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The Cockpit

Alter titles:
The Cockpit: Kamikaze Stories
Type: OVA (3 episodes), 30 min
Aired: 22 October, 1993 - 21 January, 1994
finished airing
Genres: Drama
Studio: Madhouse Studios
Rating: 7.82
Weighed: 8.14 (14 votes)
Grabbed by: 40
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OK. Now I'd been waiting to see this one for a while due to the fact that it was done by none other than the legendary Leiji Matsumoto (creator of Space Cruiser Yamato AKA Starblazers and Captain Harlock). Once again his love of world war 2 technology shows itself in this superb OVA series. There were three episodes all conveniently put on one tape by Urban Vision.

Episode 1 Stratospheric Currents This is the story of a young German (that's right GERMAN) who ejects from his plane only to see it survive the battel as well. As if to make a mockery of him he's then commanded to escort a captured B-17 to deliver a new scientific payload to Great Britain. The cargo you ask? You'll have to watch and find out. The German accents were a bit much in some spots, but I found myself getting more used to them as the episodes wore on. One thing about Matsumoto, he obviously doesn't believe in changing his style to suit anyone as his designs are crystal clear throughout the series.

Episode 2 Sonic Thunder Attack Team In this episode, the Japanese pilots of a "cherry bomb" dropper are the main focus. The young and brash Kamikazes are ready to die so willingly for their country and Emperor that they literally have to have some sense knocked into them at one point or another. The failed attack means a second chance to say good-byes and more waiting for the inevitable. The soldiers drink to forget their sorrows before the bombing run the next day.....and honor is the follow up course.

Episode 3 Steel Dragon When an ex motorcycle racer finds a messenger in need of a ride in a remote island outpost, he quickly fixes his bike and offers to help him out. Friendships are quickly formed and thoughtful conversation follow the duos short ride through the islands countryside. Together they move in on the enemy even though they know its hopeless to try and break through the lines. Against all odds it seems they manage to get to the front lines, But what now?

The animation in all the episodes is breathtakingly gorgeous. Arial dogfights and ship to air battles look as if they were taken from military files and the accuracy of said equipment is unmatched in any other OVA that I've seen. The dubbing although very good for the most part, manages to get very nerve-rackingively bad in some spots. Consistency people! I found myself cheering the voice actors one minute and condemning them the next. That aside this would be a perfect choice for anyone wanting a real look at what war can be like. Sort of like Saving Private Ryan, but from the other perspective.

All of the episodes show a few things in common. The first being that there are good people with good intentions on both sides of any conflict. The second is that there is a strong sense of loyalty almost to the point of, and sometimes into, Fanaticism among comrades in arms.

And last but certainly not least.........War is hell.

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