At the time it was made "Wings Of Honneamise", also know as the "Royal Space Force", was the most expensive animated feature ever (costing approximately $8 million) and was GAINAX Studios first full feature film. In fact Gainax was created specifically to produce this moivie. Anno Hideaki and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, both of whom were to later work on Neon Genesis Evangelion, were two of the GAINAX members to work on this anime film.

A very cool film that actaully has a good plot which should have made it really big like Akira did.

Producers: Ken Iyadomi, Keiji Kusanao, Yutaka Maseba, Taro Yoshida
Director/Screenplay: Hiroyuki Yamaga
Character Design: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Animation Director: Hideaki Anno, Yuji Moriyama, Fumio Iida, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Art Director: Hiromasa Ogura

Characterized by astounding animation quality and a mind-blowing story, the Wings of Honneamise could've been considered the seminal work of Gainax, until Evangelion came out. Some (like me), would still consider it such.

Hiroyuki directed, and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (who'd go on to do designs for Evangelion) did the character designs. Hideaki Anno (later to direct Evangelion and Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou) was on the animation direction team.

It's set in a fictional world populated by humans - not Earth, but like Earth. The animation designers were remarkably sucessful in creating a place that looks very different than the cultures we're familiar with. Different, and yet somehow the same.

The story goes something like this: A underfunded government Aerospace agency is pushed into the spotlight when its nation decides to put a man in orbit to provoke a war, and a young man gets the chance to do something special with his life.

Ghost in the Shell? Yawn. Akira? I've heard of it. Ninja Scroll? Don't waste my time. In my considered opinion, this is the best theatrical anime outside of Studio Ghibli.

One of the excellent qualities of this movie are the subplots. A running theme throughout is the protagonist Shiro's religious conversion and how it applies to his increasing fame through the space program. The two different religions of the country that Shiro inhabits seem to emulate Christianity and Shinto (since this is a Japanese movie, the Shinto-like religion is the official state one) pulling some myths from other religions as well. Surprisingly, the Christianity-like religion is presented in a more favorable light than the state-sponsered one. That's not common in anime. Shiro is what I would consider the quintessential Gen-Xer.

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