Hisone Amakasu is a young woman who often hurts others by frankly speaking what’s in her mind. She has been recently stationed as a rookie at the Gifu base of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (SDF) where a creature designated as an Organic Transforming Flyer (OTF) chose her as its pilot.


Halimun Muhammad (The Indonesian Anime Times)

There some interesting questions to be posed regarding Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan: why SDF? Why dragons? Why female pilots, and misfit ones at that? These are interesting points when we consider the context of the changing discourse regarding the role of the SDF.

The current Japanese Constitution that was put into place during post war occupation contains Article 9 that renounce the Japanese nation’s right to war, stating that “… land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.But because of Cold War necessity,  Japan has armed forces in the form of the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces. According to Okuhira (2008), though, the SDF is in principle prohibited to act unless allowed to do so by international law (in contrast to the militaries of other countries which are free to do anything unless prohibited by international law). Following the end of the Cold War, because of the changing global security environment, there has been ongoing discourse of redefining the role of SDF to respond to new threats and security issues such as terrorism.

As the discourse is going on, the portrayal of Japanese military in anime and manga, as Koulikov (2004) noted, may contribute to popular perceptions and expectations of it, intended or not. For Koulikov himself, two stand out themes, supernatural enemies and demilitarization of combatants, “… have served to erase any doubts, misgivings, or apprehension the Japanese public may have had about the military following the Second World War,” to view the military as an institution whose main purpose is not to wage war. Brummer (2016) sees the use of cute imageries from the “Creative Industrial Complex” by JSDF supports the image of JSDF as non-threatening. While Yamamura (2017) argues that the production of  “moe” military anime is more driven by market than for militaristic propaganda.

There are ideas about gender at play there with the military, an institution usually perceived as masculine, becomes associated with non-aggressiveness through cute anime images, as if feminizing it’s image to some extent. And in Hisone and Masotan, the dragon, addressed as “Organic Transforming Flyer,” adds an interesting element to it. Capable of getting disguised as fighter planes in a manner similar to transforming mecha, the dragon thus combines mecha (another thing usually coded as masculine) with a thinking, feeling creature, which, following Lamarre (2009), would imply interface through empathic connection (often coded as feminine), which is furthermore in this anime is conducted by female pilots with issues in personal relationships. And while there are hints that the dragon is capable of combat, the main purpose of flying the dragon is non-combat related: to release the heat that builds up in the dragon’s body while not flying. What will Hisone and Masotan produce by bringing these feminized elements into its mecha and military setting, I can’t say for sure yet. But they sure are interesting things to think about as this series goes on.

Facts and Figures

Alternative Title Hisone to Masotan
Source material Original work from BONES, Shinji Higuchi and Mari Okada
Casts Joji Nakata as Hiroshi Sosoda
Junichi Suwabe as Hiroki Ikushima
Kaori Nazuka as Mayumi Hitomi
Maki Kawase as El Hoshino
Matsunojo Kanda as Masotan
Misaki Kuno as Hisone Amakasu
Rie Kugimiya as Remi Kakiyasu
Romi Park as Sada Hinomoto
Satomi Arai as Liliko Kinutsugai
Tomoyo Kurosawa as Nao Kaizaki
Yukitoshi Tokumoto as Yutaka Zaito
Yuuki Kaji as Haruto Okonogi
Director Hiroshi Kobayashi (Kiznaiver)
Scenario Mari Okada (Anohana, The Anthem of the Heart, Kiznaiver, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans)
Character Design Yoshiyuki Ito (Concrete Revolutio,  Fullmetal Alchemist)
Opening Song “Shoujo wa Ano Sora wo Wataru” by Riko Fukutomo
Ending Song “Le temps de la rentrée ~Koi no Ieji” by D-Pai
Studio BONES
Official Site
Broadcast Date 12 April 2018 (1500 GMT, 2200 WIT), 13 April 2018 (0000 JST)

Screenshots and Trailer


The Indonesian Anime Times

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