"Animated or otherwise, they are easily some of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen." That was how Jessica described Ghost in the Shell and its sequel, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence earlier this year when writing about the possibility of a live-action version. That project is evidently still up in the air, but Anime News Network is reporting that director Mamoru Oshii, the visionary behind those films, is set to direct The Sky Crawlers.

Due for a 2008 theatrical release in Japan, The Sky Crawlers is based on a five-part novel by Hiroshi Mori. Mori has written more than 30 mystery novels in just a little over a decade, but felt that The Sky Crawlers would be "the most difficult among all of my works for film adaptation." No wonder -- the press release says that it is set in an alternative version of the modern day in which children "are destined to live eternally in their adolescence ... conscious that every day could be the last, because they fight a 'war as entertainment,' organized and operated by adults." The basic plot is slightly reminiscent of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. Perhaps being familiar with the books, Anime News Network says that the focus is on "dogfighting fighter pilots with an emphasis on philosophical passages."

It sounds like perfect fodder for Oshii and animation studio Production I.G., whose credits include the animated sequence in Kill Bill, Vol. 1. The script was adapted by Chihiro Ito , who previously worked on the screenplay for Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World, a popular romantic drama. Warner Brothers will distribute in Japan, and I'd say there's a good chance it will make its way around the world at some point.