A rather harrowing experience.
At first I was upset that my one-dvd-at-a-time netflix plan would not allow me to marathon it, but in retrospect, I am glad that I watched it over the course of a week.
Nine and a half hours is a lot of time to realize a character, and during that time I developed a lot of respect of Kaji, who started out as a naive youthful idealist who made a lesser-of-two-evils moral sacrifice in order to spare himself the dehumanization of war. Even being placed in a position where he himself could be the cause of much suffering, he did his best for those under his charge. His idealism constantly failed and landed him in increasingly horrible situations, but even as he made certain sacrifices for the sake of survival, some of which were painful to watch, he retained his human spirit and sense of morality.
This film also contains some of the most sweeping, beautiful shots of the sky and clouds ever filmed.