Yomigaeru Sora — Rescue Wings is a 2006 Rescue anime series produced by J.C. STAFF which aired on TV Tokyo for a total of 12 episodes with one episode only released on DVD. It centers on a JASDF fighter pilot officer who was supposed to be assigned to fly fighters when a transfer notice came to be a SAR pilot instead.
2nd Lieutenant Kazuhiro Uchida joined the Japan Air Self Defense Force to fly fighters, but was instead transferred to fly helicopters. Reporting to Komatsu Air Base, he begins to learn the ins and outs of a Search and Rescue pilot, while coming to terms with his lost dream.
The anime has a live-action movie version that was released in 2008 known as Sora e-Sukui No Tsubasa RESCUE WINGS-, which was significant since actress Yuko Takayama (Haruka Kawashima) was in the leading role when she was still 15 years old. The movie took some elements from the anime and from the Rescue Wings Zero manga.
Uchida later appears alongside Izumi Kawahara from the Rescue Wings manga in the Rescue Wings RESCUE-EX chapters.
While the DVDs are not sold in recent years, a Blu-Ray release was released on November 2018 to coincidence with the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the JASDF's Air Rescue Wing.
The anime contains examples of:
- Ace Pilot: In an interestingly non-violent example, Hongou. He's said to be one of the top three helo pilots in Japan.
- Badass Creed: "That others may live."
- Brand X: Among other things, Nesca Gold (Obviously Nescafe Gold coffee).
- Character Development: Uchida learns to let go of his old dream of being a fighter pilot, and embrace his role as a rescue helicopter pilot.
- Chekhov's Gun: The helicopter destroyer Haruna is stated to be one of the JSDF assets dispatched for rescue efforts in episode 2; Hongo later lands on her in episode 3.
- Cool Plane: The UH-60J Rescue Hawk, a Jack of All Stats search-and-rescue helicopter with equipment for any situation.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Hongou has this reputation. (Despite being a Major.)
- Ensign Newbie: Uchida begins the series as this, being newly-commissioned and just out of flight school.
- Improbable Infant Survival: It appears this is in effect with a little girl who was injured when her house collapsed. Despite the best efforts of everyone, including Hongo making his first ever landing on the flight deck of a ship in rough seas, she dies.
- Helicopter Rescue: The entire point of the Rescue Wing's many squadrons is to provide this.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Occurs midway during a rescue; the local Fire Department insists on rescuing a stranded cable car in high winds, even though it's pointed out that this is the worst situation possible for their light helicopter. When their attempt fails, the fire department swallow their pride and call in the Rescue Wing.
- Most Wonderful Sound: In-universe, the sound of a Rescue Hawk's rotors.
- Take a Third Option: In Episode 3, Hongo is attempting to transport a victim to a hospital on the mainland, but the 80km/h typhoon winds mean that he has two choices: fly ahead until he runs out of fuel and crashes in the sea, or turn back to the island to wait for better weather and lose the patient. The crew manage to come up with a third option: landing on the destroyer Haruna to refuel. Sadly, it still doesn't pay off.
- Took a Level in Badass: By the end of the series, Uchida has become a competent rescue Hawk pilot in his own right.