THE WINGS OF HONNEAMISE
ROYAL SPACE FORCE
(Honneamise no Tsubasa)
For all its moments of great beauty, The Wings of Honneamise is an oddly slow-paced film. The reasons for this are because its purpose is not the same as the usual ones of most science-fiction anime. It is about the same as comparing Star Wars (1977) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) one is entertainment; the other what could almost be called religious science-fiction. The Wings of Honnemaise clearly belongs to the latter, rather than something that can be thrown in along with epic mass destruction showcase of contemporaries like Akira (1988). As such, it is a peculiar blend of space launch movie a la Countdown (1968), alternate world politics, social liberalism and religion. This is an ambitious blend that makes for an oddly akilter story at times. For example, the story sets up a romance between Shiro and Riquinni but the most this ever amounts to is a failed rape attempt. For all the heroines ability to teach the hero social responsibility and religion, she is also seen as someone who fails to stand up and take responsibility for her own life.
The actual journey into space that climaxes the film makes for an intriguingly transcendent ending. Here the film becomes openly preachy and makes a plea for space as a place where one can live beyond frontiers and barriers. Although, as the films fadeout with Riquinni still on a street corner handing out pamphlets and being ignored shows, the film is not terribly hopeful about this. The spaceflight also conducts a montage of human history, which is akin to the 2001 bone-to-spaceship cut, although one that shows all the steps in between, which tends to hammer the point home a little obviously. Ryuichi Sakamoto also turns in a nicely lyrical score.