Stories of forbidden love are common, yet we never cease reading them and empathizing with their characters. There is something about these stories that makes our heart ache for the bittersweet love that is always portrayed. The same goes with "Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku", or "Recollections for a Certain Pilot".
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 empire's peaceful future for the selfish desires of two people. Inumura's 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", Inumura does not fall into the trap of creating a predictable ending. In fact, when the reader begins to understand the inevitable conclusion, he or she can still be impressed by the way the relationship between the two characters is developed.
With the story focused on only two noteworthy characters, it can be easy to assume that reading 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. As both characters begin to open up to the feelings of each other, we become more invested in their relationship.
As with other light novels, art is used sparingly and does not necessarily contribute much to the story. However, the drawings that were present can give readers an impression that will last through the story's conclusion. For example, the depiction of Juana del Moral early in the story offers a glimpse of her beauty, yet it is possible to see the numb facade she has learned to put on to please the family that has raised her as a potential bride for royalty.
While Inumura's romantic tale is certainly not perfect, it benefits from the occasional aerial combat descriptions, making the story easy to read and enjoy. It is often difficult to create a fictional world that can fully contain the story that is told in a single novel, but Inumura provides the reader with every single detail that is necessary to understand its characters' circumstances.
Most importantly, provided enough closure for both the novel's characters.