Posted by psgels on 2 January 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews

My major problem (and I guess that goes for many people as well) with mecha-shows is that these giant robots are very hard to make believable. I mean, their centre of gravity is high, they’re expensive and complicated and why would armies go through the huge trouble to create giant human-shaped robots when tanks and planes are a much easier and efficient choice? Only a select amount of stories can really justify the use of mechas, in my opinion (Bokura no is a good example and a series like FLAG also made the use of human-shaped robots believable enough). Therefore, it’s nice to see that Yukikaze for once just keeps to fighter-planes.

Right from the start it becomes clear that this is a very ambitious OVA. A lot of budget has been put into the graphics, and they look absolutely gorgeous. The storytelling is also slow-paced, to give enough time to flesh out the characters and to give the viewer the chance to connect to the cast. The setting is dark and gritty, and the military organization that it focused on has received a lot of attention to look as real as possible, with multiple ranks, a lot of staff is involved in a mission (and not just one guy who can take care of all the maintenance of an entire fleet). The potential was definitely there, but unfortunately it’s got one major flaw.

Basically, the storyline is excellent, the characters are deep, but the storytelling is very confusing, and at times it’s even too confusing. Often I found myself thinking “what the hell happened?” Entire scenes of explanation seem to have been lost on the cutting-room floor, and there’s also the matter that this series likes to delve into lots of techno-babble at times. Yukikaze consists out of five episodes, and I feel that it would have so much benefited from one more episode that explains everything, completes the background of the different characters and gives depth to the enemy (something they majorly lacked as well).

Even though this series is about fighter-planes, there’s also enough focus on the two main characters: one of the pilots of a rather special plane and his superior (and for once: no teenagers!). The different characters are surprisingly close to each other, and this series makes sure to show this. Basically, every character that gets developed feels complete and genuine, and for that I’m willing to forgive the rather botched-up storytelling.

9 Responses

  1. Karry says:

    Uninspired review. “Dark and gritty” doesnt even begin to describe the feeling this world gives off.

  2. Archer says:

    i just don’t see why people have problems with giant mecha in a anime i think they never are meant to be believable,all sci-fi anime/movies have elements that are extremely hard to think they will ever be possible,Star Wars is one of the best movies ever made and i did not hear anyone say that because it is not believable it cannot be a masterpiece and about why build giant robots,the damage is much bigger, is it the the same to use a nuclear missile or c4 explosives i admit it seems to be impossible to build giant human shaped robots right now(human sized ones would be a bit more realistic) but i think teleportation is even more unbelievable(bokura no) and the armor of Zearth again not that real and yet i think it bokura no was great not because to it’s robots but thanks to it’s profound story,it’s characters and what they represent,the emotions and other things and i wrote so much only from one sentence so it’s time to stop :D

  3. Windspirit says:

    The fact is that originally, mechas are divided in two categories : Super Robots and Real Robots.

    Super Robots are NOT meant to be believable : basically, it depicts one big invincible mech with absolutely no scientific cohenrece, the plot is very simple and simplistic and you watch this only for the nekketsu, the action, the testosterone. It’s not like watching a thriller.

    Real Robots are “meant” to be believable. It’s like Gundam, where mechs aren’t superpowerful (well, the original Gundam ; in the earlier ones, Gundam has become a Super Robot), they’re just normal weapons. Probably the military could just invest in planes or tanks, but most of these stories happen in a far future when mankind has colonised space : how would you expect them to fight with planes and mechs in space ?

    These “Real Robots” are not meant to be enjoyed because of the mechs battle, though some are offered to satisfy the “Super Robots” fans, people who have the “mecha attitude” : the real enjoyment is about the storyline and the characters, often soldiers with twisted positions, stuck between the two camps.

    Mechs are great, yet I hate them. Why ? Because I do not have the “mecha attitude”, and so don’t you, psgels : Bokurano is NOT a mech anime, the mech battles are not meant to be enjoyed, they’re meant to just happen. I think those who have the mecha attitude have watched mecha animes since their childhood, with mech shows full of testosterone watched by children and preteens such as Mazinger (Goldorak). This “mecha attitude” just stays there and basically, they will continue to enjoy mecha anime in thir adolescence and adulthood. Though it’s quite possible that an adult who has never seen a mecha anime in his entire life falls in love with one at such age.

    All of this ti say is that yes, most people hate mechas, but they are not “horrible”, and they are not meant to be believable. In the case of Gundam, Macross, Patlabor and other stuff, yes, there are mech battles for the mecha fans, but the real focus isn’t there at all.

  4. psgels psgels says:

    Ah, I should have clarified a bit. The mecha doesn’t need to be the centre of the show. I know fully well that Bokura no isn’t a mecha-series. My point is that if an anime decides to use mecha, it needs to make the use of mechas believable, which doesn’t happen in some cases. I don’t ask for rocket-science here, but with a series like Code Geass, where mechas are able to easily win from tanks and airplanes without any valid reason, then the believability quickly disappears.

  5. Windspirit says:

    You know, mechs today just aren’t like at the time. I think it started with Gundam Wing, the worst series I’ve ever seen, where all the mechs are invincible. Originally, especially after Yoshiyuki “The Godfather” Tomino’s First Gundam, “Real Robots” genre did not focus on awesome battles and explosions and “awesome mechs kicking everyone’s ass”. There was one big fight from time to time, but most of the screentime is allowed to character development and pushing the plot further. It was more like Toward the Terra. Unfortunately, today, Code Geass is the standard mech show : “epic” battles, invincible “stylish” mechs (lol, Lancelot on roller blades, most ridiculous moment in the anime), comedy, forced drama (useless plot twists, no plot development “in case we do a second season”), fanservice and emo-ness. Welcome to the 21st century.

  6. Schism says:

    Personally, while I agree with most of the above comments, I would like to point out that the mecha genre is fairly believable in a number of settings. Gun X Sword anyone? Eureka Seven? Hell, even NGE had some realistic elements despite the fact there is no way technology would develop enough by 2014 to make such things. (Lolangelclones)

    But yeah, Sentou Yousei confused the hell out of me. Great review!

    If you guys are going to bother to judge a specific genre of anime, please draw from a wider group of samples before commenting. :/

  7. xavhorse says:

    Re: Comment by Karry — January 3, 2008 @ 8:19

    Uninspired Comment. User should create something themselves instead of trying to destroy other people’s creations.

    I found the review quite informative. A Yukikaze Boxed Set has recently materialised in my local Video Shop for £20, I think I’ll give it a shot!

  8. jet fan begginer says:

    Yukikaze did a great job in emphasizing on fighter jets instead of building a mech to settle their problem.. In which i think they really did a great job.. Besides jets are a more worthy opponents than mechs.. lol

  9. karry says:

    “Uninspired Comment. User should create something themselves instead of trying to destroy other people’s creations.”

    Riiiight, dumbass. I dont see you forcing psgels to create anything before writing his pathetic reviews.

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 03:25 AM)
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 10:22 PM)
    @Aidan: it does seem like you’ve actually seen Xavier, in which case I’m impressed. Didn’t think you had it in you.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 09:35 PM)
    Speaking of errors, can anybody else open Evil Genius Scanlations page? I keep getting a gateway error. I know there should be a new Berserk on there but some force is keeping it from me. This is messed up.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:38 PM)
    @Bam, Easy. 404 not found
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:45 AM)
    It takes a true magnificence to propose such a grand question as: What dot life?!
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:42 AM)
    @Kaiser: the show does vary in quality, but for the first season they generally crank up the insanity with every episode until a very remarkable season finale where Xavier faces his worst enemy.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Bam: Oh in symphogears case, I certainly laughed but I wasn’t supposed to.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:39 AM)
    @Bam: While it didn’t always work, that first episode of renegade angel was amusing, I particularly liked the part where he went on about Aids being invented.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:22 AM)
    and don’t be fooled by the simple graphics, the crudeness is completely intentional.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:21 AM)
    @Kaiser: as far as Xavier goes I implore you to download and watch the first episode to get the gist of it. That show is the pinnacle of absurdist and meta humor. It’s strangely adored within the animation circles, getting very high praise from the industry, but it’s very dense and bizarre so people either love or hate it. If you’re anything like me it might become one of your most beloved shows.

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