The Wings of Honneamise
On a world somewhere much like Earth...
For years, the Honneamise Royal Space Force had been nothing more than a joke, having failed to send a single man into space alive. Signing up for astronaut duty was a sure ticket to death, provided the funding ever got through to let the craft be built in the first place.
Shiro Lhadatt was a member of the Royal Space Force, and like everyone else, was highly cynical about the whole thing, never even thinking of the possibility of going into space. However, a chance encounter one evening with a young female evangelist inspires him to aim higher -- much higher. But to become the first man in space, many obstacles first have to be breached. There's the training, for one thing, and then the ship actually has to be built -- and there are also other nations who would prefer not to let the nation of Honneamise succeed, fearing the possible military implications that would result from such a coup...
Studio Gainax makes its name known once more for bringing out what most studios wouldn't think of doing -- a mock documentary of humanity's space race, including the science, training, and politics behind the scenes. Is Wings of Honneamise good? Yes. Is it great? No.
Wings has a lot of good things going for it, such as the persuasive artwork and animation, meticulous attention to detail, and the extensive research that must have gone into an endeavor such as this. Although Wings is pure fiction, the politics, bureaucracy, and media influence that are described in this movie bear more than a passing resemblance to the headlines gracing the paper during the time of the space race. The training the prospective astronauts have to endure is convincing, and the gear and equipment fabricated during Lhadatt's trial runs could have been pulled right out of a Nova special on PBS.
The problem, though, is that despite the focus on the machinery, training, and global affairs, Wings is still not a documentary on space flight -- it's a science fiction movie, a fact that Gainax sometimes seems to forget. While the behind-the-scenes angle was interesting, the story itself was paced oddly, dragging in some places and skimming over others. Gainax did succeed in creating some interesting, complicated characters to muddle over, but it wasn't quite enough to cover the fact that at times this viewer found himself wondering just where they were going with this.
If you're a space buff with a taste for art films, you'll find Wings to be right up your alley. However, as a stand-alone movie, Wings is still good viewing, but is spotty enough in places to keep it from being included among the best of the best.
Recommended Audience: The targeted audience of Wings consists of teens and above, and the content of the anime is geared as such. While not prevalent throughout, there is some semi-graphic violence, along with an attempted rape scene that is inappropriate for younger viewers.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
The Wings of Honneamise © 1987 Bandai Visual
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