Saraba Rabauru

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This is a film about a Naval Air Corps Director who hates the war. Director Honda uses this film to ask the question “What is war?”, showing the human bonds between Japan and America, Japanese military tactics which had little regard for life, and the attitude of Japanese military personnel who treated their actions as if they were just doing a job. This film contains few battle scenes, concentrating instead on the love stories of young officers and female members of the community in this lonely air base.

The setting for this film is Rabaul, an island in Papua New Guinea where the Japanese maintain a military air, the loss of which dealt a decisive blow to the Japanese in the South Pacific Theater. Unlike The Eagle of the Pacific, this movie contains many more dramatic elements. Lt. Wakabayashi, reputed as a daredevil-like leader with his strict way of life…his war friends…the teenage boy pilots in Wakabayashi’s squadron…a reporter…the women at the local bar…through all these characters, Director Honda shows a quiet anger towards the spirit of a war which destroys society and shows little regard for human life.

Whereas The Eagle of the Pacific utilized a lot of footage from The War at Sea From Hawaii to Malay, this film has many scenes which are well coordinated between the drama and special effects crews. Good examples are the aerial dogfight with the enemy pilot nicknamed ‘Yellow Snake’, Lt. Wakabayashi attempting a forced landing at the seashore in order to save his friend, and where Lt.Wakabayashi flies into a thunderhead to escape the pursuit of enemy planes. This well-planned combination paved the way for the success of Godzilla later the same year.

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