Wings of Honneamise (HD DVD+DVD Combo) -

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: All Region DVD
  • Released By: Bandai Visual USA, Inc.
  • MSRP: 79.99
  • Running time: 120
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 1080p
  • Disc Encoding: VC-1
  • Series: Wings of Honneamise

Wings of Honneamise (HD DVD+DVD Combo)

By Luis Cruz     October 30, 2007
Release Date: September 11, 2007

Wings of Honneamise (HD DVD+DVD Combo)
© Bandai Visual USA, Inc.

What They Say
Experience the classic anime masterpiece in the highest visual and audio quality ever with this ultimate HD DVD & 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!

HD30 (single sided, dual-layered) / VC-1 / COLOR / 16:9 (1080p Hi-Def)

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

Subtitles: English & Japanese
1. English Dub - Dolby Digital (Dolby Surround)
2. Japanese Dub - Dolby Digital (5.1ch)

The Review!
An enduring masterpiece, Honneamise still proves to be relevant and beautiful.

Audio: (Note: This portion is for the DVD release only; the HD-DVD release is not covered here)
I used the Japanese Dolby 5.1 audio track for my primary viewing session; this is a solid audio track that makes use of the full sound stage through the entire film. There were no discernible drop-outs, distortions, or other issues; every element was crisp and balanced well with the others. After years of watching this on VHS, this audio track was an amazing, immersive experience; the film alone is a powerful experience, but this soundtrack adds additional depth and subtlety.

Video: (Note: This portion is for the DVD release only; the HD-DVD release is not covered here)
Originally released in 1987, Bandai Visual does a remarkable job transferring the video to the digital medium. Presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio, there were no noticeable issues from the digital transfer; the picture is crisp with vivid colors allowing the details on screen to shine. It is still a bit of grain to the picture, but this is the best presentation of this film I have seen to date.

Everything about the packaging feels like I purchased a R2 DVD straight from Japan; the box comes in a reusable plastic sleeve. An obi on the box contains the disc specifications; the box is sturdy chipboard with beautiful artwork on the front. The back of the box contains screenshots, a brief summary of the film, and the main Japanese cast and staff. Both DVD covers also contain beautiful artwork on the front; the back covers are sparse containing a small piece of art with minimal disc specifications listed at the bottom. The box also holds the twenty page booklet about the film.

Menu: (Note: This portion is for the DVD release only; the HD-DVD release is not covered here)
When you first load the disc, a simple menu asks you to choose to watch the film in either Japanese or English. However, choosing Japanese does not also turn on the English subtitles. Once in the film, you can go to a simple main menu and setup all the audio and subtitles features there. The actual disc menus are simple containing static, but beautiful, images with the menu items along the bottom.

Extras: (Note: This portion is for the DVD release only; the HD-DVD release is not covered here)
The "pilot film" for Honneamise is included on the disc; this four minute film gives the basic outline of the film and gives some insight into the evolution of the story and artwork. Additionally, the theatrical trailer for the film is included. The best extra is the twenty page translated booklet about the making of the film. Items like these are rarely translated and brought over; even if you are uninterested in the technical details of the film, the booklet is worth it just for the artwork.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Classic, masterpiece, spectacular... these terms are frequently tossed about when talking about Wings of Honneamise and with good reason. It is not only a meticulously crafted visual piece, but it is also an incredibly powerful and moving story. On the surface, it is a simple piece about a young man reaching for his dream, but it holds so much depth that it is still as fresh and powerful upon repeated viewings, even after twenty years.

Shirotsugh Lhadatt dreamed of being a Navy pilot, but he did not have the grades to make it into the academy. Instead, he spends his days languishing in the Royal Space Force; the few that has even heard of the Royal Space Force consider it a joke, an organization surviving only through the political influence of its head. Shiro also considers his time there meaningless until he runs into a young girl named Riquinni handing out religious fliers. As he tells her about their mission to send a man into space, he begins to see the task through her eyes and concludes that this is an amazing and noble pursuit.

He naively volunteers to be the test subject for the first manned space launch and fervently pursues his new dream. As his training progress, his optimism and enthusiasm is slowly ground away by the political and social machinations of his nation. It is only through Riquinni's unique world view that Shiro finds the will to continue. In the film's penultimate scene, a battle rages around Shiro's launch site, but once the rocket is launched, both armies stand transfixed with awe at the historic sight. As Shiro floats silently above his planet, he transmits a prayer for man not to repeat their mistakes and pollute the reaches of space as they have their own world.

The story has many layers to it -- a testament to mankind's determination to realize their dreams, a meditation on societal dynamics, a prayer for the future of mankind. Yet the story is only one facet of the piece; the detailed visuals, the music, and even the silence form a living world. This world acts as a mirror for our own world and its dreams and struggles, a mirror that reflects how far our world has come yet learned so little.

There is so much beauty and poetry in this film that you come away with something fresh every viewing. You can simply admire the meticulous crafting of the visuals or endlessly debate the finer points of the story and the characters. Classic, masterpiece, spectacular... it is not hyperbole to use these phrases for this film; twenty years later, it continues to prove that it deserves to have those words associated with it.

In Summary:
Wings of Honneamise is an enduring masterpiece that every one, anime fan or not, should have in their collection. It is a simple but powerful story whose message is as relevant today as it was twenty years ago. There are few works that transcend their medium and strongly resonate with the human spirit; Honneamise is the definitive title to disabuse the notion that animation cannot produce intellectual, "high art" material. This remains one of the most beautiful, moving films I have and will likely ever see.

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

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable


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