The Sky Crawlers (スカイ·クロラ), directed by Mamoru Oshii, is a depressing, but interesting animated movie about never-aging children, called Kildren, who battle in fighter planes. It follows the premise that the world is at peace, but human beings need war, so two companies, Rostock and Lautern, fight each other for “necessity.” The story follows the relationships of the Kildren of these companies, mostly Yūichi Kannami, a crack pilot, and Suito Kusanagi who if the Commanding Officer of their base who used to be a pilot and who has a child. While there isn’t much plot, the emotional reactions of the pilots as they realize they will die no matter what really proves for an interesting story. The English dub is very subdued and appropriate to the tone of the movie. The movie is quite long, but it really allows the watcher to get on a personal level with the characters. Even though this movie is all about despair, I enjoyed how easily the movie conveyed emotion. If you don’t like sad anime, don’t watch this, but in some places it’s pretty powerful.
Score: 8/10 - Sorrowful Skies
Suito Kusanagi: Ever wonder who or what it is that we’re fighting against?
Yūichi Kannami: Not really, I’ve never thought about it.
Suito Kusanagi: Even though we kill for it?
Yūichi Kannami: It’s a job. It’s the same as any business; whoever is more powerful makes the profit and wins. However, compared to regular jobs out there, we’re more inefficient. It’s like we’re stuck playing some game.
Suito Kusanagi: You know, you’re right and that’s precisely the reason why we can kill and be killed legally.
Yūichi Kannami: That’s an interesting way to look at it.
Suito Kusanagi: Interesting? Throughout history the human race has never been able to completely irradicate war, because it’s existence is essential in defining certain realities that humans want. Having actual wars with real battles and real losses going on somewhere serves a specific function. It enables them to sustain the illusion of peace in their society, and it has to be real, not staged or metaphorical. Reading about wars in books isn’t enough, it’s no longer real to them and so it becomes fiction, as if they’re reading a fairytale. If people aren’t able to see others dying, if misery’s not on display, they will not have a way of understanding peace, and therefore wont know how to maintain it. The significance of peace would be forgotten. People need wars because it helps them feel alive, the same way we feel alive when we’re fighting up there in the sky.
And so, because our war is really nothing but a game that is not supposed to ever end, there needs to be several rules in place. For example, there must be an enemy who cannot be defeated.
The Sky Crawlers (2008)
Contemporary Sculpture by Odani Motohiko
Odani Motohiko is a well known contemporary Japanese sculptor whose lighter-than-air imaginative works leave the viewer breathless. He currently has work in the exhibition entitled Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, California. This exhibition opened in May and runs through September 2, 2012. Motohiko was born in Kyoto. He studied music and sculpture and received his Master’s degree from the Graduate School of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.