Movies / Animé and Toons

The Wings of Honneamise (English Cut 1987)


By Hervé St-Louis
August 8, 2002 - 16:03

'The Wings of Honneamise (English Cut 1987)'

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The Wings of Honneamise is a Japanese animated film produced by Gainax Studios and released by Bandai Entertainment in 1987.

The Wings of Honneamise, Gainax Studios' first production, has become one of the classic Japanese animated film (anime) on the market. This movie is set on a planet similar to Earth, during the 1950s in Honeamise-Jikein-Minadhan, a kingdom similar to Japan. Just like here, the whole world is recovering from a major world war among great nations.

Budding astronaut Shirotsugh Ladhatt, and a band of rejects from the regular armed forced are the members of the Royal Space Force, an outfit run by a misfit general and old decrepit scientists. The general, the scientists, and the Space Force crew attempt to create the first spaceship that will send Ladhatt into space. Political feuds within the kingdom and threats from competing nations surround the Space Force's effort.

The pacing of this movie is one of its most striking features. Whereas animes are usually filled with thrilling action sequences, this film is a long series of conversations, reflections and comments on life, religion, war, poverty, back room manoeuvres, and drinking enlisted men visiting Red Light Districts-like brothels.

Because of the slow pace of the film, viewers become avid fans or avid haters. Many stories abound of people falling asleep while watching it.

'We've found the untouched realm of God'

Though the actors are cartoon characters, the voice actors behind this film translate perfectly the slow pace, uneven suspense and tension that are the themes of this film. Ladhatt's nasal tone is mired in both detachment and hope. Leiqunni Nondelaiko,

Ladhatt's devout inspiration and platonic love interest, is a woman whose voice is passionate, naive and remorseful.

Budding astronaut Shirotsugh Ladhatt, and a band of rejects from the regular armed forced are the members of the Royal Space Force, an outfit run by a misfit general and old decrepit scientists. The general, the scientists, and the Space Force crew attempt to create the first spaceship that will send Ladhatt into space. Political feuds within the kingdom and threats from competing nations surround the Space Force's effort.

The film's philosophy involves a religion created for this fictional world that resembles Judeo-Christian ideas of monotheism, original sin and forgiveness. Ladhatt's evangelistic persistence and devotion to the Space Force, boosted by Nondelaiko's preaching, eventually rally the very media and friends who ridiculed him earlier.

The visual qualities of this film are incredible. The film's designers created a whole parallel planet with motorcycles, coins, tramways and clothes different from those of our world. However, they evoke the same mood of optimism and conflicts prevalent in postwar times.



'I guess the crew is going down with its ship'

The set and character designs are as detailed and realistic. One of the most beautiful scene of the movie, is Ladhatt's first test flight while his aircraft sifts through layers of clouds. Other scenes like the Ladhatt's stroll through downtown alleys straddled with neon lights and steam are as equally pleasing.

Sakamoto Ryuichi composed the exquisite music in this film. He is the same compositor responsible for the soundtrack from The Last Emperor. Most scenes are laden with an adaptation of the film's principal themes.

This film was directed and written by Yamaga Hiroyuki. It was his first film. There is no rating but some nudity is present. Parental supervision is suggested.

Though The Wings of Honneamise was never a commercial success, since 1995, Various festivals, like Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival have featured the film. It is available in video and DVD from Manga Entertainment.

Rating: 10 /10


Last Updated: May 19, 2020 - 12:25

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