On a different
world is the country of Honneamise, ruled by an aristocratic government.
While a tentative peace exists between Honneamise and Rimada, each side is
always looking to gain the upper hand.
The military is very popular, except for one branch of the service, the
Royal Space Force. The Space Force is led by General Khaidenn, a member of
the royal family. Viewed as a joke by the Air Force, and considered a
budgetary boondoggle by the press, the Space Force is one step away from
being closed. Shiro Lhadatt is a Colonel in the Royal Space Force.
Something an underachiever, Shiro cares nothing for the military way of
life and is waiting for the first opportunity to get out.
His views on life change when he meets a young woman
named Riquini, dispensing religious tracts on the street. Through her
views of space being a place untouched by the evils of man, and her
general excitement of the idea of manned space flight, Shiro volunteers to
be the first astronaut.
So begins Shiro's and the Royal Space Force's epic journey into the vast
expanse of space.
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: Decent, better than their own video release. The
colors are clearer and the image sharper although, there are some light
moments. There is some light artifacing on images with a solid color.
While there is film grain and specks, these are from he source material.
Some cleaning up would have been nice. As some have pointed out , the R2
release has much better quality. Unfortunately, for most people, they do
not have access to this version. Compared to the Manga VHS version, the
quality is better. A caveat to this is that depending on your system, you
DVD may have a fuzzy or detail lacking picture.
AUDIO: Quite loud on the 5.1 English track. You do get to hear more of
Ryuchi Sakamodo's distinctive score, and that is a plus. On the negative,
there is a lack of clarity at times, making it difficult to tell the
difference between the characters. I have herd better 5.1 mixes on both
"Sol Bianca" and of course "Akira".
As far as the Japanese track goes, this is the original audio track, so
you don't get any real surround sound. The voices are sharper, and more
The audio commentary is typical for most. The directors are clear, while
the movie is in the background.
Most of the action on both versions came from the front speakers of our
Sony stereo, with background noise and music mostly from the speakers
behind us on our Gateway.
EDITS: None. This movie has been left intact. The open and closing credits
remain untouched. Just like their "Castle of Caglistro" release,
they have place the English credits at the end of the movie.
Unfortunately, the burned in subtitles remain on the "Space Force
EXTRAS: More than Manga Entertainment's usual practice of the Manga's
KMFDM music video and a fan club catalogue. A deleted scene (never seen
one of these on an anime DVD before), the original promotional short
presented to Bandai Entertainment, character concept artwork, and a
directors commentary round out a good bunch of extras.
short of amazing. Hirouki Yamaga, who wrote, directed, and based the movie
from his own short story, has created a beautiful and lyrical masterpiece.
Combining a good blend of drama, theological discussion and comedy, this
is the Japanese equal to the Right Stuff by Tom Wolf. His characters are
real people, with motivations and desires that run very close to our own.
ACTING: The Japanese is superb. Full of dynamic rangeand emotion. You can
feel the sarcasm and apathy in Shiro's voice. You believe Riquini's
passion for the bible and her desire to bring people to God's path. The
ensemble cast is very distinctive, each playing their character as if they
have a suitable history.
English wise, it is a mixed bag. There are times where
the delivery is a bit flat. Others, it seems like they were in a hurry.
FAN SERVICE: None. This is an epic story, so there is no real need for it.
Many things have been written about this movie. Countless lists have this
movie in the top 10 anime of all time. This movie is always sold out
almost as soon as it hits the shelves.
There is a reason for this. People love this movie. It is a thought
provoking, deeply philosophical, and well written film. Just because it is
Japanimation is not a reason for non-fans to pass it up. This movie goes
beyond typical anime in its honest portrayal of the characters. As the
general said to Shiro "Frankly, we didn't expect much of you".
He was correct. When you meet him, he didn't even come to his friends
military funeral in uniform. He is more interested in sleeping with
Riquini than listening to her. As the story progresses, you grow with
Shiro and you rejoice in his triumph’s, and cry when he falls. How many
anime films can do that?
The writing is very sharp and clever. Plenty of light touches balance out
what could be an overly dramatic story. For example, Shiro and the General
are having a philosophical discussion about war in front of a picture of
an angel flying over a battle in a forest. When the general asks
"What do you see in this picture?", instead of seeing the soul
of humanity rising above the scourge of war and making the philosophical
discussion longer, Shiro says..."A woman’s butt." The general
sighs and states "You would miss the forest for the trees."
This movie does not have a lot of "action" and for the casual
viewer, you may get bored or find it hard to follow. Others may have a
hard time "reading a movie" for two hours. Despite its flaws,
the English cast do help to make this movie accessible to the non otaku.
On the technical
side, a lot of complaints have surfaced about the quality of the transfer.
When we first reviewed it, we did not notice any defects or impurities. As
we rewatched this movie again with different equipment, we did notice some
of the artifacts and so/so video transfer. While we still think that it is
an improvement to the VHS, the hard core DVDphile will be disappointed.
Wings of Honneamise is a movie that pushed the bar on storytelling in
anime. This is also one movie that can unite the casual fan and the otaku,
and create a newand better understanding. This is a beautiful film, and
one that should not be missed.
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