Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Takashi Imanishi, Ryousuke Taka The Cockpit: Kamikaze Stories

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Since i've already written one review with a military theme i've decided to post another one once again now that i'm in the mood. As you can see my review won't delve deeper on how each episode ends, i would leave those parts untouched for you to imagine and see.

The Cockpit: Kamikaze Stories is an OVA split into three different fictional short stories of war. Based on the events of the latter days of World War 2, it tells stories of glory, honor, and the other realities of war.

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Plot:

The first part, Slipstream, is set days before the bombing of Hiroshima, it tells the story of Captain Erhardt Von Rheindars. As an ace Luftwaffe pilot, Rheindars found dishonor by ejecting out of his plane to run away from from a dogfight just above German territory against three British Spitfires. However, he was still trusted by some of his peers and superiors in the air force and it eventually led him to another mission. He was assigned to escort a plane with confidential cargo inside along with his ex-lover and some VIPs.

He was given a new and more powerful plane to pilot, the Ta 152H1. With a superior plane and his ace pilot skills, Rheindars is now souped up and ready to fly and regain his honor once again. The question is: will the mission end up as a success or a failure? What happens if the secret cargo is revealed to him?

*****

The 2nd part is entitled Sonicboom Squadron, it tells the story of a young Kamikaze pilot named Nogami. The beginning of the story is set on August 5, 1945 and ends on the next day, August 6, 1945, where the city of Hiroshima in Japan was
hit by an atomic bomb.

On Nogami's first and supposedly last mission, him, along with the escorting party and the crew of the carrier that carries his rocket-powered kamikaze craft (called the Cherry Blossom) were attacked by american planes. This led to a failed mission and because of that Nogami survived to live another day. Once back in camp, Nogami reflects on his fate and meets a band of happy-go-lucky pilots who are set to escort him on his next mission. On another attempt, Nogami and his comrades were again intercepted by American fighters but this time, the "Cherry Blosson" piloted by Nogami gets launched. Will he be able to complete his mission? What other events lie ahead?

*****

The third and final part called Knight of the Iron Dragon follows two Japanese army privates and a young messenger (who also happens to be a private) eager to fulfill his duties. Set on the Philippine island of Leyte, the timeline of the story follows the events after the Battle of Leyte Gulf (the largest naval battle in modern history).

After a fierce attack by the Allied forces on a Japanese camp in Leyte, only two soldiers survived, an old Private named Kodai and one character with less importance. They eventually meet a young messenger in a broken tricycle named Utsunomiya, he was sent to call the other soldiers in but he was late because the American forces already rallied down their bases and the two privates are all that's left.

After being asleep because of alcohol and exhaustion, Utsunomiya woke up to see his tricycle fixed again with new and improved equipment. Kodai tells him that engineers arrived and helped him fix the broken motorcycle. From this point on the duo rides together to make their way to the remnants of the Japanese base. What adventures lie ahead for Kodai and Utsunomiya? Will they be abel to complete their mission and arrive to their destination?

Sound & Graphics:

The Cockpit: Kamikaze Stories is excellent in this department. The planes, ships, tanks, and other war-related equipment are drawn with great detail and with great color delivery.

The European architectural structures present in Slipstream really does look European and not something else. Sonicboom Squadron which is mostly set at the sea and the skies displays and excellent use of camera angles and perspective, a lot of things happen do happen in one scene without even a slight angle change. This visual "bareness" helps the 2nd part deliver more emotional impact to the viewer. The third part set on tropical land is not bad either, the background really captures the feel and image of the Philippine countryside.

The first part features a more realistic design on the characters which could prove to be dated and unattractive for today's fans. The 2nd part also features that realistic design but a bunch of goofy looking characters gets mixed alongside the realistically designed ones, this may prove distracting to some viewers. The 3rd part has a much more goofier cast but the usage of this style hardly takes away the intense drama that the story delivers. In fact, the 3rd part uses a lot of semiotics and symbolisms for the viewer to decipher.

The sound never fails in any of the three episodes of The Cockpit. The crude roar of the engines, the explosions, the guns, and all things war are all convincing.

Entertainment Value:

Though not really a popular title with a rather brutal concept, The Cockpit may not be too attractive to a less mature audience. The common use of symbolisms and historical figures might prove to be boring and too much for some people. Like my first reviewed title, Zipang, The Cockpit isn't really a show for everyone. It requires a greater appreciation of history and a more open mind, it will raise issues such as morally right versus the common good, the realities of war, love, friendship, honor, death and many other issues.

The biggest downside of The Cockpit lies on its length, a lot of people might find it too short for their tastes.

Replay Value:

Due to its shortness, anyone could re-watch it in a jiffy just to kill time or to appreciate it once again. Seriously.

There's not too much of a problem here when it comes to the replay value

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Recommended to: Aviation buffs, history buffs, WWII buffs

I'm giving it an overall grade equivalent to the first title i reviewed.

*images will be upped later on*
Keywords: Military, Drama, History, Hantei16
Sound & Graphics Excellent
Entertainment Value Very Good
Replay Value Very Good
Plot Excellent
Genre Military, Drama, Historical
Episodes 3
Studio Madhouse

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Hantei16
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