List of Anime Aircraft

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As mankind has long been fascinated by flight, it is no surprise to find aircraft and flying featured in anime, or Japanese animation. Anime aircraft come in all genres and styles, from silly romantic comedies and fantasy, to hard-hitting human drama and historical fiction.

Porco Rosso

  • Acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki utilized his long-held interest in early Italian fighting planes in his feature film, "Porco Rosso." In fact, his animation studio's name, Studio Ghibli, comes from a WWII Italian scouting plane. In this film, retired Italian Air Force ace Porco Rosso makes his living as a bounty hunter during the Great Depression. Although the plane companies in the film are fictional, the designs are carefully based on authentic World War I-era aircraft, such as flying boats that resemble the Piaggio P-136 and later P-166. Miyazaki's fondness of aircraft can also be seen in some of his other films, such as "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" and "Castle in the Sky."

Last Exile

  • This steampunk series takes place on the world of Prester where the inhabitants use aircraft called vanships as their means of transportation. Two pilots, named Claus Valca and Lavie Head, become drawn into a war that they wanted no part in when they are asked to deliver a girl to the infamous battleship Sylvana. The design of the vanships was inspired by German technology during the 1920s and '30s.

Sky Crawlers

  • Based on the popular Japanese novel, this film follows a group of fighter pilots who are contracted by corporations to engage in actual combat against each other even though the world is at peace. Clones begin to be produced for the sole purpose of being shot down in air battles for entertainment. The story takes place in an alternative Earth, and the planes are reminiscent of WWII-era fighter planes.

Area 88

  • This classic series became popular for its realistic depiction of aircraft and aerial combat just as much as its strong character development. The series takes place in the late 1970s and early '80s in a fictional Middle Eastern country called Aslan that hires mercenary fighter pilots headquartered at a secret base called Area 88. When up-and-coming airline pilot Shin Kazama is tricked into signing up for a tour of duty as a mercenary pilot, he learns there are only three ways to leave Area 88: survive three years, pay off a $1.5 million contract in bounties or desertion, which is a capital offense. This series features real combat aircraft, such as the English Electric Lightning, a supersonic jet fighter aircraft from the Cold War era, and the B-52 Stratofortress, an American long-range strategic bomber.

Yukikaze

  • In this award-winning original video animation (OVA) series, an invading alien force creates a dimensional portal near Antarctica. The UN establishes a defense force to push the invaders back to the other side of the portal. The UN forces use streamlined supersonic jets to fight the alien ships.

801 TTS Airbats

  • The star of the series, Takuya Isurug, is a plane-obsessed man who becomes the mechanic for the 801 Tactical Training Squadron Airbats, an all-female elite aerobatics team. The story is more of a romantic comedy with some focus on aircraft, which are molded after modern Japanese Self Defense Force reconnaissance planes.

Simoun

  • The peaceful theocracy of Simulacrum is guarded by magical flying machines called "Simoun," which can only be piloted by young girls. The neighboring country of Argentum sends a large fleet of airships to attack Simulacrum in order to steal the helical motor technology found in the Simoun. The Simoun ships are fantastical planes that almost resemble flying angelfish.

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