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“The Sky Crawlers” by Mamoru Oshii

Before I rattle on about the movie, I have to say that I really like the new wordpress dashboard! A friendly way to approach all the available functions and not as daunting as before. =D

Today was an outing to catch “The Sky Crawlers”, which originated as a novel by Hiroshi Mori and retold by Mamoru Oshii in the highly anticipated animation feature film. Google-kun, my second best friend after Wikipedia-san, pointed me to a review of the movie by Patrick W. Galbraith, entitled, “The Sky Crawlers’ is pure painful atmosphere” . The title misled me to think that it was a negative review of the movie, when in fact, proved to be the opposite. And I agree with the author’s critic of the movie, save a few plot interpretations that I have different opinions about.

To be honest, I wasn’t hot about the character designs, and the first though that popped to my mind was that the protagonist, Yuichi , was a little to chubby around the edges and looked like a dango who needs a better suited haircut. It was only later into the story, that everything made sense, and that character design choices were very much intuitive to the characters. The superficial fangirl in me was definitely disappointed with the lack of pretty boys, but the art student heartily agreed with the choice of subtle details defining each character. They didn’t need radical eye colors or wild hairstyles to differentiate from each other. Each character was distinct, with their own individual face (well, except for the twins) and quirks, even if they just had minor roles. But that just goes into how much thought was given to the artistic direction and character designs.

I absolutely love the music. The minute the opening credits rolled, along with the poignant arrangement by Kenji Kawai, who also worked with Mamoru Oshii on Ghost in the Shell, I knew that no matter how the movie faired, it was getting credit for an amazing soundtrack. Unfortunately, the theater screening didn’t do much justice to the animation that very much deserves to be appreciated in high resolution. However, that is just one more reason to get the DVD. =D

The show moved at a really slow pace, but I was never bored. Anyone who has experienced a Mamoru Oshii directed film would know that you have to pay real close attention to all the details to understand how deep the movie really is. From the start, there was subtle foreshadowing leading up to the climax, making the fantastical world that The Sky Crawlers was set in, become every bit believable and convincing . There were some people in the movie audience I was in that were oblivious to the depth of this film, and wrote it off as a boring movie with a story that didn’t make sense, which I feel is grave injustice to a movie that really exceeded my expectations. I walked in with not much backstory and only the hope that Mamoru Oshii wouldn’t disappoint. And it didn’t. It turned out to be a film that challenged and could only be appreciated by a mature audience with critical minds.

I was reminded of something I read, back when I found out that The Sky Crawlers was to be released, about how Mamoru Oshii described this film. He said that it was a love story. Keeping this in mind, all the events that played out during the movie made sense. All the aerial dogfights, cryptic narration and repetition imagery were acute reflections of emotions and consequences of a love story between characters trapped in an relentless cycle resistance.

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