Anime Meta-Review


Area 88


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-3 of 3
  • type: OAV
  • grade: worthy
  • made: 1985
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

Going out for some binge drinking, in Paris, with your best friend can be very dangerous. Take the example of Shin Kazama, he wakes up in the morning with a bad hangover and two goons with guns telling him he just signed up for a three year stint as a mercenary fighter pilot. Perhaps his `best' friend wasn't much of a friend at all. Thus one goes back to japan to try and steal shin's girlfriend and her daddies business, while shin gets to play kill or be killed in the violent deserts of Aslan (a fictional arabic civil war). And even if he should survive physically, will he be able to re-join society when he knows exactly how much a life is worth?

To be honest this is pretty good stuff, and strong arguments could be made for it being exemplary. And if three episodes sounds too little then take heart in the fact that they are about 45 minutes each. The environment is interesting, with the air force being filled with varied people each of whom has some reason behind them. This allows a variety of viewpoints on humanity and war to be explored and expressed, which can sometimes be pretty powerful. One of the main threads comes from the fact that you can finish your tour early by earning 1.5 million dollars. Thus, as shin puts it, the faster you can kill the quicker you earn the right to not have to. And since the pilots own their own planes, and pay for equipment and repairs, there is the anguish of being close to your goal and then totalling a 500K plane. On the down side the story is fairly familiar and the basis not entirely believable (don't they have phones?) and if you don't like planes or scenes of war you could really dislike this. Still this is fairly good stuff, and while far from cheerful will drag you into the story. In addition the unfolding drama in Japan, as shin's enemy moves to seize what he desires, is good and makes an excellent balancer, even if it does not feel fully fleshed out. The ending feels somewhat rushed and sudden, and is fitting rather than satisfying.

In a similar way if you don't like looking at fighter planes this animation could drag a bit. Each of the pilots can fly whatever they buy, so there is a wide variety of hardware for the air-buff to feast on. The anime, but moreso the manga, also includes comparisons between the planes which will delight tech-heads. On the other hand some of the flight maneauvours and physics are not that believable. The flight animation is also not that exciting, with lots of missile tracks and shredding planes rather than dog-fight sequences. Although it is interesting to note the animation becoming more complex and rich in each OAV episode. There's also a fascination, linked to the `horror' of war bit, with pilots being visibly maimed and killed. However there are some very powerful bits of animation within this series, and some really skillful staging, pacing and cuts to give it a strong sense of style. Older, somewhat unusual in its feel, but good stuff.

I'd forgotten that this drew from an ancient arcade game (which I remember finishing) but the review from THEM reminded me, as well as making some good points about the anime. The found it solid, and interesting, but somewhat rushed in compressing the manga to three OAV episodes.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:15 WST 2009