The Sky Crawlers certainly had me thinking. I really donít know what to make out about this film. There are several good aspects to point out, and an almost equal number of negatives.

In an alternate universe, there are a select group of battle pilots known as Kildren. Genetically modified, they grow no older than teens. There really is no true storyline. Rather this is a relationship movie focused on one particular squad made up of four male pilots and their female commander, who has a few issues going on. All are Kildren. We see all through the eyes of Yuichi, the newbie.

I like the overall darkness of the narrative. I also like the artwork, though a bit more effort could have been made on character design. The animation is first rate, especially the battle scenes. I should also add that if you do watch The Sky Crawlers, do not turn it off during the closing credits. There is a post-credit sequence which may be the most important scene in the movie, depending on how you interpret the rest of the film. To me, it suggests a never-ending story.

Now for the negative. Too much is left untold. Why is the war being fought in the first place? It really does not seem to be important, but the question is still nagging me. How much of the conversations are to be taken seriously? And what did Yuichi mean when he mentioned his father before going into the last battle? We could really have used some backstories, especially in the case of the commander Kusanagi. We do get some information as the story progresses, but not enough.

So do I recommend The Sky Crawlers or not? I remain neutral on that subject. If you are looking for a good story, maybe not. But for anime artistry, I would say yes.