"Mr Leiji Matsumoto the author of "Uchusenkan Yamato" (Space Cruiser Yamato), celebrates this, his 40th year as an author. He is the author of the "War Comics" series, his lifework which he has continued to write from the depth of varied emotions. These 3 titles from The Cockpit which his fans declare to be his greatest work have now been animated. The man who bled on the battlefield often suffered disgrace, and at times, gave their lives in the name of honour. The pain, the sorrow, and the glory have now been clearly brought to life."
"SLIPSTREAM (August 1944)"
"A disgraced Nazi airman is offered eternal glory if he flies just one more mission. But, as with all pacts with the devil, such an opportunity does not come cheap..."
"SONIC BOOM SQUADRON (August 1945)"
"Ensign Nogami has volunteered to fly a human bomb into the American Fleet. To those around him he is already dead. But Ensign Nogami seems cursed, condemned to keep living..."
"KNIGHT OF THE IRON DRAGON (October 1944)"
"Only shelling Japanese positions can hold off the Allied advance on the Phillippines. A lone motorcyclist volunteers to find the last artillery group and promises his friends that he shall return to live or die at his comrades' side..."
Original Story: Leiji Matsumoto Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri Screenplay: Yoshiaki Kawajiri Copyright: Leiji Matsumoto/TNS Language Format: Japanese Language, English Subtitles Label: Kiseki Films Running time: 70 mins Certificate: 15 Catalogue no: KIS 94050 Price: £12.99 Release Date: January 1996 DVD version (double feature with 'Digital Devil': Language Format: Japanese Language, English Subtitles Label: Kiseki Films Running time: 117 mins Certificate: 15 Catalogue no: PAR 61105 Price: £19.99 Release Date: 19th Febuary 2001
This is the best anime I've ever seen. The Cockpit is three shorts about World War Two, ostensibly from the Axis side, but really from the human point of view, set in various types of cockpits. Neither the actual scenarios (fighter pilot on escort duty, suicide bomber on his second mission, motorcycle messenger) nor the technical quality of the animation (which is superb) really matter. What is important is the story telling. Each situation is so believable, each character so fully formed you can't help empathising with them, even though they are what we are brought up to think of as 'the enemy'.
If you only buy one anime this year, make it The Cockpit. Marlon Seton]