The new season has started with Allison & Lillia (アリソンとリリア), an adventure show of 26 episodes, airing Thursdays at 23:32 JST on NHK-BS2.
Following the much appreciated Kino no Tabi, this is another light novel series by author Shigusawa Keiichi to be animated, where the first half will be based on the Allison series (4 books), while the later half features her daughter Lillia, of the Lillia & Treize series (6 books). The director is Nishida Masayoshi, who’s just completed his work on Eyeshield 21 and Mokke last month, and the script’s composed by Lucky Star‘s main writer Machida Touko.
In a world with a single enormous continent, two gigantic nations are separated by a river and a mountain range. Since time immemorial, these countries have been at war, but the past ten years seem calmed by a fragile truce. Both nations claim theirs was the land of humanity’s origin, and so the hostility continues. It’s the year 3287, and in the Eastern nation 17-year-old Will has planned for a summer holiday relaxing with some reading, when his peaceful day is abruptly interrupted by the arrival of an aeroplane. The pilot is a blonde beauty named Allison, who grew up with Will at an orphanage after losing her father in the war. As they’ve spent some time apart, they take a motorbike ride to the river to catch up on things (and establish that Will is completely blind to Allison’s feelings for him), and on the way back they happen upon an old man known for his tall tales. They give him a ride home, and he thanks them by inviting them in for tea, during which the old man reveals that he knows the location of a secret treasure, so valuable that it could end the war. Allison believes him, and says she’ll fly him there if opportunity arises, but before any plans can be made, there’s a knock on the door. A burly man comes in, informing them that he’s come to bring the old man in for a tax hearing. As the two men drive away, Will tells Allison he thinks there’s something peculiar about the situation, resulting in Allison hopping on the bike in a hurry, and the young couple races after the car. After a bit of gunfire trouble delays them, they eventually reach the gates of a private estate, just in time to see an unknown aircraft take off, most likely carrying the old man with it. Allison swiftly sneaks in and finds an unguarded aeroplane, which she decides to “borrow”, and soon our heroic duo is in mid-air, pursuing the kidnapped old liar.
The animation’s produced by Madhouse, and while not exactly impressive, it doesn’t disappoint. The bright and cheerful colours bring about a nostalgic, adventurous feeling that’s very reminiscent of Gainax’s old Fushigi no Umi no Nadia, and the music by Murai Shuusei works to underline this sense of classic adventure. For the voice acting, they’ve picked a girly Mizuki Nana (Misaki in Darker than Black) for the role of Allison, and the somewhat odd choice of Kumai Motoko (Sumomo in Chobits) as Will. We’ll also be hearing the amazing Yamadera Kouichi (Spike in Cowboy Bebop) as Benedict, and vocal divinity Noto Mamiko (Narue in Narue no Sekai) as Fiona.
Epic adventure ahoy! If they manage to get the pace right, this could turn out to be a lovely show to follow, in a family friendly kind of way. With Shigusawa’s novels behind it, I’m also assuming the plot will be interesting and worthwhile. However, now that I think about it, I never did finish Kino no Tabi. And I’m still only halfway through Fushigi no Umi no Nadia… Will this keep my attention all the way to the end?