Cockpit review module THE COCKPIT
(Kiseki, 70 mins, cert15, 12.99) The video comprises three OVAs by different directors.
Do buy THE COCKPIT; it contains one of the best and most moving short anti-war films ever made, about a pilot of a WWII rocket-powered suicide plane, the Ooka. It's particularly moving at the beginning, where the subtitles explain that once the pilot is launched, he will never return alive. There are dramatic aerial battle sequences, and a fine music soundtrack. It happens to be animated, but please, don't let that put you off. (GC)

This triplet of OVAs is adapted from THE COCKPIT manga by Leiji Matsumoto (also known for creating 'Space Cruiser Yamato'). The manga show Matsumoto's deep love for mecha and mechanics. The three episodes, The Stratospheric Current, The Sonic Attack Team, and The Iron Dragoon, are animated by three different directors, Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Wicked City) Takashi Imanishi (Gundam 0083) and Ryosuke Takahashi (Armoured Trooper Votoms). All three have as their theme the horror and futility of war, and the first two in particular, unlike most war movies, which make it look jolly exciting, have a grimly sobering effect.
In The Stratospheric Current, an unpopular German fighter ace has to decide whether to guard a bomber carrying the Nazi atom bomb -and his friends - or allow it to be shot down.
In the second, the pilot of a supersonic suicide rocket-propelled bomb, the Ooka (=cherry blossom), survives his first mission while the crews of the mother plane and escort fighters are killed. He knows he has to fly again. You may not have heard of these planes, but they really existed (I saw one in a museum in Manchester.) One cannot read subtitles like "a fallen cherry blossom can never return" and "once dropped, the pilot can never return alive" without feelings of horror and sadness. This video goes a good way in explaining the psychology of kamikaze attacks.
I cannot recommend this video highly enough; it is beautifully made, with dramatic flying sequences, and has more to say than a whole shelf full of lesser anime releases. (GC)