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.