If there's a more concentrated dose of aviation/anime fanboyism I have yet to see it.

I love it. So far.

There's still plenty of room to screw this up.

The basic rundown is strange stuff goes down in Antarctica and out come these alien fighters built by the JAM (bad choice of name but oh well). Think of a mixture between the Second Impact from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Tokyo Jupiter from Rahxephon. Oh, and trade the hulking bipedal robots for insanely nimble fighters. The result is something like this floating above the Ross Ice Shelf.

If you fly into that mushroom cloud, you come out on the planet codenamed "Fairy" (another poor choice for a name). On the other side you'll find that somehow, humanity has managed to not just repel the invaders back to this world. They've also managed to send enough material through to build sizable airbases and subterranean fortifications.

The main protagonist, Rei, is a rather strange individual. He has an unique relationship with the AI on his assigned aircraft "Yukikaze." The two seem to genuinely care for each other. This comes into play later when the JAM alter their tactics after realizing that trying to attack human technology is pointless when it's the human that is the system's real weakness. What you get is the equivalent of an anti-Skynet (ala Terminator). The AI begins doing everything in it's power to keep Rei alive.

The squadron to which Rei is attached is one of strictly reconnaissance. Fly in, get your info, and get the hell out. Now, what kind of aircraft would you pick to fly that particular mission? Something very simple, fast and high flying, or the fastest, meanest, most god-awful maneuverable beast the Fairy Air Forces can wield? If you picked the first you haven't watched enough anime. The decision to put the most capable air superiority platform in a roll that makes little use of it's true capability causes considerable frustration among the pilots forced to fly toe-to-toe with the enemy's ever improving interceptors. Sounds like a decision made by a bean counting pencil pusher...

At one point in the 4th episode I was struck by a conversation a couple of characters had. They were discussing how disconnected most of humanity was from the conflict on Fairy. Between the high level of secrecy and distant location, most people didn't know or care what was really going on "over there." I'm having a bit of difficulty getting my thoughts down in words, so I may have to rehash this topic later, maybe after seeing the conclusion of the show.

I can't say I'm a fan of the character design. The entire cast look gaunt and pale, and while that could be expected of soldiers in a remote warzone, these people are holed up in a very plush and well furnished airbase, not an FOB cut off from supplies by a seige.

The primary example is the red-head rendition of Cruella...

The only character that doesn't look like he was just released from an asylum is James Bukhar. Instead he looks like he's pre-made for yaoi fanfic.

Shave that beard and you'd never be able to tell.

All of that may make it sound like I despise the show. On the contrary, I'm interested to see what they finally do with the JAM as a concept. The details of what they really are remain skecthy at best.

There are only 5 episodes to the OVA, with the 5th due out in early July. In that time the writers have managed to tell a somewhat compelling story, while still managing to graft together the unholy combination of Shinji Ikari and Maverick. An unhinged introvert who doesn't like flying by "the book."

All images bogarted from http://www.animeboredom.co.uk/anime-reviews/yukikaze/


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