Area 88: The Blue Skies of Betrayal (1985 IMDb)

Categorization

Military action.

Subject

A fighter ace and a frontline photographer are the only two Japanese in a secret desert airbase locked in a war against vaguely characterized “rebels”. The pilots are foreign legion mercenaries of “Aslan”, paying for their own fuel and weapons, while earning money on missions and kills.

Commentary

The traditional animation is the main attraction. As science fiction, action, or drama, it's not very good. The conclusion is implausible, but does at least attempt to indicate that war is deeply destructive on a psychological level.

Japanese production animation movie

Remake:

Area 88 (2004 IMDb)

Categorization

The same. More focused on the action, with CGI and updated music.

Subject

Basically the same, but the frontline photographer is more important.

Commentary

Less atmosphere. The main Japanese guy is now blond and blue-eyed for some reason. This is mediocre all the way through, with lots of shounen-style conversations on the philosophy of masculinity instead of quiet self-destruction.

Japanese production animation series