The Cockpit

video sleeve

Official Blurb:

"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..."

"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..."

"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]