Allison and Lillia
Allison and Will, two orphans from the war between the Confederation of Roxche and the United Kingdom of Bezel Iltoa, find themselves chasing a treasure that may spell ill news for the ceasefire between the two nations. Nevertheless, they team up with a pilot from Roxche to get to the bottom of all this.
One of the first thing you'll notice about Allison & Lillia is its well conceived and realized world. Granted, the countries themselves seems to be a little bit too conveniently parted in the middle (either by water or presumably unconquerable mountains), but there is still a whole lot of small touches that makes the whole thing belieavable. The war took place long enough ago that the younger generation don't understand or even want to keep feeding into a hostility that never influenced their lives past some vague memories a long time ago. (If even that -- the opening scene between one of the main leads; Will, and the children in a class he's helping conduct clearly show the children just aping words they've heard the adults use, with no conviction behind them.)
Yet, the past is still close enough to cause some tension between some of the characters we encounter; some in indirect fashions -- older people who remember the things they did, or mourn the loss of those whose lives were claimed by the conflict. This is why Allison & Lillia is so easy to get into despite its lecturish, info-dump-ish beginning.
Another reason why might be the lovable leads. Will -- short for Wilhelm -- is an intelligent young man and Allison herself is... spirited, to put it mildly, but that thankfully doesn't mean she's dumb or reckless. Well, OK, maybe a little bit reckless, but this only makes her an excellent foil for the overly cautious Will, and keeps the storyline in constant motion.
And move it does. The first arc is settled within a handful of episodes, the following storylines taking place after its literal world-changing conclusion, where Allison and Will makes friends with Roxche pilot Benedict and a mysterious girl they meet in a small village named Fiona. And once you finish the first collection and its bittersweet ending, you then embark on what is quite correctly named "generation 2", following the characters of Lillia and Treize, whose family bonds I won't go too much into, save for the fact that they tie quite heavily into characters and events in "generation 1". (I'm sure you won't have much problem figuring out who the two really are, even before their family ties are explored much.) And while Treize and Lillia tries to rekindle the chemistry we saw between Allison and Will, they do not entirely succeed, mostly because Treize plays his cards more like the general hapless, slightly clueless and idiotic male lead, while Lillia borders on the demanding, insufferable type that Allison never was. (Though in all fairness, she does at least never cross the line into antagonistic.)
The character art seems kind of pedestrian, I'm sad to say. Which is a shame, since the DVD cover art is quite appealing. The animation is never outright bad, and the settings can be quite beautiful at times. One thing the show gets particularly right is various crafts, particularly planes but also trains. This lends itself well to action scenes, which, again, lessens the impact on the less than stellar character art.
All of its faults could have been acceptable, though, had the show managed to live up to itself -- its generation 1 ending in particular. I had heard complaints even before I started watching the show, and I guess I had my hopes up too much after the first ending, but the ending to the second generation is anticlimatic, to say the least, not to mention abrupt. And unfulfilling. Oh, and let's not forget needlessly bombastic and unrealistic in yet another attempt at outdoing the first generation. This really hurts the large amount of goodwill Allison & Lillia had built up to this point. The characters, this world of theirs and the show itself -- they all deserved better.
REALLY hurt by the ending of the second generation, more so since the end of the first generation was so good. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Older children and up, due to some violence and deaths of minor characters. There is, shockingly, no fan service to speak of, which makes this an easier recommendation for younger audiences than usual.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, Japanese with English subs only
Review Status: Full (26/26)
Allison and Lillia © 2008 Keiichi Sigsawa / ASCII / Media Works / Allison and Lillia Production Committee
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