Does she have a seatbelt? Is that safe?

(Possibly adopted) brother and sister Kal-el (um) and Ariel are ready to start as students of a special academy on board an apparently controllable flying island. Along with the other new cadets, they are journeying with the island in order to find the fabled ‘end of the sky’, where they hope to make sense of their land’s creation myth. There’s a clear-cut class distinction between the regular cadets and the pampered ‘nobles’, however Kal-el soon finds himself falling for one particularly shy noble girl.

‘Please help me find the CLAMP manga I fell out of, I am lost.’

I don’t know if it was just me, but I had to take notes during the viewing of this episode because the plot seemed so haphazardly thrown together that it was difficult for me to follow. The creation myth doesn’t really make any sense, and I don’t really know what the students have to do with it, and the whole premise is kind of presented in this matter-of-fact way that I found really unengaging. The scenes kind of just run into each other and sometimes the characters actions make little sense, especially Kal’s (why was he so ridiculously mad at the fact that the silver-haired emo guy glared at him?? What was that random psychotic break he had?). Maybe it was just to show that he’s emotionally unstable but it made it a lot harder to empathise and connect with him when I couldn’t understand the reasons behind a lot of his actions. His sister Ariel is rather annoying; her teasing is amusing at first but it quickly just makes her seem bratty and immature rather than cute. Other characters like the white-haired preistess (?) aren’t explained at all.
To top it all off, the animation is incredibly lack-lustre and looks very shabby, especially for a first episode. Background characters don’t move at all, even in longer scenes. There are times when the characters movements don’t even match what should be happening, for example Ariel exclaims ‘WOOOW!’ loudly without a pose, or mouth, to match, and none of the character designs (aside from maybe the shy noble) are particularly memorable.
The thing is there’s a lot of potential for an interesting story here and I’m definitely willing to give it a chance to figure out what it’s actually trying to do. But it’s going to have to iron our its direction problems first, because this episode leaves a lot to be desired and I’m more confused than intrigued.

If an anime character rides a bike like this it always ends badly. Ride responsibly.

Out of 5,