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Allison & Lillia: Generation 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

May 15, 2011 by  



From the creator of “Kino’s Journey” comes a story about two generations in Keiichi Sigsawa’s “Allison & Lillia”.  Enjoyable characters and intriguing adventures, this anime series is worth checking out!

Image courtesy of © Keiichi Sigsawa/Ascii Media Works/Allison & Lillia Committee. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Allison & Lillia: Generation 1

ANIME SERIES BROADCAST: 2008

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen, Japanese 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14V

Released on May 17, 2011

Originally Created by Keiichi Sigsawa

Directed by Masayoshi Nishida

Series Composition by Touko Machida

Music by Shusei Murai

Originally Character Designs by Kouhaku Kuroboshi

Character Design by Shinji Seya

Art Director: Masaki Saitou, Masato Shibata

Chief Animation Director: Masaki Saitou, Masato Shibata

Anime Production: Madhouse Studios

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroyuki Yoshino as Treize

Nana Mizuki as Allison Whittington/Lillia

Chiwa Saito as Merielle

Hideyuki Tanaka as Acacia/Fran Stork/Oscar Whittington

Houko Kuwashima as Allison Whittington (older)

Kouichi Yamadera as Carr Benedict

Mamiko Noto as Fiona/Francesca

On a world where the single massive continent has been literally cut in two by mountains and rivers since the dawn of time, the ongoing wars between those on the opposing sides have continued for so long that the memory of when they first started has long been forgotten. But now, as the war between the alliances of Roxche and Sou Beil extends the conflict into its 130th year, a chance encounter and a hastily staged rescue attempt launches fighter pilot Allison and marksman and bibliophile Will on an incredible journey – a journey that could possibly end the wars once and for all!

Author Keiichi Sigsawa is best known for his series “Kino’s Journey” but in 2008, Sigsawa began work on the light novel series “Allison” (2002), the sequel “Lillia and Treize” (2007) and “Meg and Seron” (2008).

In 2008, anime production courtesy of Madhouse Studios began in an anime adaptation of with the first half of the anime series being the adaptation of “Allison” and the second half featuring the adaptation of “Lillia and Treize”.  The 26-episode anime series was broadcast on NHK and now receives its DVD release with “Allison & Lillia: Generation 1” (the first 13 episodes) in the US courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

The anime series is directed by Masayoshi Nishida (“Eyeshield 21”, “Benkai and Ushiwakamaru”, “Princess Knight”) and series composition by Touko Machida (“Tears to Tiara”, “Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?”, “Lucky Star”).   Character designs are by Shinji Seya (“Dr. Pinoko no Mori no Boken”, “Astro Boy” and Aoi Blink”) and music by Shusei Murai (“Ultraviolet: Code 044”, “Soten Koro”, “Mai Mai Miracle”).

“Allison & Lillia” takes place during a time during temporary peace of warring countries that share the same continent but one is from the west and the east, each claiming that they were the first to occupy the continent.

The Roxcheanuk Confederation (Roxche) is responsible for the east and has 16 countries, while the west is occupied by the United Kingdom of Bezel Iltoa (Sou Beil) which has two kingdoms (Bezel and Iltoa) and have several countries in their region and both countries have been in war for the past 130 years.  Both speak the same language but while both countries are currently in an armistice for ten years, people know that war can erupt anytime soon.

The story begins when pilot Allison Whittington of the Roxche Air Force visits her good friend Wil Schultz, an intelligent student of the prestigious Rowe Sneum Upper School.  While the two were together, they meet a friend of Wil, an older man who tends to have a wild imagination but he tells them a story about treasure in the western region of Sou Beil which could end the conflict between both warring regions.  At first the two think he’s just joking but they soon realize that he was a former soldier that was told to keep the treasure a secret.

Feeling that this could end the war, the three decide to find the treasure, especially since Allison can pilot an airplane and get to that area. But someone from the town hall has come and has taken the old man away and kidnapped him.  Now Allison and Wil go to look for the old man.

And as they go to rescue him, both Allison and Wil become targets for execution and the man to lead the hunt after them is Lt. Carr Benedict, a pilot in the Soul Beil Air Force.

But in the end, Lt. Carr Benedict is made a hero when Allison and Wil do find the treasure, a mural which will end the war but let Lt. Benedict take the glory.  This will begin the adventures of Allison, Wil and Carr as the three meet girl from a village who claims to be the Princess of the royal family of Ikstova, who was thought to be dead after the royal palace was burned down.

Fiona wants to attend a political speech but also to interrupt it and inform the people of Ikstova that the princess who was thought to be killed ten years ago has survived and that she has returned.

Will the three manage to help Fiona claim her place back in royalty?  And what will happen Allison and Wil?  And will the war between Sou Beil and Roxche actually end?

It’s important to note that the title “Allison & Lillia” is in reference to Allison and her daughter Lillia and the storyline is structured to showcase the generations of characters.  Allison and Wil are the first generation, while their daughter Lillia becomes part of generation two and the focus of the second half of the storyline.

For this first half, we get to see Allison and Wil in different stages in their lives as they grow older also seeing the adventures that the two partake in together.

VIDEO:

“Allison & Lillia” is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen (16:9).  While I do like the character designs and also the use of airplanes, it’s important to note that this series is focuses more on close-ups and mid-shots as a lot of the dialogue and action take place in the sky while they are riding on airplanes or down below on ground and what you see mostly are trees.

There are some scenes that do have wonderfully painted backgrounds such as when the storyline gets to the Fiona/Francesca storyline in Ikstova and also when you get to the third storyline that deals with the mysterious man in Allison and Wil’s life.  But the series does tend to focus on close-ups but for the most part Madhouse Studios did a very good job on the series.

If anything, this is a series that relies on the storytelling of Keiichi Sigsawa and his focus on the characters.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Allison & Lillia: Generation 1” is presented in Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with English subtitles.  The acting is well done and while the series is front channel driven, for those with a modern receiver can easily set their receiver to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundscape.  But overall, dialogue is clear and subtitles are yellow and easy to read.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Allison & Lillia: Generation 1” comes with no special features.

In Japan, you occasionally run into stories on television ala drama such as as the popular “Kita no Kuni Kara” or “3-Nen B-Gumi Kinpachi Sensei” which focuses on various time periods of the life of characters and how the characters will have children and the series would then spin-off to focus on those children.

While we do see some of that on mecha anime series such “Macross”, there hasn’t been many anime TV series that takes the time to focus on generations of characters.  For writer Keiichi Sigsawa, he did that with his light novel series “Allison & Lillia” and the purpose was to begin with the first generation to showcase Allison & Wil and then to have a transition episode which would carry on to the second half featuring their daughter, Lillia.

And like mother and father, Lillia will get herself in trouble as well.  But along the way, we have to see through the adventures of these characters of what they do in life and how they gradually grow up and for some, their job is everything and for others, their family is more of the focus.

The first half of “Allison & Lillia”, the focus is more on the adventures of Allison & Wil but also their friend Carr Benedict and Fiona.  And while the series does have its share of action, if anything, it’s the gradual growth of love that Allison has always felt for Wil, leaving the audience to wonder if Will can actually see that his good friend is in love with her?  Will he acknowledge her or not?

While the series starts out discussing the war between those who occupy a continent and I was expecting a wartime story, it becomes less of that and more about the characters.  Even the character designs and the animation tends to favor close-ups and mid-shots and not showcase so much background art, as most of the time, you will see a lot of clouds, blue skies and a lot of trees.

But “Allison & Lillia: Generation 1” turned out to be an enjoyable anime series, especially when you get to the Fiona/Francesca storyline which was well-written, especially episode 13 when we see what happens between Allison and Wil (a very emotional episode), but you can’t help but feel that you are being setup for a more serious storyline for the second half of the anime series.

As for the DVD, the DVD doesn’t feature any special features at all, so it is a barebones DVD release but at the same time, you do get all 13 episodes in this first DVD volume.  I would rather have more episodes on a release if that meant little to no special features but it would have been nice to have something included, even if it meant the Japanese promotional trailers or commercials.

Overall, “Allison & Lillia: Generation 1” is an enjoyable series for those wanting something more story-driven and a series that is not too flashy when it comes to presentation.  For those familiar with Keiichi Sigsawa’s work on “Kino’s Journey” will know that his work thus far is about the story, the adventures and the characters.  So, people can expect something similar but this time focusing more on different generations of characters which will definitely interesting how this storyline plays out in the second volume.

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