Posted by psgels on 5 January 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


When I originally looked at the promo-art, I thought that Area 88 was another one of the works of Matsumoto Leiji. Turns out it wasn’t, though I can imagine how the creators did get their inspiration from him. Area 88 is a realistic war-story about war-mercenaries in a poor African country. Make no mistake; even though there are only three OVAs, the total amount of airtime for this anime is over three hours. Due to this relatively long size, this turned into one of the least rushed OVAs I’ve seen in a long while.

There are a lot of battles in the sky for this OVA, but the real purpose of the movie is to show the fighter-pilots themselves. What goes on in their mind when they fly? Why do they fight and kill? How does the war change them? All questions get sufficiently answered, and are nicely packaged around the story of one of these pilots, who basically gets blackmailed into joining the mercenaries. There are a few coincidences here and there, but overall Area 88 has turned into quite a memorable OVA for me. I can understand why fifteen years after the original production, a television-series-remake was made (seriously, more movies and OVAs should get that treatment. Battle Angel Alita, Akira, Please Save my Earth, etc)

While I haven’t seen anything of the original Gundam Universal Century-storyline, I can imagine how anyone who liked it will like Area 88. Both the main and side-characters have been sufficiently developed, considering the length of the OVA, and there are no overpowered teenagers who stand in the centre. I must say that after seeing more and more of the genre of realistic war-stories, I’m beginning to like it more and more. It’s OVAs like these that show that you can be manly, even if you don’t pilot a mecha that throws galaxies.

One Response

  1. Helen says:

    Quote:When I originally looked at the promo-art, I thought that Area 88 was another one of the works of Matsumoto Leiji. Turns out it wasn’t, though I can imagine how the creators did get their inspiration from him [end quote]

    Not sure if it’s late in the day to comment, but Area 88 was written by an old friend and colleague of Matsumoto’s – Shintani Kaoru. Who happens to be the plastic-model enthusiast model for the Arcadia’s lazy, disrespectful First Officer, Yattaran…(a character design that’s done the rounds in Matsumoto’s manga over the years!) And yes, he *does* look scarily like his manga/anime counterpart!! I gather the dialect Yattaran uses is another little in-joke!

    In a few panels of the Area 88 manga, Shintani has characters from GE999/Harlock milling around in an airport waiting lounge in the background crowd scenes. Just because…

    To add to the fun in the OAV, the most famous (and best) of the VAs for Harlock and Tochiro – namely the incomparable and much lamented Tomiyama Kei, and Inoue Makio turn up in the same scene briefly… a nice moment for Harlock fans!

    H

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  • Emma
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 08:18 AM)
    *looks back over drop list*
    sees akagi and Kaiji on it…
    Theres another set of series I really wanted to enjoy but only got half way through each =<
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 12:51 AM)
    Crayons was pretty much a joke. Basically any show of kindness and he’s in the bag.
  • BrendanVGC
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 12:39 AM)
    Aidanak47, you know crayons wouldn’t work. Just place some Seele members disguised as classmates and befriend Shinji (which isnt hard to do, the loner) and then bend him to your will.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 12:13 AM)
    And why the hell wouldn’t you try to get the pilots on your side? Hell all you would need to do is give Shinji some crayons and he would be your loyal servant for life.
    And Propaganda people! You guys suck at this!
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 12:12 AM)
    There was also the issue in end of eva where Seele decided to mount an all out attack on nerve. It was ridiculously unnecessary. There’s only enemy was Gendo. All they needed to do was remove him from his position of power. Instead they decide to kill everyone. Even though it’s pretty damn certain that nobody(With the exception of Gendo’s Smithers) was loyal enough to him to protect him.
  • BrendanVGC
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 11:54 PM)
    I agree with aidanak47, lol. The Seele guys were literally making a self fulfilling prophecy by causing everything themselves for the scrolls, which isnt even a prophecy by that point.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 11:47 PM)
    The Dead Sea Scrolls are really ‘the prophecy’ trope, but they are quite vague about what they really are. Anno and gang probably never decided on what was actually on them. It’s also very unclear who and how much they know about the scrolls. I assume Gendo must’ve seen it, but even that is uncertain.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 11:44 PM)
    They supposedly had excavated an S2 engine off of Adam’s corpse, and by EoE they managed to mass-produce it somehow; so they set probably not worried. I also agree on Gendo being too shifty of a character to trust- I certainly wouldn’t have done it, but Seele seems pretty cocky about everything for some reason.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 11:41 PM)
    @Bam, 1: The S2 engine was pretty much got by pure luck and Seeles efforts only made getting it harder. There’s suicidal and then just plain stupid.
    2: A normal Seele member would have just as much motivation and 0% chance of screwing them over. Which Gendo did try to do.
    These guys were putting a shit ton of faith in those dead sea scrolls. And how bloody detailed were those things anyway?
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 11:29 PM)
    *as far as the series canon

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