In praise of Yomigaeru Sora - Rescue Wings, an underappreciated gem
The protagonist of Yomigaeru Sora is Uchida Kazuhiro, who joined the JSDF to fly fighter jets but halfway through flight school got transferred to the much less prestigious and far more blue collar job of search & rescue helicopter pilot. Since Uchida is both an adult and a JSDF officer, he doesn't do any sort of anime sulking about this shift, but the show leaves you in no doubt about his feelings about his new status in life; he is not happy with either his job or the path his life has taken, and he very much yearns for fighters. Yomigaeru Sora opens with Uchida arriving at his post-graduation posting as a green S&R helicopter pilot, and the core of the show is about Uchida coming to accept and even love his new work and life, with all of the many facets it has.
Above all, Yomigaeru Sora is an adult drama, by which I mean it's about grown up people with generally understated, grown up problems; I've described it as an anime about adults that's aimed at adults. This makes it a rarity among anime shows. The fate of the world does not turn on Uchida's personal growth, merely his own happiness, and in the end he finds it. This doesn't mean that the show is boring or without action. Seeing as it's a show about a search and rescue squadron, there are quite a few thrilling and tense S&R missions that Uchida and the entire cast have to tackle, and there's also the training and practice they do to be ready for them.
(Because this is an adult show about real life, not all of these missions are successful ones. This is sort of a spoiler but it's the sort of spoiler I think that you should know going into the show if it matters to you. Your heart will probably break at least once during the show; mine certainly did.)
In addition to Uchida himself, the show is full of well done characters; basically everyone is a real person, even some of the people who just walk on stage briefly. Over the course of the show I came to love the entire squadron, both the flight crews and the hard working ground support team that gets them ready to fly and then must wait tensely back at base hoping that the rescue mission succeeds. All of this helps the show a great deal, because you can't have a good drama without good characters. And Yomigaeru Sora definitely is a good drama, with good characters, good writing, and engaging, understandable situations.
(It looks pretty decent, too. It is a 2006 era show, but it's a well produced one.)
Yomigaeru Sora is one of the shows I think are underappreciated gems, so I very much recommend that you check it out if you think you'd like a quite well done drama about grown ups for once. Also, after you watch it, you'll never be able to hear the well-known Japanese theme song 'Hyokkori Hyoutan-Jima' in the same way. I'll give you this link, but you won't quite understand what I mean until you've seen the show.
(As an example of the sort of show that Yomigaeru Sora is, Uchida has a girlfriend. She visits him from Tokyo every so often and stays at his apartment. No one makes any sort of deal about it, because this is a show about adults.)
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Written on 31 December 2016.