Impressions: A slightly less oversimplified view of Allison and Lillia

So Author pointed out, my past impressions post contained a vague description of why I liked Allison and Lillia.

It could be I don’t have any taste, but I’m going to try to provide a better review of the series.

In brief, the show is divided roughly in half between four main characters. Allison and Wil start the series off and Lillia and Trieze have the last section of the show. Each of these pairs has three four-episode arcs which deal with a particular problem. The arcs follow a basic pattern, the characters go someplace, a problem arises, they get involved with the problem and then there’s a solution.

At its heart, Allison and Lillia is a child’s adventure story, something which is odd in anime to begin with. It shares more in common with the Hardy Boys than it does with most anime I’ve watched. This does lead to some moments where I found myself saying, “Huh, they’re having a kid?”

But that doesn’t make it inherently bad, but as Author correctly points out, it does make it inherently oversimplified. Would a crowd, which had been riled up by a politician they had come to know and trust, suddenly change their tune if they found out about a long lost line of royalty? Probably not. Would knowledge of a mural suddenly bring an end to a decades old war without any other force? I doubt it.

While it is inherently oversimplified, I expected it to be from the beginning. The show became more complex as it progressed. The saying about, “What a tangled web we weave, when we first try to deceive.” (Note: I probably screwed that up.) is proven true in Allison and Lillia. Each new arc introduces a new lie, or a new secret, which has to be kept. This added a dynamic to the show making it a lot more complex then I expected it to be. Suddenly, lines, which would have been pretty mundane if they were in a normal children’s adventure story, became ironic. Now I’ll admit, I have a fondness of dramatic irony when it’s done well and Allison and Lillia, in my opinion, did it well.

The irony becomes even more pronounced in the Lillia and Trieze arcs when some of the characters know all of the secrets and some of the characters know some of the secrets and some of the characters didn’t know any of the secrets. Now, I have to admit for being Wil’s kid, Lillia is really dense, but she does have Allison’s charm and hot-headedness, which I found somewhat fun.

The other thing I found interesting was neither Allison nor Wil had the upper hand as far as characteristics. Yes Wil might have been a good shot and he might have been really smart, but he was lousy in a fight and he couldn’t pilot a plane. Yes Allison was good in a fight and she could pilot a plane, but she wasn’t super smart. Neither character overshadowed the other character.

Does that mean it was a show without its problems? No, of course not. In fact, it had one really big problem in the Lillia and Trieze arcs. While Allison and Wil were usually at least part of the solution to their problems, Lillia and Trieze only really existed to get into trouble. They were a convenient plot device.

While I found it annoying, it didn’t put me off enough to want to stop watching the show because I wanted to see how all of the lies would resolve. Unfortunately the show didn’t give me a real resolution. It did give me a “well-we’re-going-to-let-you-make-up-your-own mind-how-it-resolves” resolution.

So yes, Allison and Lillia is an oversimplified, easily grasped view of the world. Yes, it doesn’t have amazing world building (although it’s not bad.) Yes, it isn’t an epic on the level of LoGH or even Seirei no Moribito. But for what it was, a Japanese version of the Bobsey Twins, it was enjoyable.

 

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2 Comments

  1. “At its heart, Allison and Lillia is a child’s adventure story, something which is odd in anime to begin with.”

    This is true if you watch the wrong kind of anime IMO. It describes more to the tastes of internet otaku more so than anime. And the subtlety as you described in Allison & Lillia was part of why I got as far as I did with the show (ended up dropping after the first Lillia arc).

    But sometimes you see this with the anibloggers because there is no rhyme or reason to the show we pick up to watch. People watch whatever they want and talk about them however they like and recommend whatever.

  2. @ omo – Yeah, I figured someone would catch me on that one. I was thinking a similar thing after I wrote the line.


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