Friday, April 8, 2011

Yukikaze Anime Review

Yukikaze
Sento Yosei Yukikaze aka Battle Fairy Yukikaze
Bandai Entertainment - Anime Legends
Complete Collection - 5 episodes
183 minutes - 3 discs
$39.98 (2007)
ISBN 66919822907
English/Japanese Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Masahiko Okura
Studio - Gonzo

Synopsis: 33 years ago the Earth was invaded by aliens known only as the JAM.  The invaders were beaten back into their own dimension where human forces have established a beachhead and continue the fight unbeknownst to the general population of Earth.  The planet is called "Fairy" and similar to Earth with plentiful natural resources. 
Rei Fukai is not a very well-liked pilot.  He's mostly a loner who keeps to himself
Rei Fukai pilots one of the most advanced fighter planes in existence called "Yukikaze" in the Special Air Force (SAF), the strategic recon wing of the Fairy Air Force (FAF). Yukikaze has an advanced AI (artificial intelligence) and communicates with Rei during missions. He is extremely withdrawn from his fellow man, obsessed with Yukikaze, and his sole friend is Major "Jack" Bukhar (former co-pilot and current commanding officer).
This scene seems to be an homage to the opening credits of
Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross
For 33 years mankind has been fighting a forgotten war to defend itself from the JAM.  In all that time no one has ever seen a JAM and their motives are unknown.  During a recon mission Rei encounters a mysterious plane identical to the Yukikaze, but without IFF (identification friend or foe). Later he is captured by the JAM and becomes one of the first humans to ever encounter them in person. What is their fierce interest in Rei and the Yukikaze?
James Bukhar gets a stern talking down from Brigadier-General Cooley
Pros: Excellent production values and computer effects, later episodes are really good
Rei pilots the Super Sylph advanced fighter plane
Cons: I don't think Fairy Air Force would fly as an official name, the character designs for Rei and James are way too effeminate (I swear they're gay, but who knows)
Rei investigates a Banshee, an enormous flying fortress
Mike Tells It Straight: Battle Fairy Yukikaze wasn't the title I expected for a sci-fi fighter plane show with aliens trying to invade our world.  Based on a popular science-fiction novel by Chohei Kambayashi.  Yukikaze started out slow and was a little confusing, but episodes 3 and 4 were spectacular.  It's a moody and psychological show.  The animation and dogfights were really good.  I found myself getting sucked into the confusing drama of Rei, James, and the JAM.
Rei seems to be losing it from battle fatigue
Seeing the Yukikaze among conventional naval forces was awesome and kind of validated the series.  It was really cool watching the Super Sylph landing on an aircraft carrier among the other planes.  You realize how badass the plane is in comparison.  The show eventually won me over, but I didn't really like Rei or Jack Bukhar's characters (I still swear they're gay although nothing official is hinted).  It's a quick little OVA at five episodes, won some awards in Japan, and is decent rental material.  They never tell you what JAM stands for, btw.
The Yukikaze's AI plays a big role in the show. What does it know?

TO BUY and Recommendations: