1Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise

What is it?

Unlike most of the other anime featured here, Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise is only a single movie with no series or OVAs attached to it. However, if you’re a sci-fi fan, this is one anime you really have to check out.

Directed and written by Hiroyuki Yamaga, one of the co-founders of Gainax, was a cult anime hit for many years. Set in the alternative world where the technology level is somewhere around 1940-1950s real Earth, it is set amidst the background of an impending war between two nations: the Japanese influenced Kingdom of Honneamise and The Republic which is modelled after some Western nations.

The kingdom of Honneamise had established a half-hearted space program where the main character, Shirotsugh Lhadatt, joins because he could not qualify to fly the fighter planes. In the process of preparing for the nation and world’s first space flight, he has to survive the political intrigues of his nation, an assassination attempt and a one-sided love with a religious young woman called Riqunni.

A sequel for the anime movie has always been in the plans and back in 2014, it finally came out that it will be named Wings of Uru with a possible release in 2018. However considering the developmental hell it’s been going through over the years, we wouldn’t hold our breath for this to be certain.

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Why Watch it?

The anime is considered a classic must watch which managed to marry brilliant animation (for its time) with some excellent storytelling. Like Planetes, the story is showing how petty artificial divisions of race, culture, politics, nations and everything is insignificant compared to larger aspirations like space travel and discovery can bring.

The star of the movie though was the excellent characterisation of the main character Shirotsugh, who has to set aside his love, fear and common cynicism around him to sit in an untested spaceship and blast off to the unknowns of space.  He isn’t the only one though as the other characters were fleshed out nicely and viewers will be invested in their story as the narrative reaches its climax.

This brilliant piece of storytelling is supported by what is considered some brilliant animation for its time. The movie has titanic amounts of detail in the animation considering that then, there was no widespread use of computer graphics (CG) yet in the industry. Every propeller whirl, ocean waves, and even a spit is  hand drawn with meticulous precision. Even the characters facial expression were well detailed and animated that they managed to tell everything on that’s happening in their minds.

Throw in a pretty majestic soundtrack and you got yourself one Sci-Fi anime that will intrigue you throughout the viewing experience.