The film was produced during Second Sino-Japanese War, before the Pearl Harbor Attack in 1941. The film mainly concerns the training of newly-recruited pilots and their daily life, then their subsequent fighting experiences in China. Army supported the production, providing all the authentic airplanes, training and actual actions. They even provided the older biplanes disguised as Chinese fighter planes. Obinata plays the trainer-turned-combat-leader, who is passionate and cool at the same time. All his boys love him, of course. The film is not as intense, full of sugar-coated camaraderie, until young pilots are killed in action one by one. Last twenty minutes are fairly grim, as the message of self-sacrifice is heard loud and clear. [vermillionandonenights] Well known movie among Japanese aviation enthusiasts, owing to its great footage of Nakajima Army Type 97 Fighters.
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