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Warner Brothers Japan at Anime Central

by Theron Martin,

On Sunday May 20th at Anime Central, a representative of Warner Brothers Japan hosted a panel. During the presentation she provided previews of some upcoming projects and then showed the English subtitled version of the first episode of Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan, which is currently airing in Japan but has not yet been made available by Netflix in the States.

Two of the previews were world premieres for the series Sirius the Jaeger, an original anime production which will be airing in Japan during the Summer 2018 season. The previews showed the series to be a period piece featuring a number of highly-skilled (and possibly super-powered?) foreigners called Jaegers coming to Japan to battle vampires, with the implication being that one of the Jaegers might be a vampire himself. One preview featured the Jaegers and the other featured the vampires. It looks to be a very action-oriented series.

The other series talked about did not have an animated preview available, but some details were provided about the upcoming anime adaptation of the Hi Score Girl manga, which will also be airing in Japan during the Summer 2018 season. The host revealed that agreements have been made with various video game companies to provide screen shots of actual video games in the animation. Some motion capture will also be used to animate scenes of characters playing video games.

The feature of the panel, though, was undoubtedly the first episode of Dragon Pilot. The episode introduces main protagonist Hisone Amakasu, a young JSDF officer with a bad habit of unrestrainedly speaking her mind about anything. While delivering some paperwork to a hangar she hadn't known existed, she finds herself being finagled into contact with one of the country's long-held secrets: Organic Transformed Fliers, (aka OTFs) – basically, dragons. They've been around for a long time but have always been disguised to the public and other countries, and the current approach is to outfit them with plane-like components which can allow them to even transform into actual planes with the right pilot. The problem is that “piloting” one involves getting swallowed and then regurgitated or pooped out when the pilot disembarks. That's initially traumatizing for Hisone, who has been chosen by one OTF who has refused all other pilots long enough that it's become a health hazard. (OTFs are prone to overheating if they go too long without flying.) She can't handle the duty at first, and a comically blatant bully in her dorm also makes her life miserable, but eventually comes to a sort of understanding with the OTF and flies with him for the first time.

This is one of the weirdest variations I've seen yet on the military pilot scenario, as while we've had mecha or other pilots who are “eaten” when they mount up, this is the first time I've ever seen it be literally true, and it makes for some funny scenes of Hisone getting swallowed (and what is done to get her out of the OTF). In fact, the content as a whole is on the light-hearted side, with a touch of sentimentality towards the episode's end. The artistic effort almost makes it look like a children's series, especially in the OTF design, but even with that basic art style it still achieves some beautiful flight scenes. Overall it's a charming enough production which is executed well enough that I'll definitely be back for more when the whole series is available.

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