The war between the Levamme Empire and the Amatsukami Imperium has been raging for years. In the midst of this struggle, the prince of the Levamme Empire declares his love for Juana del Moral and vows to end the war in one year, as part of his marriage proposal. When the Amatsukami catch wind of this, they assault the del Moral residence, targeting Juana's life. As a last ditch effort to bring the prince his bride, the San Maltilia Airforce hires a mercenary of mixed blood—a bestado—to fly Juana to the Levamme capital in secret. The pilot, Charles, accepts the mission...but traversing an ocean alone, into enemy territory, proves a much more dangerous ordeal than anyone could have anticipated.
I absolutely loved it. This movie perfectly shows how you can take something really basic and simple and make it into something complete and special. There aren't many stories on piloting, but there are plenty on flying and wars. Of course, with the theme of flying and war comes the theme of freedom, and when you put a woman and a man together, you get romance. This movie isn't any different in those basic ideas, so if you are looking for a genre breaking show, this isn't the right one for you. However, don't skip it just because it's conventional.
This didn't bore me at
all, and in fact, it's so much more refreshing than most of the anime aired these days. If you are like me, who need occasional breaks from tsundere and yandere girls and harem loving boys, come and watch this please. I wouldn't call it serious or deep, but it's real. Yes, it's real as in, it's how real people are. I'm not trying to offend quircky and crazy characters or random and insane plot twists. It's like I said, I need a break sometimes.
I digressed from the review a little bit, but honestly, if I say one little thing about the plot or characters, it'll basically ruin the series for you, since everything is as straightforward as they can be, and should be in my opinion.
The soundtracks and animation are really good, and the fighting scenes are very well made. It's like one of those studio ghibli's works, simple but solid, and in my case, will be remembered fondly.
Tales of forbidden love are common, yet we are constantly drawn to them and empathizing with their characters. Perhaps it is borne from a desire to experience something so simple yet beautiful. Or perhaps it is to remind ourselves of how lucky we are to be able to love without having the world turn against us. "Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku", or "The Princess and the Pilot", can do both of those.
It was originally published as a single volume light novel in 2008 and was considered a runaway success. Although Inumura Koroku was already writing a different novel series at the time, this novel became
his breakthrough and most well-known work. Inumura left such an impression on his readers that the novel reached tenth place in the annual "Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi!", or "This Light Novel is Amazing!", poll conducted on the Internet. It spawned a subsequent "Hikuushi" series which encompasses two additional spin-off series of the same "Toaru Hikuushi e no" title.
There are a number of predictable formulas for characters involved in forbidden love. In this case, we are introduced to mercenary pilot Charles Karino and Juana del Moral, fiancée of the crown prince of a powerful empire. Their story and the conflict that is in their hearts are set within a greater conflict: relentless warfare between two neighboring empires. The conditions also beg of the question of whether it is right to sacrifice a world's peaceful future for the selfish desires of two people. The juxtaposition of these two elements presents a love story that is timeless and refreshing. While it is something we've read before in stories like "Romeo and Juliet", the tale does not fall into the trap of creating a predictable ending, but rather an inevitable one. In fact, when the reader begins to understand the fate of the two characters, he or she can still be impressed by the way their relationship is developed.
With the story focused on only two noteworthy characters, it can be easy to assume that watching their interaction will boring. On the other hand, one can easily empathize with the strong feelings of the characters. Each time pilot and princess are torn between duty and personal affection, even the reader feels can feel torn as to which decision they should make. One can sense that the two are close in their hearts, yet a gap as wide as an ocean separates their conscience. As both characters begin to open up to the feelings of each other, we become more invested in their relationship.
Madhouse presents its viewers with an artistic presentation that is both appropriate and experimental. Heavy use of the color blue is obvious from the theatrical poster alone as it represents the vastness of both the sky and the ocean. It does not, however, drown out the other colors that are also presented, and certain environmental details make this anime movie as realistic as possible. Madhouse also presents a sound mechanical design for aircraft technology in the film. Aerial combat is presented with great detail in the movement of each airplane as if one were watching a World War II reel, complemented by a rich portfolio of sounds that realistically replicates an propeller airplane's engine.
While the film's soundtrack may not be very memorable, Niizuma Seiko presents us a touching theme song with lyrics that reflect the longing of both characters. As an ending theme, it provides an appropriate closure for a story with mild pacing. Conflicts in the plot came at the appropriate times and keep the viewer interested through a film that could easily have bored viewers if done improperly because of its length.
"The Princess and the Pilot" is a simple story set in a rich universe that shines through the human interaction that is neither exaggerated nor lacking. While it can be enjoyed as a standalone work, reading the novel will also present a richer understanding of the distance that separates Charles and Juana and the affection that binds them.
What to say about this movie. It at once delighted me with a well paced story and gorgeous dogfights. The growth of our two characters was detailed in the moments of downtime. I was sucked in by its premise, and treated to the most superbly done forbidden romance that I've seen in awhile. If my score confuses you, this film committed one cardinal sin, however. It resolved nothing. The story it was telling was certainly not finished, and frankly the ending epilogue was insulting. Understand something. If the theme of the movie was nationalist racist bigotry meant
to cultivate that turn of the century feeling, we should have spent the movie on that. One downtrodden pilot and a pampered princess cannot carry that story arc unless you make it clear. The princess didn't have to overcome that boundary in the movie. From the get go she was pure and noble in her intentions toward the pilot. Even from childhood it seemed. Her growth was in her own strength of will and experience. She moved from completely dependent to independent. She never once hated the pilot for his race. Likewise, the pilot was overcoming his own feelings of self worth by undertaking this mission. And by the end of it knew he wasn't just a worthless dog out for money. All symbolized in the romance by a girl falling for the boy who taught her to fly and a boy falling for a girl realizing he could be a man worthy of her affection. I absolutely was baffled by him flying off into the sunset and the princess off to marry some idiot prince. The boundaries won! They failed to overcome their respective roles, settling for the most society would allow them. And then the movie tells us the princess worked hard to end discrimination. Big deal. We don't care about this fictional world. We only care about the characters, and the fact that the movie thought it could placate us with a three sentence epilogue was horrendous. This isn't world history. Its a fictional drama. The story was ultimately defeated by its own incompetent ending. I have heard from some that it defies cliche in that regards, but this is not a good thing. Perhaps the only way this could have succeeded is if the two did end up in a relationship, or at least tried. Again, when your story is about these two characters growing, you must show where they grew at the end. The pilots end is much like his beginning and it is doubtful he even changed - always kind, always willing to serve. He still didn't reach out and grab what he wanted, and according to the epilogue just disappears. Wow. Or are we to believe he just wanted to complete his mission? He didn't even do that without the princess! The princess was supposed to take charge, but at the end runs off to marry the prince. And she fights for peace apparently. Does she do that in tea parties I wonder? How pointless. She could very well be doing the same thing after one horrific battle without the pilot. Her stance would have fit if she'd become an independent nation leader. Heck, marry the pilot and put down the warmongers by defying their expectations. Realistic? Not really, but story wise it makes far more sense. And really, do we expect anything to be realistic in this drama of two people from opposite ends of the social strata to undergo a romance? Nothing in this movie is real or even remotely reflects reality so I suggest that the story needs work. The ending ruined this movie.
The Princess and the Pilot. The first time I read that, I read 'pilot' as 'pauper' due to... er, various reasons. Wow I've only started and I'm already butchering the title.
Summary: The Levamme Empire and the Amatsukami Imperium have been engaged in battle for countless years. During this time, the Levamme Prince proposes to the daughter of the del Moral family, Juana del Mora. The Prince promises their marriage a year after; once he has ended the war. Unfortunately, the Amatsukami Imperium caught wind of this and assaulted the del Moral manor aiming for Juana's life. As a last resort, the San Maltilia sends Charles
Karino, an ace pilot with blood of both a Levamme and an Amatsukami to bring Juana to her fiancee. And so begins the Princess and the Pilot's journey.
Story 8/10: The story was well paced and written. But unfortunately for majority of romance stories, whether action or just 'slice of life, the male lead and female lead have always met in the past as children and somehow manage to retain that 5 minute moment in their memory. To be honest, the 'childhood friend' is always cute in a romance story, but it can get really repetitive and make an original movie seem unoriginal. This is what seemed to kill the story a bit for me, but possibly not for anyone else.
This film has done well in all aspects (animation, sound etc) but I believe the reason why this film hasn't had a higher rating is because of its realistic ending. Audiences are used to seeing forbidden love grow and strive to survive, but sometimes their endings become unrealistic when compared to real world society. In this film, you have a pilot and a soon-to-be Empress falling in love with one another because they were able to overcome obstacles together with had strengthened their bonds.
Seeing as how comfortable each of the main characters got with each other, normally you'd expect for them to find a way for them to grow their love, but in the film's setting, it is not possible. In the end, they only got so close as a hug.
Art 9/10: Wonderful animation and gorgeous dogfights. No cons for the art really.
Sound 8/10: Most voices seemed to match, but Charles's voice bugged me at times due to its highnes but sound effects and music were still good as well.
Character 8/10: At first, Charles Karino seems like a weak willed man being constantly bullied by his superior officers and comrades accepting everything that gave him (No alternate meaning btw), but even in the presence of the Princess, he didn't hold back his frustration and his pissed-off-ness towards her majesty's fiancee.
Juana del Moral seems like the composed princess she is supposed to be at first... then she seems like a quiet clumsy princess... and then her hair is cut and she seems like you average feisty girl. Not quite 'feisty' but whatever. The princess's character seems to change, really showing how more comfortable she felt being with Charles compared to when they first met.
Overall, characters are enjoying to watch nonetheless.
Overall 8.5/10: I really did enjoy this film but what leaves you feeling empty inside is always due to a film's ending. Even if the movie is a complete masterpiece, writers should always remember that the audience always remembers the beginning and the end the most. Plus the ending is what impacted most ratings for this movie.
I could probably come up with two or more endings that would've suited this kind of romance better. BUUUUT thanks for taking the time to read my clumsy review!