Suito Kusanagi: Ever wonder who or what it is that we’re fighting against?
Yūichi Kannami: Not really, I’ve never thought about it.
Suito Kusanagi: Even though we kill for it?
Yūichi Kannami: It’s a job. It’s the same as any business; whoever is more powerful makes the profit and wins. However, compared to regular jobs out there, we’re more inefficient. It’s like we’re stuck playing some game.
Suito Kusanagi: You know, you’re right and that’s precisely the reason why we can kill and be killed legally.
Yūichi Kannami: That’s an interesting way to look at it.
Suito Kusanagi: Interesting? Throughout history the human race has never been able to completely irradicate war, because it’s existence is essential in defining certain realities that humans want. Having actual wars with real battles and real losses going on somewhere serves a specific function. It enables them to sustain the illusion of peace in their society, and it has to be real, not staged or metaphorical. Reading about wars in books isn’t enough, it’s no longer real to them and so it becomes fiction, as if they’re reading a fairytale. If people aren’t able to see others dying, if misery’s not on display, they will not have a way of understanding peace, and therefore wont know how to maintain it. The significance of peace would be forgotten. People need wars because it helps them feel alive, the same way we feel alive when we’re fighting up there in the sky.
And so, because our war is really nothing but a game that is not supposed to ever end, there needs to be several rules in place. For example, there must be an enemy who cannot be defeated.
The Sky Crawlers (2008)