Characterized by astounding animation
quality and a mind-blowing
story, the Wings of Honneamise could've been considered the seminal work
, 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.