Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise (‘ritsu uchŻgun Oneamisu no tsubasa) (1987)

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Released 8-Nov-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Booklet
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Short Film
Trailer-Madman Anime Releases
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 120:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (70:39) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Hiroyuki Yamaga
Bandai Visual
Madman Entertainment
Starring Mary Mason
Hiroshi ‘nogi
Kevin Seymour
Hiroyuki Yamaga
Jane Alan
Masahiro Anzai
Steven Jay Blum
Ivan Buckley
Steve Bulen
Bryan Cranston
Bambi Darro
Christopher de Groot
Dorothy Elias-Fahn
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Ryuichi Sakamoto

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††††Set on another world, though one much like Earth, Royal Space Force: The Wings of HonnÍamise is the story of that planet's space race. The film is a philosophical, and frequently meditative, look at the effects of striving for a goal with no obvious direct benefit to society at a great cost to that society. Though this sounds overly intellectual and probably complicated, it isn't. The central story is fairly linear and reasonably straight-forward, but it is set in one of the most meticulously detailed fictional societies ever constructed for film. Viewers can read as much into it as they like. Repeat viewings are guaranteed to unearth something new in the movie.

††††The bulk of the story is told through the eyes of Shirotsugh Lhadatt. Shirotsugh is a member of the Royal Space Force, a little-known military force developing technology for space travel and the pet project of one of the less popular members of the Royal family. Though he had always wanted to be a pilot, Shirotsugh's grades had never been good enough so he joined Space Force instead (much like most of the force's members). In the 20 years of its operation the Royal Space Force had only launched a handful of satellites into space, and had almost as many casualties due to accidents and inept experiments. After meeting a shy religious girl, Shirotsugh is encouraged to volunteer to be the first man in space as part of a project that is expected to sink the Space Force into ruin. The project turns out to be a surprise success, at least in terms of public popularity, but raises the ire of poverty-stricken peasants and neighbouring nations.

††††Many of the Space Force members do not like the military lifestyle, however the world is in an economic crisis and they would be lucky to find jobs elsewhere. This economic crisis makes it difficult to justify the existence of the force, indeed it has only really been able to succeed thanks to corrupt politicians cooking the books for the force's patron. Eventually, the political situation comes to a head and the nation's politicians hijack the launch†for their own ends, both as a means†to unite the people and to secretly incite war.

††††Though it is clearly not set on Earth, there are many aspects in the story that are a clear comment on the USA/USSR cold war space race. It is hard not to think of the USSR's virtual deification of their cosmonauts, not to mention the vast resources they diverted into the space race, when watching the film.

††††The animation in Royal Space Force is spectacular, though this is hardly a surprise given that the was directed by legendary animator Hideaki Anno (who would later go on to find great success with Neon Genesis Evangelion). Using a very traditional style of Japanese anime, virtually every scene of Royal Space Force is unique. The settings are truly original, yet plausible were the film set on Earth, as is much of the technology depicted.

††††Royal Space Force: The Wings of HonnÍamise was the first feature film from Gainax (of Neon Genesis Evangelion and FLCL fame) and Bandai (who were already well-established as a toy manufacturer when the film was made, but have since become one of Japan's leading film distributors). Upon its original release the film was critically acclaimed, however its box-office performance in Japan was only so-so. This was probably largely because of the cynical side to the film, as a wider audience did not appreciate the overriding positive vibe that runs through the movie. In the two decades since its original release, Royal Space Force: The Wings of HonnÍamise has rightfully become appreciated as a true classic.

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Transfer Quality


††††The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

††††The video looks stunning. The image is crystal clear and as sharp as the original hand drawn cells would have been. There is virtually no sign of grain and no low-level noise.

††††The colour palette is quite soft, with some scenes and backgrounds almost looking like a watercolour. This suits the film magnificently and appears to be true to the films original intent.

††††The transfer is incredibly clean, only a very small handful of dust flecks are visible in the way of film artefacts. These will probably visible on the original cells themselves. There are no signs of MPEG compression-related artefacts.

††††Bold yellow English subtitles are present, these appeared to be well translated from the Japanese (not a transcript of the English) and well timed.

††††This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs at 70:39 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


††††The film features an English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio track and a Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) audio track. Both tracks sound crystal clear and well mixed.

††††The dialogue is quite clear and easily audible. The Japanese dialogue is as well synchronised as you could expect of a cartoon, although the lip sync occasionally doesn't fit the English dialogue too well.

††††The film features a classical score that reminded me somewhat of A Clockwork Orange. The score sounds glorious in both mixes.

††††The Japanese surround audio track makes reasonable use of the surround speakers and brilliant use of the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



††††A 20 page booklet filled with history about the film, its early concepts, art & special effects development and information about the animation process. This is the highlight of the extras package and an excellent companion in its own right.

Deleted Scene

††††A rather random deleted scene that provides a little bit of extra dialogue between the main character and his best friend.

Theatrical Trailer

††††A short trailer for the film.

Short Film

††††A short film produced as a pilot to secure funding for the film. This really looks like an extended trailer.

Madman Trailers

††††A handful of trailers from other Madman anime releases.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††††Two DVD versions have been released thus far in Region 1.

††††The first, by Manga Video in 2000, came with deleted scenes and a gallery of conceptual art but caused quite a stir in the anime fan community for its appalling video and audio quality. This version should be avoided.

††††The second Region 1 version was released by Bandai in late 2007, but only as part of an expensive (RRP US$79.95) HD DVD/DVD or Blu-ray/DVD 2 disc set, one disc being a DVD while the other a high definition disc. The DVD released in Region 4 is identical to the DVD disc contained in the 2 disc sets, save for a handful of trailers for other Madman releases. Given the difference in price, the Region 4 version is the way to go if you are only after a DVD version of the film.

††††Reports indicate that the Blu-ray is region free, so anyone with the cash to spare may prefer the high-definition version.


††††A landmark anime film that depicts a society firmly in the grip of a space race. A film that warrants repeat viewings, as each viewing is guaranteed to bring something new to the experience.

†††† The video and audio look spectacular. The extras on the disc are slim, but this is made up for by an excellent supplementary booklet.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
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