Wings of Honneamise review module WINGS OF HONNEAMISE (Manga Video), 119min, cert PG, 13.99. Dubbed & subtitled editions.
This is one of the most sumptuous anime releases yet seen in the UK. Two hours of breathtaking animation achieves the rare feat of creating an entire alternative world on screen. It's an epic story of a civilisation's first faltering steps into space. The Royal Space Force is a dead-end posting for dreamers and failures, only allowed to continue because the rulers foresee cynical uses for it. The young hero, Shirotsuro Lhadatt, joins the Space force after failing selection for the Air Force. A chance encounter with a devout young woman encourages Shiro to press himself forward for selection as the first man in space.
Meanwhile hostilities simmer, and the poor are demonstrating against the extravagance of the space program. As the program nears completion, the military conspire to use the launch site as a bait to trigger an all-out war.
This has everything - superb animation, high-tension action, humour, good characterisation, and a well-realised world-creation. The characterisation of the devout girl Leiquni is particularly noteworthy. The movie attracted little attention in its native Japan because of poor publicity, and has had limited attention in the West from anime fans more interested in collecting girly action comedies. Yet it deserves to be seen as one of the finest animated films ever made, and as a thoughtful piece of SF moviemaking. Should be bought by all fans of screen SF being infinitely superior to Star-trek, Star-Wars and their ilk.

A cautionary note: the preview tape was cut to remove an 'adult' scene, (much to my irritation). In the original, the viewpoint clearly shows that Shirotsuro is thinking of Leiquni as a woman, and then, as she undresses behind a screen, he makes his move... She hits him with a candlestick. In the morning there is an outdoor scene where SHE apologises to HIM. Shirotsuro looks sheepish.
The cuts, while removing the only 'adult' scene in the movie (and alleviating the British fear of sexuality) make the sequence seem a bit pointless and remove some depth and interest from the characterisation. Reportedly the release was cut to gain a PG certification (i.e. make it more suitable for young Brits.)
The subtitled edition has the same cut. If dissatisfied, look out for uncut subtitled import editions, or get the US fan script from the INTERNET.