The Princess and the Pilot is directed by Jun Shishido and is presented in Japanese, with English subtitles available, so this is one to avoid if you’re only into dubbed films, or have trouble with subtitles.
Fana del Moral, a member of a high ranking family, meets the prince of the Levamme Empire. He falls in love and immediately proposes to her, stating that as part of the marriage proposal he will end the years old war that his Empire is fighting against the Amatsukami Imperium, and come to collect her when this has been achieved and a year has passed.
However, after well over a year, with letters every day from the prince but no end in sight to the war, she begins to doubt his words. Things are made worse when the Amatsukami Imperium get wind of the plan and send in their battleships to bomb the del Moral residence.
It is decided that the future princess should be sent immediately to be with her prince for her own safe keeping. This proves to be more difficult than anticipated and after the fleet dispatched to fetch her is all but destroyed by the Amatsukami only one hope remains.
The San Maltilia Air-force choose their finest pilot, not officially trained, but a self taught mercenary and a natural at flying, named Charle, to single handedly fly Fana across the sea (12,000 kilometres, a three day journey), in a sea plane called the Santa Cruz. He must avoid enemy detection and deliver her safely to the last remaining battle ship of the Imperial fleet.
The drawback, Charle is a “Bestado”, a child of mixed heritage, one parent Levamme and the other Amatsukami, and therefore shunned by society. Viewed as lower than a dog by those in command, Charle is under strict instruction only to speak to Fana when spoken to.
The Princess and the Pilot is lovely to watch. The animation is quite mind boggling in places, especially the sweeping vistas and cloudscapes as they fly over the ocean. There are some incredible dog fight sequences and the way the planes are conceived and drawn is nothing short of genius.
The story is nothing new, a classic tale of the difficulties of love over the class divide, but it is well told and thoroughly enjoyable to watch. It manages to be a good romance without being overly soppy and Disneyesque in it’s ending too.
All in all a great way to spend a night in front of the fire with a glass of wine.
The Princess And The Pilot is available to buy now on DVD and Blu-ray