The Wings of Honneamise Movie Review

In my readings around the anime blogosphere I came across a review for this movie and reading how this was Gainax’s first work – I figured it was worth a watch, if only to see how far Gainax has come in it’s 20+ year history.

Final Series Score: 2/12 F
Rewatchablity: 0/5 – None
Ending: 1/5 – Profoundly Deficient
Animation: 2.5/5 – Average; The quality of animation is pretty good, even 20+ years later, but the styles used for the characters is very off-putting
Pros: High class animation quality which impresses even more when one realizes there’s no CG used
Cons: Poor characters and very weak characterization make it difficult to care about what happens, the fictional world this takes place in is not fleshed out well so it never feels like a real place which removes the importance to the character’s actions, weak storytelling leaves the show feeling disarrayed and unfocused

Story

The Wings of Honneamise follows the life of a guy who joins the Space Force when he’s not good enough to get into the military, looks for love in all the wrong places, and musters enough courage to volunteer to be his country’s first astronaut shot into space.

Thoughts and impressions

This movie should have been right up my alley – I deeply love a somewhat similar movie: Apollo 13 and SF in general and I like Gainax – but I was surprised to find out that I really did not like this movie.

After watching the whole thing, there was one scene that really bothered me and is responsible for this show getting a 2/12 F but the scene occurs well into the second half of the movie and by that point my opinion of the movie had pretty much crystallized. Without that scene, I probably would have given Wings of Honneamise a higher grade of 4/12 C but I would still have mentioned all the same problems of this movie.

Skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to be spoiled about the scene in question. … The astronaut guy has been visiting the home of a woman who spends her days on the street trying to convert people to her religion. She’s happy that someone is interested in her religion but in reality, he’s interested in her and continues to try to move their relationship into a romantic direction which she resists. On one of these visits it had been raining and so the religious woman is soaked and has to take off the outer layer of her clothes which leaves her in a knee-length skirt and blouse. This allows the guy to look at her ankles and legs from the knee down which drives him into a frenzy and he tries to have his way with her and is only stopped when she knocks him out with some blunt force trauma to his brain. When he wakes up the next day, she apologizes for hurting him and he leaves. My jaw just dropped after this scene; I’d really like to know just what the hell Gainax was thinking by putting this scene in. I can’t figure out any other motive then they wanted to show some explicit fan service to sell tapes.

Anyways, like I said, that scene pushed it down to but the whole thing had problems. A couple of characters that were likeable and had some actual character development might have gone a long way to making this show decent. A well-plotted story would have also helped immensely. And for the most part the show lacks the trademark trappings of a Gainax production; being the first thing they did I guess that makes sense but if it at least had some of the style of their future productions like Gurren Lagann or FLCL then there’d be something to pay attention to. The one small Gainax thing that this show does feature is interesting vehicle/machine design but that’s hardly any reason to watch The Wings of Honneamise.

That’s about all I feel like writing about The Wings of Honneamise, I wished it would have been a better movie but hindsight being what it is – I’m glad the movie was made because without it Gainax might not have ever existed and we’d have lost all their other good stuff.

Essential Information

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6 thoughts on “The Wings of Honneamise Movie Review”

  1. I have a lot of the same hang ups about the film that you do, but I don’t think I’d be as harsh as to say that overall it’s a total failure of a movie. Just in comparison to other things I’ve seen way worse. If anything Wings is a movie with a decent visuals and nice ideas, but the unpolish and disconnection between scenes has all the classic hallmarks of a rookie production team. I just wouldn’t call it awful.

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  2. Wow this is a terribly just awfully written review attempt….just….wow…..haphazard in every way and without anything resembling structure, cohesion, purpose or focus. The Non sequitur nature of it all almost serves to remind one of Jason Miao’s writing style, but that’s not the key problem here.

    The problem as with pretty much all of your review attempts that I’ve seen is two-fold:

    The first problem is that you spend almost as much time talking about why you did or didn’t assign a title this or that score as you do actually talking about the content and execution. When you open the newspaper and head to the review section to see your latest movie review by a professional critic do you see him explaining why he/she did or didn’t give a movie 3 stars instead of 2 and a half? No, because it’s entirely pointless to the goal at hand which is to give the public an idea of whether the movie is worth the price of admission in their eyes. If the review is well written and covers the necessary areas of content and criticism then it should speak for itself as to why the critic assigned it the score they did.

    The second issue is that the time you actually do spend talking about the movie, which frankly should form the entire body of any good review is largely wasted on irrelevant and useless topics. For example in this one instead of taking a look at the overall movie, the characters, the plot and where you thought it might have erred or triumphed and explaining why you spend almost an entire paragraph summarizing one incidental scene in the movie that you even admit you felt was ancillary to the narrative of the film itself. Even a brief attempt to explore other areas of this title like the core plotline and/or the major characters and their story arcs and the issues you had with them would have helped to make this review attempt a little more meaningful and of note.

    Ask yourself this question, what purpose is any of the body of this review attempt supposed to serve to anyone who may want to check out this film you want to dissuade them from watching other than to see you juggle number and letters and summarize an incidental scene? Go back to square one, really look at what you didn’t like about Wing of Honnemaise and then come back and explain it properly to the people who are going to be reading it. You at least owe people that much if you are going to call something a review.

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  3. @Kaioshin Sama: I was just thinking that I haven’t heard from you in a while 🙂

    I had one of those moments when I realize that other people aren’t mind readers. You mention professional movie reviews and I realized that I’ve never talked about how I absolutely hate professional reviews for movies and books – can’t stand them and haven’t read one for the purpose of deciding on the merits of a movie/book in years. I’ll read them after the fact to compare what they thought to what I thought but not before. The reason for this is that I came to really hate the level of spoilers oftentimes found in a review and also because I realized reading a review primed me to think of the movie in a similar way as the reviewer and I wanted to form my own opinion.

    So, I’m purposely not writing my reviews like the ones that can be found in newspapers and other professional venues, I’m writing a review that closer fits what I want to see in a review. The way I conceive of writing a review is the actual meat and most important part of the review is the area where I rank the show and give it’s pros and cons. I really don’t want to dissect a movie further then that and if it was me reading this review, I’d stop reading at that point because I got all the information I want – I don’t want an indepth vivisection of the movie, I want to know what the reviewer thinks. I include the story section to give a very brief overview in case someone has never heard of the show I’m reviewing and the thoughts and reflections (which you call the body of the review) as an area where I can mention items that don’t fit well in the rankings/pros and cons section.

    I do appreciate the comment; I hardly think I’m perfect so any constructive criticism is appreciated. Maybe what I could do is create another section to my reviews that handles a deeper analysis of the show for readers such as yourself.

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  4. “I don’t want an indepth vivisection of the movie, I want to know what the reviewer thinks.”

    Why do you think these are mutually exclusive? You say that ranking a movie is your biggest priority, but according to what criteria? I see a lot of distaste for a particular scene, without guessing at what narrative purpose it might have had, in regards to the characters involved; even if the intentions fail to stack up (in my view, it does and it doesn’t). You merely describe the scene, and then say you find the outcome abhorrent and baffling. Reminds me of a particular Christian review of Last Temptation of Christ: the reviewer just couldn’t get past the sight of a classical wavy-haired Christ in a sexual embrace, though even he or she understood the scene and its context.

    Here you have a sexual assault scene where the victim ultimately apologises to her attacker for swiftly putting him in his place. I’d say: she’s frigid and bound up in apocalyptic dogma, and he’s the hedonistic, impulsive (potentially dangerous) idiot who confirms her suspicions about humanity. They’ll now never concord like they might have, but they strike up an altered, conditional friendship; they each take something from the encounter in regards to each other, in differing shades of good and bad. These are three-dimensional traits you don’t see too often in anime, even if (perhaps) the execution of the scene was poor.

    The other pointless digression which occupies most of your review is about Gainax, and how they “had to start somewhere”. For starters, it’s worth mentioning they didn’t obtain roughly eight-million dollars for nothing. They clearly convinced their financiers of the artistic merits of their project. There’s no shortage of interesting, subtle, humorous material to pay attention to, despite your claim that it scores a zero on the “Rewatchablity” scale. Maybe you should watch it again.

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  5. 1. Financiers don’t care about artistic merits. It’s the demographic guarantee of income they want to see. The first is for governments funding propaganda campaigns and the New York Times slashing front page ad prices by half for certain messages they find aesthetically pleasing.

    2. I watched around 30 or so minutes of Wings of H, first part. While the world was built around interesting lines, I did not find the plot or the characters all that interesting enough to hold my attention. The protagonist looked way too depressed and lazy and de-motivated. And judging by a sneak peek at part 2, that didn’t really change.

    3. I’m one of those that agree with Steel’s view of critics. Now a days, if a critic at the newspapers hates a movie like Reign of Assassins, the chances are that I will like it in inverse proportion to their complaints. That’s how out of touch these newspaper journalist cum propagandists are. Reading negative or positive “reviews” is basically asking to be brainwashed and hit by propaganda, one way or another. Especially when the reviewer offers no logic, just the statement and claim that it is so. If people want to be fed propaganda and have entertainment brainwash them, then finding their recommendations amongst more propaganda entertainment in the form of journalist reviews, might be a favored route. I know too many propaganda techniques to find that route pleasing.

    4. It’s mutually exclusive because the New York Times doesn’t pay their reviewers to think about movies. They’re paid to feel and express their feelings as fact. Being able to think is only allowed to editors. That’s why outlining the plot is the best that can be expected out of them. But even wikipedia has a more coherent take on the plot summary most of the time.

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  6. I was pretty shocked at the negativity of this review – for a 1987 movie this movie has very good production values and a very interesting plot and execution. When you consider its cost (rather high for an anime) this movie was quite a bold effort.

    I may have to watch it again since it’s been a while, but I consider this one a classic.

    As for the rape scene; you might want to check out the Manga Entertainment version, which cut the scene out – it much, much better without it.

    Maybe you were looking too hard for Gainaxy things that you missed some of the points where it shines in it’s own light.

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