Area 88 is a Japanese manga series by Kaoru Shintani serialized between 1979 and 1986. The story is about a young pilot named Shin Kazama and his experiences at Area 88, a mercenary air force base secluded in the desert of a war torn country. Shin goes from head of his class at a world-renowned aviation school dating the beautiful daughter of an airline president to a mercenary fighter pilot bound to Area 88 by a three-year contract that he was duped into signing by a jealous and competitive childhood friend.
Determined to earn $1.5 million to buy his way out of the obligation and return home, killing becomes second nature to Shin as he quickly rises to the top rank at Area 88.
Each version of the Area 88 told slightly different variations on the same basic premise, and often shared individual story arcs. However, there are several key differences between each version, especially in the endings.
Last of the gunfighters
Shin Kazama is the conflict-beset protagonist of the AREA-88 manga, anime, and OVA. One of his most iconic rides, however, is the F-8E Crusader. This quad 20mm-armed aircraft was developed in the mid-fifties and served through the mid-seventies with front-line forces. This makes it ideal for the mercenary pilots of AREA-88 who fight a seemingly endless war over the desert.