My favourite animated film and sadly unappreciated is Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise. The story is set in a fictional world where space travel has not yet been achieved and based around a cadet from the Royal Space Force who wants to see that change despite his peers thinking it is a suicide mission as all previous attempts have resulted in death. Royal Space Force and Akira were the two big Anime that marked the rise of that subculture in the West during the late eighties. Unfortunately, it was Akira that received all the attention from the fan base as it catered to an adolescent audience more than Royal Space Force, which is a drama and has a slower pace
and it's a shame. Admittedly, I didn't get into Royal Space Force on the first watch – however, repeated viewings have made me realise this film is not only better than most Anime – it is one of my top ten favourite films along side 2001: A Space Odyssey. The story has a rich number of themes being explored – knowing your place in the world and then understanding how trivial we are in the context of the universe, it looks at religion, the military-industrial complex, the relationship between men and women, loyalty, self-respect and most importantly – following one's dreams. The soundtrack is perfect for this as is the wonderful animation by GAINAX, the studio behind Neon Genesis Evangelion – there's an amazing montage sequence towards the end of the film that is so ambitious it is up there with the jump cut from the bone to the space station in 2001. I love this film, it is my favourite science fiction and it is the film I would recommend first from this list. Watch it once, give it day then watch it again.