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Old 2009-03-10, 03:34   Link #101
itisjustme
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In Stranger at least it was in opposition to Japanese, here they just switch from one to the other without much reason. =P

Um, I have to say the contrast between the detailed pseudo-realistic backgrounds/3D and the hand-drawn characters with their slightly formless piloting suit, and the uniform and almost simplistic hair/suit/clothes/face coloring is a little... jarring.

Would not call it a masterpiece or anything, but otherwise I've been surprisingly entertained by the movie given the slow nature and supposedly sad story.
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Old 2009-03-10, 07:24   Link #102
SuperKnuckles
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For me, Kawai's work for Sky Crawlers is like both Seirei no Moribito and GiTS scores together as one. That's was my instant thought after hearing the main theme, and one that grew as i progressed with the movie, hearing each piece.

Either way, another masterwork by Kawai.
For me, it sounded almost... too much like typical Kawai. The movie's dourness allowed him to. The movie could've used more action scenes for him to bite into. Nothing catchy quite like the Gundam 00 stuff he did.
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Old 2009-03-10, 07:39   Link #103
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For me, it sounded almost... too much like typical Kawai. The movie's dourness allowed him to. The movie could've used more action scenes for him to bite into. Nothing catchy quite like the Gundam 00 stuff he did.
I found there to be plenty of catchy pieces on the soundtrack, though i am one of the ones that adores Kawai's works, so it's expected i guess.
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Old 2009-03-10, 10:29   Link #104
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For me Kawai is a bit like James Horner: I keep hearing tracks I've pretty much heard before in a previous anime movie/series by the same composer.

As for the movie, I admit I'm one of those who thought the movie was ridiculous tedious.

The setting kind of reminded me of a Kino no Tabi episode, where Kino ended up in a city where they have war for 'fun'.
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Old 2009-03-10, 10:50   Link #105
Jin and Toanic
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At first:

Then: :/

After the ending:
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Old 2009-03-12, 13:06   Link #106
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I'm a little late in joining the discussion here, but I'd like to add a few of my thoughts after just having seen the film for the first time.

First, I'd like to thank Justin Sevakis of ANN for his insightful review, for while I picked up on a few of the subtleties described, I wasn't able to articulate and organize them into a cohesive interpretation of the film until I read the review. Now, after having read this review, I feel like I've truly come to grasp the film.

Second, the storytelling in this film was absolutely beautiful; it's a rare treat to experience an animated tale told through such a plaintive and emphatically realistic tone (and pace), especially when so many pieces of current media explode with a hyper-realistic vivacity that frequently seems too detached from reality. I'm not trying to suggest that this film is impassive; no, there's plenty of emotion and drama occurring on-screen. But, like the subtle color palette, these signs of emotion are equally subtle and usually appear more through the character's changes in tendencies rather than in changes of their facial expression. As the film progresses, the laconic and seemingly mundane conversations between the characters lose their sense of tedium, and a driving desire for "truth" becomes more and more evident in each character's voice--an obvious example being Mitsuya.

Third, did anyone else draw the correlation between the landscape and the themes of the movie? The vast expanses of shoreline resemble something like Ireland, and the emptiness that pervades the scenery feels very much like a metaphor for the emptiness in the memories and experiences of the Kildren--memories that never change, with no discernible distinction from one to the next one.

Finally, I just wanted to bring up the point made by this poster on another forum:

Quote:
There is plenty in the States to find parallels with. And a good movie has to be able to connect to its audience across that sort of boundaries. I think inadvertently the best thing Sevakis did in the review is to compare it with The Wrestler. If an audience can understand the latter, then Sky Crawlers is not going to be inaccessible.
I firmly agree, for while I think the director was clearly criticizing the cultural issues at home, it's not like these issues are limited to Japan alone. The criticism present in this film could be applied to people anywhere--a criticism of our complacency with immediate gratification and familiar monotony without striving for some sort of change in our lives.

Anyways, I regard this film very highly, and I'm REALLY looking forward to a domestic release here in the US.
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Old 2009-03-13, 02:48   Link #107
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I do like the vague criticism on the 'everyday' aspect of certain wars involving 1st class nations. Whether we fight by sending people overseas, hiring PMCs, all of that. And like in the movie, who knows if we just clone a bevy of supersoldiers to do the work?

Other than that, I thought it was almost sort of ruined by the bluntness of some pilots and crew vocalizing it. As if we didn't get the picture, they stand there and lecture.
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Old 2009-03-13, 03:07   Link #108
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Well the director have a bad habit of sermonizing or preaching sometimes.
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Old 2009-03-13, 18:44   Link #109
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If you've seen one Oshii movie, you'll know his preaching is part and parcel of his work. This movie is one of his better works, and definitely one of the most insightful films (animated or not) released in a long while. To watch The Sky Crawlers is an amazing experience, you feel it in your gut.

This film is greater than the sum of its parts: if it were just the mindless air combat or the drab life on the base, it wouldn't be half as powerful.
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Old 2009-03-14, 00:12   Link #110
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Originally Posted by qmeister View Post
If you've seen one Oshii movie, you'll know his preaching is part and parcel of his work. This movie is one of his better works, and definitely one of the most insightful films (animated or not) released in a long while. To watch The Sky Crawlers is an amazing experience, you feel it in your gut.

This film is greater than the sum of its parts: if it were just the mindless air combat or the drab life on the base, it wouldn't be half as powerful.
I firmly agree, and I think that by watching this film multiple times, one really picks up on a multitude of different levels that may critique society or simply reflect about ourselves.

And, I for one thought that the pacing of this movie was amazing; too often it seems like I'm watching films with hyperactive paces that lose sight of the beauty of quiet and sobering melodrama.

I really and truly hope that this film comes to be appreciated as much I appreciate it.
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Old 2009-03-14, 17:27   Link #111
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I firmly agree, and I think that by watching this film multiple times, one really picks up on a multitude of different levels that may critique society or simply reflect about ourselves.

And, I for one thought that the pacing of this movie was amazing; too often it seems like I'm watching films with hyperactive paces that lose sight of the beauty of quiet and sobering melodrama.

I really and truly hope that this film comes to be appreciated as much I appreciate it.
A good director should get his point across the first time. He or she shouldn't expect that viewers will watch his movies multiple times. If people need to view your film multiple times to get your point, then you're not very good at directing. Get it right the first time. It doesn't show that you're a good director if people miss things the first time, it shows you're a sloppy director. I'm a firm believe in 50s and 60s movies' deliberate pacing so that audiences are given time to fully adsorb what they see, not some excuse of "depth" because a director can't get his or her point across the first time.
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Old 2009-03-15, 13:32   Link #112
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I am a firm believer of multiple layered movie concept that shed new insight everytime I rewatch it. 50 and 60s style of film are too naive IMHO.
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Old 2009-03-15, 16:08   Link #113
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I just watched the show and I really enjoyed it. People see it as a an anime movie but it's based on a series of novels, so I think a lot of the issues people have problem have been vetted already. I love the music (the opening theme caught me), the visual (mix of CG, animation, and live footage was well done), and the Sound FX (very professional, and the lips actually matched the dialog). It's a slow movie and only a certain kind of anime fan will like it, but there's lot of hidden details and meaning and makes it a great thinking movie. Upon re-watching the movie I realized that almost every single scene has meaning and not just random slice-of-life moments. I never really thought Oshii is that great of director, but this movie changed my mind. I utterly disagree with the argument for "lack of depth". I think that's only due to lack of understanding or cultural differences. A lot of Western people have difficulties understanding or appreciating great Asian movies or novels, and this is no exception. I'll just leave it at that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
In a word: No.

It's used only in radio chatter.
Actually, they used English when communicating with the visiting locals too. It seemed that Japanese is spoken only with those who interact with the Kildren, but the general public of the land they're fighting for it still English. As for why they are all Japanese while the locals aren't? Well, that's because Rostock Corp, the military contractor they work for, is a Japanese firm. The firm for the other side is supposedly an European firm, and their pilots are probably white. This info is listed on the Japanese website. This is why they are all Japanese with very Japanese names, and they speak Japanese with each other; they were all cloned in Japan. After years of interacting with the Japanese Kildrens, many of the locals probably learned Japanese as well. But in the air, and talking with visiting public, the pilots all use English. This makes perfect sense to me. I think another reason for making them Japanese is also racial issue; that if those killed are not your own race, it makes it easier for people to accept their death as entertainment. This is true in the psuedo-WWII world they are in, and it's also true today. Remember the common people of the age are used to the idea of war as entertainment, and not the struggle for freedome and "peace"; patriotism is not a cause in their struggle. The whole game has lost its original appeal, that war must be constant to remind people of the horror of war and value peace. That's just an excuse now. Since people realize that these Kildren can't age and can be easily replaces with clones, what we have here is a freak show of teenage mutant clones violently killing each other for the pleasure of the mass audience. Their kill numbers are kept like game scores, and their "supporters" are like sports fans. Their death has as much as meaning as a death of anime character to us. Making them Japanese teenagers makes it so much easier to digest to their presumably racist audience. This is just a cuter version of the gladiator games.

As for the WWII settings, I don't think it was lazy at all, but a carefully planned alternative world. Think about it - if somehow after WWII the nation of the world decided to outlaw war aside from these war games, then it's possible that there are not incentives to advance military technology; as we know most of today's technological advancements like jet engine came from military research. Thus it's plausible to think that telecommunication and bio-tech advanced due to the need to support of the war games (real-time televised report of the kills and the need to replace the dead Kildren), but the killing technology itself stayed the same. Like another poster said, WWII style dog fights are much more entertaining too. Why mess with a good thing? If the ratings are good the creators will regurgitate the same thing over and over again - we know that only too well in the anime world.

My thoughts on some of the "mystery" issues:

Spoiler for My Thoughts:


Last thought on the movie... I thought the premise of the show is really hard to believe. Unless their mind control tech is 100% fool proof, what they have basically created are two huge military forces made up of emotionally unstable (they're teens!) super-human clones who's got no fear of death. Sounds like a great recipe for the creation of a Master Race to me. IF they chose to, they can easily make themselves the ruler of the world since they ARE basically the military and the best fighters in the world. Plus they are fearless and doesn't even freaking age, meaning these super-human will enslave you FOREVER. Sick of death and want to break the cycle of violence? Just stage an uprising with your fellow Kildren and take over the world! Then just force the pathetic human to give up their first born and fight each other to the death in cages for the Kildren Lords' pleasure. That's a future worthy of living for, Suito-chan!

Here's a great mass-audience sequel - Sky Crawlers II - The Rise of the Kildren. Just ask Junichi Fujisaku to direct it and make it a blood bath like Blood+, and watch the fanboys falling in love with the Ultimate Immortal Tsundere Kunasagi blowing the heads off douche-bag mortal humans. I'll watch it.

I just thought of another theory as I read what I just wrote - perhaps the fear of the uprising is the reason for the "Teacher"? That the ultimate pilot is NOT a kildren but a MAN? That no matter how good the kildrens become they will never be as good as this Mythical Sensei who's an adult man? And making them teens also give them insecurity of a teen - and we see that in the show, that they really believed that they adult men are somehow superior to their immortal selves. Maybe that's WHY they are young teens - ease of control. If you make the clones grown men and women then you almost grantee an uprising scenario. Just give them free sex with adult women and they'll die for you over and over again! Maybe the whore house is their Kildren mind control center; use their teen hormones to keep them down. That would cause problem with girl pilots though... thus the situation with Kusanagi. Don't they at least get free gigolos?

Last edited by AVPlaya; 2009-03-15 at 16:36.
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Old 2009-03-15, 18:43   Link #114
qmeister
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^ I see your point in most of what you said. A few things come to mind, though.

Do we actually know the Teacher is a man? He may just have been engineered to stop aging later. He may be a robot. He may be Kusanagi (another one). The ultimate pilot is a symbol that war leads to inevitable defeat. Why did he defect to Lautern? Who's to say he hasn't defected back before? How can any of the Kildren know, with their short memories and high death rates? (since, I presume from some Mitsuya's lines, they are born fully formed as teenagers)

The post-WW2 setting is just for show. Kusanagi has a computer. The TVs are flatscreens. I surmise the only reason for propeller aircraft to be used, is because modern jet aircraft have lost the ability to dogfight. The same reason for not using missiles/rockets. Machine-guns and prop-planes are showy, there have been no true air aces since the end of WW2. It is an elaborate charade, but not a complete one. Why does Rostock use pusher props? Because it looks interesting. The Teacher's plane is quite unique, but it looks like a classic WW2 fighter, I don't think we see any others of the same model. If it really is a better plane (discounting that he is an extremely talented individual, we see that its turning radius, climb rate and weaponry are substantially better than Rostock's Sankas), why aren't there more? Because it is merely for show.

On the supposition that an army of practically immortal teenagers would be a megalomaniac's dream:
The conditioning these clones have been through have eliminated most of their drives. The only time they truly feel alive is when their in the air. What about Tokino's sex drive? Do you think he really likes the sex with that courtesan (for lack of a better word), or is it just a substitute for the thrill of flight? While they may be very good at what they do, flying propeller planes (and - well, that's it really), if my supposition that this war they're engaged in is an anachronistic and completely artificial one, their low numbers and low technology would make it simple to wipe them out.

In one of the news reports, it's mentioned that there has been a breakthrough in the unilateral talks (or somesuch) between the North American Union and Britain (I think), and the announcer specifically says that the Prime Minister and the President of Canada have come to an understanding. Prime Minister of Britain, I'm assuming, but Canada doesn't have a President. This points to some of the Commonwealth nations not recognising the constitutional monarch anymore. Since it hasn't happened yet, if my above assumption is right, it must be sometime in the future.

Also, Kusanagi and Jinroh? Were those names in the original novels, or were they a not very subtle shout out to Oshii's other works?
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Old 2009-03-15, 22:09   Link #115
AVPlaya
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Spoiler for Hidden discussion due to spoilers:


Quote:
The post-WW2 setting is just for show. Kusanagi has a computer. The TVs are flatscreens. I surmise the only reason for propeller aircraft to be used, is because modern jet aircraft have lost the ability to dogfight. The same reason for not using missiles/rockets. Machine-guns and prop-planes are showy, there have been no true air aces since the end of WW2. It is an elaborate charade, but not a complete one. Why does Rostock use pusher props? Because it looks interesting. The Teacher's plane is quite unique, but it looks like a classic WW2 fighter, I don't think we see any others of the same model. If it really is a better plane (discounting that he is an extremely talented individual, we see that its turning radius, climb rate and weaponry are substantially better than Rostock's Sankas), why aren't there more? Because it is merely for show.
I don't really see it that way, because that would suggest that in addition to outsourcing war to these firms the countries still keep a substantial yet modern military force? That kind of defeat the purpose of having these war games, since they were used to settle disputes that normally would require wars to resolve. What would be the point of these military units then? Keep the Kildrens in check? If human has such a strong suspicion of the Kildrens they would be shutdown and killed already. I still think by the 50's look of everything else aside from telecomm and biotech (automobile, etc). their would is a "modern world" without the benefit of military technologies developed during the Korean and Cold War. Instruments of War didn't advanced too much because there are very little reason to. Why would the nations of the world develop jet airplanes and nuclear arsenal if wars can be settled in this fashion? Even supposedly that is the case, that there are far better weapons of wars out there but only for human use, I can only buy the theory if the whole point of the games are for entertainment, that traditional wars are still happening with modern weaponry... but according to the newspapers it seemed to suggest that these war games have real political influences. I guess it goes to show that we need to understand what is the real use of the war games. If they don't have any real political meaning then I agree, that they are just air shows with dead Kildren. The invasion scene give me pause though - they are dropping real bombs on real foreign targets - yes they are trying to drop them only on the other company's base, but they could have easily missed and dropped them on civilian targets (the news reports refer to a combat containment committee or treaty or sorts). I don't think the thousands of dead non-Kildrens will find this "game" particularly amusing. Right now I'm not really buying the notion that they are purely for show.


Spoiler for A bit too much spoilers.:


Quote:
Also, Kusanagi and Jinroh? Were those names in the original novels, or were they a not very subtle shout out to Oshii's other works?
According to the Japanese wiki, her name is Kusanagi Suito as well (草薙水素). According to several Japanese blog posts on the novel, the name of the former clone in the novel was indeed ジンロウ, or Jinroh. I thought it was a tribute when I first heard it too, so maybe it's the novelist (Mori Hiroshi, famous mystery novelist) doing the tribute (not Oshii displaying his ego). Or perhaps genetic engineering branch of Rostock LTD are made up of anime otakus. You never know.

Looks I need to start reading these novels... at least the second one for sure.
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Old 2009-03-15, 23:58   Link #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVPlaya View Post
Upon re-watching the movie I realized that almost every single scene has meaning and not just random slice-of-life moments. I never really thought Oshii is that great of director, but this movie changed my mind. I utterly disagree with the argument for "lack of depth". I think that's only due to lack of understanding or cultural differences. A lot of Western people have difficulties understanding or appreciating great Asian movies or novels, and this is no exception.
AVPlaya, you're the last person I'd expect to watch an Oshii movie. Welcome to the thread.

I agree. There are no wasted scenes in this movie, but it may take a few times to catch the details. Normally, I'd agree that this is sloppy directing. But The Sky Crawlers is different, because of the way it's been constructed.

For lack of a better analogy, it's a bit like M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense. Watching it the first time round, you wouldn't think it's a particularly remarkable film. However, once you've seen the shocking twist, you'd see how cleverly the entire movie was built around its premise. You'd notice how all the earlier scenes contribute to the outcome while maintaining a consistent internal logic. But these are details that you'd notice only during subsequent viewings.

That's why its imperative not to reveal The Sky Crawler's twist to people who haven't watched it; the emotional payback from watching the film the first time round wouldn't be as strong, as a result.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AVPlaya View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
In a word: No.

It's used only in radio chatter.
Oh, I was aware of the inaccuracy, but I didn't bother to correct it as that would add an ugly "edit" line to the post.

==============================
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVPlaya View Post
I just watched the show and I really enjoyed it. People see it as a an anime movie but it's based on a series of novels, so I think a lot of the issues people have problem have been vetted already.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVPlaya View Post
Spoiler for references to the novels:
Personally, I prefer to avoid using literary sources to fill in "gaps" in their movie adaptations. Both mediums approach a story in different ways and it's not necessarily fair to compare one against the other. Oshii's The Sky Crawlers stands on its own fairly well, based on his own intended message. For a start:
Spoiler for different outcomes in the novel:

...so, quite evidently, Oshii had a different take on the story, as he is entitled to do so as the movie's director. His was presumably more hopeful than MORI's.

The Teacher in Oshii's movie may have an interesting background story, but it's peripheral to his core theme. In the movie, the dreaded ace pilot serves as a harbinger of death, the grim reaper himself. That is, he plays a largely symbolic role rather than a personal one.

==============================
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVPlaya
Since people realize that these Kildren can't age and can be easily replaces with clones, what we have here is a freak show of teenage mutant clones violently killing each other for the pleasure of the mass audience.
Apparently, the truth about the Kildren is not public knowledge, as Mitsuya revealed late in the movie. Some adults suspect it, others like Sasakura certainly know about it. Even the Kildren themselves are barely aware of it — only those who live long enough will learn the awful truth about themselves.

Kusanagi is unusual for being the only Kildren to have lived for more than eight years. And, if Mitsuya's claims are to be believed, Kusanagi was once a top ace herself. That's actually quite likely, given that she seems to be the only one to survive a dogfight with The Teacher. (Unless she has a uniquely identifiable style of dogfighting like The Teacher, it's unlikely that he could have recognised her and thus spared her in combat.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AVPlaya
Spoiler for My Thoughts on the Mystery:
Spoiler for my response:

==============================
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVPlaya
If they chose to, the Kildren can easily make themselves the ruler of the world since they ARE basically the military and the best fighters in the world. Plus they are fearless and doesn't even freaking age, meaning these super-human will enslave you FOREVER. Sick of death and want to break the cycle of violence? Just stage an uprising with your fellow Kildren and take over the world! Then just force the pathetic human to give up their first born and fight each other to the death in cages for the Kildren Lords' pleasure. That's a future worthy of living for, Suito-chan!
That's plausible, except that the Kildren don't care. They've been conditioned to fly and fight, and that's all they live for. Only those who survive long enough will see the injustice of it all. So, like you've suggested, The Teacher is the company's "insurance".
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Old 2009-03-20, 18:30   Link #117
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i was really surprised how they tried to present the Polish cities.

There is the Palace of Culture in Warsaw. Also The second city is Cracov - when they are riding the trolley. I believe you could see the shadows of St. Mary's Church and a fragment of a defensive wall from XV cent.
( u can google it)
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Old 2009-03-20, 18:48   Link #118
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I have question for novel readers:

What is real difference of Kildren and humans besides aging? How the PMCs were given so much right to wage theatrical war?
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Old 2009-03-20, 20:56   Link #119
qmeister
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVPlaya View Post
Spoiler for wall of text:
I meant the technology used is just for show, not that the whole concept of Kildren is.

There is certainly a great deal of politics going on as a backdrop, but I feel that the Kildren are, at heart, a business. Rostock wins a sortie? Their market share and stocks go up. Their only other use is as entertainment, to serve as a reminder of war while at the same time romanticising it to death for the masses.

Think about it, how many films have had protagonists who 'only feel alive in the air/behind the wheel/in space' or whatever? It's all for drama.

The masses, seeing this display, will think, 'Oh well they want to fly, they know they're probably going to die. Heck, if the death of a few genetically engineered kids is going to stop war, why should I care? They're practically inhuman anyway.' I'm sure there are probably groups protesting the abuse of genetic engineering, the use of children in combat situations, etc. But will the public care? Perhaps they'll donate a couple of dollars when the petitioners come around, but that's all. Just like what's happening today.

The clincher for me was when they were talking about the word Kildren and how it was copyrighted. That sounds like a remarkably modern concept. In fact, most of the major points of this movie are made with contemporary hindsight. So I'm sticking with my hypothesis that the movie is an anachronistic war game set in the modern day.

PS Since Oshii isn't known for staying true to the original works in most of his adaptations, I'm sort of discounting the book series when talking about this movie.
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Old 2009-03-23, 02:13   Link #120
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I just finished watching this movie. It was not at all what I expected. I've seen both GITS movies, Jin-Roh and Blood, and this movie had a key difference from all of them - it implied that we do not have to get stuck in cycles of pain and death, and that there is a possibility for us to change.
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