Move over Top Gun, because military experts say the most accurate air combat scene of all time comes from the 1993 anime feature Patlabor 2: The Movie.
Earlier this year, military and defense industry website Task & Purpose published an article in which author Matt Sampson argued that Hollywood’s attempts to portray air combat control pale in comparison to the classic Mamoru Oshii anime. In the piece, he argues that:
Through rigorous attention to technical detail and thorough authenticity, this minor scene from an anime movie gave viewers the most accurate portrayal of modern aerial combat ever seen. .… Hollywood has attempted, time and again with poor results, to portray what happens when an unidentified or unauthorized aircraft or missile threat penetrates friendly airspace. Top Gun and War Games tried, but wound up giving us classic 1980s cheeseball cinema. There is a noticeable absence of films that capture the pulse-pounding chess game of ground-controlled interception (GCI) – a sensation that is only amplified when lives are on the line.
In fact, the scene is so detailed that Task & Purpose had to enlist several experts to help explain its incredible accuracy. One aspect which really impressed those experts was the technology used by air traffic controllers: