||The cockpit: Kamikaze stories, Kamikaze stories
||Action, Historical, Military, Tragedy
The three short episodes in this OVA contain a strong anti-war message. The heroes in the episodes exhibit courage and honor as they strive to accomplish what they perceive to be their duty. Although each story shows battles near the end of the World War II, the settings, style, and characters vary greatly. The perception that this OVA is just about Kamikaze pilots is a misnomer, since only the second episode involves Japanese kamikaze pilots, and the other two episodes do not even involve suicide attacks. Also, the last episode does not have a cockpit, since it tells the story of two soldiers on a motorcycle with a sidecar. This series deals with war, but it focuses on the human perspective rather than the machines used for fighting. However, the series also contains realistic animation of the planes and motorcycles used in the combat scenes.
The first episode, "Stratospheric Currents," tells the story of a German pilot who gets branded a coward for surviving a fierce battle with British planes despite his previous exemplary record. Notwithstanding the incident, he gets selected to escort a plane carrying the world's first atomic bomb, which has been developed by a German scientist with whose daughter the pilot previously had a love interest. The fighter pilot lets a British plane get through to destroy the transport plane with the bomb, and the scientist, and his daughter also perish in the attack. Although he will carry the burden of disgrace for the rest of his life because he did not protect the transport plane, he believes he chose the right course of action since he prevented mass murder by the bomb.
The second episode, "Sonic Thunder Attack Team," Is the deepest of the three, It tells the story of a young pilot of an ohka, (aka Sakura flying bomb) which is launched from underneath a mother plane and powered by rocket engines. On August 5, 1945, this ohka pilot named Nogami survives a failed raid on an American carrier group by parachuting out of his plane when attacked by American fighters. Although ashamed to be saved since so many of his comrades perished, he gets another chance to make an attack on the next day. When the plane carrying his ohka gets attacked and catches fire, a Japanese plane makes a suicide crash into the American fighter ready to shoot down his mother plane and ohka. Nogami's ohka gets launched, and he crashes it into an American aircraft carrier. The carrier captain receives news of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima just before his ship explodes.
Nogami's squadron leader and comrades make several direct comments about the ohka suicide attack. A couple of men in his squadron give their opinions, "We're carrying someone with us who's doomed to die. It's horrible." "Whoever came up with the idea of committing suicide in the ohka has got to be crazier than we are." The squadron leader explains, "Any of us could die in this war. It's whether or not we die with honor that matters. That's why they came up with the idea of the human bomb in the first place". Nogami says he can accept that he has to sacrifice so the rest can live. Although the characters make several comments on the morality of the ohka, the viewer does not get a chance to understand why Nogami has such motivation to ride the ohka to death.
The third episode, "Steel Dragoon," shows two Japanese Army soldiers get gunned down as the younger one tries to complete his promise to bring back reinforcements to his comrades, even though this mission is impossible since his former base has already been occupied by the Americans. The Japanese soldiers ride a motorcycle with sidecar, and they encounter an ambush by American pilots flying Japanese planes and engage an American motorcyclist in a high speed duel along the way. The older Japanese soldier raced motorcycles before the war, so he wins a battle with the skilled American cyclist. The Japanese soldier gives the following reason for letting him live, "He's too good of racer. It would be a shame to kill him". The plot of this episode and the soldiers' reasons for fighting to their death seem shallow in comparison to the first two episodes. But it is exciting none the less.