First Impression – Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta

The story of a boy and a floating island school for pilots. (Also, revenge or something)

I meant to watch the Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku (or I guess it’s also known as “The Princess and the Pilot”) movie before this, but never got around to it. Apparently they’re kind of connected in that one is the spin-off of the other. In any case, let’s see how this did by itself.


I’m not a huge expert on planes, or anything military, but the planes here looked pretty good as far as I’m concerned. I don’t mind the CG use either, since it made the opening scene better than using animation by itself would have (probably) turned out. The big airship and the planes have interesting designs to them too. So it’s good that they put a lot of effort into the arial part of the anime, since it looks like they’ll be spending a lot of time on that. Obviously, they’re going to be attending some kind of school as well. That gives the characters all a good enough reason to be there, since Claire and Kal-el (or I guess he went by the name Carl too at some point) probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. Their world seems to have a fairly strict class system when it comes to nobles and commoners.


Well that escalated quickly.

I can’t say that I’m quite feeling the romance yet. Like the characters themselves, Claire and Kal’s relationship is one of those really straightforward “love at first sight” things. Or maybe not quite at first sight, but they haven’t known each other for a full day yet, and they seem to have fallen for one another. It had all of the right moments, from the bike ride to the impromptu dive into the river, but something still seems like it’s missing here. Maybe this feels really sudden because it came a couple of seconds after Kal’s dramatic revenge speech. At least his angst doesn’t seem to be dragging him down completely, I guess.  Plus maybe since the main couple has been set up so clearly now, there won’t be 11 episodes of drama about if the two get together for real or not. One can hope.


The characters are rather straightforward and that may become a good thing or a bad thing. Kal seems to have some kind of depth to him, since he has a chip in his shoulder when he’s not acting like a normal person. Is his cheerful demeanour an act to cover all of his rage, or is that that really his “default” personality? Just how angst ridden is this character and why? Of course, Ignacio seems to have even bigger issues though. Or maybe it’s just that they’re way more obvious, since we know next to nothing about the source of his angst yet. His issues with Kal are rather notable, and maybe the story can do something interesting with this, since I don’t think Kal and Ignacio have really had any meaningful interaction yet. Ignacio seems to have had issues with Kal before the two even talked this episode, so maybe it has to do with something that happened in the past. Ariel seems like the character with the least amount of depth at the moment, but maybe her issues are just more well hidden than the other characters. Claire doesn’t seem much better, though she obviously has some secrets since apparently she goes by two different names. I’m sure the explanation to that will pop up in the plot eventually.

The students will be pairing up soon, and if I’m reading the kanji on this anime’s website correctly, apparently Kal-el ends up with Claire. What a surprise. Actually, the other pair is quite surprising, since Ariel somehow pairs with Ignacio. It should be interesting to see how that turn of events plays out. Perhaps pairing the overly genki girl with the angry kid can mellow both of them out.

This involves a lot more planes than I thought it would, but that’s perfectly okay with me. The opening scene was pretty interesting with the shaky camera effect and whatnot. …I actually had to check to see if I had accidentally hit a button on my computer to increase the video speed, since things were going so much faster than they usually do in anime. Maybe that effect will grow old if they use it too much, but like I said, it was an interesting opening. What was actually kind of disappointing were the characters. They seem pretty typical, so hopefully the anime either fleshes them out or creates a story where those kinds of characters work. In any case, I’ll be sticking around to see what happens.


Next episode, things suddenly look a lot more like Japan.


University student and the one at Metanorn who's known for wearing glasses. Likes blood, insanity and plot twists, but also plays otome games and adores cute romance anime. It balances out... somehow.
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21 Responses to “First Impression – Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta”

  1. Foshizzel says:

    Oh imagine that Ayana taketatsu playing yet ANOTHER sister type of character! I guess she knows that role well? At least I don’t feel and incest vibes from this.

    Dat dogfight scene at the start! Wooooo! It takes me back to the spin-off Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku~

    I hope this is better than Last Exile s2 because that was awful >.<

    • Karakuri says:

      It’s like Kikuko Inoue and doing motherly/older sister roles. Yeah, no incest. Though from my understanding, they’re not blood related at all.

      I never watched Last Exile, but I’ll take your word that it was horrible. xD

    • akagami says:

      Last Exile S2 wasn’t good because it didn’t have Immelmann.

      Personally Last Exile 2 could have been better, but I didn’t think it was bad. But the subs for it were horrible though. Half of them were guessed at and didn’t make sense.

  2. T.K. says:

    I watched Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku yesterday, it was a really interesting movie. It has a rather simple plot but the execution was great. Dogfights were reminiscent of The Sky Crawlers and the lone pilot x princess interaction is of the Ghibli-like nature.

    I can see the connection between the two series but Koiuta would have to flesh these out a lot more in 11 episodes if it were to lead to anywhere intriguing. It shows a lot of potential and the LN seems to be rather successful, I just hope the anime adaption doesn’t turn into Fractale….

    (PS: Way to go Superman, nice job getting the girl this fast.)

    • Karakuri says:

      That’s what I saw other people saying close to the same thing about Tsuioku on twitter. I’ll have to give it a try.

      I hope it doesn’t end up like Fractale too… At least the light novel seems like good material.

      • akagami says:

        Hmm, didn’t know Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku and this were related, that’s good to know.

        I saw the movie when it got released on BD, I highly recommend it if you like sweet romance type stories. It has a very simple plotline and you know how it’s going to end (deliver A to B), but it had excellent execution and the characters were great.

        Watch it Karakuri!

        • T.K. says:

          It’s more of a spin-off set in the same universe as both series uses the same technology. Kal-El looks like the Imperial Prince Carlo and Nina Viento looks like Fana del Moral.

          • akagami says:

            Hmm, if I recall the places in Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku were more normal. The ones here have moving propellers and a an open cockpit.

            • akagami says:

              Ahem. places = planes. Right. Carry on.

              (on a different note, spammy hasn’t eaten any of my messages today! Hurray! I am now spammy-proof! Success!)


  3. zztop says:

    This anime is set in the same universe as The Princess and the Pilot, and is based on the LN series of the same name by Koroku Inumura.

    The LN’s already finished, so I guess the anime will depend on how well the book’s content is adapted, and how well the LN was written.

    I’m assuming the name Kalel Albus is just a coincidence by the LN author.

    • Karakuri says:

      Hooray for the LN novel being done. T.K. said above that the LN did pretty well, so hopefully that means that it was well written. …Though there are tons of things that could hinder the anime in transition, so who knows how the it will do.

  4. Highway says:

    I was pretty disappointed in this first episode. Unfortunately, some of my disappointment was fostered by streaming it from Crunchyroll, where their bitrate starvation conspired with the shakycam aerial combat in the very beginning to make it a, if not unpleasant, disappointing sequence of 12 fps slideshows with everything feeling like it was jumping all over the screen.

    And more unfortunately, the show didn’t really pick up from there. I can’t see “Kal-el” without thinking Superman. And I’m not a superhero guy. It’s just that name means Superman. And I don’t know if they can walk it back to ‘Carl’ now, especially because everyone pronounces it Kal-El. I don’t really care for the characters, they seem to be played straight down the middle of whichever trope they represent. Clair especially seems like a blank canvas of a manic pixie dream girl.

    Just completely uninspiring and rote.

    • Karakuri says:

      I rather liked the opening scene. …Though I didn’t have your bitrate issues.

      I’m kind of hoping that the story can do something with the characters. I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head, but I know I’ve sat through anime of seemingly bland characters that turn out to be really interesting once the story takes off and their backstories are all revealed. …Or there’s also the possibility that they will stay true to their tropes.

      • Highway says:

        That’s the thing, it looked like it would be great… if it wasn’t jumping all over the screen. That was really disappointing.

  5. HannoX says:

    I also immediately thought of Superman when he was first called Kal-el. The opening dogfight was good and I like the plane designs. After that everything was a disappointment. The characters are all stock characters we’ve seen dozens of times and the situations are also stock. I’ll give it another episode or two to see if it can develop any originality and make the characters and their situation interesting.

    • Karakuri says:

      Ahaha it’s probably a good thing that this seems to involve a lot about the planes as opposed to being solely about the characters. Though they could still probably make this interesting. …Somehow.

  6. BlackBriar says:

    I kind of like the premise and feel of this first episode. It’s almost like a movie made by Miyazaki but I haven’t seen the movie that apparently had a connection to this and thanks to the animes from last season, I’m not put off by the use CG in the scenery. There was some laughter stifling finding out the protagonist’s name is Kal-El which everyone knows is Superman’s Kryptonian name. That aside, I wonder what’s the meaning behind the title which translates as “The Pilot’s Love Song”.

    • Karakuri says:

      Anything with flying and the countryside instantly reminds me of Nausicaa. …Or Fractale. Let’s hope this doesn’t end up like Fractale. That’s always my fear when it comes to anime with airships. …I actually had absolutely no idea that the name Kal-El had anything to do with Superman. It looks like I’ll be free from that association. xD

  7. AllenAndArth says:

    nice theme, some of the scene were wonderful, the animation is nice…the sounds too,but…just didn’t click with me, the revenge…that disapears without a thought, like *bam* revenge time is over… so i raised the 3 episodes flag on this one
    by the way…totally remembered Superman with Kal-El

  8. akagami says:

    The opening dogfight was well done. Overall I have mixed feelings about the first episode, while it didn’t wow me it didn’t disappoint me either. I’ll probably continue watching this as all the other airplane-themed shows I’ve watched I’ve highly enjoyed (Last Exile and Allison to Lilia come to mind).

    Reading through the comments I was so confused why people kept referencing Superman, and then it finally clicked. Maybe it’s because I’m not a Superman fan, so I didn’t really connect the two.

    I had read the initial premise and my take was that Kalel gets paired with the princess (his hated enemy), but it turns out I was wrong. I’m kind of curious on who Claire is considering how they positioned Kelel’s love interest.

  9. anaaga says:

    Next episode, things suddenly look a lot more like Japan.


    You didn’t miss much if you haven’t watched the anime (except the historical timeline etc.). The movie suucckksss, you should read the light novel instead

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