Military dramas are commonplace in Anime, from the WWII battlefields of the Pacific Theatre, to huge battles in space in the far-flung future. Yukikaze is a 5-episode OAV series that is at once both and neither. Rather, this OAV explores the symbiotic relationship between a pilot and his plane, which is outfitted with a HIGHLY intelligent A.I. system.
The concept of unmanned aircraft in warfare is fairly new, we currently have unmanned drones that can carry out recon and attack missions remotely, but they aren't fully autonomous (meaning that they can't make the decision to engage a target by themselves, or fly themselves) yet. Most of the ones in use today are flown remotely by human pilots, in a sort of "real-life arcade game" setup. In reality, there hasn't been the kind of technological advancements in artificial intelligence that would allow a drone to fly itself, or even engage targets at will. For the time being, it's considered too risky.
The series' plot is your basic "alien incursion from another world via wormhole/dimensional gateway" theme, and the people of Earth rise up to take the battle to the "Jam", as the hostiles are known to us. The "Jam" hail from a planet on the other side of the wormhole, known by the codename "Faerie". There, our soldiers fight to stop the aliens from overrunning Earth. As the series opens, the war on Faerie has already raged for decades, with neither side gaining ground.
This brings us to the pilot of Unit B-3, 1st Lt. Fukai. He's the typical loner character, and seems to care nothing about anyone else except his plane, which he's named "Yukikaze". Fukai and Yukikaze are an example of a sort of merging between man and machine. In battle, there are instances where the machine takes over when it realizes that the pilot can't react fast enough, and releases control to the pilot in situations requiring the human element of intuition. In a sense, they're partners. It's not as if they take turns being pilot and co-pilot. In battle, they become one unique composite being.
The series has a very engaging storyline, and though it's a short OAV series, it's one of those anime that really grabs you and pulls you in. Even the military hardware used by the Earth forces on Faerie seem like something out of hard sci-fi, you can actually believe that they're real, or very well could be. The Japan Air Self Defence Forces (JASDF) gave their cooperation in the making of the series, so as to give it the true-to-life feel of actual air-to-air combat.
I'm not gonna spoil it for you if you haven't yet seen it, but YUKIKAZE is a must for any fan of military or sci-fi anime. You definitely won't be disappointed.
>MISSION RESULT/ 5 STARS