Reviews of Area 88: The Blue Skies of Betrayal (1985) and related work

Area 88: The Blue Skies of Betrayal (1985Moving picture, 3.3 hours)

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.

Military action. 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.

moving picture animation Japanese production fiction series

Area 88 (2004Moving picture, 5.0 hours)

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

More focused on the action, with CGI and updated music. 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 shōnen-style conversations on the philosophy of masculinity instead of quiet self-destruction.

moving picture remake animation Japanese production fiction series