The Sky Crawlers
Synopsis & Opening Comments
“A group of eternally young fighter pilots known as Kildren experience the sudden loss of innocence as they battle the enemy in astonishing dogfights above the clouds. With his only childhood memory consisting of intense flight training, the fearless teenage pilot Yuichi’s dogfights coexist with his struggle to find his missing past.
When his beautiful, young female Commander Suito is reluctant to discuss the fate of the pilot that Yuichi is replacing – or the strangely perfect condition of that pilot’s former aircraft – Yuichi’s curiosity becomes heightened.”
The Sky Crawlers is a film I have been putting off watching for a while now and when I watched this, I can see why but I can also see why it was worth watching in the end. The film is set in a fictional Europe, don’t ask me how I know that but when you watch the film Subbed and you hear people speaking English for 50% of the film you kind of feel that it is. There is a lot for me to talk about with this one, as there are ups and downs that will ultimately reflect my final opinions on this flick.
The story follows Yuichi, a Kildren who is an experienced fighter pilot and the new Ace on the Rolstock Fighter Team. On arriving at his new post he is greeted by the commander who is also a Kildren and one of the old Ace’s of the team, Suito. Upon Yuichi’s arrival at the camp he is handed a new plane, usually this is done by the previous pilot unless he is deceased, but this is not the case here. The Commander refuses to reveal what happened to the previous pilot leaving Yuichi curious.
Throughout the film there is a growing relationship between Yuichi and Suito, slowly leading to Suito revealing what happened. There are a lot of moments in the film where it felt a bit too silent, but now and then you would faintly hear the sound of returning pilots. Since Kildren cannot die they have lived a long time and seen a lot, leaving their memories in a bit of a muddle. This tends to drive them mental and longing for death, only a few wish that but it is something that they feel they need.
Kildren were the result of scientific experiments and this caused them to have eternal life, making these people the perfect fighter pilots, in fact there is only one man that fights who isn’t a Kildren. One of the Kildren is confused and does not know if she is really a Kildren, leaving her consoling in Yuichi. She says to him about her memories and if it is like that for him. She gives him a hypothesis about his life and why he cannot remember anything, she says that he is just the same guy as the last who had his memories implanted because they didn’t want to lose their best fighter pilot, if you ask me this just makes it an endless cycle.
What really let me down with this film is mainly the ending, I thought it sucked. Well maybe not that much but there was a great build up and it was let down. There’s a quote from towards the end of the film that I cannot seem to forget, “You have to live, to find a way to change.”, this is said right before the big battle at the end. After hearing that I thought there would be some sort of heroic ending but like the last guy, it seemed that Yuichi just wanted to die, he went into battle recklessly and it just seemed pointless. This is one of the few anime I have seen which had a depressing ending but either way the story would of been brilliant if it wasn’t for that finale.
The film had a Steampunk sort of style to it, from the design of the planes, to the sound of the harp music. It all did look rather grey for my liking but what I noticed throughout the film is that the colours meant something, they really stuck out. A example of this is that the Commander really wanted to die throughout it all and I just thought, “That red tie shows that” because quite frankly its the little things which make a difference. CGI is huge in the film and that really is a downer for me, it wasn’t bad CGI but it felt like there was too much, aswell as the extreme amount of English Dialogue.
What I noticed straight away is that even though these guys are Children that never die, they sure act like adults. Smoking excessively, which actually has quite an important feature in this film that you will understand the second time through but I realized it quite quickly. Yuichi mentions that he only trusts commanders that smoke, and you will realize why after the flick. They drink so much, it is surprising, maybe they have seen a lot but they drink like people in their 40′s after a long week at work. Finally, they even attend escort houses, quite early on Yuichi gets some inspiring words from one of the girls, that was actually on his first night in town, yeah he gets around quick.
This isn’t a film that many will understand, I struggled at points and this is where the film is bland because there isn’t enough explanation. Steampunk is pretty great in my eyes and this film is something that shows it well, but what you really will take from the film, is the music. Beautiful music played mainly on the Harp throughout the film and in the battles it does add a great atmosphere. The English Dialogue really does make the film average because I wanted to watch the film subbed, and a lot of time when they spoke English their voices were muffled. Story would of been brilliant if it wasn’t for the dull moments and the lack of explanation early on. This would be a great title for everyone, but I wouldn’t recommend using this film as your introduction into anime or otaku lifestyle.
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