Without doubt, Wings of Honneamise ("Tsubasa no Oniamisu") is one of the finest animated films ever produced. Unlike the other classics of anime like Nausicaš or Akira, Honneamise had rather humble beginnings. In 1987, a relatively unknown 24-year-old otaku named Hiroyuki Yamaga took a 4-minute 8mm "garage video" called "Royal Space Force" to Daicon, Japan's premier SF convention. The film impressed executives at Bandai so much that they gave Yamaga an incredible eight hundred million yen to produce a feature-length film. Honneamise's success shot Yamaga to national fame, and Gainax, the animation studio, has become next only to Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli in terms of popularity among anime fans.
What has distinguished Honneamise from the rest is its spectacular use of detail. From the vividness of the watercolor paintings of the opening credits to the incredible retro designs of the airplanes, Honneamise creates such a rich visual display of metaphorical detail that perhaps can only be fully appreciated after repeat screenings. Ryuichi Sakamoto, the composer for films like The Last Emperor and Black Rain, has created a musical score that masterfully augments the film's visual poetry. As if details weren't enough, viewers are also challenged to peel away layers of Honneamise's thematic content. The "alternate world" of Honneamise symbolizes the shattered dream of a new era, an age when industrialization was supposed to bring equality and peace to the masses but has instead brought misery and despair; it depicts the frustration and restlessness of the younger generation who are powerless to implement social change. In many ways, Honneamise reflects our world.