About a Luftwaffe pilot who must choose between his duty to his country: to guard a bomber loaded with Germany's final hope of victory... the world's first atomic bomb... or his duty to the world: to let it fall in flames to enemy Spitfires and be a footnote in history. Of course, things are complicated by the plane's other cargo... the woman he loves.
2. Sonic Boom Squadron
Near the end of the war, Japan has implemented a new weapon -- a human-piloted rocket-propelled flying bomb. Aboard a bomber carrying one of these, young Ensign Nogami awaits his chance to die as a "cherry blossom", a suicide pilot. In a few hours, he will die. The date of his death is set: August 6, 1945.
3. Knight of the Iron Dragon
Two soldiers attempt to reach an air base in order to fulfill a promise despite the fact that it might have been rendered moot in the reality of war.
This is a review for episode 1 and 2 of the OVA; Slipstream and Sonic Boom Squadron.
A romanticised view of Germans during WW2? Slipstream begins, of all places, in the cockpit.
It opens with a German v Brit dogfight in August 1944 culminating in a clever bailout technique by Luftwaffe pilot Erhardt von Rheindars into the waters of the Mohne.
The anime then heads into Casablanca territory with lovers reunited, then proceeds onto the thriller aspect with the introduction of an atomic bomb. Erhardt and his love interest's disgust of the implications of the weapon are so palpable, their damnation of anyone who would use it so venomous, you have to wonder if you're watching propaganda for the Fatherland.
This is not to slight actual Germans at the time who were against what their government and leader were doing, or even the idea of there being ‘good Germans’, but it still rubs the viewer the wrong way because the story doesn’t do anything with the core concept driving the show, that of being on the German side of the WW2 conflict.
All we see are a couple good people trying to do the right thing, but the episode doesn’t explore their decisions from a cultural point of view, how they even ended up where they did if they were both so idealistically goody-two-shoes all along; when and why they decided it was acceptable to betray their country. Do they think its ok to shoot Brits down but not blow their city off the map? Why? Do they not want Germany to win the war swiftly? The viewer needs meat on this story, not just potatoes.
Sure the episode is only 20 minutes long, but any writer can achieve anything in any amount of time if they really wanted to. This was too easy, too black and white. Of course I’m also projecting my own expectations and ideas onto the anime, so I’m not downgrading it because of my woulda coulda shouldas listed above.
All in all, it’s decent for what it is, however simple. Watching a character struggle in a hopeless situation is always good drama and you get it in Slipstream with Erhardt having to choose between his love and his honour during a climactic dogfight.
The anime is produced, directed (by the luminary Yoshiaki Kawajiri), edited and animated very well for the time it was released. The music is lovely in a Joe Hisaishi kind of way and the character art is attractive. A fascinating production and worth checking out for the novelty alone.
Sonic Boom Squadron:
Set in August 1945, this opens with a sobering intro to kamikaze fighter jets and their methodology. You think you’re going to be thrown into a dark dramatic tale of epic proportions, unflinching and compelling, engrossing and powerful.
No. Most of the characters look like they belong in a Peanuts or Gary Larson cartoon they're so jarring and misplaced it’s not even funny, and especially in such a tale as this. What the character designer was thinking, I have no idea.
The story revolves around kamikaze pilot Nogami who is all too eager to die in a blaze of glory for his country but has to be punched out to stop him throwing his life away. He recuperates at a raggedy airfield with more US-comic rejects who lament about war and what the era’s youth could achieve if they were allowed to live for 30 more years.
Then, as if this is a comedy sketch but it isn’t because it’s all played very straight-faced, we cut to a bunch of US airmen lamenting the exact same thing, "he wanted to be the world's best comic artist, maybe if he'd lived another 30 years!"
It’s so hackneyed and stupid but you can’t laugh, it’s just a wasted premise with lousy art and writing. The climax did give me goosebumps but only because of the idea of what was occurring on screen, the potential, not the shoddy execution.
The climax is of course utterly ruined with a ludicrous coincidence followed by a convenient announcement that wraps up this failed attempt at exploring WW2 through the Japanese air force via anime.read more
Ok, this is a three part OVA series so I am going to give each individual episode a rating and mini-review.
This episode could be the only one you watch and you are not missing anything. This is my personal favorite out of the three. It makes me wish that this episode alone evolved into it's own short 6 episode anime, with more backstory. You get a Nazi viewpoint of WWII and you end up caring for the main two Nazi's. The ending is very satisfying but a little emotional.
It is a great aviation short!
#2-Sonic Boom Squadron:
This episode is alright, it has an interesting story. The only factor that throws me off is the design of most of the Japanese characters. A lot of the pilots look very deformed and almost as if they were "inbred"; and it really takes away from the serious tone. (Though the Americans look great) You follow a pilot whom pilots a suicide missile/plane hybrid; as he struggles to find the right time to launch. The aviation battle scenes are what keep this episode "above the water".
#3-Knight of the Iron Dragon:
Ok, this is the worst episode, the serious tone only lasts for maybe a minute. All of the characters now have the goofy "inbred" look to them, again, except for the few Americans in this episode. This episode can honestly be skipped, as none of these episodes relate to one another. You follow a boy and a kind solider as they try to retake their home base. Like the others, the ending is quite sour as well, but i had little-to no emotion for what happens to these characters.
The art style of the characters ruins this episode, and the whole "aviation" them is not present except for a quick plane encounter. No aerial dog-fights present at all.
Overall, I feel like episode #1 was too good when compared to the last two and lead to them feeling underwhelming. I would highly recommend episode 1, episode 2 is all-right, but dont waste your time with episode 3.read more
The Cockpit Review
There are no spoilers in this review
I just completed the three part OVA The Cockpit. An anime about three different theoretically possible World War 2 scenarios.
The story for each episode is independent from each other and is focused on the characters feelings of war and what they do to hold their own sense of honor during one of the most bloody wars in History.
It's interesting to watch these as an Australian as the story focuses on Axis Power soldiers. One German fighter pilot, one Japanese Ohka pilot and two Japanese infantry soldiers. It's interesting to see a perspective which I never could comprehend on my own. I really like the story.
It's amazing how much the writer put into each episode without making it feel rushed.
I'm not sure what the quality of animation was like at the time this was created, being 1991. But the lowest points of the anime is the tech side. I think the only reason it is because of it's age. But it's art does something better than allot more modern anime does and that is nose, face and profile shots.
The Japanese characters tended to have their faces drawn weird for some reason but the other characters art style was something I really liked.
I would like to see a rebuild of this with a modern quality but still have the same style for the characters.
Overall though the sound, art, est where primitive and that's just a reflection of the time.
I think I have really said what I wanted in the story section so I'll be brief. The characterization was great. I liked all the characters allot.
I really liked this. It's relevant to my interests and is well executed. There is room for improvement but I was glad to have seen this. I'd say it should be an anime everyone see's at least once. At least for those who have an interest in history. I'm surprised at how good this turned out. read more
The Cockpit is a collection of three animated short stories focused on World War II adapted from source material written by acclaimed creator of Captain Harlock, Leiji Matsumoto. Each of the stories explore how different soldiers cope with an aspect of war with Slipstream featuring a German pilot's hesitance to do an escort mission involving a nuclear warhead, Sonic Boom Squadron's focus on a Japanese kamikaze pilot and Knight of the Iron Dragon focus on a pair of soldiers trying to make it to an air base unaware of its current occupancy by American forces.
All three shorts carry a sense of tragedy and inevitability with what the characters face in their endeavors as The Cockpit doesn't hold back any punches in depicting the reality of war and the harshness of the regimes in which the characters are entangled with. Each story accomplishes a unique take to the tragedies faced by the characters. Slipstream's lead character, the German pilot, must choose between redemption for being labeled a coward by his superiors or what he finds to be morally right through the escort mission. Sonic Boom Squadron switches perspectives quite often throughout its run between American and Japanese forces to show how each side perceives the other in regards to kamikaze methods. Knight of the Iron Dragon is the more light-hearted of the bunch with some of the silly behavior of the two soldiers as they press to reach their air base, unaware of the inevitable tragedy that is to come for them.
These perspectives of war help to paint a more human side to two of history's more infamous regimes, which also makes the film a bit controversial to more sensitive audiences who wouldn't want to see a movie that attempts to humanize these regimes despite the horrific deeds they committed in World War II. If you are sensitive to the mention of sympathizing with Nazi Germany or Emperor Hirohito's rule over Japan, then this movie will definitely not be to your liking.
Visually, The Cockpit is a well-animated anthology with nicely detailed designs of planes and naval vessels and vast shots of scenery. Aerial dogfights were nicely animated as planes were fluid in their movements and the different titles showed a nice diversity of camera shots such as first-person POV shots from the cockpit and aerial shots of a plane moving about while in action. Character designs are a bit of a mixed bag though as the shorts tend to make use of Matsumoto's drawing style for many character designs. While some characters are reasonably proportioned and drawn with proper anatomical details, others look deformed and rather crude-looking in their designs. This is especially notable in the designs of a number of characters for Sonic Boom Squadron and Knight of the Iron Dragon.
If you're a fan of war anime based on historical events and have an open mind, then The Cockpit offers some unique perspectives on two of World War II's most infamous regimes that paint them in a sympathetic light despite what inevitably happens to them. read more