The List
8 Ace Pilot You'd Want in a Dogfight

by Lynzee Lamb, Sep 22nd 2012

Happy Saturday all. I've returned from the "Happiest Place on Earth" with a cold so I'm battling this lovely virus as we work our way through the nine best pilots anime has to offer. Some are a little crazy while others are well-loved heroes but what they all have in common is their undeniable skills in the captain's seat.


8. Aaeru (Simoun)

Aaeru is the natural, hotheaded pilot of the genderbending, sci-fi yuri series Simoun. She teams with fellow prodigy Neviril to operate the two-man aircraft as priestess-fighters. The characters work together to create complicated formations called Ri Mājon. Aaeru is exceptionally good at this, despite which partner she is paired to fly the aircraft with, attempting the most dangerous maneuvers with almost absent sense of fear. She keeps her fellow flyers safe while also winning the trust of her beautiful partner.






7. Claus Valca (Last Exile)

Claus is a teenage pilot following in his father's footsteps. In the series' first episode his flight record is lauded as something "not even an adult could outdo". Claus begins the series as a sky courier pursuing his dream to cross Grand Stream into Disith alongside his compatriot, Lavie. This is no small feat to pursue, the stream is an ongoing storm with 140 mph winds housing the mysterious Exile. The thought of blazing through it in a ship like Claus' is equivalent to suicide but his skills prove that popular opinion isn't always true.






6. Kallen Stadtfeld-Kōzuki (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion)
Lelouch's bodyguard and resistance fighter, hotheaded Kallen is a highly-skilled Knightmare Frame pilot. She's also referred to as Q-1, the starting position of the Queen in chess, arguably the game's most powerful piece. She's able to outmaneuver more advanced mechas even when outnumbered and is an impressive hand-to-hand fighter to boot.






5. Susumu Kodai/Derek Wildstar (Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers)
Kodai is the hotheaded orphan (starting to see a trend yet?) star fighter pilot and leader of the Black Tigers. The brash boy develops into a reliable, strategic captain over the course of the show's run, proving himself a worthy inheritor to Captain Okita's Yamato space battleship. In later installments, Kodai fights against the White Comet Empire's mobile fortress and eventually saving Iscander from invasion in Yamato: The New Voyage.





4. Asuka Langley (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Asuka is the hot...oh, let's skip that part. Asuka asserts to be a genius, and her previous testing with her Eva Unit 02 back it up. However, she really proves she can muster some impressive moves when things get difficult in the End of Evangelion film. Throwing caution to the wind, Asuka takes on several Mass Production EVAs despite being greatly outnumbered and injured. She shows an ability to work together despite initial reservations due to her pride (she is fourteen after all).




3. Hikaru Ichijyo (Macross)
The commendable Ichijyo works his way through the ranks as a skilled pilot. He won several amateur flying contests before joining the ranks of UN Spacy against an invading alien race and jumps to a commissioned rank of Second Lieutenant based on his battlefield accomplishments alone. The opening scenes from Macross: Do You Remember Love? are intense, illustrating Ichijyo's accuracy and skill in space combat.




2. Marco Pagot (Porco Rosso)
Cursed veteran WWI fighter ace and freelance bounty hunter Margo Pagot shows off his amazing flying skills while taking down air pirates in Ghibli's feature film. Pagot narrowly escapes death multiple times, with bands of pirates finding funding in Italy's new fascist government. Pagot manages to dodge most of them but not before strapping in for a showdown with his fellow pilot adversary, Curtis.




1. Char Aznable (Gundam)

Char is the on-again-off-again antagonist of Gundam's Universal Century timeline. During the One Year War in Mobile Suit Gundam, Char goes up the ranks as he proves himself a skilled tactician, officer and mobile suit pilot. He develops psychic abilities coupled with his oratory skills, he only furthers his manipulative tactics. His prowess in The Battle of Loum earns him the title "The Red Comet" while he continues to butt heads with Amuro Ray, his adversary. He protects the entire planet of Axis in two large-scale battles. He finds himself a leader on multiple sides of multiple wars, but his ace flying skills in combat put him ahead of whatever his enemies throw at him.




The new poll: There was certainly a space theme in this week's column, so the topic begs me to ask you: what alien planet would you immigrate to? Vote in this week's survey and sound off in the forums!

The old poll: Ooo, it was a close one. Last week I asked which anime car would you take for a joyride, and all the votes were pretty close. Personally, I would give anything to take Rally's GT 500 out, but I have a soft spot for that show. Here's the full results:

  1. The Mach 5 (Speed Racer) 17.2%
  2. Sweet JP's Racer (Redline) 14.6%
  3. Rally Vincent's 1967 Shelby Cobra GT 500 (Gunsmith Cats) 12.9%
  4. Lupin's Mercedes-Benz SSK (Lupin the Third) 12.4%
  5. The Utena Car (Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie) 11.6%
  6. Roger Smith's Griffon (The Big O) 11.2%
  7. Takumi's 1983 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX (AE86) (Initial D) 10.2%
  8. The Roadbuster (Riding Bean) 3.8%
  9. Sōichi's Caterham Super Seven JPE (éX-Driver) 1.5%
There was a small error with the list went live with a "blank" option. 4.6% of the votes went to this option before it was corrected.


Alright everybody, see you all next week! I look forward to your input in the comments and feel free to follow me on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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