Sentou Yousei Yukikaze

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    Sentou Yousei Yukikaze (戦闘妖精・雪風, lit. Battle Fairy Yukikaze) is a five-episode OVA 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 Kanbayashi, 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.

    Yukikaze occurs in the near future. Some decades ago, an alien force known as the JAM invaded Earth through a dimensional portal that appeared over Antarctica. The United Nations established a defense force to oppose the threat and after a series of bloody battles, managed to push the enemy back to the other side of the portal, which is a planet named "Fairy" by the humans. However, the battle still rages on. The main character, Rei Fukai, pilots the Super Sylph B-503 fighter, nicknamed "Yukikaze", an advanced armed tactical reconnaissance plane equipped with a near-sentient AI computer system, and belongs to the Special Air Force (SAF), the strategic recon wing of Fairy Air Force (FAF).


    Tropes used in Sentou Yousei Yukikaze include:
    • Ace Pilot: Lt. Fukai
    • Adult Child: Rei could be seen as this. He'll either rebel against his superiors or angst if you try to keep him from flying and Yukikaze.
    • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Beautifully Subverted.
    • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Banshees.
    • Alien Sky: This one's green and has two suns. Or so we're led to believe.
    • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Arguably, thanks to the Alien Sky setting.
    • Anti-Hero: Rei, though instead of being dark and edgy he's just deeply antisocial.
    • Anthropomorphic Personification: Played straight in the first episode, where Rei dreams of Yukikaze as a caged fairy, and himself holding the key to set her free.
      • The really really bad spin-off Tasukete, Mave-chan! in which the various aircraft are represented by... you'll never guess... cute girls.
    • Batman Gambit: Cooley pulls one off in Operation 5.
    • Bilingual Bonus: For anyone who actually understands air force parlance, the series air combat scenes were developed with the help of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force so alot of the radio chatter is what you'd actually hear in an air combat situation.
    • Bittersweet Ending : Oh boy...
    • Bizarre Alien Biology: We never get to see real JAMs other than their ships or their fake humans, some of whom weren't even aware that they were fake for a while.
    • Blatant Lies: In the backstory, the SAF was able to secure funding for the Super Sylph because it was ostensibly a modified Sylphid. The actual aircraft was an entirely new design. This is actually Truth in Television since a number of real life combat aircraft "variants" were developed this way.
    • Can't Catch Up: How the FAF views the conflict. Every advance they make is copied and countered by the JAM. this is because JAM have infiltrated the FAF.
    • Cargo Ship: Even partially lampshaded and deconstructed in-universe.
    • Chekhov's Gun: A small one in Operation 2: engine trouble. Griffon Leader can't dogfight due to engine trouble with his FA-2; minutes later Yukikaze aborts its strafing run on TAB-15 and RTBs due to engine trouble. Later while dogfighting with JAM during DACT with TS-X1, the same engine trouble rears its head.
      • In Operation 3, Yukikaze activates its JAM sensor jammer, displaying what Jack identifies as a warning pattern. That's because Tom "Tomahawk" John is standing right next to it.
      • Savvy viewers will realize that the JAM-copy killed by the Military Police in the last episode is a copy of Richard Burgadish, who is supposed to be KIA all the way back in Episode 1.
    • Cloning Blues: Yukikaze clones herself by making a copy of herself into the FRX-99 prototype and then ordering it to destroy the original.
      • And then JAM makes a shadow copy of Rei to pilot Copy Sylph, however it fails to make an actual copy of Yukikaze.
    • Combat Pragmatist: TS-X1 shows instances of this.
    • Coming in Hot: In Operation 4, after Rei and Yukikaze travel to Earth and defeat the 3 JAM that followed him through the portal.
    • Conspicuous CG: Although to be fair it's some of the best ever seen in anime. It looks damn good even 5-8 years after its release.
    • Cool Plane: Just about every plane in the series, but especially the titular Yukikaze.
    • Cool Guns: The FAF's issue weapons are apparently the Glock 17 pistol and P90 personal defense weapon.
    • Dead All Along: The original Tom "Tomahawk" John.
    • Dream Sequence: Both Rei and Jack have them, involving Yukikaze as an actual fairy.
    • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Rei while comatose/catatonic.
    • Evolving Credits: The opening changes in Operation 3 to reflect Yukikaze's new upgrade.
    • Expository Hairstyle Change: The epilogue shows Jack with long, long hair.
    • Evil Counterpart: Copy Sylph to Yukikaze.. It's piloted by Copy Rei.
    • Fan Nickname: Rei's second Guy in Back, Richard Burgadish is sometimes referred to as "Chicken Broth" by Japanese fans.
      • Copy Super Sylph is also known as Silver Sylph.
    • Fan Service: Given how gritty and dark the show is as a whole, it's slightly remarkable it has anything like this, and the closest we get is Captain Foss, the base doctor and psychiatrist, who shows some leg and bares her midriff.
    • Final Battle: And what a battle.
    • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Free Electron Laser Unit attached to Yukikaze and the FRX-99s for the final battle.
    • Gainax Ending: The show ends with Lyn Jackson seeing Rei's ghost next to Jack, although he himself is unaware of Rei's presence. After the credits end, we're treated to an extra scene where it seems the afterlife, for Rei, consists of being sent out on missions by Jack. Heck, you cannot even tell if he actually died, Ascended to A Higher Plane of Existence or what!.
    • Genius Loci: Fairy. Even in-universe, it's speculated that the planet itself could be JAM.
    • Government Conspiracy: 30+ years after the attempted invasion, most people in the human world treat the JAM as a sort of urban legend/fiction (to illustrate, during the JAM incursion of Earth in Operation 4, the first thing the UN forces do in response is to assume the aliens to be renegade FAF units). And as it turns out, the war against the JAM on Fairy has basically turned into a human invasion of Fairy for military and monetary gains, and is used by what few Earth political blocs still aware of the aliens to further their own individual interests.
    • Guy in Back: Rei has a tendency to lose them.
    • High-Speed Missile Dodge: All fighters attempt this, with results varying greatly. Yukikaze, unsurprisingly, has the best success, followed by the Copy Super Sylph and the rest of the JAM.
    • Heroic BSOD: Lt. Fukai, after Yukikaze's first Heroic Sacrifice.
      • Yukikaze herself as well. Once she's in the FRX-00 airframe. This is due to her being called a monster by both Jack and Rei due to her new looks. It takes Rei manually inputing some codes to hard-reset the engine to break her out of it.
    • Heroic Sacrifice: Yukikaze, twice. Lt. Fukai once.
      • Copy Tom, helping Rei escape the doomed Banshee.
    • Hey, It's That Voice!
    • Heterosexual Life Partners: Jack and Rei.
    • Ho Yay: There's a reason why the OVA is nicknamed "Brokeback Air Force."
      • In an interview Jack's voice actor even comments on poor Jack ending up with his heart broken.
    • Human Resources: The soup Rei is served in the second half if the first episode. Eww.
    • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode of the OVA is referred to as "Operation".
    • Improbable Piloting Skills: An example of which is seen in Operation 1, where Yukikaze does a 180 degree flat spin, flying backwards, to shoot down a nuclear missile.
    • Ineffectual Loner: Lt. Fukai most of the time, 'cept with his one and only friend, Jack, his plane, Yukikaze, and Copy Tom
    • Just Plane Wrong: The FFR-31MR/D Super Sylph is a plausible design, not so much for some of the designs introduced later in the series.
      • Ironically in the novels, the Super Sylph design is derived from the F-15 STOL/MTD, an actual USAF experimental craft.
        • The creators specifically made Yukikaze as un-aerodynamic as possible to emphasize how advanced its technology was.
    • Kaiju Defense Force: The Japanese Navy appears in Operation 4, supplying a carrier battlegroup to guard the passageway, implying that Article 9 was revoked when the JAM invaded.
    • Lighter and Softer: Episode 4 at least, until the cliffhanger.
    • Living MacGuffin: Rei and Yukikaze become this as JAM seems to have a strange fixation to capture them at all costs.
    • Love Hurts: Poor Jack. Whether you see his affection for Rei as platonic or romantic, it hurts all the same.
    • Ludicrous Precision: JAM treats war like a giant mathematical equation and their interest in Rei and Yukikaze is because they're the variable that keeps the equation from balancing out, and while they tried to copy them, and were able to copy Rei to pilot Copy Sylph, they were unable to actually copy Yukikaze.
    • Macross Missile Massacre: Justified in the Climatic Battle when Yukikaze takes over just about every plane in the FAF.
      • Earlier in Operation 4 the Japanese Navy attempts this, both with fighter-launched and ship-launched missiles, but quickly stops due to friendly fire risk and the MMM proving ineffective against the JAM's High-Speed Missile Dodge.
    • Manipulative Bitch: Cooley, and she's one of the good guys.
    • Meaningful Name: Rei's first name means "A drop, a raindrop, a mote. Zero." (Yes, all this.) His surname, Fukai is derived from the word "deep."
      • In fact, it's written with the same kanji as this noh mask. Whether it's intentional or not...
    • Mechanical Lifeforms: The JAM are suspected to be this in-universe.
      • They're also suspected to be a sort of Hive Mind. We never find out.
    • Mid-Season Upgrade: Yukikaze transfers its AI from an FFR-31MR/D Super Sylph into the FRX-99 prototype. Later, in Operation 4, the FFR-41 Mave receives new engines.
    • Mildly Military: SAF seems to be more lax when it comes to uniform codes.
    • Mood Whiplash: Operation 1. After a wham moment that sends Rei into a Heroic BSOD, a bright cheery ED theme plays.
    • Never Trust a Trailer: The Blu-Ray release features a so-called "experimental video" which is a trailer for the sequel featuring new footage and narration by Nakata Jouji. The catch? There is no sequel. (In fact, there's never been any mention of the studio planning to make one).
    • No Export for You: Averted; despite being untranslated for years, the first and second novels have recently been translated and released in English.
    • Non-Action Guy: Jack and Tom John.
    • Not Quite Human: The JAM copies look like humans in all aspects except they "bleed" yellow goo.
    • Old School Dogfighting: Much of the combat between the FAF and JAM takes place using short-ranged heatseeking missiles and guns. Operation 1 and 4 provide justifications: JAM are masters of the High-Speed Missile Dodge and can put out enough jamming to Interface Screw a destroyer's radar, which is more powerful than the seeker head of a long-range radar guided missile.
    • Oh Crap: When Rei confirms to the SAF that JAM are making human replicas.
    • Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime writers had to adapt two novels (most of which are loosely connected short stories) into less than 3 hours. Since it was impossible to pull it off, the writers sort of went their own way with the story, changing and cutting/expanding the original material. Overall, though, it makes sense and the author of the novels acknowledged it as an alternate version.
    • Point Defenseless: When three JAM Type-2s engage the Japanese Navy fleet in Operation 4, one destroyer (actually a "twin-arm" i.e. pre-VLS Mk.26 missile launcher variant of the Ticonderoga class cruiser) puts up a barrage of fire from the Phalanx CIWS that hits exactly nothing. The Type-2s flew just a few feet above sea level whereas the Block 0 Phalanx is tricked by the alien ECM (strong enough to Interface Screw the equally-aging radar on the destroyer) into shooting above the one targeted by the cannon. The much-newer Kongo class destroyer don't do that much better, either, with one of them not only not hitting anything but also still firing at the ship's port side well after the enemy crosses over to the starboard side. Doubles as Rule of Drama to underline how Earth, through its sheer complacency-induced ignorance, is completely dependent on the FAF to remain safe from the alien threats.
      • The trope is averted however in the final battle. Although the JAM fighters are concentrating on the carrier plane for the Flip Knight drones while largely ignoring the gunships and despite ultimately being overwhelmed by the billion-strong enemy, autocannons used by FAF aerial gunships do an excellent job picking off a massive number of JAM fighters for most of the fight.
    • Product Placement: Lyn Jackson uses a Powerbook G3.
    • Psychic Link: Rei and Yukikaze seem to share one, somehow. It's never fully explored.
    • Punch a Wall: Or rather, Punch A Window.
    • Restraining Bolt: Yukikaze and the act of flying serve as this for Rei. Without them, he'll rebel against authority or just wallow in angst and despair. Jack is a minor one, unless Rei thinks Jack will prevent him from flying.
    • Rule of Cool: The designing team specifically state that they throw all aerodynamic principles out of the window to make the planes, especially Yukikaze, look cooler.
      • The Super Sylph design still seems aerodynamically plausible.
      • Hey, if the X-02 and Falken from the Ace Combat series ended up to be proven aerodynamically plausible, the FFR-31 MR/D Super Sylph and FRX-99 / FRX-00 / FFR-41 MAVE should be reasonably fine.
    • Shadow Archetype : Copy Super Sylph along with its pilot, Copy Rei.
    • Shown Their Work: The fighter planes' sounds, the jargon of fighter pilots and other military stuff is (almost) entirely authentic. (The sounds were actually recorded at a JASDF base with real planes flying around.) And while many plane designs are implausible (but really cool) the animators carefully animated all the little movements planes do as they fly.
      • The unrealistic designs are less of an issue with the novel version of the Sylph and Super Sylph, which is essentially a modified F-15S/MTD, a USAF/NASA experimental aircraft.
    • Spell My Name with an "S" : Related to theme naming below, most official material can't get the reporting name of F/A-2 correct; it's either "Fawn/Faun" or "Fand".
      • Also, Jack's surname is rendered as Bukhar in the anime and Booker in the translated novel.
      • The designation for the new Yukikaze body frame. FRX-99 was the first upgrade, FRX-00 is the manned version, and finally FFR-41.
    • Starfish Aliens: The JAM, probably. This is also probably how the JAM see us.
    • Surprisingly Good English: The doctor's report on Rei's mental state in Operation 2.
    • The Anime of the Game: Inverted, there's a video game adaptation of the anime version of Yukikaze on the original XBOX, but it didn't seem to pick up any sort of popularity.
    • Theme Naming: The alien planet is named Fairy; the FAF's various units, aircrafts, etc. are named after fantastic/mythological creatures (FFR-31 Sylph/Sylphid, Banshee Flying Aircraft Carrier, F/A-2 Fand, Kraken Sq., Ghoul Sq., etc., plus the Flip Knights).
    • There Are No Therapists: Obviously averted with Captain Foss. She's also the one that deconstructed the Fukai-Yukikaze Cargo Ship in-universe.
    • The Stinger: End of episode 2. Lydia receives a report that the strafing run that Yukikaze did earlier in the episode, although initially blamed for a malfunctioning AI, actually uncovered traces of sabotage in the planes parked in that airbase, foreshadowing JAM's infiltration of FAF and Yukikaze's very accurate JAM-sensing "mind".
    • Tomato in the Mirror: Copy Tom when he realizes he's actually a JAM.
    • Trouble Magnet Gambit: Cooley sending both Rei and Copy Tom together on a mission, on purpose. Jack doesn't like it, at all.
    • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: It's never stated exactly when the OVA takes place, but given various visual clues (Lyn Jackson's Powerbook G3, a V-22, Atago-class DDGs, Ticonderoga-class CGs), it probably takes place sometime within the first decade of the 21st century.
    • Triang Relations: Sort of, between Jack, Rei and Yukikaze.
    • Van in Black: What Yukikaze and the SAF is, basically. Their job consisted mostly of monitoring the engagements between the actual FAF and JAM -- at least it was until they got more directly involved.
    • Whole-Episode Flashback: It's not until the end when you realize it's Jack who has been narrating the events of episode 5, and perhaps the whole series, to Lyn Jackson, the sci-fi writer.
    • Worf Had the Flu: Rei and Yukikaze vs TS-X1 during the test run. They couldn't operate to their full potential as Captain Foss was in the copilot seat. Should be noted that Foss is a therapist, and not a pilot used to the extreme G forces pilots are constantly subjected to.
    • Zeerust: On one hand, the FAF are shown to be able to build advanced fighters and AI ahead of what's available today. On the other hand Jack's computer is a Macintosh Classic, Captain Foss uses an ancient laptop with MS Word 3 to type her report, Lyn Jackson uses a Powerbook G3, and Rei uses a simple typewriter while on desk duty. Possibly justified with Lyn Jackson as some writers are known to use old typewriters for their novels, even if they own a modern computer. It could also mean a longing for days past, before the war against Fairy, or she just really likes it.
      • Or, more prosaically, the FAF keeps the old crap for the Soldiers In The Rear to free up budget for the new fighters - there are mentions that the Super Sylphs were quite expensive, in the supplementary materials.