Flag : Not the Average Anime
A Country's Symbol for Unity
The popular old adage states that "a picture is worth a thousand words". In a sense , it is true, but there are times when a picture is worth more than a mere thousand words, but rather makes the viewer speechless in awe. Or it becomes an international symbol of unity and peace. For Saeko Shirasu, that's exactly what happens.
Meet Saeko Shirasu, a combat photographer from Tokyo who is in the fictional country of Uddiyana to document the ongoing civil war. During her stay, she manages to snap a photo of a flag, which quickly becomes a symbol of peace and unity. Uddiyana's efforts for peace (with the help of the UN) quickly accelerates thanks to Shirasu's picture and the flag. However, not all are in favor for peace in Uddiyana and the flag is stolen.
Now in order to preserve peace, the UN creates a special unit, called the SDC with orders to retrieve the flag. Shirasu joins the SDC as the cameraman to record their activities, especially since she was the photographer who took the symbolic picture.
Told through the viewfinders of Shirasu and her fellow photographer friend Keiichi Akagi, Flag depicts the journey to peace of a country that is trying to unify itself. The show not only tells the story of Shirasu and the SDC hunting down the flag, but also shows the political games and controversial decisions of the UN. In addition, there is a science fiction element added as well, the UN's use of bipedal robots called HAVWC (High Agility Versatile Weapon Carrier) , which surprisingly are NOT portrayed as invincible and indestructible ,(which happens with many anime).
The animation was stellar; it was realistic, from logging on to the computer, to the details of their camera movement, to the military attacks. I suppose that's why I love this show so much, on how realistic it is, not just in appearance, but in the plot too and many political issues that are brought up. It displays the other side of the UN, not as the heroes to save the day but as being politically correct and pulling strings. In addition, it also displays the issues with religious extremists and how it can tear a country apart. It felt like I was watching a special documentary on a reliable news channel.
In essence, it was an excellent show that was realistic and unique. It was an unconventional anime that moved me and actually made me think. Of course it is not a show for everyone, there are times when they are discussing military operations and tactics, and some people may find the symbolism of the flag to be trite. However, if you want to watch something different and realistic, go for it and capture the flag.