English: Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise
Synonyms: Wing of Royal Space Troop Honneamise, Star Quest
Japanese: 王立宇宙軍 オネアミスの翼
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Mar 14, 1987
2 hr. 1 min.
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.781 (scored by 5058 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
drama gainax sci-fi
SynopsisSurrounded by a cynical public and corrupt, manipulative State leaders, the Royal Space Force (RSF) is largely viewed as a joke as well as a waste of precious money and resources. After a chance meeting with a young, empathetic woman reencourages cadet Shiro Lhadatt to become the first man in space, the RSF cadets and a team of aging scientists rush to complete their epic launch before the military uses their space program as bait to start an all-out war.
Related AnimeOther: Ouritsu Uchuugun: Honneamise no Tsubasa - Pilot Film
Sequel: Aoki Uru Pilot Film
Characters & Voice Actors
The Wings of Honneamise stands as one of the best sci-fi anime movies ever created, on par with other great sci-fi anime movies the likes of Akira and Ghost in the Shell. Honneamise is the first feature length film by the legendary studio Gainax, and is a serious, but at times light hearted, inspiring, and experimental sci-fi story that doesn’t pander to Otaku. It’s a gripping tale about space, human history, destiny, political corruption, love, war, and religion.
The story follows our lazy, cynical protagonist Shirotsugh Lhadatt or “Shiro”, who dreamed of being a navy pilot but failed and joined the Royal Space Force. In this alternate Earth their space program is seen as a joke and a waste of money and resources. Even most of the beginning of the film is just Shiro and the other members of the Royal Space Force goofing around playing cards, drinking, sleeping, and generally being unproductive. After a chance meeting with a young religious woman, Riquinni, after a few meeting she encourages Shiro to try and become the first man on the moon. After this the story really picks up after a somewhat slow beginning, the plot starts to become more vast, epic, and grand, all while still being a very personal story about finding your calling.
The film spends a great time exploring the political corruption of Shiro’s world, showing us how something as awe inspiring as man’s venturing to space for the first time can just be use to instigate all out war between two rivaling nations. This theme of political corruption is masterfully intertwined with human history, often many characters comment on how war and corruption has affected history and allowed us to advance great leaps in technological innovation. Even the war in the movie is the main reason for the concept and creation behind the Royal Space Force, since its primary mission was to put weapons in space.
Besides Shiro most of the characters get no development. However they do get a decent amount of screen time considering this is only a 2 hour long film. Most of the characterization is focused on Shiro on his search for purpose, meaning, and eventually becoming the first man in space.
The setting of Honneamise is one of the best I’ve seen in an anime film; it’s very atmospheric and rich in texture making it feel like a homogeneous world. The world has its own unique sense of culture from the buildings, landscape, clothing, and even its religion. The city is portrayed as very industrialized, polluted, smudged, and most of the commoners are poor; even the Royal Space Force “headquarters” looks like a tin can. At night the whole city turns into a huge red light district, this created a great juxtaposition with the countryside where Riquinni (the religious lady) is from. The countryside is peaceful and surrounded by nature the complements the character of Riquinni very well. Shiro spends much of the movie traveling back and forth between the city and the countryside, creating a mental conflict and a sort of dualism for Shiro.
The animation was visually stunning, some of the scenes can still hold up today in terms of visual eye candy. The color palette used was note worthy and really helped bring out the setting and made it feel more alive. The opening and ending credits shows us very crude paintings of people and what looks like monumental events in human history, adding to the story’s constant theme of human history. Not to mention Hideaki Anno worked as the animation director, with animated works like Macross and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind already under his belt it’s no surprise that the animation came out so beautifully.
The music score was also well done but the true accomplishment of the music was how carefully it was intertwined with the animation and story. It often added drama and emotion to scenes, and made the movie feel more alive. However the soundtrack alone is mostly forgettable with the exception of a few pieces.
The ending of the movie (no spoilers so no need to worry) is very artsy and separates what would have been a great movie into a classic. The ending is honestly the most thought-provoking and meaningful part of the whole film, and is thus very much open to analysis and interpretation. And it feels like something straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. So I wouldn’t recommend this to a watcher that likes simple cookie cutter endings, and doesn’t like ambiguity.
The Wings of Honneamise will always stand as a highly influential art piece of what an anime can be and what boundaries of conventional anime can be pushed to their limits. It gracefully intertwines a personal story with the grandeur of the possibility of space exploration, commentary on human history and our ultimate destiny. This movie has solidified Gainax as a major anime powerhouse that has later on made financial success with works like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gurren Lagann. I can only hope that the industry keeps coming out with more great movies like this.
Ouritsu Uchuugun: Honneamise no Tsubasa (Honneamise) manages to flawlessly combine a man's personal story with a broad perspective on humanity as a whole. It shows how our small and seemingly meaningless lives still have an impact on others, and that this is something we should account for. Its presentation of how history leads up to the lives of every individual, and that each of us are a part of that history and should try our best in continuing it in the best way possible, is portrayed in a way not many works would manage to accomplish.
The bizarre setting seems to be somewhat of a comedic parody on our industrialised world at times, yet presents itself often as a gritty alternative. The ridiculous and nearly surreal machines and outfits are made into something you won't laugh at because of the sinister environment they are located in, but at the same time manage to become a relief for not having to force yourself into taking everything extremely seriously. The superb visuals provide us with a setting with incredible detail, and the political and societal background contains that same amount of detail. The places the characters take within this societal context is therefore sufficiently grounded, and can be understood in a realistic manner.
The story is focused nearly exclusively on the protagonist and therefore relies heavily on his position and the decisions he makes. Nearly any major decision accounts for something, and leads up to something bigger later on. Most plot devices are backed by a believable psychology or political aspects and seem to always have a satisfactory explanation. There are a few moments where the necessity of plot devices is questionable, and though those have likely been implemented to reach some specific developments and an overall greater character depth, that purpose is most of the time satisfactory enough and rarely does it come without any justification at all.
Though the protagonist plays such an important role, the side characters are certainly not without depth themselves. Though the central cast is rather small, and no major development can be found in most of them, they are well-defined and are not going out of their way in order to achieve some sort of goal which the plot would require them to. This makes them balanced and believable, and despite this they still manage to come to rational compromise.
The protagonist himself goes through a lot of development however, he is entirely different at the start than he is at the end. This duality of his character is nicely bridged with a mental conflict in between. And though he's certainly not a likeable and a somewhat shallow character at first, this helps in the ultimate progression of the movie. His personality in the conclusion remains rather undefined however, but the result should be pretty obvious from other developments.
The ultimate development of the plot is hinted at right from the start and the outcome doesn't veer very far from the initial premise. This doesn't mean however that the story is linear, without its highs and lows, or that it's incredibly predictable in any way. Many of the variety is maintained in the personal story of the protagonist, and the world around him progresses in a magnificent parallel alongside him. More personal issues and emotions are explored in the protagonist's life, without the film losing a grip on the growing influence of his surroundings.
The development of the protagonist is not flawless however, and some of the aforementioned questionable plot devices cause him to change character rather sudden at times. The progression from his inital character all the way to how he ends up becoming is a long one however, and it is still rather commendable how well it is displayed in a single film.
The amazing setting, visuals and overall story development manage to keep the film interesting throughout. They combine the meaningful story with some great comedy, and it manages to be both serious and comedic without it being disruptive. The progression of the main character and story in general might be slow at first, but it quickly develops into something which is obviously building up towards a more meaningful purpose. This manages to create a constant suspense leaving you wondering whether all of this will conclude into something spectacular, or whether something will happen which you won't be able to foresee. And even though the story follows a certain stable path, every event still manages to invoke interest and surprise you with the outcome.
A lot of the motives in Honneamise have to do with responsibility, both personal and societal. The protagonist comes to several realisations concerning these matters, and as a viewer you can easily relate to the development he goes through. It is not necessarily that you'll come to similar realisations, but it is understandable nonetheless, and you'll find yourself taking an understanding position towards him.
But aside from that, though the movie is impressive, there is not much food for actual thought or any gripping emotional displays. Being dramatic is however not at all what the movie is trying to do, yet it lacks a bit at times it is trying to be honestly thought provoking.
The voices fit the characters really well, it brings out their personalities and adds to how believable the characters already were. The acting itself is not remarkable, but combined with the animated facial expressions it still does a very good job.
The art is absolutely amazing, the colouring and backgrounds are vivid and detailed, and the designs of locations add to a great and unique atmosphere. Scenery often presents great use of perspective and camera angles, and do well in displaying the setting and scene locations. The lighting adds real charm and is perfectly combined with motion and effects. The animation is not the most fluid, but it is still detailed and lively. Overall superb.
Soundeffects are rather unimpressive however, they sound rather old, unlike the art, and don't have the best timing. Voices often have poor lip-synching, and most sounds suffer from poor volume and direction control. It is not something that should recieve too much criticism regarding its age, but it's still rather mediocre. The music has a lot of the oddities of the art-style, yet a more classical score would not have been such a bad idea. The use of experimental and unique instruments was a risky choice, and though it wasn't poorly done, it didn't really work out for the better either.
Overall personal experience
Honneamise is one film which manages to remain incredibly interesting throughout, and apart from a somewhat questionable ending, it never disappoints. The gradual build-up and suspenseful and meaningful storytelling will pull you in and leave you in awe. And though it's hard to see it as something personally influential, it shows a broader perspective on things and shows a lot for the minimal investment it takes. It's humorous and an easy watch, yet manages to show quite a lot in such a short amount of time. In short, a meaningful film about responsibility and humanity, told within an easygoing and relateable story of personal struggle.
Story (setting, plot, development), Art (art), Sound (sound, voice acting), Character (characters) and Enjoyment (immersion, emersion, overall experience) were split up into more manageable portions so I could remain focused on 1 aspect of the series in an attempt to remain objective and spoiler-free. Also no unnecessary synopsis, and the OP and ED of a series aren't an actual part of the anime! Know that all feedback is appreciated, please use the helpful button as intended, and thanks for reading! read more
Both focus on and question the social effects of science and technology: can we say "progress" is always a good thing? Both anime investigate relationships between aspiring astronauts and their anti-technology counterparts, the main argument being that the money used to build extravagant spaceships could be used to feed, clothe and shelter the needy. In The Wings of Honneamise, however, the relationship feels much more interesting. Overall, if enjoyed the political aspects of Planetes then you're sure to like this too.
They are both very down to earth humanistic hard sci-fi series about man over coming himself (both as an individual and as a society) and becoming something greater. They're both about elevating oneself to the stars.
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Related ClubsOlder series on BluRay, The OVA/ONA/Anime Movie club, Animation Appreciation, Active Military, Prior Service and Veteran's Anime Club, DARK AND BRUTAL ANIME CLUB, Old School Anime Club, Anime History Association, Hideaki Anno Fan Collective, Studio GAINAX Club, Anime Experience, Hideaki Anno Fan Club
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