Straightforward and innocent Hisone Amakasu is a Self-Defense Force rookie stationed at the Air Self-Defense Force's Gifu Base. She was struggling with the fact that she sometimes hurts people unintentionally by her innocent words and decided to join the Air Self-Defense Force, hoping to maintain a certain distance from people. This decision led her to a fateful encounter which profoundly changed her life. It was the "OTF" dragon hidden in the base and it chose Hisone as his pilot. When it soared into the sky with Hisone, her fate as a dragon pilot was decided. It is said that dragons have a key to the future of the world...
Originally conceptualized by BONES, Mari Okada, and Shinji Higuchi. Hisone to Masotan was announced at the 2017 Tokyo Comic Con. It premiered on April 13th, 2018 at 00:00 JST (effectively April 14th) on Tokyo MX. It has been licensed by Netflix for Domestic and International streaming.
#1 conti.: [Hisone Amakazu (Misaki Kuno), Nao Kaizaki (Tomoyo Kurosawa), Eru Hoshino (Maki Kawase), Ririko Kinutsugai (Satomi Arai), Mayumi Hitomi (Kaori Nazuka)] (eps 1-6) #1: "Le temps de la rentrée〜恋の家路（新学期）〜 (Le temps de la rentrée~Koi no Shingakki~)" by D Pai #2: "Le temps de la rentrée〜恋の家路（新学期）〜 (Le temps de la rentrée~Koi no Shingakki~)" by Ririko Kinutsugai (Satomi Arai) (ep 7)
If there was one anime that consider to be a sleep hit of year it would Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan. Despite being done by Studio Bones who are well known for My Hero Academia, Fullmetal Alchemist and Eureka Seven this beautifully crafted series unfortunately fell below under people radars as they all interested of watching My Hero Academia Season 3 as well some other hits like Megalo Box, Steins Gate 0 etc. Also this was the anime I was looking forward the most from the Spring 18 season because this show in my eyes had the potential to be truly great. Thankfully this series
didn’t disappoint me one bit because not only this show is a beautifully done character drama that puts Darling in the Franxx to shame but it also manages to be a wonderful fun series that I really liked.
Now with that said Hello Everyone this is Shawn aka KurataLordStage and welcome to my review of Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan.
The story follows a rookie named Hisone Amakasu who is part of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, where she is situated at the Gifu air base. She decided to join the force to distance herself from people as, her whole life, she had found it difficult to interact with others due to her candid style of speaking and oftentimes hurtful words, despite that not being her intention. Hisone's decision leads to her life being changed when the concealed "OTF" – Organic Transformed Flyer, or dragon – inside the base chooses her to be his pilot, leading her to discover her destined role as a dragon pilot during their ascension in the skies together. According to legend, dragons are thought to possess a key to unlocking the future of the world.
Despite this being the anime version of one of my favourite animated movies How To Train A Aragon I thought the story to be pretty good for the most part
Right on the bat Dragon Pilot Hisone and Masotan does something that not a lot of anime like to do and that is actually start with a bang. Most series including anime originals feel comfortable taking it slow because they either want adapt the source material carefully as possible to avoid filler or slowly introducing its characters and setting. Dragon Pilot Hisone and Masotan doesn’t go any of this as it’s immediacy gets straight to the point by introducing its characters and setting in a way that is magical and interesting. By the end of the third episode, I got hooked.
The character drama in this show is brilliant and well executed. Unlike Darling in the Franxx where the character drama was nothing but contrived bullshit the drama actually matters to the overall narrative where we see characters going thought mini character arcs and development.
The show is well paced for the most part that keeps the audience interested with the shows events. Not only that the show does a great job of tacking themes and topics such as trust, loneliness, friendship, commutation, love etc. Plus the way the character developed with theses themes are great.
The only issues that I have with this show is that it show is quite predictable as having too much foreshadowing and at times meh writing but don’t you worry they are not as that the other character drama show Darling in the Franxx.
Besides thoeses minor issues I thought the story was pretty good for the most part.
The characters in Dragon Pilot Hisone and Masotan are all fantastic they own ways.
Every single character in the show is likeable, relatable well written for the most part and they are all fun to watch from start to finish. Like with A place Future than the universe the show does a great job with character interactions where the anime how different and unique the characters just based from they character expressions from the aggressive Nao, the soft and subdued Liliko to the straightforward and innocent Hisone. Some people may find some of theses chararater annoying in the beginning but least they redeem themselves as they all go through chararter which is more than about any character from the Thireenth Planation from Darling in the Franxx where they don’t even any character development for shit.
Overall the characters in Dragon Pilot Hisone and Masotan are all great and well thought out.
Gorgeous is honestly the best way to describe the visuals Dragon Pilot Hisone and Mastoan.
Studio Bones really did a wonderful job with the overall presentation from its great use contrasting heavy strokes on the character designs, the warm soft colour palette to the overall great shot composition and camerawork.
The animation is fantastic. While it may not be in the same level as some other Studio Bones works My Hero Academia or Blood Blockade Battlefront the actually is still great enough to be one of the best looking of 2018 with it’s smooth movement, and well animated fights.
The soundtrack is amazing.
Instead of having a generic music score that you have seen before from many anime this year the show’s mostly uses classical orchestral song pieces to give the show more life and atmosphere. There are however a couple of moe light-hearted tracks in this show but I thought it fitted well the show tone.
The opening theme Soujo wa Ano Sora wo Wataru by Riko Fukumoto is fantastic opening theme that perfectly captures to tone and setting of the show. Plus the visuals for the opening was fantastic and well animated.
The ending theme Le temps de la rentrée by D Pai is by far the most catchiest and ending theme of the year. I really adore that song with a passion.
The voice acting is top notice. Every single Seiyuu did a fantastic job with the roles that they were given and it really made the anime more alive.
Sadly this show hasn’t got an English Dub but I hope Netflix will dub it sometime soon.
Dragon Pilot Hisone and Mastoan is a wonderful anime that I really adored. It may not be as masterful as Hina Festival which was my favourite anime of the season it was still a great show that deserves to be loved.
The story while mainly character driven was pretty. The character is all great and enjoyable the visuals are fantastic and the soundtrack is brilliant.
The show may not be for everyone but if you want to a watch a great character drama that is filled with charm I would strongly recommend Dragon Pilot Hisone and Masotan.
Final Score 8/10
It isn't too often that an anime can promise so much with its presentation only to vomit out a big nothing. This anime is a big, bland pile of nothing. However, this doesn't mean the anime necessarily goes the way of many other shows, staying the course and playing it safe as it fades into obscurity forever. And it isn't as if the writing is conceited enough that it makes it out to be more important than anyone would care. The problem lies in that while the anime does (at times) try to be original, relatable and emotionally engaging, it does so in the most
unfocused and impersonal way possible. (Meaning: it doesn't really do any of those things).
Yes, I think it's pretty obvious that this anime tries to be a character driven show. The military setting is a personal favorite of mine because the setup allows for a cast of characters of various importance and personality to interact in a way that might not seem natural in any other story. Maybe it's the way the military is almost like a workplace, with its rigidness countered by the personalities of the cast that makes it so endearing to me. Bonding over alcohol, hard work, silly antics, and drama these are all things I can expect from a good military/unit/team-based anime. And, let me be clear, we do get some downtime. However, it is only included as part of the bigger picture, and never seems to exist for its own sake.
This lack of organic interaction mixes poorly with characters who feel inadequate. We never get to know these people, and it's weird because it isn't as if the cast is so huge that they ran out of run-time to try and expose us to them. Amakasu's personality gimmick can barely sustain itself throughout the series, and we end up with another character having to remind us that it was something that defined her. And maybe it is the reliance on these gimmicks, which masquerade as depth, that makes the characters so hollow. I will give credit to the staff in that they clearly engineered each female character to be immediately 'relatable' in an obvious way. They're not written in the way most anime fans are used to seeing female gimmick characters, so it makes sense that it would trick people. But these ladies are still pretty boring, it's only that a female audience might actually like them (and as far as I can tell they do). But, gimmick personalities can be incredibly endearing if written well, and it is very possible for characters like these to have a strong, static personality that can be rewarding to witness. Sadly, the interactions and their personalities don't really make for anything interesting aside from the faux realism that they emphasize.
In this way, truly great characters are often written with simple personalities, but alongside this there is always an underlying capacity for them to reveal real human emotion, which should be apparent even when they express themselves in the most pedestrian way. A 2D caricature with a soul, now that is what a good anime character should feel like, especially when they're drawn so expressively and cartoonish, as in this anime. However the characters we get are written only to mimic humans in both personality and emotion, in the most basic and superficial way, which is why the expression always seems hollow. For, how can anyone expect to be moved by the words of a character who has no soul? They are caricatures who make caricature of emotion and expression.
And, it isn't as if the ritual/mythological element to the story was focused on in any great detail that a character focus would need to be sacrificed. If anything, the anime did a pretty good job of not expositing too much about the mysterious and existentially important ritual, keeping it understandably mysterious. However, it never feels mystical. Perhaps because the anime treats it as more of a natural disaster, like an earthquake or typhoon, which makes sense for the story.
So, what does the anime actually focus on then if not some semi-serious story element or the characters? I couldn't tell you. Having watched this weekly, I'm drawing a blank. However, the general movement of the story is a military slice of life to contrived romance drama that all of a sudden becomes super important to the plot (because we all really want to see Aquarion EVOL again, right?) to existential myth that unravels the previous point.
Despite all of my complaining I wouldn't say the anime is egregiously or offensively bad, it's just tasteless. This makes the designs; characters and art style (which I do like) to feel like such a waste. A waste of setting and design. I should also be up front about my bias as well though. I didn't like the dragons. Now, I knew there was going to be dragons going into this, but this ended up being deviantart:the animation, with dragon vore being the method of piloting, with vomit as the icing on the cake. Maybe this is why I liked Hoshino so much in the beginning, if she got her way this anime might have been about fighter pilots instead. And speaking of Hoshino and her romance, it was quite funny seeing the weekly reaction from the peanut galley: people clearly would rather get angry than use their heads. All in all I couldn't recommend this. However, it is clear that at the surface level a lot of anime fans seem to be happy. For me, this is just a very bland anime that doesn't really leave too many lasting impressions or say anything interesting. And even with the great art and visual design, it was still aesthetically uninspired.
"Never laugh at live dragons." -(screw off Tolkien)
Hisone to Maso-tan, or, Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan as the gringos say may get a bit personal for me, but it wouldn’t be a genuine review otherwise. I consume anime like candy. It’s not so much for the sport of it, or for the sake of investing time in my hobby, or for a...primal need for self-flagellation. To me, watching anime has become my niche, obviously not to an unhealthy degree, although you could potentially say that subjecting yourself to 30+ seasonal anime in an average season with a strict no-drop policy is anything but healthy. It’s
a fascination really, when something special comes out, no other entertainment medium can give you that high of a truly great anime. That’s what I got out of Hisomaso, a series that checked nearly every mark on my rubric for what could potentially be one of the best shows I’ve seen in years.
Bones has been batting 500 since its inception as an animation studio. Paired with Shinji Higuchi and Hiroshi Kobayashi’s very unique visual direction, and Bones may have just struck what could be one of their most visually interesting and ambitious projects to date. Obviously since the average viewer has been tempered by standard character models, washed-out color-palettes, and layers upon layers of polish, the cartoony nature of this series may alienate some. However, I found almost every visual and technical aspect of this series to be incredibly refreshing when paired up against some of its peers.
Not to suggest that Hisomaso has an average score, but it’s perhaps the most unassuming component of this series’ technical aspects. The soundtrack has a few standouts, namely the more emotional pieces, but overall I’d say that it did a fine job of conveying the absolute serenity of piloting a dragon and the loopy militaristic percussiveness of the daily JSDF grind. The opening sequence is serene and muted, but nothing that I’d go out of my way to listen to on its own. The cover of France Gall’s “Le Temps de la Rentree” was groovy as hell and paired nicely with hilariously dorky dancing from the main cast, this ending theme has become a fast personal favorite of mine. As far as voice performance goes, I think Misaki Kuno is the star (in a literal sense as well) and provides a sheepish yet infinitely personable portrayal as Hisone. No English dub as of yet, for you dub purists.
Technicals aside, this show has no shortage of personable and deceptively interesting characters. When Hisone Amakasu is first introduced, my expectations were for the most part subverted when at first glance she appeared to be yet another milquetoast protagonist dealing with your run of the mill young-adult ennui. But quickly, that switch flipped when she proved to be an exceptionally cheeky and likable dork who was not afraid to run her mouth in situations that would typically leave her in hot water. The emotional centerpiece of this series is derived from Hisone’s relationship with the titular Masotan, which indeed paid off in the end. However, I was shocked at the thematic scope that this series experimented with, namely the concept of militaristic dedication. On the whole, Hisomaso is actually prone to surprising tonal shifts which might throw some viewers off-guard with just how cartoony of an impression it might seem at first glance. But it pays off with some pretty effective and earned character drama. This wouldn’t nearly be as possible if the cast wasn’t so damn great.
Obviously I can go into the personal journeys of the rest of the pilots however in my opinion that should simply be left to experience with a viewing rather than some bum on the internet spoiling great character development. All of the cast members, even the seemingly innocuous ones who mostly inhabit more understated roles shared such excellent comedic chemistry with each other. On top of this, there is no shortage of hilariously cartoony visual gags to break tension.
One of the only real grievances I’ve seen directed at this series is that it derives too many concepts and ideas from other sources. Shinji Higuchi for instance, who has previously worked on friggin Eva of all things and was clearly inspired by certain aesthetics and storylines. Does Hisomaso borrow concepts and ideas from other sources? Sure, and I could sit here and divulge those sources, but none of that really has any bearing on this show’s quality. Hisomaso is incredibly comfortable in it’s own skin and is stellar in its execution, which is what I look for most in shows that borrow things from other sources. Look at My Hero Academia for crying out loud, it’s incredibly derivative but fresh in its execution on top of being one of the most popular anime to come out in years.
To me, Hisomaso was a beautiful balance of visuals, comedy, drama, and unfiltered vibrance. It is a series that for years to come I will defend with my life as both a personal favorite and one of the best anime to come out of the 2010’s. It’s shows like these that remind me why I come back to this site nearly every day to check those little marks on my watchlist. I loved this series, plain and simple, no fancy words required, and I recommend it to everyone.
Flash back to your childhood: a time where planes were sick, robots were epic, and dragons were the coolest thing in the fucking universe! The paper and the costumes were what let the imagination soar! Games were your blood, pop-culture was your life! Candy was a delicacy rivaled only by pizza! Saturday morning was your weekly holiday! Wasn't all that fun? Wasn't that cool?! Don't you wanna relive some of that childhood wonder?!
In the cold hard world where nostalgia is ruled by cashgrabs and rewatches, finding an experience that truly, earnestly hardens back to your glory days is in somewhat short supply. Thankfully, Hisone to
Maso-tan seeks a new path to fulfill your childlike desires: combining planes, dragons, and giant robots to create a charming experience, nigh-unparalleled in the industry!...at least at first.
We best start with our protagonist, Hisone Amakasu. She is one of the most adorkable, relatable, and endearing protagonists I’ve seen to date. Seeing this beleaguered dolt of communication in a constant edge of having everything thrust upon her so fast as she tries to wriggle her way out as no one listens to her, and seeing her struggle with not trying to let her blunt brain speak for her, is an absolute joy. Seeing her and Nao snap is a riot given the chemistry they and other characters have with each other -even despite the crass humor that bad LN shows pull-. Their parallels with certain characters early on are also wonderous to display, due to this show’s marvelous presentation that is akin to an adult recapturing the whimsey and magic of an astounded child. This presentation additionally makes it easier to overlook the sci-fi jargon and how absurd the premise truly is, with dragons requiring airplane parts in order to somehow transform and blend in, and whatnot. However, it doesn’t let me dismiss inconsistencies, occasionally clumsy and insular dialogue & events, or any aggravating twists and set-ups. Having a bunch of characters with hit and miss traits and quirks won’t change that, no matter how funny the good ones can be.
It does lose that sense of wonder, much like children do. Soon after the rest of the main cast is introduced, Hisone to Maso-tan focuses more on its growing cast of characters and their problems. It does a decent job with that, but not one substantial enough to truly make up for that loss, especially with a few admittedly small errors in the script. The concept is still too silly to work perfectly -notably with the ridiculous premise of the second half-, and the humor’s highlights aren’t as high as they were before. The show also transforms into a calculated love map with some out-there twists, so take that as you will.
Studio Bones is famous for their slick visuals, only adding this to their monumental catalog. Frequent bad plane & pilot CGI aside, the flying sequences are an absolute joy to witness, feeling extremely lifelike and kinetic with all sorts of turns, loops, and fast movements done by the OTFs. Speaking of which, the OTF designs are wonderful, most especially Masotan’s. The rest of the character designs are well-done and immensely varied, with a wonderful, almost child drawing-esque aesthetic that is tailor-made for bouncy character animation and uproarious facial expressions. It all culminates into a unique visual style that makes this show even more of a joy to watch, even when it transitions past its initial phase.
While the music is less commendable, it holds up well enough. The background music is rather nice, fitting with the scenes and sometimes being an emotional listen in their own right. Nothing absurdly memorable stands out but it works well on the whole. The opening, "Soujo wa Ano Sora wo Wataru (少女はあの空を渡る)" by Riko Fukumoto (福本莉子), has multiple versions, with only the final one being one I enjoy. The ending, Le temps de la rentrée〜恋の家路（新学期）〜 (Le temps de la rentrée~Koi no Shingakki~)", has multiple versions, sung by different people as well as an instrumental version. The song has grown more on me overall, to the point where not only is nearly every version enjoyable, but that it is a preferable song over the opening, even if it isn’t the best of the season or anything.
Such a shame the show lost what made is so captivating. However, while it never rose to the heights of its early episodes, it does still offer a worthwhile viewing experience, even if that one is more awkward. It even loses some of the bad humor presented early on, even though it lost the better humor on top of that. Spring-boarding off such a wonderful start into something grander is difficult, even with a likable main cast and superb main lead. The show grew to what felt like a teenage -perhaps even adult phase, for better or worse. It grows more insular, less spectacular, and whilst it is a pity, it didn’t lose heart or soul, or even looks. It simply lost its whimsey, much like we all do. Alas, it’s time to return.