war regardless of nationalities and beliefs.
Allison and Lillia is a great adventure that takes place high up in the vast blue skies, while it isn't the greatest adventure title you'll see, it does remain a good watch!
Despite this title having many military action elements to it, its actually all kept pretty darn clean. There are rarely any deaths that take place, most of which are the bad guys, and there is no blood to speak of with it, which is both a positive and negative depending on your taste. Now without posting any spoilers, I can tell you that this series is divided into two arks: Allison's Tales (first
half), and Lillia's tale (second half).
Starting with the first half about Allison and Will, things start off kinda slow but begin to get better and better as the story progresses, and by episode 3 begins to pick up. (though the pacing of both story sequences do stay rather slow throughout, just so your aware) Basically Allison and her friend Will are trying to find the legendary hidden treasure in order to unite the two countries together. This concept works well, as the two make their way into the adventure many plot twist and friends are found along the way. This series is also great with its little detective work bits that the viewer can try to figure out along with them. Still, some may find that the overall plot moves way too slow, (this is true with both story arks) as they seem show a lot of friendly chat between the characters a lot, which can be seen as fillers. On Allison's last episode everything is concluded and will leave you with a smile on your face and good satisfaction! However once Lillia's story begins you may get the impression that the writers didn't know where to take the story anymore, as it basically has Lillia and her friend Trieve wandering about aimlessly with no real goal as to what they are both trying to accomplish (or the villains for that matter, we never even find out who the main one was at the end) with the story. Lillia herself can come off as stuck up and Trieze as cowardly, that they just don't have the appeal of the cast before them, which makes it hard to actually care about these characters. Not the worst by any means, just a bit of a stumbling block I felt.
The ending itself leaves much to be desired though, as it leaves a bunch of plot holes in the end and most questions and circumstances unresolved. A good story overall, I just wished they would have developed the second half more.
Truly, the character development is indeed good, as all of them do actually grow closer and closer to one another. All characters are likable for the most part and have distinct personalities to them, and never come off as redundant. Not to mention Allison trying catch Will's interest about her is also nice, even though he is a dense as they come when dealing with it, he never comes off as annoying, plus the way they are carried out is charming and cute! While there isn't a large variety with the character personalities, it still hold its own. Some may feel that the second half characters are a bit more of an annoyance, which they kinda are, but this at least helps in the variety department to some extent!
The animation done by Madhouse is good overall, while its not their best work by any means, Allison and Lillia is a nice anime to look at, what with well detailed characters and scenes. They just never really went that extra mile to make it really stand out. As I felt it was missing the overall colorful affect of other adventure titles that came before it. The character design, while not exactly unique, does really give you the feeling of being in this era!
The music is very charming, with a catchy soft sung opening and ending, with great live orchestral Background soundtracks to compliment, that definitely fit the series to a T and give you the sense that adventure looms right over the horizon.! It won't appeal to all music lovers out there, but most will agree that it works for the kind of atmosphere they were going for. The voice acting is also spot on, and you will find that they really took the time to find the right voice actors for the right roles. My only complaint was that some of the voices were starting to get a bit on the repetitive side.....especially regarding some of the male villains. Kinda sounded like it was the same guy doing some of them.
Bottom Line: 7/10
Even though the overall story is quite slow paced and has its short comings (which might kill it for some), Allison and Lillia still remains an entertaining watch! I feel this series truly could have been great had they developed Lillia's story ark a little more. As it stands now though, it is still a fun little adventure despite it all!
This show should be watched by aspiring writers. Its greatest contribution is that it shows how a project can have tremendous charm, good redeeming characteristics, and yet fail when considered as a whole.
A gruesome autopsy can be fascinating to a scientific observer; this show can be fascinating to a creative artist who hopes to learn how art projects can go wrong.
Let us start with the redeeming characteristics. The art designs are charmingly retro, featuring costumes, weapons, vehicles, and technology spanning a period from about 1930 to 1955. If you love World War II costumes, you might watch the entire show just to
see the visual designs.
The lead voice talents are good. The music is initially redeemed by the opening theme, but the rest of the music is mediocre and the whole sound fails to inspire, draw the project together, or create a cohesive mood. (By contrast, [i]Ergo Proxy[/i] takes a similarly small selection of music and uses it to create a mood.)
The characters are somewhat stereotypical. Further, they are puppets in the service of an idiotic plot, so they behave irrationally. The characters are usually armed to the teeth with deadly firearms, but they are fervent pacifists, so they usually refuse to shoot. If they must squeeze a trigger, they are sure to fire warning shots or to target something nonlethal. This show prettifies warfare by showing shiny planes that can be wrecked with their pilots always parachuting to safety. There are tens of thousands of opportunities for death and destruction - and in 26 episodes, there are fewer than half a dozen injuries. Characters can stand a few yards away from a dynamite bomb, with no ill effects; but they can be rendered conveniently unconscious by punches. It's pretty standard for heroic anime teenagers to be passionately in love with each other and yet incapable of touching each other, but the shyness in this series goes beyond anime-standard silliness into self-parody. In the face of this idiotic pseudo-violence and pseudo-tension, the plot holes, though numerous and annoying, are scarcely worth mentioning.
Somehow I found the whole mess to be surprisingly watchable. There are some ambitious, artsy flashbacks that tugged my heartstrings, and some ambitious supporting characters that failed to move me. There were a few suspenseful sequences that actually evoked World War II era commando tactics; there were some cute moments; there was at least one good laugh. If nothing else, there is a morbid fascination in asking, "How much cheesier can this get?" because the answer is always, "Soooo much cheesier."
Some viewers have suggested watching the first half and skipping the second half. I disagree; if one is going to stare into this abyss, one had better do it whole-heartedly. I recommend that most viewers should skip this entirely, but aspiring writers should bear with the cheesiness for all 26 episodes. It builds character.
Allison and Lillia has a rather unusual flavour to it for an anime series. While you can see from a mile away that it is an action/adventure series with an underpinning romance subplot, it carries itself very differently from all other anime I’ve seen in this broader genre, and deals with a lot of themes that aren’t regularly explored in this medium. Perhaps this is to be expected from any anime that comes along with Keichii Sigsawa, original creator of the successful and remarkable Kino’s Journey. Kino’s Journey really tackled a whole array of social and human themes with depth and subtlety that I have
not found in any other anime series I’ve ever seen, and while this show retains some charms of the author, particularly how his love for travel and adventure once again shine through, it really is vastly different. Gone is the grit, angst and metaphoric render of Kino’s Journey, and in its place Allison and Lillia pulsates with light-hearted energy and tries diligently to capture the pure spirit of adventure. I struggle to think of something that works as comparison, which is funny because one of the first things that sprung to mind to describe this show was “a traditional adventure”.
Perhaps it is reminiscent of forgotten childhood books and stories, and just maybe this is how its charm really resonates. The soaring elation of flying in a plane for the first time, the anticipation and trepidation before setting off on a journey to somewhere unknown, the thrill of getting swept up in a dangerous train caper – Allison to Lillia at its core is about that, and about tapping into a nostalgic, childish form of escapism. Speaking of planes and trains, they are featured heavily in this series, and help to form the setting which is one of the ways in which it gains an atypical feel to it. The war-era West is the perfect choice of fictionalised setting as a time when technology and machinery still had a degree of magic to it. Allison to Lillia really capitalizes on this feeling of wonder, taking us for flights with a sense of gusto and amazement that must have existed before planes became a banal form of commute.
The setting may be a refreshing change from the generic Japanese High School but the characters that populate it are still distinctly Japanese in their behavior and culture. The result is like an antique Western adventure characterised by a familiar anime tone. The romantic aspect of the series plays out largely very predictably and bashfully, and the female characters are spiced up with some bouncy moe features to their personalities. Much of the show revolves around the relationship between the core duo getting caught up in these antics. In the first half, the duo comprises of Wilhelm and Allison, and in the second Treize and Lillia pair up to assail the world. In both cases, one of the characters is trying to confess to the other (and propose marriage no less) for much of their half of the show. Cue the botched/interrupted confessions and romantic obliviousness of the resilience seen only in anime! It is in this that she show loses a lot of points, with characters who are supposed to be so adventurous being so gratingly nervous with each other, and with the female characters being made so cute that it sometimes seems a bit jarring. Jabs at their believability aside, the main characters are really very likeable, and, especially in the case of Lillia and Treize, their interplay with each other is a lot of fun and gives the series a lot of its personality. Even if I may cringe when Treize is unable to confess, they are good enough characters that I genuinely did want to see things turn out happily for them in the end (which isn’t to say that it doesn’t – no spoilers from me!).
Believability is misplaced a bit in other areas of the show too. The creators may have spent so much effort nailing the essence of adventure that they completely neglected the details of said escapades. In a lot of cases, the villain presence feels contrived and there are quite a few relatively glaring leaps of logic in the plot that are ignored in favour of in-the-moment suspense. If you’ve seen the show I’m sure you’ll be able to think back to some times where you disconnected from the flow of the show and had to think “why are the villains going to all the trouble of doing this when they could have just..?” or “how is killing a seaplane load of orphans an optimal way to draw attention to a nation’s poverty crisis, at all?”. Often it gets ahead of itself, which unfortunately erodes the credibility of some of its stories. This may be the fault of the original creator; while Kino’s Journey was quite abstract and could afford the absence of realism, Allison and Lillia tries for conventional storytelling that relies in suspension of disbelief.
Mediocrity seeps into it from one other angle and that is the visual production. The score may have not been great music in its own right, but it got the job done in providing an extra edge of tension or drama where needed. The animation and direction, however might have been just a tad bland for this kind of show. Some scenes looked really great – some of the dog fights were done very well for a tv anime. But the background art was too simple and the episode direction was boringly conventional. I’m not asking for trippy 3D camera pans or anything like that, but the direction did nothing to add atmosphere to the series. It was generally just close up, followed by another close-up etc – the minimum thought needed in getting the animation into a frame. The director is not an unknown, Nishida Masayoshi worked on Mokke recently and I recall that suffering the same blandness. On the other hand, the character designs were very different and, especially for the female characters, very nice indeed. With their rounded, feminine features both Allison and Lillia often looked very beautiful (as opposed to just cute).
There is a message and a moral to each of its arcs, but it does not burrow too deeply with themes into the darker side of humanity. Rather, Allison to Lillia is washed over with a thick coat of optimism that is essential to this fun-spirited nature. To those of you who retain the childish yearning for adventure and exploration, Allison to Lillia should prove to be very enjoyable, providing just the right mix of tension, charm and romance. If you can latch onto this brand then it’s got to be a healthy change from or alternative to the kind of escapism fueled by the moe genre. It’s not particularly complex, involved or intelligent (quite unlike Kino’s Journey) but I’m sure it never tried to be and it works quite well as simple, wholesome entertainment, if you can overlook some logic gaps.
“It’s a small world” well this one certainly is. Allison & Lillia is an Action, Adventure series set in a world where a war is going on. This anime did have a lot of potential to be a great series but it was let down by its own carefree nature.
The tale of Allison & Lillia is interesting because it is split into 2 separate stories. The first major focus of the story is on the titular character Allison and her childhood friend Wil. Their adventure soon begins when they journey to discover something that could end the war between nations. Even though the meaning behind
this WWII-like war was incredibly stupid, at least it gave meaning to the pair’s journey. The only real downside is that it’s resolved surprisingly quickly, which will leave anyone feeling quite unsatisfied. However that’s not the end of this arc-driven story, since it follows a basic structure: establish arc, develop it, climax, rinse then repeat. The second part of the series does the same but focuses on the other titular character Lillia.
The characters involved during these adventures are okay at best but it becomes tiring when so many characters appear to be inter-connected in someway. For the most part they are fairly well-developed, yet from the 2 boisterous female leads to the dull male leads; the cast as a whole leaves very little impression on the viewer. Although what does leave an impression are the farfetched decisions the characters generally make.
At least there’s one positive thing that leaves an impressions and that’s the production value. Sure the animation has its good and bad points, yet the lush environments and character designs (that are quite bland) match the whole WWII theme. Yet CGI similar to the likes of “Last Exile” is to be expected. Well even though this series may not fair so well for some in the animation department, it ends up doing a great job in the sound department by having an amazing soundtrack. The music in the series is up to par with the whole WWII theme and the SFX is certainly impressive.
Overall Allison & Lillia felt like a pretty camp, adventure series with quite a few journeys and quest that are resolved so easily that it proves to be a big disappointment. Sure there are plenty of things to enjoy in this series, like the way the main characters interact with one another and the element of combat, nevertheless with this being such a kid friendly show anything from the combat to the romance will bore anyone who’s used to something… a bit more… intense.