Kildren, young pilots fighting in a war they are too young to remember beginning. One such pilot, Yuichi, is assigned to a new post with a handful of fellow pilots. His young, female CO is Suito and she has secrets both about the plane Yuichi is assigned as well as the fate of its former pilot. As Yuichi learns more about his situation the war rages on and aerial battles commence, both small and large. His journey of discovery shows that these Kildren are indeed human and not just killing machines but how will his personal relationships shape his piloting, which is the joy of this journey.
Short story description but more on that in a minute. First the animation and design. Beautiful is the only way to describe the dogfights. The mechanical design and detail on each aircraft, use of computer animation is the best there is on the market, cutting edge. A sharp contrast is the design of each character, very ordinary looking with not a ton of detail. These are believable, ordinary looking characters. The setting reminds of WWII European countryside as does the building design. The dogfights are by far the best, absolute best, part of this DVD and it’s a true shame there is not more because the story is not so great.
There is mystery about Yuichi, what happened to the former pilot of his new plane, something stated on the DVD case. As viewers watch there are more questions and mysteries, especially around Suito. The conversation, time on the ground, for these pilots is very serious and thought provoking … thoughts like should I fast forward to the next dogfight. If you’re a viewer looking for a nice, deep human drama with a bit of action then The Sky Crawlers is right up your alley but comparing this to Ghost in the Shell in any way is not justified. The war is never really explained, Suito is just an annoying character and things like the enemies ace pilot the Teacher, his possibly being an adult and the ending are all just annoying without proper explanation. Vague on these points yes, why … because there are folks who will enjoy this DVD.
At the end of the day The Sky Crawlers is just not for me. I loved the superior animation and action but the human drama just felt empty. A good movie but not great on the level of Ghost in the Shell even after all this time.