What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a very successful light novel series. Before you start running away, I should mention it’s the “ambitious steampunk” type of light novels, not the generic incest/harem/etc. ones that have plagued recent years.
Kal-el, our teenage male lead. (Who the heck though this was an appropriate name for a character in a pseudo-European steampunk setting ?) He’s a new recruit for an airship piloting school that is set on a flying island. I can’t quite get a bead on him, personality-wise : most of the time he’s your generic protagonist, but at times he’ll have fits of unexplained anger, or impenetrable flashbacks involving some sort of priestress.
Ariel, his “sister”. (I get the nagging feeling he’s been adopted, and some spoilers I’ve encountered pretty much confirm it.) They have typical siblings relationships : often quarrelling over insignificant nonsense, but still there for each other. They’ve actually got two other sisters, but Ariel is the one who also enlisted and is the copilot for his plane.
There’s some mysterious new student whose main distinguishing feature is that he scowls angrily at people. (I don’t think he even utters a single word this episode.) Everyone else wonders what’s the deal with this angry loner bozo.
Claire, a cute shy girl Kal-el meets in the countryside. Ten minutes later, they’re already touching intimately. Well, that was quick. They reluctantly part ways late in the evening : she lives in the “noble” section of the island, which he can’t access because he’s a commoner.
The narration is all doom and gloom. This can’t bode well.
Scenery porn !
Hmm. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this : it does some good (if not particularly innovative) world-building, establishes the characters quite well, looks quite good overall…
But the core problem here is Kal-el : it’s obvious there’s some sort of twist about him incoming soon, but in the meantime the character is left in an awkward place where he keeps shifting personalities randomly. And let’s be blunt : his default “nice ordinary guy” personality is quite boring indeed. (Not that the “angry” one is any better, especially given the lack of context for his outbursts.) Which removes a lot of charm his romance with Claire might have.
Frankly, I just don’t have the patience to wait for the twist ; the story is just too bland so far. I won’t be bothering with this one.