US Distributor: Funimation
Production Studio: Nomad
Was this provided by the publisher? Yes
More Info: Anime News Network

We Without Wings BoxartIt is winter time in the city of Yanagihara, as three people go about their daily lives. Takashi, a high school student, wants to return to the world of Gretagard, but the thoughts of his sister Kobato and girlfriend Asuka keep him from leaving. Shusuke is a part-timer who must learn to work with student-author Hiyoko, even though they despise each other. Hayato is an antisocial fellow who makes a living as a handyman, until a girl named Naru enters his life.

Every season, we see anime adaptation from some type of video game, with visual novels, specifically the eroge genre being the go-to genre. The bar for an anime series based on a visual novel was set high with such titles as Clannad, Clannad After Story, and Steins;Gate. However, We Without Wings does not even begin to approach the quality of titles that came before it.

We Without Wings is at first a confusing and frustrating mess by introducing too many characters at once. This is especially noticeable in the first three episodes, which introduce a dozen or so characters at a pace that is too fast for its own good. There is nothing wrong with introducing so many characters at once if done correctly. For example, the original Mobile Suit Gundam handled this wonderfully. With such a large cast, a majority of the characters are completely ignored, and remain two-dimensional throughout the series.

The confusion and frustration hit their high points when we are given hints that things are not as they seem. Clues are dropped throughout the series that some characters do know more about what is going on, but it’s never explained as to how they know what they know. The confusion does start to subside as the series progresses, and we do get an ending that does bring some closure to the series. Still, even with the series concluded, there a few more issues arise. There are some plot lines that are never resolved, and there are still new characters being introduced in the final episode.

3W1The issues with the plot likely would have been less severe if the series was longer than twelve episodes. With the series being based off a fifty-hour plus eroge visual novel, twelve episodes simply isn’t long enough for a tight story to be written. The weak writing brings along another issue in that while things may happen during an episode, it feels like they exist for the sake of existing. Yet, somehow, it does not have the same feel as filler material. Things may happen in the throughout the episode, but it often comes off as superfluous and could have been told without the excess material.

The art and animation varies greatly throughout the series. The scenes in the fantasy world of Gretagard are among the best the series has to offer, though that is not completely positive. There are a lot of short cuts made through the series with long shots in some scenes are used to keep character animation to a minimum. Even close shots have only the characters who are talking moving with background characters being static. Character designs also vary, with a majority of the main female cast having the same exact face with different hair and eye colors. The show isn’t entirely to blame, though, as the source material does the same. Being based off an eroge visual novel, there is a rampant amount of fanservice through the series. The fanservice is often used appropriately, though there are times when it takes away from the scene at hand. The biggest issue with the fanservice comes from the elementary school character, Alice, who gets her own share of panty shots and dialogue that most will find wholly inappropriate a character of her age.

3W2The Japanese dub and the English dub are equal in terms in quality, with both having an advantage over the other but neither being above average. The English dub has the advantage of being better with the male characters, while the Japanese dub does better with the female voices. The English dub has several new voice actors in some of the main female roles who, while listenable, do not match the quality of their Japanese counterparts.

On-disc extras are on the sparse end, with two commentaries, Clean Opening and Endings, and trailers. The commentary for episode four features Scott Freeman and Zoe Laitmer, while the commentary on episode eight features Joel McDonald and Ricco Fajardo. Also included with this release is the OVA “90 percent more skin,” which is exactly as it sounds. It increases the amount of fanservice while keeping the story aspects to a minimum.

We Without Wings had the potential to a good adaptation of an eroge visual novel, but it wasted this potential by having too many issues which brought down the final product. The biggest question here is should this show be watched? In this reviewers opinion yes it should be, but this is not a title that should be purchased unless one is either a hardcore collector or those who into fanservice heavy eroge anime adaptations. Those looking for an excellent Visual Novel would do better elsewhere.