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
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 06:44 PM)
    I got called out on a forum when I was 14 for mixing Japanese words with English ones and not in a clever way either, at the time I thought Kawaii was just one of those words people used as an internet phrase, don’t ask why, hadn’t a clue about me back then about anything. In any case I immediately stopped mixin Jap/Eng words afterwards.
  • KuRoZuka
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 06:36 PM)
    Also, I’m not a fake economist, but I don’t care about proving myself.
  • KuRoZuka
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 06:35 PM)
    @afgm Don’t mind him, he doesn’t know that judging a person based on fun slang is pointless.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 04:16 PM)
    @afgm, nope. Just nope. You have failed dear sir. Failed.
  • afgm
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 04:11 PM)
    Calling people weeboos is pretty weaboo-ish, to be honest.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 12:15 PM)
    @KuRoZuka, A bit of advice fake economist. Mixing Japanese words with the english language is a weeaboo practice and is seen with the greatest contempt. Just saying.
    As for fairytail, well I read a bit of the manga and got bored pretty fast.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 09:46 AM)
    The sheer amount of talent behind Dandy is staggering. There are veterans from all the corners of Anime industry present here, so in a way this might be the biggest anthology yet. I mostly watched week-by-week just to see the new guys’ take on the Dandy sandbox, and I have to say some of them were pretty interesting. Definitely quirky, but interesting.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 09:41 AM)
    Yeah but it’s interesting how much more sophisticated the humor was in Bebop, even despite not really being a comedy-heavy series.
    I’m sure if you’ll continue to the end you’ll find some memorable episodes in Dandy, and once people accept that it’s not Bebop, and that it’s really silly but kinda proud of it, they’ll start enjoying it more for what it is and say it was worth their time.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 09:36 AM)
    Even though I wasn’t really into the episodes I’ve seen I will definitely say, yes it was a mixed bag. Then again so was Bebop.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 09:34 AM)
    Season 2 has more mature material in general, and a few pseudo-philosophical episodes really stand out. The different experimental animations that are peppered throughout are a very nice treat also. And again each episode has different talent behind it so it’s a VERY mixed bag.

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