801 T.T.S. Airbats

compilation vol. 1 sleeve compilation vol. 2 sleeve compilation vol. 3 sleeve

Official Blurb:


"Had there ever been a "Carry on flying" version of that great British Institution, then ADV's latest movie release, 801st TTS Airbats, would most certainly have borne a few similarities to it. Created by Toshimitsu Shimizu, Airbats features a rather down-at-heel squadron made-up of sultry She-Pilots of the Japan Air Self Defence Force, which is running about as efficiently as the current postal service! That is until the arrival of a new recruit - flight maintenance man Takuya Isurugi - who ends up with a lot more than just planes on his hands! Hapless Takuya succeeds in creating a rather negative first impression for himself when he accidentally bursts in on some of the squaddies in various states of undress. However, unlike the Carry on movie tradition, Airbats actually has its own storyiine, along with some believable characters (checkout Sergeant Mitaka and Haneda blushing). In addition those wonderful men in their flying machines have been replaced by gorgeous go-for-it girlies who get all the glory for their ace flying acrobatics!"

Creator:          Toshimitsu Shimizu
Original story:   Toshimitsu Shimizu
Director:         Yuji Moriyama
Character Design: Yuji Moriyama
Music:            Norimasa Yamanaka
Copyright:        Toshimitsu Shimizu/Tokuma Shoten/JVC

The original release was of three seperate episodes:
Language Format:  Japanese Language, English Subtitles
Running time:     30/25/30 mins
Certificate:      PG/PG/PG
Label:            ADV Films
Catalogue no:     VHSAB/001 / VHSAB/002 / VHSAB/003K
Price:            £12.99 each
Release Date:     Oct/31st Oct/31st Oct 1996

Followed by a compilation version of the whole series:
Language Format:  English Language
Translator:       Ichiro Arakaki
ADR Script:       Sergio Camacho
Running time:     85/55/61 mins
Certificate:      PG/PG/U
Label:            ADV Films
Catalogue no:     VHSAB/001D / VHSAB/002D / VHSAB/003D
Price:            £12.99 each
Release Date:     3rd May / 1st Nov 1999 / 7th Feb 2000


Episode 1:

801 TTS Airbats is the story of flight maintenance engineer Takuya who finds himself posted to a new squadron. He makes a bad start by getting frightened by a bat and bursting in on some female personnel in various states of undress. The down-at-heel 801 TTS is, he learns, a display squadron crewed solely by female pilots, a dumping ground for 'problem' personnel, and under threat of closure by unsympathetic staff officers. Takuya determines to make a go of it and encourages the demoralised and misfit girls to do their best.

AIRBATS is full of small virtues: there are some fine characterisations; notably the moody Sergeant Mitaka, the kind of girl who as well as planes likes leather jackets and fast motorbikes; the flying sequences are good, and there is a fascinating glimpse of the (doubtless real) aviation fanboys who lurk outside the fence with binoculars and radios. There is no fantasy or supernatural stuff whatsoever (and believe me that makes a refreshing change!) - perhaps the most implausible thing in it is that two of the pilots develop a crush on Takuya. There are many sly touches of comedy. There's even a plot, though it does tend to get repeated in succeeding episodes. All in all a delightful series, and much better than some of the stuff I've sat through on your behalf recently!

It does seem poor value at £12.99 for a 30 min. episode, (ie £39 the set), considering that American fans were able to buy all three episodes together for $35 (about £23). [Geoff Cowie]

Episode 2:

Airbats is a romantic comedy, centred around an all-female aerobatics unit, their male CO and new technician, Isurugi. There are various romantic entanglements within the group, with pilots Haneda and Mitaka in love with Isurugi.

It's Isurugi's birthday, as he keeps reminding *everybody*. Mitaka schemes to take him out for a meal for his birthday, but Haneda has the same plan. Upon discovering this Mitaka runs the whole range of emotions, from jealousy to angst, and then sets about scheming....

Haneda sets out on the 'date', whilst the others head to the racetrack (where Yoko - a super-ditzy pink haired Nene clone with a pet bat - and the Taicho loose a fortune, whilst Sayinomiya makes a killing). Meanwhile, Isurugi is waylaid...

Overall, an enjoyable light-weight comedy piece, with a back-story of a nasty superior officer attempting to shut the unit down. Perhaps the funniest scene is Isurugi's dream when he imagines Mitaka and Haneda dog-fighting for his affections - with a nuke...

The colourful animation is pleasing to look at, ranging from simple (but cute) characters to quite detailed aircraft. The well-timed subtitles are clear and easy to read and don't detract from watching the episode.

Overall: Enjoyable mayhem - 7 out of 10 Chris Hartford

Comment from newsgroups:

Harry W Reed II:
I liked it enough to buy my own copy.  The art is beautiful and the 
Kawasaki T-4s are beautifully rendered.  The story is a little sappy, 
though.  Essentially it's yet another romantic triangle between the two 
top pilots of the squadron, Haneda Miyuki and Mitaka Arisa, and the new 
maintenance person, Isurugi.  It has it's moments though and they used 
top seiyuu talent for it.  Orikasa Ai ("Tenchi Muyou"), Inoue Kikuko 
("Aa! Megami-sama!"), Hisakawa Aya ("Aa! Megami-sama!") and Wakamoto 
Norio ("Gunbuster") all appear.  

If you want to have some fun with it check to see how many cameos of 
other anime characters appear in it.  Particularly on the shelves in 
Isurugi's quarters.