Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (王立宇宙軍 オネアミスの翼, Ōritsu Uchūgun: Oneamisu no Tsubasa), released in 1987, is Studio Gainax's first major anime production after it made its name with the famous Daicon IV short.
In an Alternate Universe, Shirotsugh "Shiro" Lhadatt 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, 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 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...
After an obscure and quickly forgotten Macekred release in English as Star Quest, Manga Entertainment faithfully translated and released Royal Space Force in Western markets. Bandai Visual U.S.A. obtained the rights later and re-released it on HD-DVD and Blu-ray—on their premium label, which was actually named Honneamise after the film—with Manga's dub track. After Bandai went bust, the film was reissued by Maiden Japan, a company affiliated with Sentai Filmworks. Elsewhere in the English-speaking world, Honnêamise is available from Anime Limited in the UK and Ireland and Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.
Tropes of Honnêamise:
- Alternate Universe/Never Was This 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/Heel Realization: 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 harasses 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 insulted her dignity only twists the blade further. The embarassment 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 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.
- Creepy Child: Manna, Riquinni's sister.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: Implied when Shiro drops his cash on the street for the beggars, though Honneamise uses rods instead of coins.
- 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.
- 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 sleeping — in the bunk of the guy who died before the film started, with the funeral bouquets still in it.
- Near-Rape Experience/Attempted Rape/What the Hell, Hero?: 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.
- No OSHA Compliance: The Royal Space Force's workshop, due to a tight budget.
- 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 an R-7 similar to the one that launched Yuri Gagarin into space in 1961.
- 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.
- Surprisingly Similar Stories: The plot has a lot of similarities with the 1997 novel Titan by Stephen Baxter.
- 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.