OP Sequence

OP: 「ソラノネ」 (Soranone) by ZAQ

「さすらいの6人」 (Sasurai no 6-ri)
“The Wandering Six”

It’s interesting that Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai‘s curious mixture of 2D and 3D animation can reveal to us about the anime production process. Last week there were some comments asking about why some characters were 3D and some were 2D, why some were ostensibly more important than others. Here’s something I should have noted then: the captain guy was 2D, but sneakily, in the OP he was already 3D. Usually I would attribute this discrepancy to a matter of timing; 3D models take time to make, and perhaps they just didn’t have his finished yet. The OP/ED are usually one of the last things produced for any anime while the pilot is logically one of the earliest, and it’s entirely possible that the models for some of the supporting cast were given lower priority. The episode 00 of Seikai Suru Kado also had its protagonsit in 2D only to give him an extra dimension later so the practice is not unheard of. But here, in episode 02 of Kotobuki, we witness an interesting phenomenon: characters sliding back and forth between dimensions. That’s… peculiar, to say the least. Anime isn’t made entirely linearly so it’s possible that some of these scenes were produced much earlier than others. Or perhaps it wasn’t always intended that this show have 3D characters, so we have leftover scenes. Or perhaps Kotobuki is not entirely comfortable with its 3D technology and what it can do with it so falls back on 2D now and again. Were the crutches too difficult? Surely it wasn’t the high kick? Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. Whatever the case may be, it’s still a concern for me. An anime that changes its art style at the drop of a hat for no discernible artistic purpose would be thoroughly distracting, and what Kotobuki does it similarly so. I hope they don’t make a habit out of it.

But enough about the characters. While this week does feature an arc for two of them (one of which we’ve only just met and already annoys me), let’s not kid ourselves. They’re not really the stars of the show. Everyone’s here for the planes! And accordingly, this week we get a bit more fangirl action over the Hayabusas. Considering how fond the director was for the CV.33 back in Girls und Panzer I would assume he has a thing for neat but ultimately defunct war machines and he demonstrates it once again in Kotobuki. If you’ve watched The Wind Rises you’ll have heard all the talk about elegence in design before. But the Americans offered a strong refutation back in WWII: you don’t need elegance if you can just slap in a bigger engine. If I was a daredevil mercenary fighting sky pirates on a dangerous fronter I would probably want for something better than a Hayabusa, but I suppose you have to work with what you’ve got.

On that note, here’s another barrier Kotobuki raises, besides the aesthetic: aeroplane knowledge. I don’t boast extensive knowledge myself and only barely managed to follow along as characters rattled off models to each other, and I imagine the completely uninitiated would rightfully have no clue what a ‘Hien’ is and why it matters. Though I suppose it’s not a huge deal that we can’t; all we really need to take away is that the ‘pirates’ showed up with fancier gear than anticipated. But we shouldn’t forget that Kotobuki was obviously made with a very specific sort of nerd in mind, and they will be the ones to extract maximum entertainment from the show. For the rest of us, Kotobuki has plenty of old-fashioned storytelling in it as well, so no worries there. There’s some mention of fringe politics and economies on the frontier collapsing and tensions rising in general, and admittedly I don’t know what’s going on there either but I assume it’ll all be fleshed out when the plot is good and ready.

For now, let me know if Kotobuki is the kind of show you want to see continued coverage of. I’ll give it at least another episode but I sadly don’t have as much time for blogging as I’d like, so your input will be paramount in deciding what makes the cut.


ED Sequence

ED: 「翼を持つ者たち」 (Tsubasa wo Motsu Mono-tachi) by The Kotobuki Squadron (the main cast girls)



    1. Full (movement) CGI:

      Pictures (mouse over):
      1,2,3,4,9,10,11,12,15,17,19,20,21,the entire Dogfight are CGI, until the last Picture, even the 3 Preview Pictures are CGI

      Pictures of Half-CGI:
      14- the Girls are still CGI, the Males on the right are hand drawn
      18- The “Boss” is CGI the Girl left and right is hand drawn

      Pictures with hand drawn static background, do not count

      Where is the difference?

      CGI Lines are sharper, more colorful Light and Shadows at the same strength
      hand drawn. They add here and there some “lines” to animat moving, like in the last Picture of this Alcohol

      1. for Picture 14:

        The hand drawn gives away the Human factory of drawing lines here.. You can see the “broken” fingers of him and such.. Little errors that CGI Models would not made

      2. for Picture 18:

        The hand drawn gives away….
        even here the Hands of these two girls. it gives away how long the Cuts on the fist are.. some are to deep to be real and knees..

  1. I personally think you can skip writing about this one.

    I’d rather you do Boogiepop since it’s apparently blowing the lids off people’s skulls because of it’s “confusing” unconventional native presentation. But that is up to you to decide.

    1. Hate to say it, but kinda agree. This show has the most accurate non-fatal
      shooting I’ve ever seen. Nobody gets hurt, or worse, gets shot. Nobody.
      Because of that, there’s no tension since everyone will just wind up at the
      bar later for happy-hour.

      Aside from that, the 3D stuff is okay, though it’s sometimes a distraction.
      Arpeggio seems like it did a better job.

      1. Non fatal? The previous episode clearly mentioned sending letters to next of kin for the guys killed. I doubt the guy who had the tailplane shot off in this eppisode survived.

        Scruffy Kiwi
  2. About the “Hien“:


    Two episodes in and I’m starting to get a feel for the setting. It’s basically the Wild West (if the intro song and the general environment is any indication) with fighter pilots replacing cowboys and sky pirates replacing bandits, with airships acting as the stagecoaches between towns or cities. All while serving as a love letter to Japanese World War II planes (which might also be familiar to Kantai Collection players that have aircraft carriers in their roster).

  3. To get an hunch in what time this could play comapring to our timeline


    So when they began to inventing these Radar shadow tactics to fool the enemy? So with this you have an loose anchor around what time it would be in our timeline

    Also Part A:

    Seems like it begins like the old Episode. They hire some ally Merchantans to help them out, they get attacked, they get air borne, the “new ones” get shoot down so the Girls have to save the Day

    Part B:

    Until now not every Dogfight is the same. But how long can they go?

    my comment:

    try to improve at last Part A, or the only Anchor would be the Dogfights, but i do not think that alone hold the Fans. Improve Part A

    Also seems like they have an “law” that Planes that got Hit get out of the Fight zone and stay out.. There is some kind of Honor, but “in War and Love everything is allowed!”

    Perhaps they all have an Manfred von Richthofen (1892–1918) Honor codex. But is in this World some kind of Army and they uphold this, too?

  4. Even though i like the air combat everything else about this show is totally annoying. Also 2 episodes in a row group A gets wiped out or nearly wiped out then our main cast has no trouble. that will get old fast. Another thing is they talk too fast or something. I can’t keep up with the subtitles.

  5. Well, I hope you find time to blog this. I don’t know exactly where the story is going to go but at this point I’m interested in finding out. I just added it to the shows I’m watching.

    As an aside, many moons ago, I used to play a couple of tabletop games called Dauntless and Air Force, with the former being an expansion of the latter and it added the planes that flew in the Pacific, including one of my favourites to play, the Frank.

    I sort of feel that this show has more of a middle eastern, north African vibe than south-west US but there’s probably a lot of overlap. As someone commented, I think the characters and story are a little thin so far but given that they needed to put the spotlight on the stars of the show, I don’t mind waiting for things to develop. Their ‘cargo’ this time made me think of Heavy Object for some reason.

  6. I’ll just comment on the combat since I used to play sims back in the day. It lacks tension. While it seems to be accurate, they just aren’t pushing the aircraft’s flight envelope that much. We also don’t know enough about the characters to appreciate the friendly banter. They really need to learn from Star Wars or Macross on that. Even unknown pilots getting shot down can be exciting.

  7. While I love the characters and planes, what really hooks me up is the greater narrative of postapocalyptic scattered towns linked by zeppelin routes, talk of unification and pirate amnesty, and forces opposing thsoe ideas…
    Also, mercenary forces often used older, less capable weapon systems for cheapness and ease of mainetnance, so you got to weigh this in, Hayabusa could be started by cranking the engine, no need for auxiliary power systems or whatsnot
    Thats why pirates getting quite advanced and costly Ki-61 instead of simpler, cheaper A5M makes for pointthat suggests they had some political/financial backing…
    If there is something I want to see is some non-Japanese planes, though this might make for hard to believe victories of the Hayabusas over Hellcats or Focke-Wulfs?
    Girls und Panzers made it up by making protagonist underdog having some aces in the hole like stug and adding new tanks on the way…
    Definitely I want full coverage of the series, it is like pancakes to me (I love them myself, though I prefer crepe-style flat ones)


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