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Entry updated 9 May 2022. Tagged: TV.

Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (2002-2005; original title Sentō Yōsei Yukikaze; vt Battle Fairy Yukikaze). Gonzo. Based on the novels by Chohei Kanbayashi. Directed by Masahiko Ōkura. Written by Seiji Kio, Masahiko Ōkura, Masashi Sogo, Yumi Tada, Hiroshi Yamaguchi and Ikuto Yamashita. Voice cast includes Yōko Asagami, Masako Ikeda, Jōji Nakata, Masato Sakai and Miho Yamada. Five 28- to 48-minute episodes. Colour.

Sometime in the future a Hyperspace corridor appears over Antarctica, through which the Alien JAM invade our planet (see Invasion): Earth's military pushes them back through the corridor onto a planet called Fairy, where the conflict still rages. Back on Earth the War no longer holds the public's attention, some even doubting the JAM are real; an exception is the journalist Lynn Jackson (Ikeda). On Fairy, it looks like a new AI might replace the pilots of Earth's Yukikaze reconnaissance aircraft, though Major James Bukhar (Nakata) argues against this. His friend, Lt. Rei Fukai (Sakai), crashes in one of the AI planes, but is apparently rescued and taken to an airbase, where people question him about the new craft: realizing this is a JAM deception he escapes, but the experience leaves him traumatized. However he has now formed a close connection with the AI: though convalescing, during the AI plane's next flight they link to destroy an airbase taken over by the JAM.

When Fukai investigates an out of control airborne aircraft carrier, he discovers the JAM are creating human copies (see Doppelgangers): it becomes clear the JAM has infiltrated FAF (the Fairy Air Force) and are engaged in sabotage. Commander Lydia Cooley (Asagami) orders Captain Edith Foss (Yamada), a psychiatrist profiling Fukai and the Yukikaze AI (see Psychology), to also profile the JAM. Her analysis leads to the copies being gathered into one unit; which leads – as predicted – to their attacking a settlement: a distraction that allows the rest of the humans on Fairy to evacuate to Earth, blowing up the hyperspace passage behind them. This could have done years ago, but as a General admits, Earth believed they had access to a new planet and its resources, and they got greedy. However, they now realize that what they saw was an illusion: "In fact, it's possible the entire planet is the JAM." (see Perception).

The JAM's human copies retain the personality of their originals and seem to have partial autonomy (see Identity). One explains, "The JAM are on an eternal request for knowledge of all things ... this has never been a war between the JAM and humanity ... [but] merely an experiment to confirm their theories." Furthermore, what interests them now is Fukai and the Yukakaze AI – who can be seen as a new life form, a composite of machine and man. Though Fukai and the Yukakaze AI seem to be casualties, when Jackson subsequently interviews Bukhar on Earth, she seems to briefly glimpse Fukai with him.

The Anime only touches upon the novels' many themes (including ethical matters), not going into any depth: there is too much of Fukai looking moody and Bukhar being angsty, with the main focus being the air battles (see Military SF) – which are, admittedly, excitingly animated. Sf fans would probably prefer to have learnt more about the JAM, the Yukakaze AI and the nature of Fairy and the JAM copies; as well as the Earth's growing disinterest in the war. Not having all the details can sometimes provides a sense of a bigger world unseen; here it is merely unsatisfactory. Though overall an interesting watch, Yukikaze is probably best enjoyed in conjunction with the novels.

There was a spin-off OVA, Fighting Fantasy Girl Rescue Me: Mave-chan (2005; original title Sentou Yousei Shoujo Tasukete! Mave-chan), where a teenager attending an anime Convention finds himself in another Dimension where the Yukakaze are attractive young women fighting the JAM. The world is created by the desires of the attendees, and so will cease to exist when they disperse at the convention's end: this is a humorous Satire of anime and its fans and is not based on a Chohei Kanbayashi work. [SP]


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