Anuki sets its place in a fictional war ridden era. Given technologies displayed in the manwha, I take it’s somewhere around 1930, basically World War I era.
Released in 2002, this was another manwha that drew my attention in early 2000 along with Yureka. I’ve fully scanlated this. However, due to translation quality, I’ve pulled the link.
A warning though; this review is spoiler heavy.
Our protagonist is a tragic hero, Anuki Redman who suffers from complete memory loss of his childhood. He remembers only pretty much basic stuff about himself such as his own name and that he is a guy. Everything else is in dark.
The reason for his condition is that his father, being a general of an endangered nation, had to abandon his son from his plane while fleeing with a young princess of his nation. His plane was running low on fuel and he had to lose weight. Since his whole objective was to secure the princess, he had to dump his son after making him wear a parachute bag.
It was perhaps merciful that he lost his memories. Since this event, the father, Gunter Redman, is said to be searching for him to his credit. Alas, I am unsure of his true motive. More on that later.
The story centers around three nations. In the early part (one third), it focuses on a neutral country of Montenia. This is where Anuki has ended up along with Merald who seems certain to have an eternal crush on him.
He and Merald are two of many who enlisted themselves at an aviation academy in Monetina. From there, they learn how to pilot World war era warplanes and would graduate to be sent to other countries as mercenaries. It is a way of living for orphans and such.
Of course, for some, it is an opportunity to claim up the social ladder as well. You become an ace pilot and you will be granted many benefits later on.
It is no surprise that Anuki becomes an elite pilot in the aviation academy after all he is the main character. However, it seems to come at a cost. Because he has endured so many high gravity situations, veins in his right eye give up. Under heavy G, veins in his right eye has a chance to pop and will blind him until bleeding is subsided. This does not occur always and, as long as he doesn’t endure high G (14G+), it won’t have any side effect in living.
However, for Anuki, he must fly so that he will find a purpose in his life. He firmly believes that, by becoming renowned, he would find someone who knows him, thus regaining his memories. For someone who has no recollection of his past, perhaps it is indeed a correct choice. It is a war-ridden era after all. The only sure-way to get noticed in wars is that you become famous in battles.
At this point, if you have plenty of experience, you will be able to guess how it will fold out because this series is very much cliche in that regard.
A neutral country sandwiched by two warring nations, and the neutral nation favoring a side creates the perfect situation of the neglected nation demanding an ace pilot. In this case, they want Anuki.
And here is the thing. It doesn’t take long for them to figure out that Anuki Redman is the lost son of Gunter Redman, a veteran general of their opponent.
And here lies one of my major problems regarding the story: Anuki’s father being unable to find his long-lost son is bullshit in its core. That is because Anuki does not hide his full name. All Gunter had to do was simply look up the roster of Montenia aviation academy and he would have found him.
Of course, there can be an argument to be made that his father may have not wanted to find him at all. However, that argument falls flat because, once the father finds where Anuki has been all along by just looking at newspaper, he appears to be shocked to his bones.
Well, this sets up a nice climax for the series though. Anuki soon fights against his father’s nation without knowing that his father is on the other side. And, due to his talents, he rises high swiftly. Meanwhile, Merald remains at the academy and becomes an instructor.
Sadly before Gunter could do anything to get his son back, crisis strikes both nations. In Gunter’s nation, the king passes away, and a high ranking officer within plots a revolt, basically banishing the princess (now the queen) as well as Gunter in exile.
And, for Anuki’s nation, his direct superior officer also plots a revolt.
Both schemers eventually fail. The queen escapes and frees Gunter while effectively promoting him to the highest military rank to get her country back.
In Anuki’s case, his superior officer puts the blame on a division which Anuki belongs and sends them to a trap. His squadron is hunted down as Anuki suggests to escape to Monetina.
Gunter, becoming aware of his son’s situation, leads his own force to save him. This is where the climax occurs. Having very little choices left in a heat of moment, Gunter rams his plane against Anuki’s superior officer. Merald has also brought a small squadron of her own to help Anuki. However, his plane is shot down due to his eye condition.
Anuki briefly spots Gunter and immediately gets his memory back all at once just before both planes crash into each other.
And that is the end of the series as Anuki stands at his father’s grave.
Now, another issue I have for this manwha is Merald. Her existence does not make much sense in the world setting. That’s because Anuki’s world is men’s world. In fact, Merald is the only female of any significance we see in Anuki’s world. Even in Montenia aviation academy, she is the only female student. The princess does not count since she has virtually no role.
I can certainly see why she exists. The plot needs a female; Anuki needs a woman. Merald is basically a home Anuki could return to once the whole thing is over. I get that part. However, her sole existence among all men makes very little sense to me. It would probably have been better if Merald’s role was different such as she being a scientist instead of a pilot herself.
At the same time, I can also see why the author has chosen her to be a pilot.
The reason is that, because Merald is a pilot herself, her character can develop alongside Anuki’s own stories. This would negate a need for a separate plot to develop her character.
In the end, it is what it is. This series was never popular. I found it okay. That’s why I purchased the whole series obviously.