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Overview Geeky Takuya Isurugi is a fan of anime and machinery assigned as a mechanic to the 801 "Airbats" Tactical Training Squadron. Far from being a training ground for elite female pilots, it's a dead-end posting for burnouts-Miyuki Haneda has been sent there for striking a superior officer, Sakura Saginomiya is an inveterate gambler, Arisa Mitaka has an attitude problem, and Yoko Shimorenjaku is the world's worst pilot. Haneda and Mitaka both fall in love with Isurugi, and as bureaucrats try to disband the unit, they all try to hold onto their jobs in this wacky military comedy.
Plane fever struck Japan in the wake of Top Gun, inspiring the live-action Japanese rip-off Best Guy, Airbats, and its sharper, more satirical predecessor Hummingbirds. A cute contemporary of Tenchi Muyo!, employing similarly crowd-pleasing tactics of fanboy-meets-fawning-females, Airbats has its origin in a 1990 manga by Toshimitsu Shimizu, creator of Rei Rei. The six episodes and the Airbats in Snow Country vacation spin-off were later edited into the omnibus volumes First (episodes 1-3), Second (4 holiday special), and Third Strike (episodes 5-6). It was supposedly made with the cooperation of the Japanese Air Force, which accounts for the loving aircraft detail but does not explain why a military organization would consent to be portrayed as misfits, desk-jockeys, and nuts whose main concern is winning a year's supply of free noodles. Whereas such inanities helped reinforce the realism of the long-running Patlabor, in a short comedy series such as this they only demonstrate how wacky waters so often run shallow.
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