A Short Vision of the Sky Crawlers

Like most of the other works of Mamoru Oshii the Sky Crawlers give you a feeling of dissonance at first, and you're wondering what these guys are doing, why they are doing this, and what the hell they are talking about. But the more times you watch it, the more beautiful it gets, and finally you understand why that girl moves her face so strange or why this guy smiles so bittersweet. "Every day could be your last. Live life like there's no tomorrow.", says the slogan. One of the last moments of the movie raises a question, though, whether or not you should do so. Below is the answer I've got [spoiler warning].

In a possible future two "opposing" military corporations use genetically enhanced people called Kildren (who are forever young and do not age) to fight in a never-ending dummy aerial warfare "because people need to feel the price of a fragile peace, and someone should die to show it to them". Each corporation uses different avionics on its planes and even have its own fan club. But even if the weapon and technology specially limited to entertain the public, this is the real war and people still die in it. Do the public and Kildren themselves really think of it as a real one? The similarity of the motorcycle racing poster at the "Daniel's Dinner" and the TV splash screen of the warfare news suggests that this war looks like a sport to the most of the public. Being children mentally Kildren perceive it as a game. It seems quite ironical.
But why do you answer "Nothing" to chief's daughter if she asks what is the main thing in your life? Why are you silent when a girl in the brothel, probably the only person who may understand you, asks if the sky is the only thing you live for? Is it because you just doubt or because you live for nothing? It seems that the sky is a great thing to live for, especially being compared to the jail tales of the folks at the dinner. Yes it is, but only when you have a choice. And what if the only thing that is left for you is to pilot a fighter aircraft? This becomes a jail by itself and a nightmare, an endless one because you're destined to reborn and fight again and again, so the host at the dinner would look at you with a condescending pity. And even so, several "choices" other than to play this game still exist.
You may die in a fight; you may end your life at any moment by visiting the lonely off-road guesthouse where people generally come "only once" and "not in a pair". In the attempts to forget about this endless nightmare you may play an adult, pretending that you're not a child and the lives of other people have some sense for you. And something may make you to cling to life and become a commanding officer as Kusanagi, being still a child by nature.
What made Kusanagi to live for so long in such a nightmare? At first this was probably the love to the Teacher (an ace pilot, the genetic prototype of Kildren and the biological father of her daughter), and then it was the revenge to him, because balance is an important thing in this dummy warfare, so the Teacher have been transferred to the confronting corporation. Kusanagi had become skilled enough to escape him alive, but still not enough to revenge him. Nevertheless, such a skilled person may be a threat for the balance, and the brass even tried to kill her by not warning about an enemy attack. 
At the end even Kusanagi gives up and almost kills herself, but Yuuichi understands that they actually do have a meaning of life; they should live to change something in this game, and they would be able to change something only after the Teacher would be killed. Although, to kill him you need to become equal to him; you need to become a real adult mentally, and this is probably something only Kusanagi could do. 

So, the movie as a whole may be a metaphor about that not the age makes you an adult but the meaning of your life.

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