Wings of Honneamise
Wings of Honneamise
Producers: Ken Iyadomi, Keiji Kusanao, Yutaka Maseba, Taro Yoshida
Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise is an amazing story of mankind's first leap into space, on a beautifully imagined fictional world. One of studio GAINAX's (of Evangelion fame) early works, Honneamise beautifully depicts the struggle of a world entering the modern age, and the narrow line it walks between salvation and destruction.
The two main characters are Shirotsugu Ladhatt and Riqunni. Shirotsugu had always dreamed about being a pilot, but his lackluster abilities and poor attitude about work landed him in the Royal Space Force. In an amusing turn on real life space programs, the Royal Space Force is a joke populated by flight school washouts. More of a PR campaign for the government, not even the leadership of the Space Force expects humanity to ever reach orbit. Shirotsugu has resigned himself to being something of a joke to the rest of the military, and spends most of his time goofing off. This changes after a chance meeting with Riqunni. Riqunni is a young missionary, trying to bring an uncaring world back to the religion of the past. Shirotsugu is intrigued by her passion for her religion, and her perseverance despite being ignored and dismissed by the rest of the world. Interested more in her and her determination than her religion, Shirotsugu begins to spend more time with here, developing an odd platonic relationship that's more than friendship. He becomes determined to do something with his life, and begins to turn the Royal Space Force into something more than a joke, and makes the the dream of space flight more than just a dream, despite the misfits in the Force, the machinations of politicians and generals, and a steady march toward war by the two opposing superpowers.
The art and animation of Honneamise is spectacular. Crisp and clean, it possesses a realism that adds to the believability of the world. The design of the world is excellent, the attention to detail works to make a world that is both alien and familiar, and utterly believable. A great deal of effort was put into creating the world, from buildings to fashion, to funeral customs. Even the opposing superpower has had effort made to give it a personality, despite it's largely background role. The soundtrack is also excellent, and fits in well with the rest of the film.
There are few downsides to the movie. The pacing is slow in parts, but it works well with the film. If you prefer your anime to rush at you like a madman, then you might find this film tedious. My main gripe with the film is the ending. I found it disappointing and abrupt. It's very similar to the endings of 2001: A Space Oddessy and Neon Genesis Evangelion, but less satisfying. As unnecessary as the ending is, it doesn't detract from the movie much at all.
Hands down, Wings of Honneamise is one of the best anime films out there. It's well developed characters, plot, and detailed world place it head and shoulders above most other animated works. It has a broad appeal and can be enjoyed by those who don't usually watch anime or science fiction of any sort.