I knew you would love Pet Girl, great show. It's a shame it never got picked up over here id say it's a MVM type release but suppose you can just import.
Yeah, it really is. Sadly, I don't think it ever will now, despite how great it is.crashmatt said:I knew you would love Pet Girl, great show. It's a shame it never got picked up over here id say it's a MVM type release but suppose you can just import.
The Royal Space Force is a space program set on the fictional Kingdom of Honneamise which is where we meet the protagonist, Shirotsugh Lhadatt. Although the space program boasts a 30 year history it has yet to bear any fruits and has been rendered not only a joke among the people of Honneamise and a burden on the government itself. Even the cadets enrolled onto the space program itself have all but lost hope as they lounge around without purpose, drive or determination and as they do so the notion of getting anything into space at this point becomes ever more ludicrous. Furthermore, as an impending war looms over the nation the money being sunk into the Royal Space Force is seen as a waste of resources and causes upset among the people. Honneamise is a prosperous place, a kingdom amidst an industrial revolution but like many developing nations it’s clear that the distribution of wealth is uneven at best. It is here that Shirotsugh Lhadatt sees hope and optimism, among the people of Honneamise when he meets a young religious woman named Riquinni Nonderaiko and it is here where his destiny changes course.
Although the people behind The Wings of Honneamise are today seen as immensely talented individuals, at the time they were unknown quantities, amateurs fresh out of college and so the production of this now highly revered and respected film was seen as an impossible task because this wasn’t the way things operated back then, but this is far from the only breaking of old conventions. Many of the anime films from this period of time were not only based upon pre-existing properties, mainly compilations of TV series but also directed by people with extensive portfolios, factors that led credibility to the projects and instilled confidence into its investors. To create a wholly original film, to entrust eight hundred million Yen and launch your animation production initiative off the back of this unknown quantity is without a doubt a breaking of old ways. The parallels between the story of Wings of Honneamise and the team behind the film itself is evident, the unlikely tale of a group of geeks and nerds doing the impossible and defying all odds.
Animation since its inception has been a medium aimed at kids; however this was a notion that had been quickly diminishing in Japan. The potential to tell stories beyond talking anthropomorphic animals was becoming ever clearer. In fact this was a period in which the audience themselves were becoming the creators which led to the creation of works such as Wings of Honneamise. One of the greatest assets of animation is the freedom it affords its creators to construct wholly new and interesting worlds, worlds devoid of constrains of the real world. To create from nothingness and to construct a whole new world, with new methods of transport, clothes and languages, this is what anime affords its creators and Wings of Honneamise was created when this idea started to take hold, as the amateurs started to become the ones in charge, the ones that would go on to create the foundation for anime today.
It’s clear that many of these sentimentalities were instrumental to the later Gainax works such as Evangelion, creations that weren’t appealing to sponsors at the time and unorthodox in nature. There was a consensus within Gainax at the time that during their youth it would be more productive to create something strange and different, maybe even ugly because as they matured they would then be able to think more about balance. After all, their stay within the industry wasn’t guaranteed, they had no idea that they’d still be making anime decades later and so an all-out approach made more sense. It was a means of creating an identity for Gainax as well as an atmosphere that puts its creators first. It was stated for example by the director that his friend Hideaki Anno was great at animating explosions and so he decided that the climax of the film would feature them prominently in order to bring out the best of Anno’s abilities. Instead of the director creating a story that he liked and having everybody else make it for him, he thought about what stories the staff would want to make instead.
In fact at the time the biggest name on the production of Wings of Honneamise was Ryuichi Sakamoto. Although the YMO keyboard/vocalist was hired to compose the soundtrack, he wasn’t alone. Sakamoto ended up composing four themes and two other composers, Haruo Kubota and Yuji Nomi composed the rest. The idea behind this was to diversify the soundtrack of the film just like the visuals. Personally I found some pieces to work better than others, with some pieces actually diminishing the effect of the scene and feeling out of place. The music is definitely an acquired taste and works for some people more than others. The main theme by Sakamoto itself is fantastic however with many different renditions featured throughout the film with the ending credits version being the best.
There’s no denying that the Wings of Honneamise is a spectacle and a film of epic proportions and a lot of its most ambitious effects and set pieces are the work of Hideaki Anno. Adorned with the title Special Effects Artist, a title that was rare within animation at the time, Anno had the job of executing the animated equivalent of special effects that you’d see in live action film. It’s true that special effects are as much of a character as the characters that star in the films themselves and this isn’t a new phenomenon. People were flocking to the theaters just to see the set-pieces. There’s a weight to the mecha within Wings of Honneamise with a fanatic attention to detail that brings them to life with even attention being brought to the tiniest of details within the inner workings of the machines which adds credibility to the world and makes it more tangible. Being known for his depictions of explosions, a great deal of emphasis is placed upon them within the film. The explosions themselves are multi-layered, starting with shock-waves and then the flames themselves swelling up as shrapnel scatter. Different tones of orange are used to represent the different intensities and temperatures. To further the point, in a scene towards the end bits of ice fall down and each shard is animated by hand, with each one moving at its own speed with some twisting and turning as they fall. What this does is allow the animator to represent occurrences and phenomena that would otherwise be invisible to the viewer such as gravity and inertia. You could argue that up until this point most special effects utilised within anime was used as a means of depicting supernatural phenomena and battles but here it was used as a means of solidifying this world and making it feel as real as possible.
It’s abundantly clear the visuals have aged like fine wine and the story itself is as timeless as one can be, however I will note that a lot of the cuts and transitions from scene to scene are pretty odd and the whole film is marred with strange pacing issues. Likewise, a lot of the music choices are strange with some not fitting in with the scenes themselves at all. Was this another attempt of discarding old conventions and doing away with what is deemed acceptable, choosing to purposely create something weird and odd to stimulate the audience in a different manner? Maybe, and if that’s the case then the team succeeded. Director Hiroyuki Yamaga himself stated that the film in hindsight was uneven and unbalanced so I’m not the only one feeling this way. Nevertheless, the quirks do etch out a unique identity for this film and also one for Gainax, a studio that went against the grain for many years later and so it’s fitting, after all as Hiroyuki Yamaga mentioned the studio was blindly swinging around at the time with the idea of finishing the film itself being a huge question mark on the production.
It’s fair to say that I’ve avoided the elephant in the room, the controversial scene that takes place halfway into the film. I won’t go into specifics as a means to avoid spoilers but also due to the simple fact that I could easily dedicate a whole post to that scene alone in a much more nuanced fashion but I will mention that the scene is still a blight on an otherwise fantastic film, and not because of what happens in the scene and the subject matter at hand but rather because of how the film fails to follow up on that scene in any meaningful fashion thereafter. You can see their intentions but it just felt horribly out of place and I feel that the film overall doesn’t lose anything by removing that scene altogether, with many releases doing exactly that, although many would argue otherwise. One could argue that it intensifies the tragic nature of Riquinni’s character but that could have been done in other, less ham-fisted ways. Others may argue that the film follows a downhill trajectory after this scene that it never recovers from but I wouldn’t go that far, but I won’t deny that a bitter taste was left in my mouth throughout the remainder of the film. That’s not to say that I still don’t hold this film in high regards, but I honestly feel that the film is a stronger one without that scenes presence. There are many breakdowns of the scene, defenses and condemnations and so I implore you to read them for yourselves and make up your own mind. I do believe that the film has a stronger first half and that the second half is weaker outside of the final scene, with some weird tonal shifts here and there but the second half is not without merit.
Whatever stance you take on that scene, it’s hard to deny the legacy of this film and the impact that it has had on the animation industry. For all of its quirks and all of its abnormalities Honneamise managed to forge an identity that is unlike any other film, one that is enriched in history and shrouded by a fascinating production that ultimately paved the way for what would become a storied studio. Despite its shortcomings, The Royal Space Force is a must see spectacle, a film that glistens like the stars 30 years later.
It always saddens me a little that Gainax have never done anything quite like Honneamise ever again. Maybe it's doing them a disservice to say so, but I feel there's a degree of serious artistic intent in that film that I've just not seen in anything else they've done. I don't grudge them their reputation as fan-centric entertainers, but I feel they do (or at least did) have it in them to make something a bit more arthouse friendly as well.qaiz said:Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise
I don't think it's anything you did. It's actually airing over the Summer season, but all 13 episodes were previewed on a special app in Japan last week, so Crunchyroll were able to get all 13 episodes up for premium members on Friday. I just watched it within the first 24 hours it was available.Professor Irony said:ReLIFE was something that had completely escaped my notice (maybe I kept getting it mixed up with Re:Zero), but I think I'll actually give that a shot now.
Space Adventure Cobra is the 1982 movie adaptation of the Buichi Terasawa penned manga which was subsequently adapted into a television series of the same name months later. Although both adaptations were helmed by the master Osamu Dezaki and resemble one another visually, embellished in his trademark pastel visage and littered with his patented postcard memories, vignettes that capture key moments, the two adaptations still feel wholly individual, both interesting and worthy of your time.
Although the visual fidelity of this film isn’t that much greater than the TV series the visuals are still delightful due to the fantastic art, attractive character designs and a great use of colours. Cobra swaps out raw detail for style but that doesn’t mean that it’s lacking substance. Like the television series, Space Adventure Cobra looks better in motion due to the use of dynamic camera angles that are utilised in order to manipulate the viewer’s sense of space, perspective and orientation and a great sense of lighting is employed to create a unique feeling of speed to each scene. The Space Cobra franchise is home to a myriad of psychedelic imagery however the hallucinogenic visuals are dialed up to a significant extent in the theatrical film. The film opens up with a James Bond-esque title sequence that’s a treat for the eyes with scantily dressed women floating across space, silhouettes of people against backdrops of ocean waves and profiles of seagulls against the sky in a segment that’s both intoxicating to look at and super stylish. Its depictions of space travel is simple but effective, with dark blacks juxtaposing with bright neon and florescent bursts of colours being used when traveling at fast speeds. In typical Dezaki fashion, Space Cobra is embellished with a painterly visage, a style that is timeless and looks amazing all these years later, trading fine detail for a more vibrant and fun aesthetic. Dezaki also manages to incorporate his patented pastel freeze frames seamlessly within the film during explosions and such events. The Dezaki/Akio Sugino duo are extra adventurous here with loads of experimental camera angles and unorthodox transitions.
Visually one of the key differences is funnily enough something that mightn’t register with the viewer at first but is painfully obvious and it’s the fact that whereas the TV series is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, the film is presented in 16:9 widescreen. Although it’s a simple alteration that is brought about due to the format change the larger screen real-estate allows for more scenery and action to be depicted at a single time. The 4:3 aspect ratio has never been a hindrance in my opinion but the widescreen format does exude a greater sense of freedom to each scene.
Since the televised series was 31 episodes in length a great deal of plot is omitted from the theatrical film and so for a person whose already seen the TV series a great deal of frustration may occur when key moments that would make for great transitions on the big screen are absent. The television series focused on an ensemble of villains however the film zones in on a single antagonist however I felt that this focus was squandered. Even with a 1 hour 40 minute run-time the film wastes little time with building character and the world. Instead it is very linear and goes from point of interest to point of interest without meandering which is upsetting due to the fact that the world of Cobra is fascinating and the side stories are exciting but as exhilarating as the Rugball arc is, it makes sense that the movie wouldn’t devote time to it. This is where the film failed to capture my interest, because it’s clear that it looks great visually and I find the characters and their designs endearing but there’s not much ground covered with character development and although that’s to be expected within reason due to the transition to film and hence the smaller run-time I’ve nevertheless seen smoother transitions elsewhere. It is a shame, because the silly hijinks that Cobra finds himself in is usually highly entertaining.
The Space Cobra franchise is no stranger to spiritual elements however it’s featured more prominently within the film which adds to the psychedelic visuals. Cobra has always been a series that is filled with crazy and weird occurrences, all of which are never explained which I can appreciate as less is indeed sometimes more. It’s clear everything in this world exists just as a means to look cool and indeed the film does look cool if not a little goofy here and there. The action unfortunately is a huge weak point in this film to a degree that made the last conflict boring. The invulnerable Cobra is often unphased by his obstacles, and that’s no different in the TV series however where the main villains in the TV series are defeated in imaginative and eccentric manners like video game bosses, we never see this in the film.
The excitement towards Cobra for me originates from the little stories that surface from the journey across the galaxy and although it’s nice to have a high production film focusing on a single arc, the opportunity was somewhat wasted. On paper the Crystal Boy arc is a perfect candidate for a film adaptation, however the illustrious golden humanoid cyborg is neither strong nor intimidating in this version which of course is a huge disappointment. My tone towards this film may come across as solely negative but the truth is I still enjoyed it quite a bit. My negativity stems from my prior experiences with the television series. As I stated previously I'm aware that the transition comes with some caveats due to the format and run-time changes and so I never expected a 1:1 transition but it’s still a slight disappointment. Space Cobra is a fun film, but it can be a little boring due to the lack of stakes but this adaptation does take some liberties with the material and so a few surprises do await.
Space Adventure Cobra is a stylish, sci-fi romp across the galaxy with a slick soundtrack and goofy hijinks galore. Encapsulating a now bygone era in which we once looked towards the future to be a utopia filled with flying cars and jet-packs the film is a product of its time and is all the better for it. Although the action is a little dull and the story is nowhere as eccentric and energetic as the television series, the film is still a fun experience that succeeds in entertaining its audience during this brief stint across the galaxy.
I get where you're coming from about missing the world building and character development, but I dunno, I would honestly struggle to choose between the Cobra film and the tv series, simply because I found them so very different. The film's atmosphere seemed far more brooding and introspective, compared with the jaunty humour of the tv version. Coupled with the changes to the storyline, I thought the film had a melancholy, tragic quality to it that, alongside the much stronger influence of psychedelia, made it quite unique. I don't know whether I'd feel any differently if I watched it with the original score though - my preferred version is still the old Manga UK dub with the soundtrack by Yello.qaiz said:Space Adventure Cobra: Review (1982, Film)