Netflix’s Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune is based on the works of Carlo Zen and takes us to a dystopian land where intergalactic species have taken over the Earth and other planets, and an organization known as the Trade Federation is in charge of things. We have often seen fans claim that the narrative of an anime is more impactful, deep, and philosophical than what we see in our mainstream cinema. Though Yakitori tries to satirically comment on the socio-political aspects and how modern-day colonization works, its execution is so weak that it is reduced to a 6-part series that merely focuses on a group of soldiers trying to escape a planet. In Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune recap, we will try to ascertain what was happening on Planet Barka and what the real intentions of the Trade Federation organization were.
‘Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune’ Plot Summary: Who Were The Yakitoris?
The trade federation was an interstellar civilization made up of different species that had come to planet Earth several decades ago to establish their control and use the resources. The most valuable assets that they could lay their hands on were human beings. Humans provided cheap labor and could be used as fodder as well. The entire planet Earth was transformed into a third-world country, and the situation of human beings became quite miserable, and they got a taste of their own medicine. The human race had lost because the alien federation was quite superior when it came to technology. At the beginning of the series, we saw that an army consisting of mice had waged war on a planet named Barka. The trade federation military base was attacked by these locals because they were unhappy with the policies of their government. The government was negotiating a deal for a legal loan, and the residents didn’t want that to happen because it would put their freedom in jeopardy. But the federation didn’t want to negotiate any terms, and they wanted Barkan locals to surrender their free will just like humans had on Earth.
An influential man, Vasha Pupkin, a.k.a. The Cook recruited young men and women and sent them to fight the war for the federation. These recruits were no less than mercenaries, and Vasha Pupkin used to tell them very blatantly that they were signing up for a thankless job where they would have to put their lives at risk and still not get any sort of appreciation or validation. But these were desperate times on Earth, and people were grateful that they got to do something. No matter how perilous fighting the war on Barka was, it gave the so-called soldiers a chance to earn their living if they survived the wrath of war and were able to return to Earth. Akira, Amalia, Tyrone, Erland, and Zihan met for the first time after they were recruited by Vasha Pupkin to be a part of a special unit named K321. These human soldiers who went to other planets to fight the war on behalf of the federation were known as “yakitori,” which is a type of Japanese dish with skewered chicken. Pupkin told them that earlier, when the government body consisted of many Americans, they were referred to as “turkeys,” as it was a well-known fact that the possibility that they might return to Earth alive was very bleak.
Akira and his colleagues knew that this was not an aspirational job, but in such times, they had to make do with what they got, and they took solace in the fact that they were fortunate enough to be alive and have an opportunity to work and earn their living. The title of the series, Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune, aptly described the status quo and the fate of the recruits because they were on a suicide mission, and even if they were saved, they would be scarred for life. Meanwhile, the insurgency was in full swing on planet Barka, and the locals finally brought their armies and started a deadly onslaught. With great difficulty, the Yakitoris were able to suppress the first wave, but they knew the enemy outnumbered them and that they would have to pull a miracle to survive it.
Are Yakitori Able To Escape Planet Barka?
Officer Rimel, the ground force commander-in-chief, realized that they were losing the war and that he had to do something to save the day. There were no reinforcements arriving, and even the runway was blocked, so even if they wanted to retreat, they couldn’t. They had to find a way to defeat the enemy artillery, and only then would they have a chance to get out of the chaos alive. Rimel hated it when he was told that Yakitoris were the ones who had destroyed a spider tank and could probably reach the artillery base and distract the Barka local forces. Rimel and other species never considered humans to have the potential to achieve such a feat. But the unit K321 was different from the usual Yakitoris, as apart from the foreign language, no other skill was implanted in their minds. Pupkin had deliberately done that because he wanted to see how they acted on their own accord and whether they proved to be better as compared to those who had everything, from combat skills to a fixed thinking pattern, imbibed in their brain.
The Yakitoris were able to take over the artillery base, but there were so many rats in that place that they realized that if they wanted to escape without getting killed, they would have to request for the orbital bombardment to be carried out. Officer Rimel granted their request, though he warned them that they would be answerable for the widespread destruction that would happen after the missiles fell from the sky and killed everybody on the ground. The Yakitoris didn’t care, as it was their lives against the insurgent forces. The mice were killed, and the base was secured, but now they had to make their way to the spaceship and escape from the godforsaken planet. The Yakitori didn’t want to kill so many native Barkans, and they felt guilty. They had never imagined that they would ever claim the lives of so many people, but now they stood on a heap of carcasses, not knowing whether they were right or wrong.
‘Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune’ Ending Explained
The Yakitori fought yet another spider tank and successfully destroyed it, but the war wasn’t over, as there were many more tanks and enemy soldiers still left on the planet. Just then, the K-9 unit of the ground forces rescued them. While going back on their spaceship, the Yakitori got reminded of how, with time, they had become so close to each other. There was a time when the group members just kept fighting and failed every assessment that happened during their training. Pupkin knew that he didn’t want them to master the combat skills, but he wanted to nurture a feeling of mutual respect and love among the group members. Pupkin wanted them to take responsibility and stand alongside each other in the wake of danger. He knew that the day they started behaving like a team, they could defeat any enemy and cross any obstacle, no matter how difficult it was.
At the end of Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune, the K321 unit was made a scapegoat as the trade federation was being accused of committing genocide, and they wanted to save their reputation. The tactics of the trade federation were called deceitful, and the members wanted some action taken against them. Obviously, like any other regime, the federation was not going to accept its fault, and therefore, they hatched a plan to put all the blame on humans. The court was going to sentence the Yakitoris for gross violation of the combat norms and for trying to take over the local sovereignty of the Barkans. Vasha Pupkin himself came to testify in court, and it was proved that the Yakitoris were just hired guns that were not acting on their own accord but merely following the orders of their superiors. Also, it was proven that they had requested an orbital strike without knowing about the rules and regulations of the federation, so they couldn’t be held guilty for that crime either. The Yakitoris were acquitted, and they realized that Pupkin could have been the mastermind who would have done so to expose the real face of the federation, though he said that this was not his plan from the beginning, and he had somewhat improvised along the way. The K321 unit remained together, and they accomplished many other missions in the days to come after they went back to the kitchen to study the trade federation’s military ethics and morals. Akira, Amalia, Tyrone, Erland, and Zihan had become the best of friends, and they took pride in the fact that they were doing meaningful work that was improving the living conditions of people and helping those in need.