If you ever told me Superman would be starring in an anime as a young pilot on a voyage to the edge of the world, then surely I would laugh until being shown The Pilot’s Love Song. Then, I would ask why someone thought naming their protagonist Kal-el was actually a good idea.
Puzzling naming sense aside, The Pilot’s Love Song is a sweet tale about love and adventure. It stars a large cast and an intricate setting, the latter which should be known to those who have seen The Princess and the Pilot as it is set in the same universe. Over the short span of merely 13 episodes – far too few for a story on this scale – it managed to live and breathe a wondrous sense of adventure I haven’t encountered very often in anime.
A large reason to this is the setting itself, which in the case of The Pilot’s Love Song involves a massive flying sky island and sky ships. This alone is reason enough for me to adore the series, however foolish it sounds. It is difficult to put it into words, but there is something very magical and adventurous about the sky and I adore whenever fiction uses it to its advantage. A vast, unknown world where the only possible way to traverse it is by air is exhilarating. Whatever lies behind the distant clouds? Whatever lies not only in front or to the sides of you, but also above and below? It is very poetic.
As a series, The Pilot’s Love Song is disappointingly never able to fully explore its heaps of ideas and potential it sits on – something The Princess and the Pilot gracefully succeeded with – yet it remains a sweet little tale with a lot of heart. The short length is not enough to do the story justice and its slightly meandering focus halfway through – shifting the spotlight to a frustratingly predictable event – means the smaller details are never given enough time to organically grow. Instead, we are left with tidbits of information and a desire to learn more about what was left unknown.
This is a shame, as author Koroku Inumura clearly has vision and a sense of scale as seen throughout his “Pilot universe”. If good things can come true, another of his titles will hopefully be adapted in the near future despite The Pilot’s Love Song’s disastrous sales. I would love to further delve into his creations and see what other stories in the mythology offers.