In the early 1980s, a war is raging in Arslan, a fictional Middle Eastern kingdom. Mercenary fighter pilots from all over the world are hired or shanghaied to fight. They live in a secret desert airbase called Area 88.
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Makoto Shinjo / ... (2 episodes, 2004)
Takehito Koyasu ...
 Shin Kazama (2 episodes, 2004)
Shin'ichirô Miki ...
 Makoto Shinjo / ... (2 episodes, 2004)
Chris Patton ...
 Shin Kazama (2 episodes, 2004)
Tomokazu Seki ...
 Mickey Simon / ... (2 episodes, 2004)
John Swasey ...
 Mickey Simon / ... (2 episodes, 2004)
...
 Kim Aba (2 episodes, 2004)
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Storyline

In the early 1980s, an armed rebellion breaks out in the fictional Middle Eastern kingdom of Asran. Fighter pilots from all over the world are being hired as mercenaries, or even shanghaied on occasion, by both sides of the conflict to fly and fight for them. One of the locations where Asran's government sends its mercenaries is Area 88, a secret military airbase surrounded by desert and close to the frontline, where they must live and can never leave it. Since every pilot has his or her own unique fighter jet, the airbase often looks like it's hosting an exhibition of various real-life fighter planes from all over the world. There are only three ways for a government-hired mercenary pilot to quit this war - complete a three year contract as a mercenary, pay a fine of one and a half million US dollars, which is an improbable but not impossible feat, since every confirmed kill can bring up to 75 grand in rewards to the pilot responsible, or try to escape, although desertion is punished... Written by Anonymous

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TV-PG | See all certifications »
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8 January 2004 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Area 88  »

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Connections

Version of Eria 88 (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
If you're a fan of fighter aircraft, Area 88 is for you and you must see it!
15 October 2009 | by (Lisbon, Portugal) – See all my reviews

Reviewing this series is quite simple, so I'll do it. If you're a fan of fighter aircraft, with dogfights, ground attacks and all that, then rejoice. Area 88 is for you and you must see it! Every aspect is highly detailed, from the position of the guns on each aircraft to the jettisoning of external fuel tanks when they enter combat. The music used for the action scenes, made by Rank 1 among others, is always appropriate and I swear it will stick in your mind.

The story as two themes: the power of love and the way war affects the minds of human beings. The main character, Shin Kazama, was a happy man who was about to join a major Japanese airline as a pilot and was going to marry the daughter of that airline's President. However, his greedy best friend decides to get rid of him and tricks him to join a mercenary squadron in a fictional Middle East country in the late 1970s, where there's a civil war.

The mercenaries are fighting for several reasons. Some saw so many things during the Cold War that they just can't go back to a normal life. Others are there for the adrenaline of air combat or simply because they need money. Kazama becomes the squadron's best ace because he's fighting to gain enough money to leave and see his fiancée again. He's the only one that has something waiting for him after the war. Life on the air base is pretty regular, for a mercenary squadron. But that changes with the arrival of Makoto Shinjou, a war photographer who loves to take photos of people in special emotional moments and seems obsessed with Kazama.

The story is the weak part of the show. The previous paragraph is basically it. There's absolutely no information whatsoever regarding the status of the civil war or the political ideology of both factions. All we know is that the rebels are probably supported by the Soviet Union, since all their aircraft are Soviet (Migs and Bears). But then again, we never get to see what the national air force uses! Sometimes, one episode will be centered around one of the support characters, but character development for everyone except Shinjou and Kazama is very poor. There's one episode where they go a bit further with Mick, but since he's the American ace there, it was probably done to please the American audience.

The animation is state of the art, both for aircraft and characters. The voice acting is also brilliant. Shin Kazama is played by the great Takehito Koyasu.

I haven't seen the original OVA, but I can tell you that the Shin Kazama of this series doesn't cry as much as the old one, nor whines about killing other human beings.

Overall, worth watching. Imperative to watch if you're looking for action. Just be ready for some disappointments on the story.


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