Released by: Madman Entertainment.
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Picking up directly where episode four left off Yukikaze requests weapons control and shoots a self seeking missile, to prevent itself and Lt Fukai from falling into JAM hands. This forces the JAM to back off indicating that the JAMs interest now is intently focused on Rei and Yukikaze. While this does permit them to return to base safely other events begin to unfold that throw the entire FAF into jeparody. It seems the intelligence/counter-intelligence efforts against the JAM have resulted in a viable fifth column within the FAF who now strike against the main FAF base to devestating effect.
Fortunately General Cooley, thanks to the redirected analysis and profiling work she ordered, is aware of the enemy plan and orchestrates an orderly escape covered by an elaborate deception and diversion. It further is revealed that the very basis for the war against the JAM, namely the safety of Earth itself, has been something of a sham as it has been known for sometime how to collapse the dimensional tunnel linking the two worlds. Instead it seems humanity saw a new world to explore and exploit, as a consequence got a little greedy deciding to try and take the world as a whole.
For the JAM's part it seems they too have been engaged in a massive deception and the world of Fairy is revealed to be far stranger than had been realised. This results in a titanic aerial fight as the now escaping FAF forces try to fight their way through to the gateway and collapse it behind them. Naturally this means Yukikaze must once again sally forth and do it's utmost to defeat the JAM.
It is all appropriately climactic and world ending material as the true extent of the JAMs plans and intentions is revealed. This results in some of the largest aerial combat scenes yet in the series as the entire FAF force is committed. Naturally this results in a very involved soundtrack that makes heavy use of the soundstage as well as a very busy frame visually. While I do still have my niggle that the story really deserved the space a 16:9 framing would give it I can't really say it struggled either. This is some top notch animation edited clearly to provide a very watchable show.
Nicely the very revealations that tell us more about the JAM open up a new set of questions. Are the JAM a machine intelligence society? Or perhaps just the one intelligence on a planetary scale? Is that why the fusion of machine and man interests them so much with Yukikaze being the prime example? We don't get clear answers to those questions and in many ways the story is better for leaving them unanswered as you then go back over previous episodes looking for clues to the JAMs nature and intent. It has been a while since a series posing as an action drama provided such a strong underlying structure to give some meaning to the sound and fury being protrayed.
It all wraps up in a conclusion with the reporter, who was featured prominently in episode four but has been with us since the start of the series, searching to see what became of the glorious plane and pilot she met down in Antarctica. While I'd have liked the ending itself to be a little more direct and a little less open to interpretation it is overall a good wrap up to a short series that has been consistantly fun to watch. If you are in need a short science fiction fix of aerial combat then this series is a good way to scratch that itch. It helps it is a nicely layered story so that the grey cells get a bit of a workout as well as the straight visceral thrills on offer.
Indeed the only other series I am aware of coming down the pipeline that looks to similarly satisfy in having a mature science fiction story without the usual targeting at teenage viewers is Zipang. It is just refreshing to have a series that doesn't have the usual romantic triangle antics, comedy involving super deformed visuals or overly angsty teenage heroes. This is something the adult viewers can settle into and enjoy. Well worth the time to seek out and see.