Of Aces And Sky Crawlers

Sky Crawlers is a powerful movie. But its production values aren’t the best part, for me. It’s the mood, the mood that the show kept consistent from start to finish.

When I first read about it, I thought it was some sort of glamorous Top Gun-esque flick with crazy dogfights. Nothing can be farther from the truth. It first plays out like a pilot slice-of-life, then important stuff happens, then it ends. It explains the nature of Kildren in trickles (there’s only one noticeable LOL Oshii exposition scene), until it hits you in the head (don’t forget to stay after the credits). There are dogfights, and beautifully-animated ones at that, but they’re not grandiose, merely empty games that occur daily. You’ll understand when you see it.

When you see it...

When you see it...

Kannami has little to no personality, but he’s more compelling than most anime characters I’ve seen. It’s because he’s portrayed as a person, not just some genetically-engineered pilot. He smokes, laughs after getting praised, gets laid with hawt wimmenz, indulges the banal questions of old women on tour, exercises his hips with kiddie rides, and goes bowling. He’s more than an ace with memories that aren’t entirely his–the trivial things help shape him and turn him into a real person right before my eyes.

In more ways than one, this scene was a real treat.

In more ways than one, this scene was a real treat.

It got me asking, what do ace pilots do out of their machines, anyway? How do they entertain themselves, forgetting their dangerous occupation off their piloting duties? Kannami’s case is a textbook example, but it’s a way of dealing with the fact that he could die next sortie. Did Char have anything else to do out of combat aside from scheming against the Zabis? (in the novels, he does get laid by Gihren’s secretary no less) Was Johnny Ridden perpetually cursing his luck by being overshadowed by the Red Comet? Ozma listens to Fire Bomber and bakes bad cake, he’s a start.

Highly amusing to think how much seriously he took these ladies.

Highly amusing to think how much seriously he took these ladies.

I want real people, people who have something they do besides being badass aces. Hanging a personal belonging in front of your cockpit helps (as well as increase the chances of death in succeeding episodes), but it’s just a little step. Piloting has been trivialized in anime, and I want something that reminds me how close they are to death, every single time they leave the hangar.

A custom paintjob and a fancy nickname might make you an ace, but it takes much more than that to become a real person.

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6 Responses to Of Aces And Sky Crawlers

  1. omo says:

    Bowling scene is SO HAWT.

  2. ghostlightning says:

    A custom paintjob and a fancy nickname might make you an ace, but it takes much more than that to become a real person.

    Oh yeah? How about having an estranged waifu raival ace who bore you seven daughters?

    Or, having a propensity to mooch lunch (money) from your raival ace, as well as ruin his school project?

    Or, dropping and breaking your favorite model kit when you find out your best friend died while the love of your young life comforts you when you thought she’d never have time for you ever again?

    Or, having the magical ability to produce paper from nowhere to fold planes with? (ok, maybe not that example)

    • schneider says:

      Lol, I was criticizing the way Gundam dishes out aces as if they were candy. “Oh hey, here’s the White Wolf, and here’s his kill count! Worship him, buy his customized Gelgoog model kit!”

      I don’t have a problem with the Macross pilots, as they’re dealt as people first, and aces second. Except for Shin Kudo, whom I found cardboard. As for the flying thing, I found Alto to be the most believable out of the bunch. Wanting to find out what a real sky feels like, that was definitely something.

      • ghostlightning says:

        Yeah, I can’t defend Gundam at all, but this gave me a pretty cool series of posts idea.

        I actually agree that Alto had a lot of good characterization work on him, though the harem hijinks sort of diverted the attention from that.

  3. We really need to plan a lan party/file transfer overnight thingie(Robert’s house plz) so we can leech of each other’s por~ err, files. I still have 262gb left lol.

  4. Pingback: Sky Crawlers: Heaven (Valhalla) on Earth « We Remember Love

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