Yukito Kunisaki is a man traveling Japan in search of the "girl in the sky." Eventually he makes his way to a sleepy seaside town where he meets a strange girl named Misuzu Kamio who has dreams of flying in the sky. During his stay in the town, Yukito meets other unique people and begins to learn more about Misuzu and the town she lives in.
Having previously watched the Air animé, I was expecting what is generally done with franchises which are both available as animé and as Manga. Usually, both the animé and the Manga follow the same story, but the Manga is the one to go into further depth. In Air, it is the opposite.
The Air Manga becomes extremely disappointing instantly, due to the fact that only the bare bones of a coherent storyline is present, and no depth, or reasoning behind what happens in the story is shown at all.
Due to the lack of the story being covered in depth, the characters are also not covered
in depth, most of which seem to be 'tacked on' in the Manga, unlike the developed characters they were in the animé. The entire pacing of the introductions, and the story developments feels hap-handedly done, as if the writer had just planned to throw in all the important story developments, and hope that if they were stuck together in the right order, they'd form an interesting, coherent story. Unfortunately, this astronomical flaw in lack of planning and depth also crushes any possible chance of likeability for the characters, making it extremely 'meh' to read.
The art also leaves me wanting, as it seems rather undetailed at times. Of course, its passable, but its not of the high standard that I'd generally expect.
Despite all of this, I still found myself enjoying the Air Manga, due to the fact that it has an indescribable charm, hence the high 'Enjoyment' rating.
I feel that the Air Manga would have been improved greatly had it been longer, by maybe another Volume or so. It would have given an extra few chapters to maybe add another character arc in, rather than just concentrating on Misuzu, or to delve further into Misuzu and Yukito's past. In my opinion, watch the animé, because its a LOT better than this.
Out of the three great Key anime (I refuse to acknowledge Little Busters until a, it gets more popular, and b, until I've actually seen it), general consensus seems to be that Air is the weakest of them, with me agreeing to that consensus. Sure, it's still good and all, but doesn't pack as much of a punch as Clannad and Kanon. The anime either needed to eb longer, to give Kanno's and Minagi's arc more background and to develop its rather tacked-on backstory even more, or it needed to be shorter and a more focused story concentrating only on Misuzu and chopping out the
badly written past. This is the route the Air manga decided to take, and despite its shorter length and taking out most of the main plot points not related to Misuzu, it managed to be less focused somehow. Shall we take a look?
For those of you who are unaware, Air is about a man called Yukito who is a traveler relying on his magical puppet show to make money. When he stops in a small town, he encounters a girl named Misuzu and befriends her. However, everything is not what it seems and it could be that Misuzu has ties to one of the reasons why Yukito is traveling in the first place.
Despite its shorter length, a good amount of the early chapters is just fluff and events between Yukito and Misuzu to set up their relationship. However, these scenes never come off as more than moe fluff, and while they do set up the characters well, it could've been done in a much shorter time. And eventually, the plot does start, and its not a very good attempt. The whole mystery seems tacked on as it lacked the foreshadowing the anime has. The supernatural setting comes very sudden about halfway through. I hate to compare, but the anime could get away with it as it had already set up everything was not what is seemed in Minagi's and Kanno's arcs instead of feeling tacked on like it does here.
Talking about tacked on, the way Air handles its ending is terribly. While I originally disliked the arc in the anime that went to the past to set up its backstory more, without using it as a transition, the final part of the manga, the Misuzu and Haruka part, feels so tacked on it's not funny. For the whole manga Haruka was barely even there and we barely got to form any attachment to her, so seeing as the final arc concentrates on her relationship with Misuzu, it almost feels like a different manga entirely. And the whole thing just sort of, well, ends. It ends right before the final scene of the anime begins, the scene that everyone remembers. This wouldn't have bothered me, but they did everything else exactly the same, and without the ending the anime has, the final major development feels really useless and just an attempt to try to get some semblance of drama. Due to this, the whole thing feels unfinished and like it needs one more chapter.
The characters also suffer. While I have no problem with them turning Kanno and Minagi into minor characters, it did bother me that they slightly hinted at their backstories, but never revealed them, meaning that they feel like incomplete characters and people new to Air would be confused and turned off. The main two, Misuzu and Yukito, are fine though, exactly like they were in the anime.
The art is, well... It's okay. Misuzu's typical design is rather generic, but in the later chapters when her hair blows in the wind, it looks really neat and almost like her hair is really blowing across the page. The only other mentionable thing is they changed Minagi's design so much if I didn't know this is Air I probably wouldn't been able to tell it was her, she looks so different.
Air still manages to keep the bare amounts of the story we know though, and people who never watched the anime wouldn't be totally lost as it does explain all of its plot points rather well, with perhaps one big exception in there, but that didn't make much sense in the anime either so I suppose I can kind of forgive it. It also doesn't do anything that bad either, it just sort of feels very incomplete, like it needed just a few more chapters to become brilliant but it didn't get those chapters. If you've already seen the anime, then don't read this unless if you're a hardcore fan (which means you've probably already read it), and if you're new to the Air franchise, then just skip this and watch the anime instead. At the end of the day, I don't recommend this.
I love Key's works, and Air is one of my favorites. I love both the anime series and the film. However, just recently I realized that I had never read the manga version of Air, which has a pretty good score, but has met some criticism. I decided to read the manga for myself to see if I liked it or not, and also because I loved the anime and movie. Now I have finished reading this manga, and I can honestly say I really enjoyed it. I read the three reviews for this manga adaptation on this website, which are all not too positive.
This almost discouraged me from reading it, but I'm happy to say I did anyway, because I found it to be a rewarding, yet somewhat flawed, experience.
Story: 8 (No spoilers!)
The story is very good: it is about a boy named Yukito Kunisaki with no family or friends, traveling around Japan, trying to make money as a puppeteer. He is also searching for the girl in the sky his mother told him about years ago prior to her death (it makes more sense in the manga). One hot summer day, he ends up in the small town of Kami, and meets an eccentric and naive girl named Misuzu Kamio who wants to play with him. After time, they both end up becoming tied to each other (I won't explain how).
The story is developed very well, although it is a little choppy in some places near the end; the anime suffers from this, too, since it tries to cram the whole story into just 13 episodes. In this case, the manga tries to squeeze the whole story into two volumes, and it works pretty well, but the ending feels a little rushed. However, it has a much happier ending than the anime, which I like. This manga also made me emotional in quite a few scenes.
I also like that the manga does not focus too much on Minagi or Kano (sort of like the Air film), because as much as I love them, if the manga tried to focus on them like the anime tries to do, everything would probably have ended up being even more condensed and rushed. However, the mangaka decided to mainly focus on Yukito, Misuzu, and Haruko, which is good (considering its length). If the manga had been longer, then maybe the other two characters arcs could have been added in, but this manga is only 18 chapters long. The manga did hint at those two character arcs though, especially Minagi's arc. This can end up being confusing for the reader if they have no prior knowledge of the Air story and characters. For this reason, I would recommend watching the anime first, then reading this manga. Perhaps that's why I liked this so much, too; I watched the anime and film first, so I had more insight into the story and characters when I went into this manga.
Furthermore it should be noted that the arc about Kanna and Ryuuya that is present in the anime and film is omitted in this manga for the most part; it does take away some of the emotion, but the manga still works and make sense.
The art is beautiful; the mangaka really captured the essence of this series in her art. There is a certain warmth coming from the illustrations in this manga, which works very well since this series takes place during summer. I especially love how she drew Misuzu. The art is very clean and detailed. Not much else to add in this department.
Like I said, the main three characters (Yukito, Misuzu, and Haruko) are developed very well. Their character developments are one of the things that truly make this manga so good. However, the rest of the cast isn't developed much. Kano and Minagi are developed to some extent, but not a lot (since this manga doesn't really focus on them). Michiru and Hijiri are barely present. Kanna and Ryuuya aren't in the manga at all. So I can't give a perfect score in this section, but I can give a high score since the three main characters are developed really wonderfully.
I really enjoyed this manga. It's very tragic so for those who don't like sad stories, this might not be a fun read. However, there is a happy ending, although some things are left unanswered like in the anime and film (this is done on purpose; it's left to the reader's interpretation).
Can't give this a perfect 10 because of its flaws, but if I could, I would give this manga an 8.5. I rounded it up to a 9 for this website. For fans of Air and Key in general, this manga is recommended! Also recommended for people who love sad stories with some romance. ^^
I really liked anime. It's a great mystical story that makes you think. Usually manga is better than its screen version and I began reading Air.
The art is rather simple, without lots of shadows. Eyes look like glass, their expression don't change. It's a big minus, isn't it? I mean, in anime seiyu can fix some lacks of grafic with their voice but manga's art must "sound" and "live" that reader should believe it.
The storytelling is really bad. There was left only Misuzu's arc. But how about other girls, Minagi, Kano, Michiru? The answer is easy. Their arcs isn't showed. They are just like
filler character and story looks incomplete.
I disliked Air manga because of its emptyness. Yes, it's empty. It didn't show feelings, emotions. Better watch the anime, manga is a real waste of time.