One infinite loop, part 1/x as x -> 0
As I shake the last of the things I want to say about The Sky Crawlers into digits both physical and virtual, allow me to assert that the film, like any sufficiently compelling mystery carrier, is best assessed after at least two viewings.
So in that spirit, this theme is going to be split into two entries. This one is another list of observations: the loops that you actually see. The subsequent entry deals with the loop that may or may not be there.
One thing is certain: "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." I know this relates to some other series that I have not yet seen, but cannot ignore because the aggregators are dominated by Endless Eight entries whenever that sort of episode airs. It amuses me to no end, and if you're looking for something related to that, from someone who hasn't seen even the first season of said series, you may be interested in the next entry.
Then again, who am I kidding?
There is a fair bit of scene repetition, the bulk of which is contained in the montage, so this kind of recurrence is a bit of a freebie. Some are a straight reuse of previous work, and others are adjusted for different times of day.
- Kannami smoking after landing, whereupon the Basset Hound sniffs at the match
- Kannami waiting in a hangar for returning fighters on a rainy day
- Tokino hip checking Kannami as they walk back to quarters, just as Sasakura walks past in the other direction
- Fuuko smiling
- Single Sanka landing
- Kannami opening the window to get some fresh air
- Suito Kusanagi staring out the window with an unlit cigarette in her mouth
- Mizuki Kusanagi chasing the Sankas down the runway as they perform a flyby
- Kannami riding home from the diner in a motorbike, in this instance at sunset
- Sasakura shutting off the lights
Other than the montage, the landscape shot just before the fade out to credits is the same as the post-credits shot. If you didn't watch past the credits, that's a hint to do so.
Familiarities, for lack of a better term, are things that you should be familiar with (duh?) should you watch Sky Crawlers a second time, although some things, like character habits, can be picked up part way through a first pass.
As mentioned previously, Mitsuya's fail raid debriefing describes the film's opening battle. The Teacher threatens one plane, a wingmate flies to the rescue, and The Teacher executes Pugachev's Cobra to take down the wingmate.
Kannami always breaks the match he uses to light his cigarette, in the exact same fashion. Kusanagi uses this to confirm that Kannami is a clone of Jin-roh, and post-credits Sasakura also uses this to identify the new pilot despite only seeing his back.
Yudagawa's newspaper folding habit is the most obvious on first pass.
As a rule of thumb, Kusanagi is most honest with herself with her glasses off, which is to say, most of the time. However, the post-credits scene where she takes off her glasses upon meeting the new Jin-roh clone underscores her determination to be more upfront with him.
Knowing that Kannami is a clone of Jin-roh, who is a clone of The Teacher, who was Kusanagi's superior officer and lover, casts a new light on everything people say and do:
- Kusanagi's honesty when the two are alone
- Kusanagi kneeling over Kannami's half of the bunk bed
- Pretty much anything Kusanagi does when alone
- Mitsuya giving Kannami a thorough inspection in the dark and totally ignoring Tokino. Clearly she had fallen for a previous iteration of him.
- Fuuko's demeanour on the car ride to the bordello
- The brothel girls asking Kannami about Kusanagi as he had known her for some time
- Fuuko: "If you are here that means Jin-roh is dead," and other irony-tinged comments
I also find it curious that after first mentioning Jin-roh, he is never referred to using his last name again.
Twin pilots are "rare" in the sense that delivering two clones at the same time is rare. Must be a glitch in Rostock's just-in-time supply chain management.
Tokino, by the way, is a man of irony. Yudagawa drops the Jin-roh murder rumour, but Tokino uses his knowledge to have a laugh at Kannami's expense. He almost gets Kannami to fly into a dam, mockingly asks him if the food he eats or the places he visits seem familiar.
While brushing teeth he "assumes" that Kannami and Kusanagi are an item. Later, he warns Kannami against getting close to either Mitsuya and Kusanagi, saying that Kusanagi will probably kill him, and implying that Mitsuya is needy and won't let go. That night, Mitsuya has an identity/existentialist crisis.
Miscellaneous stuff that may be of interest
- It is strongly implied that the Basset Hound was originally The Teacher's.
- Kusanagi is shot down by The Teacher but she survives, breaking the rule that you don't live through an engagement with him. Depending on the resolution of the video, it can be difficult to see the bullet holes in the airframe.
- En route to Mitsuya's base, Kusanagi sits in the rear pod of a command plane and is constantly looking at Kannami's Sanka
- Kusanagi's eyes following Kannami as she talks to the officer at Mitsuya's base
- During the mission briefing, Mitsuya's eyes are on Kannami
- Or is that because she realizes that Kusanagi is only really addressing Kannami?
- The only survivors of the fail raid from Kusanagi's team are Kannami and Tokino. From Mitsuya's team, herself and the twins (who either both come back from a mission or not at all)
- When out on the town, Kusanagi's eyes gravitate to the woman applying lipstick. When she returns to the table, she also has lipstick on. And totally messed up hair.
- Everyone waits for Kannami pending the outcome of his battle with The Teacher, but only up to the point where his fuel would run out.
One thing, however, is not certain: Mark Twain may or may not have actually said it.