Rescue Wings – episode 7

March 29, 2006 on 10:20 am | In Rescue Wings | Comments Off on Rescue Wings – episode 7

“Bright Side of Life (part two)”

Carelessness is only a split second, but regret lasts forever.

They really do make anime as good as this. Rescue Wings manages to put me in a very emotional state without for one second seeming manipulative. From this series I get a feeling of a total love for human life, and the idea of friends as a family that care for each other.
This “Bright Side of Life” story covered many different perspectives and was generally a triumph of scripting and direction.

Hongo and Uchida go searching for survivors of the plane crash that occurred at the end of the previous episode.

This episode works on too many levels, and I can easily forgive the parallel of Hongo’s past with the present situation because it’s an entirely plausible scenario for the SDF to have to face. It’s about death and expectation and shows the way that a member of the air force has to adapt differently to situations than other people might.

The air force seems to have people dedicated to breaking bad news to next of kin, and they have had to master the art over the years. They may seem insensitive, discussing the possible fates of these kinsfolk on their journeys, but it is actually a case of pragmatism. If someone was to take the wrong approach to the job, their very existence would become too heavy for them; by not overlaying the idea with sentimentality, and being matter of fact about the situations that they have to deal with, they can cope with most anything.

The direction of the scenes dealing with potential widowers or bereaved fathers is executed in such a detached way that one can’t help but feel empathy for the victims of circumstance. As an air force woman tells someone of the dreadful possibility that might be approaching, she is depicted a almost faceless, her eyes obscured by her hair to give a sense of the remove. In an earlier scene, the speech is completely cut and all that is shown is the reaction.

I was surprised that this lack of emotion in air force employees only applies to the instances of serious problems. I should not have been, as the vitality and joy of the Komatsu Rescue Squad is what makes them so very human. Kuroki’s treatment of the situation as a “game” – win when survivors live, lose when they don’t survive – is another coping mechanism but it speaks volumes when he does win.
The sheer unbridled ecstatic response when a win is enacted made this episode crackle with electricity. The final scenes, too, gave an incredibly strong sense of the attachment that these people have to both life and each other.

In the end, we can come to understand why someone in a plane crash would be taken from their division and placed elsewhere; you’ve always got a reason to live, but sometimes you’ve got to find something else to live for. The way that the direction subtly applied this idea both to Hongo and to Uchida was nothing short of inspirational.

An excellent episode in an excellent series; it truly applied the tenets of good characterisation from earlier episodes into the actual context of a rescue mission.

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