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Wings Of Honneamise
Distributor Manga Entertainment
Date 12 Aug 2005
Note: This review was originally written 2 years ago, for a web site I developed around that time, and as of such some facts are getting rather out of date. I have tried to leave it in its original state as much as possible, but have still corrected any spelling mistakes I have found while re-reading it.
Anime isn't really known for the more peaceful side of life. Well... unsurprisingly then there are few 'drama' anime. And those that are tend to be titles like Voices Of A Distant Star.
Now I won't lie, I'm no expert of dramatic movies. I normally prefer action and adventure. I just don't tend to watch much in the way of drama or romance. Ttherefore I was surprised just how much I enjoyed Wings Of Honneamise. It's strange, it has very little action, no big robots (even Voices Of A Distant Star had those) and no gigantic, towering cities. It's based in an alternate history, though familiar themes such as poverty and corrupt government are present in what is essentially a fallen world.
The Royal Space Force is an 'army' to deal with outer space. Of course, there are no space ships so they're just experimenting and trying to develop one. However, the institution has just lost it's funding and no one really cares. Just before it's all given up, the hero, Shiro, meets a beautiful Christian which gives him faith and a will to strive to reach the stars. I'll warn everone now that this anime has a lot of religion it it but if you can get through that you are left feeling great (I myself am atheist).
Shiro and his team are given one last chance at building a space craft. He is the only volunteer for astronaut and fights against the odds to get into space. There is political intrigue with the army and a small chase scene but it's ultimately an failry passive film.
Sadly, it all ends a little too quickly for my liking. It may be 2 hours long but another 30 minutes would have been welcome. The animation is amazing for the time (1987) and handled by the guys behind Evangelion - Studio GAINAX. And, like Evangelion, it's laden with religious quotes and references. But rather than the more sinister Evangelion this doesn't attack Christianity at all.
The drawing is pretty nice and the script is passable. The soundtrack was a weird mix, mainly light stuff which I'm not too fond of. Luckily, an excellent plot and great animation pull together this fantastic anime. In my opinion better than Evangelion and definately one for the more mature fan due to the complexity and subject (even though it is suitable for anyone).