With the demise of Bandai Visual in the West it was only a matter of time before numerous titles that they had under their label would be picked up by other companies and it just so happens that Section 23 has grabbed Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise to release under their Maiden Japan line. The movie which originally was released back in 1987 was given high praise back in the day and now that the movie has been released on Blu-ray, does it still hold up?
In a world quite similar to our own, two nations are at the brink of war. The Kingdom of Honneamise and “The Republic” are both prospering in an industrial era where science is booming and man is looking to the stars with a space program. However even while scientists and astronauts are attempting to make their way into space, trouble on the ground sees the nations about to enter a war that will spell catastrophe for both sides if started.
After attending the funeral of a fellow astronaut, a man named Shirotsugh Lhadatt who previously was the most unmotivated man in the program that simply coasted through life is thrust into a series of events that see him inspired by a woman named Riquinni to become the first man in space. Even with his volunteering to become the first man in space, there is much more to this plan that meets the eye.
With Shiro thrust into the spotlight and forced to undergo the most intense training he has ever experienced, disastrous plans are being built around the launch. Thus begins a story of a man coming to terms with himself and working towards a goal intertwined with a technological race to launch a man into space before the world erupts in warfare.
Now when The Wings of Honneamise was created the cold war between the United States and the U.S.S.R. was still an issue. Both sides of the cold war could easily have brought devastation to the world if either one were to misstep and the space aspect of The Wings of Honneamise is a clear example of that, especially with the sinister plans built around the innocent seeming launch of a man into space are revealed to be a ploy to kick off a war between the nations.
While Shiro does learn of these plans down the line, throughout the film he is portrayed as a clearly flawed character. Not only does he have issues with the job he wants to try and undertake but the emotional turmoil of being a star begins to take its toll on the young man, even causing him to almost snap and enter a dark territory with the same person who inspired him to follow this dream only to then be redeemed by the kindness and forgiveness in that same person’s heart.
By the time that The Wings of Honneamise ends, viewers will follow Shiro on an emotional journey that sees him grow as a man and undertake a daunting task that many once thought impossible even. The climactic moment is more impactful thanks to the situation it takes place in, leaving viewers not only with hope but also a final heartfelt monologue by Shiro that makes The Wings of Honneamise an unforgettable movie.
As you read at the start, The Wings of Honneamise takes was animated back in the late ‘80s but despite its age, the movie has made the upgrade to Blu-ray quite splendidly. This fact can be attributed to the quality of animation back in the day and the old-school art style is definitely one of the impressive aspects of the film. Character designs are similar to what one would remember from that era of animation but still remain impressive to this day.
As for attention to detail, Gainax was truly an impressive team back in the day when they were assembled to create The Wings of Honneamise as everything is intricately designed, from the uniforms of the characters to the designs of the environment and much more. It is worth noting that there are a few minor transfer issues as some of the artwork has suffered a bit due to the age of the production but for the most part the movie is incredibly presented with this release.
It is worth noting that The Wings of Honneamise contains the original English dub as well as the Japanese voice track and while many may be able to enjoy the English voice track it may be best to listen to the Japanese track instead. While the English is nicely handled, it hasn’t aged as well and seems a bit liberal with various translations meaning that those who want the best experience may wish to stick to the Japanese voice track instead.
As for various sound effects, the movie boats some pretty impressive audio work when it comes to the launch of the ship and other elements of the movie. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the movie’s less than stellar soundtrack. While there are a few nice pieces of background music played to help emphasize important moments, the rest is fairly mediocre and forgettable.
Unfortunately Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise has no bonus content of any value. The only bonuses are trailers for two other anime from Maiden Japan and the Japanese trailers for the movie.
Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise may be one of the older anime films to be released in the West but until this release, I had never heard of the movie nor had many of my anime viewing friends. This is a sad turn of events because despite its age, The Wings of Honneamise is a very impressive movie in many regards, making it a classic that deserves to be more well-known than it is.
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.