- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Action, Military, Adventure
- Airing Date : January 2019 – March 2019
- Producers : WAO World, GEMBA
Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (The Magnificent Kotobuki) Introduction and Story
"Cute girls doing cute things" is a subgenre of traditionally slice-of-life anime revolving around a cast of young girls engaging in a range of adorable misadventures. Over the years, studios have defied the definition of "cute" by dropping a collection of waifus in tanks (Girls & Panzer) or literally transforming them into planes (Girly Air Force). The Magnificent Kotobuki rests somewhere in the middle.
Set in an alternate reality combining elements from the Old West and World War II, Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai is named after a unit of personable female pilots typically employed to defend a shipment from pirates or similar enemies. In a dog eat dog world; only the strongest, wisest, and properly prepared live to fly another day. Armed with Hayabusa fighter jets, the Kotobuki Squadron take to the skies to engage in deadly dogfights. Outside of the battles, The Magnificent Kotobuki explores the everyday lives of these five girls. Camaraderie softens even the toughest of situations.
1. No I in Team
Prior to engaging in a dogfight, an average episode of the Magnificent Kotobuki slows things down to a crawl. The opening half of each chapter pushes the characters to the forefront and opts for an almost slice-of-life tone, as the girls engage in daily squabbles and attempt to make a living. As there is very little continuity between episodes, the focus is less on character development and more on world building. The Kotobuki Squadron are not heroes. They are merely mercenaries striving to survive in a cutthroat business dominated by men. Are the girls interesting? While they are largely defined by a handful of quirks rather than any significant depth, their banter demonstrates an endearing sense of intimacy and wit. They are more than the sum of their parts.
2. Thrill of Battle
Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai's success hinges on its aerial battles. With each chapter devoting half of its run-time to action, combined with the episodic storytelling, WAO World and GEMBA run the risk of losing their audience if the dogfights fail to consistently deliver the goods.
The Magnificent Kotobuki's action undoubtedly ranks among the most visceral and exciting of Winter 2019! Framing the first proper battle scene from behind a cockpit, the pilot episode wastes little time in displaying the anime's confident handling of its dogfights. Beautifully directed to ensure the action always remains simple to comprehend, the girls truly came alive during these moments.
3. A New World
As frequently as high schools and medieval fantasy worlds serve as the backdrops in great series, an occasional change of pace is more than welcome. Technically, the Magnificent Kotobuki's barren wasteland is nothing too out of the ordinary. That being said, the series' decision to primarily set the action in the sky is an entirely different story! How often does an anime focus on realistic aerial battles? This is a whole new world! In an industry dominated by convention, the Magnificent Kotobuki is a refreshing, albeit flawed, singular experience.
1. A Work of Frankensteinian Proportions
The Magnificent Kotobuki cannot be faulted for refusing to think outside of the box. Primarily remembered for 2016's Berserk, GEMBA works with 3DCG animation. On the other hand, WAO World's portfolio mainly consists of traditional 2D animation. With such clashing styles, logic dictates one studio must go against type and attempt something new. Well, WAO World and GEMBA opted for another solution.
The Magnificent Kotobuki combines 2D, 3D, and CG to forge an immediately off-putting aesthetic that only blends together satisfyingly in brief spurts. Thankfully, this strange mishmash of styles does not hurt the heavily computerized dogfights, unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the quieter moments. Approximately half of each episode focuses on the girls outside of their planes, but the decision to render the main characters in 3DCG greatly restricts their range of emotions. Bizarrely, many of the minor players are drawn in 2D and look far superior to the core cast members. If the anime was not constantly contrasting these two styles, the 3D may have been forgivable.
For better or worse, Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai seeks to differentiate itself from the competition. During those instances when the unique setting and incredible dogfights eclipse the robotic animation, the anime is a sight to behold! Unfortunately, such moments should be more frequent.
Did you agree with our review? Is the Magnificent Kotobuki worth watching? Please let us know in the comments below!