Rescue Wings – episode 4

March 23, 2006 on 9:31 pm | In Rescue Wings | Comments Off on Rescue Wings – episode 4

“Precious One”

An excellent episode that creates a real sense of community for those on Komatsu Air Base and absolutely sells Rescue Wings.

It’s Golden Week, and people all over Japan are on holiday. “Emergencies don’t take a holiday”, however, and a standby team remains in Komatsu at all times. Not so for Uchida, who tells all of his co-workers that he’s going back to Okayama but decides instead to languish at home in his self pity.
This misanthropic plan is thrown for a loop when Megumi comes to visit, but Uchida’s not quite in his right mind.

The earliest scenes of this episode feature two of the people remaining at the Komatsu Air Base talking about all of their co-workers’ holidays. It was an enjoyable scene in that it emphasised the fact that people who work together like little more than talking about each other: it’s one of their most common grounds, after all, and it promotes solidarity.

We cut, then, to Uchida, who can’t seem to get over Sakura. You really can’t blame him as the first loss is always the worst (although I’ll be cynical and say the fact that it’s a child is an artificial way to heighten that particular drama), but a series based around a sad-sack pilot who lashes out would be no fun at all.
Enter Megumi, the publisher with a heart of gold. I was initially very disappointed with the way that Uchida was treating Megumi, as anyone might expect when he yells at her all the time, and takes her on a fake tour of an allegedly more interesting town than his own. The facial animations in Rescue Wings are truly spot on as you can easily get a very real sense of Megumi’s boredom and Uchida’s faking enjoyment.

Whenever someone tells another person, angrily, “you’ve changed” you know that you’re in for trouble. It’s normally a hypocritical statement uttered by the person who has changed more, although in this case Uchida hasn’t changed so much as had his perceptions of the rescue squad have been utterly defeated.
Through this – and this is one of the best parts of the episode – you learn that Megumi and Uchida aren’t so different: they’ve both made it into their chosen fields but have landed jobs in those fields that they were not aiming for. Megumi takes it in stride and sees it as an experience, but Uchida takes his helicopter as a curse. It’s the same situation but a difference in attitude that sets them apart.

I think that the true triumph of the episode is the references made to The Catcher in the Rye. I hated that book so much, yet I can appreciate the analogy of a catcher in the rye and a rescue squad member. It’s a watershed moment that truly reconciles Megumi and Uchida (their forced kiss on the bridge hardly counts).

The real fun begins when Uchida takes Megumi on a legitimate tour of Komatsu, as if he’s finally come to accept the place. Here they’re like a real couple, and the warmth shines right through. The scenes are even capped off with an insert song with just about equals perfection.
These scenes lead to an unexpected dose of hilarity: Uchida has become a subject of fun on the base, which is a sign that they have truly accepted him. It may be a Rescue Squadron that they’re working for, but it’s also an office; I love that vibe.

By making Uchida more than simply an angry young man, this episode has done Rescue Wings a great service. It’s a rescue of a different sort, but it’s the power of the human bond that truly makes this episode, and makes the series.
If I gave grades, this would be pure A.

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