Royal Space Force: The Wings Of Honneamise is a terrific Japanese animé classic that tells the story of cadet Shiro Lhadatt, an ordinary young man from a world much like ours—but not—who signs on with the Royal Space Force. Although ridiculed by the government and public sectors alike, Shiro knows that one day he will be the first man in space. To his horror, he discovers that some military leaders are planning to use the space program to wage war, so he teams with a sympathetic group of scientists to complete the first launch. For adults, the film contains some cartoon nudity. (Laurie Sevano)
This disc is available as part of a two-disc set with the DVD. Special features are limited to the pilot film that became this feature and the theatrical teaser, both with optional English subtitles.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD shows improvements over the previously reviewed DVD by way of a cleaned up source element with much less edge enhancement. While edge enhancement is still visible, it is nowhere near as distracting as the previous release. The imagery is generally sharp and pixel breakup is not overly problematic. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc and VC-1-encoded HD DVD look identical. Both show noticeably dated colors, and source element artifacts are noticeable at times throughout. The animation generally looks flat and lifeless, although some scenes can have some pop, and noticeable noise can be seen in the darker scenes. Edge enhancement is also noticeable at times, although it is minor. (Danny Richelieu)
The Japanese Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is a marked improvement over the English-language Dolby Digital 2.0-channel soundtrack, which is strident and heavily distorted. The 5.1-channel mix incorporates a broad front stage with a decent use of the surround channels, although they are not used continuously throughout the presentation. When they are used, they generally create a well-defined stage with good imaging. Still, fidelity is dated, especially noticeable in canned effects.The 2.0-channel soundtrack is almost un-listenable.Three audio encodings are provided on both discs including two lossless Japanese-language encodings (5.1-channel Dolby TrueHD and "Surround" linear PCM, which is actually a 2.0-channel encoding). The third encoding is an English dubbed 2.0-channel Dolby Digital Surround Pro Logic® encoding (Dolby Digital Plus on the HD DVD). None of the three sound noticeably dated, although dynamic range is fairly limited. The TrueHD mix can be very good, but there are times when the dialogue is mixed strangely around the room using all of the channels, creating an effect like the audio is coming from a source that is hovering in the room. The two-channel encodings are heavily distorted at times, to the point where they are virtually un-listenable. Deep bass is delivered with force through the LFE channel, which is matched by the front full-range channels that often dip below 30 Hz. The TrueHD encoding is far and away the best on the discs. (Danny Richelieu)