Wings of Honneamise (BD+DVD Combo) (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Bryce Coulter
Review Date: Monday, September 24, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2007



What They Say
Experience the classic anime masterpiece in the highest visual and audio quality ever with this ultimate Blu-ray & DVD Two Disc Set! "I will not give up. I will realize my dream...even if it means death!" Acclaimed by anime fans all over the world, Royal Space Force-The Wings of Honneamise comes back to life 20 years after its original release! The stirring odyssey created by nascent anime masters at GAINAX is still unsurpassed for its meticulous artistry and heartfelt drama of a young man's coming of age in a turbulent world!

[Blu-ray disc]

BD50G (single sided, dual-layer disc) / AVC / COLOR / 16:9 (1080p Hi-Def)
Subtitles: English & Japanese

Audio:
1. English Dub - Dolby Digital Plus (Dolby Surround)
2. Japanese Dub - Dolby TrueHD (5.1ch) & Linear PCM (Dolby Surround)

[DVD]
DVD-9 / MPEG2 / Region 1 & 2 / COLOR / NTSC / 16:9 (Anamorphic, 480i Std-Def)
Subtitles: English & Japanese
Audio:
1. English Dub - Dolby Digital (Dolby Surround)
2. Japanese Dub - Dolby Digital (5.1ch)

The Review!
"I will not give up. I will realize my dream...even if it means death!"

Please Note:
This review is based on the DVD disc that came with the collection unless otherwise noted. For details on the Blu-ray disc, please look up the Blu-ray disc review.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in the English dub. There's two language tracks on this disc and they all sound pretty decent. The Japanese 5.1 language sounds very crisp and clear. The English 5.1 sounded pretty crisp and clear with no drop outs or distortions.

DVD Video:
The video transfer for this looks great despite its age. Some very minimal cross coloration along the backgrounds and in some of the characters is evident. There is just a tid bit of grain, but nothing major. The transfer for this release is very vibrant and beautiful to watch.

Blu-ray Video:
I have been one of those who has been riding the fence on the latest HD technology for DVD's. Seeing Wings of Honneamise the second time around, on Blu-Ray, has really opened my eyes to a new realm of animation appreciation. The colors are much more vibrant and just flat out beautiful. There's a whole new depth to the film that I never really got the first time around. The HD immerses you into the story. The biggest drawback is that the dust and dirt on the cels are a lot more visible. Wings of Honneamise definitely deserves a cleanup for the Blu-Ray version. Of course, it's much harder to see this on the regular version. I definetly hope that future Blu-Ray releases of classics like this will take remastering into consideration. On the bright side, the grain from the film looks good and the minor nicks and scratches seem to disappate or become unoticable. Being a perfectionist, feel like there needs to be some more attention paid to this minor flaws as they become a lot more visible in the HD version. All in all, the issues with dirt, sratches, and dust are what kept this from being graded higher.

Packaging:
Unlike other combo releases this box set release contains two standard thickness keepcases. The heavy chipboard box is solid and uses soft white borders around the original illustration work. The back cover has a shot of a rocket in its gantry along with several shots from the actual animation. All of the packages technical details are kept on the obi around the box that provides two technical grids to cover both the BD and DVD details. The Blu-ray case has a cast shot of the main characters huddled together while the DVD case has a picturesque scene of Shiro and Riquinni on a plateau staring up into a cloudy sky where a burst of sunlight is breaking through. The back cover of each case has a simple illustration of one of the vehicles from the show against a lot of white space while the bottom has the technical grid that's relevant to just this volume.

The chipboard box also contains a booklet that talks about the history of Wings of Honneamise. It provides a lot of insight into how the show was produced. Most interesting is the history behind the founding of GAINAX. I was also pleasantly surprised to read about the detailed history of Hideaki Anno and how he started out as an special effects artist for this film. It‚€™s amazing to read about how quickly he became recognized as one of the most renowned animators who worked on many famous collections that predate Evangelion.

Menu:
The disc is designed to work both in the US and Japan. Upon load, a static screen comes up asking you to select your language of choice. If you select English, you get the FBI warnings before it starts into the movie proper. If you select Japanese, you get the warnings as well before it starts into the movie. The top menu contains artwork that has Shiro watching a plane taking off from a carrier in the water as the sun sets off in the distance. The bottom part of the screen contains the standard navigation selections with a very simple design.

Extras:
The extras for this release are pretty minimal and there is nothing really outstanding to note. A short promotional trailer is included before it was released in theaters. It is interesting to see how it was marketed at that time. In some ways it doesn't even seem like it's the same film. The other extra is a short four minute long pilot film which contains a lot of animation that didn't make it into the actual movie itself.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As an avid anime fan, this is a film that I have unfortunately missed out on. I for one, am most thankful for the opportunity to review this beautiful classic that no anime fan should miss out. If you think Akira is a classic‚€¶ You‚€™ve got another thing coming.

The first feature from the upstart studio GAINAX, Honneamise no tsubasa was a breakthrough in Japanese animation history. Produced by a group of amateurs, GAINAX convinced Bandai to fork over $8 million to produce the film. The Wings of Honneamise is a fantastic fictional story that is very similar to the themes in the epic movie/novel The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. In essence, this story parallels many of the themes and events that led up to the formation of the U.S. Space Program along with a hint of Cold War tension. Add in just the right amount of Studio Ghibli animation and you‚€™ve got an amazingly beautiful film with just the right amount of exhilarating storytelling.

The crux of the story focuses on Shiro, who dreams of making something big out of his life. His dreams as a young boy focus on becoming a navy fighter pilot. Through his inner monologue, Shiro describes his family and his life (both quite ordinary and unexceptional). He yearns to become something that he cannot because of his grades and ability. With the intent of becoming something great, he ends up enlisting in the Royal Space Force, a military branch that is the laughing stock of the royal military.
Much of what is done with the space force is almost comical as the enlisted troops goof off most of the day and sleep through training courses. As Shiro assumes his role in the space force he becomes aware of the failed space flights and rocket launches by his comrades. Shiro‚€™s buddies even take delight in watching video footage of failed rocket launches. They cheer and kid each other as the rockets explode and make huge fireballs. Astronaut deaths aren‚€™t taken lightly and each member of the force is very reluctant to volunteer to be the next rocket man.

Needless to say, Shiro has some time on his hands as there isn‚€™t a whole lot to do as a member of the royal space force. While wandering the streets with his buddies, he encounters Riquinni, who is handing out pamphlets about her God‚€™s impending judgment upon the people. Intrigued, Shiro takes a liking to Ruquinni and she becomes the inspiration that he needs. This allows him to become what he has dreamt about since he was a young boy. Shiro makes a bold move in volunteering to become the next astronaut for the Royal Space Force.

Shiro and Riquinni often misunderstand one another, and they misunderstand the larger issues around them. They are ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances, and it is one of the great strengths of Hiroyuki Yamaga's script. The characters are not glorified or ennobled by their journey. History will blur the details as the opening and closing credits provide historical "sketches" that simplify the paths before and after the story we see. But, in the present, we see that these individuals are very human.

If the reasons for putting Shiro into orbit in Honneamise are unclear, consider the United State‚€™s participation in the space race. Why did we develop rockets when people in our society were starving and helpless? Was it to outmaneuver the Soviets as part of a political power play? Was it to promote peace by intimidating our adversaries? Or was it simply, as John F. Kennedy put it, "because they are hard?"

One can‚€™t help but reflect on these questions while viewing this film. Many of the answers are embedded throughout the various themes and plots depicted in Wings of Honneamise. This film is not a true depiction of our world, but it curiously parallels ours as if it were in a parallel dimension. We witness the differences through architecture, art, language, culture, and technology. Every detail is in its place. However, the people of this parallel universe are all too familiar; the government is entrenched in corruption, the scientists are disconnected from the consequences of their work, the soldiers await the glory of battle, and ordinary people struggle with their ordinary problems while the elite and rich bask in their wealth and knowledge, only occasionally grasping at some higher meaning or higher power. This is what makes Honneamise such a classic as it relates so well with the real world we live in.

Summary:
This anime classic is a must have for any anime fan. Nearly 20 years after its theatrical debut, Wings of Honneamise is a film that easily exceeds the standards of today‚€™s most modern anime releases. The rich, artistic animation sequences and masterful storytelling are what make it an anime masterpiece. Strongly recommended

Features
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language,Japanese Linear PCM Dolby Surround,English Dolby Digital,English Subtitles,See Below for DVD Specs

Review Equipment
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV,Samsung BD-P1000, XBOX 360 DVD player, XBOX 360 Component HDAV Cable with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.



Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: A - N. America, S. America, East Asia
Released By: Bandai Visual USA, Inc.
MSRP: 79.99
Running time: 120
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 1080p
Disc Encoding: H.264/AVC
Series: Wings of Honneamise