Moe characters made from a national organization have been discovered and an introduction project carried out. The Ministry of Defense wasn’t directly doing this project, so it was difficult to get adequate information (they are even taking applications for information!), but we’d like to introduce the four moe sisters who have received a huge reaction from all sides.
The Kisarazu garrison of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces resides In Kisarazu, Chiba. Here you will find the four Kisarazu sisters, who are members of the Eastern Army Flying Corps’ Fourth Anti-Tank Helicopter Squad.
The idea began in October of 2011. At the opening commemorative event and festival, the Fourth Anti-Tank Helicopter Squad displayed their AH-1S Cobra helicopters and a special marking designed after Aoi, an original character the members drew, was displayed on one of them.
The internet was buzzing after the event with comments such as, “The Japanese Self-Defence Force has begun anew, hahaha.” Unexpectedly, there was talk about Aoi-chan resembling Akemi Homura from Madoka Magica and the helicopter being referred to as the “Homuhomu Ita-Cobra,” although Aoi-chan is very much an original character.
The following year was the 20th anniversary of the Fourth Anti-Tank Helicopter Squad, which formed on March 27, 1992. In commemoration, the “Dousenaru Pro ni Design wo Tanomou!” project and people who got on board with the project were introduced via a certain publishing company of Ichigaya that is associated with public relations and event coverage. Fujisawa Takashi, a currently active illustrator from MC Akushizu and other similar magazines, responded, and the design for “Pilot and First Lieutenant Kisarazu Akane” was completed.
More characters have been created over the past years, and there are now a total of four Kisarazu sisters:
Kisarazu Akane (eldest, First Lieutenant)
Kisarazu Aoi (second, Second Lieutenant)
Kisarazu Wakana (third, Leading Private)
Kisarazu Yuzu (youngest)
It’s possible there are four sisters to match up with the “four” aspect of the Fourth Anti-Tank Helicopter Squad. The eldest and second sisters are pilots, and the third sister is a radio operator. Because it would be a waste if they were only on the aircraft, the female members donned long, red wigs to match Akane’s hair and were introduced together with the aircraft on display. In truth, although there are female helicopter pilots, it seems due to occupational restrictions, they cannot become pilots of anti-tank helicopters.
Original goods designed after the sisters were also produced and distributed. In regard to the copyrights, it seems that permission was obtained from Fujisawa for a limited day license like those given out for Wonder Festival. By the way, the designs used on the ita-Cobra and other works cost approximately 150,000 yen. The cost was raised by the squad members through fundraising.
Last year, the professionally designed ita-Cobra were exceedingly popular. So popular that photographs and uploaded videos from attendees gained an amazing amount of views online. They had a good appeal, but...their fame also reached the members of the Ground Staff Office, and it seems that the following Tuesday after the event, they received a harsh and scolding phone call saying that they had “gone too far.”
Due to that, 2013 is said to be the last year for these “four Kisarazu sisters” ita-helicopters. Recently, the 2013 Garrison Establishment Commemoration Event and Aviation Festival was held. Not all of the four sisters’ helicopters were there, but two helicopters themed after Wakana and Yuzu were on display, firmly marking the end of the sisters.
The aircraft that were on display were the First Air Corps AH-1S anti-tank helicopter and the OH-1 observation helicopter, officially called the “Ita-Cobra” and “Ita-Omega,” respectively. Omega refers to the OH-1’s call sign for radio communication.
The AH-1S and OH-1 were themed after Wakana and Yuzu, respectively. The catchphrase of this year’s Garrison Establishment Commemoration Event and Aviation Festival was “From Kazusa, Soar into the Future”
Yuzu’s OH-1 featured the painting of a throwing star in reference to the OH-1’s nickname, “Ninja”. Also, this time, a member resembling Kisarazu Wakana participated. The Fourth Anti-Tank Helicopter Squad’s duty, “the art of anti-tank,” was explained at an equipment exhibit, and this member also participated.
It seems that due to the inclusion of markings on two aircraft, the budget was expanded by more than 300,000 yen. Of course, the budget was reached through fundraising. It seems that the gaps were filled in by the selling of goods, but it becomes easily clear to see that it was realized due to the enthusiasm of those involved.
The event also included life-size panels of the characters and an official member (not a cosplayer) resembling Kisarazu Wakana, with whom visitors could take commemorative photos.
Lastly, before the afternoon equipment exhibit, designer Takashi Fujisawa was introduced to attendees. He conveyed his gratitude that he had felt up until then with a sympathetic heart.
It’s a shame that, as expected from the consequence of their scolding, the project cannot continue. However, in the 1990s the Air-Self Defense Force 204th Air Corps’ F-15 was giving the special marking “Mystic Eagle” similar to the “Kisarazu Sisters” series, and it seems to have become a legend.