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The Sky Crawlers review

A surreal yet engaging animation about the futility of war

With its musings on the futility of war and the unreliable nature of traumatic memory, the latest from Ghost In The Shell director Mamoru Oshii has as much in common with Waltz With Bashir as it does with the anime auteur’s earlier work.

But where Bashir’s protagonist was plagued by unanswered questions, it’s Sky Crawlers’ viewers who are left with a sense of uncertainty about quite what it is they’ve just seen.

As we follow newly recruited fighter pilot Kannami (voiced by Ryo Kase) and his relationships with his fellow soldiers – particularly his strangely haunted commanding officer (Babel’s Rinko Kikuchi) – it swiftly becomes obvious that things aren’t what they seem in this alternate vision of history.

If at times too opaque for its own good, The Sky Crawlers is nonetheless a dark, engagingly surreal thought-provoker animated with Oshii’s customary grace and flair.

Don’t expect Top Gun – though the dogfights will leave you dizzy with excitement.

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