Promotional artwork for the series
(Sentō Yōsei Yukikaze)
|Genre||Science fiction, Drama|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Masahiko Ōkura|
Kiyoshi Sugiyama (Bandai Visual)|
Manabu Ishikawa (Gonzo)
Yuko Sakurai (Flying Dog)
|Released||August 28, 2002 – August 26, 2005|
Yukikaze (戦闘妖精雪風 Sentō Yōsei Yukikaze, lit. Battle Fairy Yukikaze) Yukikaze (literally Windblown Snow) is a five-episode Japanese direct-to-video anime series produced by Gonzo and Bandai Visual and was released in Japan from August 28, 2002 to August 25, 2005. It is based on a popular science fiction novel of the same name by Chōhei Kambayashi, and was produced in commemoration of Bandai Visual's 20th anniversary. It was also later aired in Japan on the anime television network Animax, who later aired in its English language networks across Southeast Asia and other networks worldwide.
The series is notable for its air combat scenes, which were created with the help of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The JASDF worked with the Gonzo production team by recording actual sounds of the F-15J Eagle and running test flights at Komatsu Air Base, and having discussions on air combat tactics.
Yukikaze has twice won the Tokyo Anime Award for Original Video Animation in 2003 and 2006.
Yukikaze occurs in the early 21st century. Thirty-three years before the events of the series, an alien force known as the JAM invaded Earth through a dimensional portal that appeared over Antarctica. Without alarming the general public, the United Nations establishes a defense force to oppose the threat and after a series of bloody battles, manages to push the enemy back to the other side of the portal. The UN establishes five bases on a planet named "Fairy" to continue the offensive against the JAM with the Fairy Air Force (FAF) leading the way. The main character, Lt Rei Fukai, pilots the Super Sylph B-503 fighter, nicknamed "Yukikaze", an advanced armed tactical reconnaissance plane equipped with a near-sentient AI system, and belongs to the FAF's recon squadron, the Boomerang Squadron. Over the course of the series, Fukai and the FAF struggles to defeat the JAM, who have perfected the art of human cloning and planted agents all over the FAF.
- Rei Fukai - The lead character of the series, Rei is a 2nd Lieutenant in the FAF's Special Air Force (SAF) reconnaissance unit. He is the pilot of the B-503 "Yukikaze" fighter. Although depicted as a loner and having a tendency toward social rejection, he is good friends with Jack Bukhar and eventually interacts with other SAF pilots. Voiced by: Masato Sakai (Japanese); Steve Staley (English)
- Major James "Jack" Bukhar - The de facto second-in-command of the SAF, Bukhar is Rei's commanding officer. Despite the seniority, he is the only person in the FAF to even befriend Fukai and help him deal with the stress of battle. A prominent theme with the character is his interest in boomerangs and their aerodynamic characteristics. Voiced by: Jōji Nakata (Japanese); Dan Woren (English)
- Rydia Cooley - A former investment banker who signed up with the FAF during the early days of the JAM war, Cooley is a skilled player in the FAF's power struggles. She is the SAF's commander with the rank of brigadier-general. Voiced by: Yōko Asagami (Japanese); Carol Stanzione (English)
- Edith Foss - A psychiatrist by trade, Foss is attached to the FAF and holds the rank of captain. In the series, Foss is responsible for profiling Yukikaze and diagnosing Rei Fukai after he lapsed into a quasi-comatose state when his first aircraft is destroyed. Cooley later orders her to "profile" the JAM as a single entity. Voiced by: Miho Yamada (Japanese); Kari Wahlgren (English)
- Lynn Jackson - One of the few civilian characters in the series, Jackson is the author of The Invader, a chronicle of the FAF's struggle against the JAM. She went to Antarctica to research the book several times. Voiced by: Masako Ikeda (Japanese); Barbara Goodson (English)
- Ansel Rombert - Rombert is a colonel who leads the FAF Intelligence Division. He is determined to find out more about the JAM. Voiced by: Takaya Hashi (Japanese); Dave Mallow (English)
Based on a science fiction novel by Chōhei Kanbayashi, Yukikaze was produced by Gonzo, Victor Entertainment and Bandai Visual to commemorate Bandai Visual's 20th anniversary. The five episode series was originally released directly to DVD as an original video animation. It was later aired in Japan on the anime television network Animax, which also aired the series on its English language networks across Southeast Asia and other networks worldwide.
Yukikaze was licensed for an English language release in North America by Bandai Entertainment, and in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment. It was licensed for regional language releases in France by Beez Entertainment, Italy by Shin Vision, and Germany by Panini Video.
|1||"Operation 1"||August 25, 2002|
|The human race has beaten an invasion by an alien race called the JAM back to its home planet Fairy. Fairy Air Force, the UN-mandated military organization tasked with neutralizing and eventually eliminating the alien threat, assigns and armed strategic reconnaissance aircraft codenamed "Yukikaze" and equipped with an AI to Lt. Rei Fukai of the subordinate Special Air Force with the intention to record data on JAM movements and battlefield tactics. One day, however, an encounter with the "Grey Sylph" (a JAM duplicate of the Yukikaze) lands him in hot water with his superiors. During another patrol, Fukai is captured by JAM clones wanting to study the plane. He kills one of his captors and escapes with the plane from an alien entity disguised as a FAF forward airbase but ends up being pursued and shot down by the "Grey Sylph". As the "Grey Sylph" attempts to finish off Fukai's aircraft, the Yukikaze AI hijacks an FRX-99, a prototype UCAV that was undergoing operational tests at that time, and uses it to destroy the "Grey Sylph". The AI uploads its files to the FRX-99, ejects Fukai, and obliterates Yukikaze's wreckage.|
|2||"Operation 2"||February 25, 2003|
|The ordeals from the previous mission leaves Rei Fukai in a catatonic state, which proves short-lived when he responds to the Yukikaze AI, now transferred into the prototype FRX-00 Mave (a manned version of the FRX-99 that has been equipped with a countermeasure system to detect JAM computer infiltrations), as the latter strafes a FAF tactical airfield that it identifies as a JAM entity during a test flight. This and several suspected acts of sabotage made on other FAF aircraft raise alarms to some FAF officials, including Brigadier General Cooley, on possible JAM infiltrations. She assigns Rei to the prototype Mave under the observations of Edith Foss, who will soon have an opportunity to profile both Rei and Yukikaze under combat situations.|
|3||"Operation 3"||August 22, 2003|
|Rei and another Fairy Air Force crewmember investigate a Banshee flying aircraft carrier that opened fire on friendly forces prior. Further inspection on the seemingly-deserted carrier reveals that it is being used by JAM to create human clones. When transmission of their finding triggers the FAF's computerized command and control system into launching a SRBM to destroy the Banshee, Rei escapes, but his companion, upon discovery that he himself is a JAM clone, elects to stay behind onboard the doomed air fortress.|
|4||"Operation 4"||April 23, 2004|
|Rei and Yukikaze fly back to Earth to test the plane's new engines but JAM forces follow them out of the portal. An Earth-borne Japanese Navy aircraft carrier battlegroup, mistaking the JAM attackers for unauthorized FAF aircraft, is taken by surprise and quickly fall into disarray. The Admiral, the Japanese flagship, is only saved from a final ramming attempt by the aliens by Rei's timely intervention. The Yukikaze is forced to land on the Admiral for refueling, and it is right there Rei would find out how ignorant Earth has become to the war raging on Fairy.|
|5||"Operation 5"||August 26, 2005|
|Concluding that planet Fairy is in fact the collective of JAM itself and that JAM infiltrators are on the eve of starting a mutiny, the FAF devises a plan to lure JAM infiltrators into a trap while pulling the rest of their forces out of Fairy. In response, JAM arrays its entire fighting force between the FAF and their portal of escape and hijacks some of the FAF's UCAVs, causing chaos within FAF formations. Intent on settling scores with JAM, who have repeatedly tried to hack the Yukikaze AI, Rei Fukai and the AI launch in one final sortie to escort nuclear weapons into the heart of the JAM collective, giving the FAF the opening they need to escape and seemingly sacrificing themselves in the process.|
Yukikaze won the Tokyo Anime Award for Original Video Animation in both 2003 and 2006.
- Making Of featurette, Yukikaze DVD
- "Bandai Licenses Yukikaze". Anime News Network. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- Tom Cruise After Big ‘Oblivion’ Bow Abroad Stays In Sci-Fi With Warner Bros’ ‘Yukikaze’ Archived April 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Tokyo International Anime Festival Award Winners". Anime News Network. 2003-03-23. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- "Tokyo Anime Fair: Award Winners". Anime News Network. 2006-03-27. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- Official website (Japanese)
- Yukikaze (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Yukikaze at Gears Online