Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (王立宇宙軍 オネアミスの翼, Ōritsu Uchūgun: Oneamisu no Tsubasa) is a 1987 film that was Studio Gainax's first major anime production after it made its name with the famous Daicon IV short. The film is directed and written by Hiroyuki Yamaga.
In an Alternate Universe, Shirotsugh "Shiro" Lhadatt (voiced by Leo Morimoto) is a slacker from a middle-class family in the kingdom of Honneamano, who dreamed of flying airplanes since he was young — but his grades weren't good enough, so he ended up as part of their fledgling space program, the eponymous Royal Space Force. The program is essentially a joke — a collection of old dreamers assembling test rockets and a few young slackers and never-do-wells rejected by the real military and twiddling their thumbs when they're not being guinea pigs. Then, on one night on the town, Shiro sees a young woman passing out religious pamphlets in the middle of the Red Light District; for not entirely pure reasons, he takes one, and meets the woman, Riquinni Nonderaiko (Mitsuki Yayoi), later. During their meeting, he's amazed at her enthusiasm when she learns that Shiro's an astronaut in training. Riquinni seems enraptured at the thought of man literally and metaphorically ascending beyond the sinful world, and Shiro's agreement becomes more genuine by the second.
Later, the leader of the space program, Dr. Gnomm (Chikao Ohtsuka), announces that they're going to make an all-or-nothing gamble: to actually send a man into space. All they need is a volunteer.
Royal Space Force follows the growth of the alternate space program from the design stages through the final countdown to launch, alongside the development of Shiro's courtship of Riquinni — and how her religious faith affects him. Meanwhile, the Space Force is being used as a political pawn, and it's not sure whether Shiro will be able to launch...
Tropes of Honnêamise:
- Alternate Universe: The setting is similar to Earth during the early Space Age, but almost everything — geography, vehicles, telephones, clothing, eating utensils, you name it — is at least slightly different from what we know. The film is a stunning example of World Building.
- Anti-Hero: Shiro, an ordinary man who decides to volunteer for a little space project.
- The Atoner: Part of Shiro's Character Development. His training in the Royal Space Force and relationship with Riquinni cause him to gradually realise he's been a pompous, self-centered jock for years, and make him question his attitudes. Ultimately, he becomes more compassionate to others as a result. One of the tipping points is when he nearly rapes Riquinni, only to come to his senses and be overcomed by a massive feeling of shame. That Riquinni is nice and forgiving to him even after he sexually assaulted her only twists the blade further. The embarrassment over the whole thing changes Shiro for the better.
- Car Fu: At the railway station, the assassin tries to kill Shiro with a street sweeper.
- Chekhov's Gun: Something of a meta-example: The movie starts with an extended montage of abstract portraits of what are presumably the great figures of Shiro's world. The paintings seem to depict eerily familiar alternate universe versions of Winston Churchill, the Dalai Lama, and Kaiser Wilhelm, among others. The montage returns at the end of the movie, and Shirotsugh has become one of these figures.
- Cool Guns: The silenced pistol of the assassin sent to kill Shiro. Not only is it silent but in order to load every shot the user must lean the gun backwards (so the gun will open by itself, ejecting the spent cartridge) and then lean the gun forward again (so the action will go back to its firing position). Its apparent case of Awesome, but Impractical is offset by the fact the assassin is absurdly dogged in his chase.
- Cool Plane: Honneamise's pusher-prop and jet fighters (based on the Kyushu J7W), the Republic's jet fighters (based on Cold War designs), and a couple of large transport/tanker planes.
- Costume Porn: Part of the World Building, including the court robes, ornate military uniforms, and Shiro's realistic spacesuit.
- Constructed World: The film is set in an alternate version of Earth, with no recognizable real-life countries and a considerably different pattern of history, with the in-universe present day being a collage of various decades.
- Creepy Child: Manna, Riquinni's sister. Her demeanor is justified: Manna is clearly the product of an abusive home. Riquinni says that her parents used to yell a lot, and when Shiro tries to rape Riquinni, only to be knocked out, Manna wakes up, blinks, then goes right back to sleep as if nothing unusual had happened.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: Riquinni's preaching of her religion sounds a lot like Evangelical Christianity; however, the mythology shown in its holy book has Ancient Greek and Eastern themes.
- Culture Chop Suey: Honneamise and the Republic both look like a combination of Japan, Europe, and Mayincatec.
- Diesel Punk: More than just an aesthetic. Almost every item of technology was re-imagined with no reference to earthly designs. The world has coins, motorcycles, etc., but not like you've ever seen.
- Dawn of an Era: Everyone on the battlefield stops to watch in awe as the rocket launches.
- Epic Movie: The film is designed as the animated equivalent of one, featuring lavish animation, a Pop-Star Composer in the form of the frontman for the single most iconic and influential band in Japanese history, and a grand, drawn-out story that takes place over the course of two hours (which by animation standards may as well be eons) and concludes in a flashy climax.
- Extreme Doormat: Riquinni passively accepts most of the troubles that befall her in the film, because of her faith.
- A Father to His Men: The chair-chucking second-in-command of the space force may be an ill-tempered hard-ass, but he firmly objects to cutting any of the pre-launch procedures, even under the threat of enemy attack.
- Fictional Currency: Honneamise's rod-shaped money.
- Gainax Ending: The film ends with a highly symbolic montage of humanity's history and a prayer for the betterment of mankind, which while not as extreme of a case as, say, Neon Genesis Evangelion, is still somewhat left-field compared to everything leading up to it.
- GoldSilverCopper Standard: Implied when Shiro drops his cash on the street for the beggars, though Honneamise uses rods instead of coins.
- Implacable Man: The assassin sent to kill Shiro. The sequence in which Shiro tries to run away (and eventually get rid of) the man lasts five minutes with increasingly crazy stunts, culminating with Shiro hijacking a truck and trying to run over the man, and every time Shiro thinks he's dodged the man he gets nearly hit yet again by his silenced pistol.
- Jerkass: Though it's somewhat justified by the circumstances, Shiro is apathetic, disrespectful, sleazy and thoroughly selfish. What definitely isn't justified is when he attempts to rape Riquinni, although it seems to be the key to his Character Development as he becomes much more serious and dedicated after she apologizes to him for fighting back, which makes Shiro realize what kind of person he really is.
- A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away...: The film's world is designed to bear only a tangential resemblance to Earth, being far-removed from the real world and with the only real analog to The Present Day being a low-level conflict between two superpowers.
- Love Bubbles: Subverted. After Shiro first meets Riquinni preaching in the Red Light District, the scene fades to Shiro sleeping in a field of flowers. It turns out that he was actually sleeping in the bunk of the guy who died before the film started, with the funeral bouquets still in it.
- Near-Rape Experience: In what may be the film's most shocking scene, Shiro momentarily becomes lustful of Riquinni and nearly rapes her, but he stops himself when he notices the terror in her eyes. (She knocks him out by smashing an urn on his head.) The next morning, when Shiro tries to apologize, Riquinni instead begs Shiro to forgive her for defending herself! It seems these scenes were done to hammer the point home that Shiro was (until then) still a self-absorbed asshole, who ultimately just wanted to take advantage of her. Given how we see him being shocked by her apology and the positive changes in his behaviour (both towards Riquini and his work) that follow, the scenes were hardly meant as just a pure Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, but more of An Aesop.
- It also gives Shiro a new drive to succeed. As his conversation with Matti afterward shows, Shiro needs some kind of redemption - but Riquinni can't forgive him because she's incapable of understanding that there was something that needed forgiving. Hence, he has to find his own redemption in becoming the first man into space instead.
- In keeping with Riquini's portrayal as a deeply religious person, this is exactly how "turning the other cheek" is supposed to work, leaving the offender face to face with his sin and burning with shame over it.
- No OSHA Compliance: The Royal Space Force's workshop, due to a tight budget.
- Pop-Star Composer: The film's score is provided by Yellow Magic Orchestra frontman Ryuichi Sakamoto.
- Promotion to Parent: Riquinni.
- The Republic: Honneamise's unnamed rival in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Scenery Porn: Tons of it, partially helped by the in-universe cities that look different yet oddly similar to ours.
- Shout-Out: The rocket used to launch Shiro is plainly a Vostok-K similar to the one that launched Yuri Gagarin into space in 1961.
- Shown Their Work: Shiro accurately describes what it takes for a spacecraft to achieve orbit. It must be traveling at a fast enough horizontal speed (tangential to the surface) that it can remain in freefall without hitting the ground, and it must be outside the atmosphere to prevent friction from slowing it down.
- The Siege: The battle waged at the end to keep the launch site of the rocket from being captured.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The male and female leads are Shirotsugh and Riquinni, but if you transliterate their names from the end credits, they are Shirotsugu and Riikuni.
- Springtime for Hitler: The Space Force was ordered to assemble the rocket near a border area, hoping to cause a military incident. In addition, the nobles sponsoring the operation needed a way to cancel the space program without losing face, and intentionally set the launch site in the demilitarized zone in the hopes enemy forces would destroy the both the rocket and the Space Force itself.
- Tap on the Head: Shiro is knocked unconscious one night. The next morning he's up and about with no ill effects.
- Wingdinglish: The writing in Honneamise and the Republic.
- The World Is Just Awesome: Naturally, Shirotsugh has one of these moments when he becomes the first human ever to leave the planet's atmosphere.
- Zeppelins from Another World: During the assassin chase, gaudily-decorated airships are seen drifting in the skies above the slums.