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Hany in the Sky
はにい いん ざ すかい
(1989)

 
 

You've got to admit that sometimes the most nonsensical, daft, and plain stupid stuff comes out of Japan. But then again that's usually what makes so many Japanese games so interesting.
There aren't many better examples of this than Hany in the Sky, a bizarre PC Engine curio of 1989 that pits cute little Hany (a rocket-powered Haniwa idol) against a wrongdoing and adulterous demigod. Sound weird? OK... Let's take it from the top.
In Japan, 'Haniwas' are iconic figures of sorts, dating back to the ancient Kofun Era (250-700 AD), a time when the country's mixed populace (mostly settlers from the Chinese mainland) were dominated by a highly aristocratic society with militaristic rulers. As part of the new emerging Japanese style of the period, Haniwas were used as decorations for the enormous tombs constructed for this ruthless elite - usually lavish graves covered with earth mounds, and circled with a collection of Haniwa statues.
Placed above ground for all the living to see, these small, tubular figures constructed from coils of clay function as attendants to the departed as well as guardians of the tomb.
In Japanese, 'Haniwa' translates as 'clay circle'... These curious statuettes are a distinctive sight in Japanese museums and souvenir shops, and are highly symbolic of the period, 'Kofun', which itself translates as 'grave mound'.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fast Forward to the Japan of today, and like so many elements of the country's rich and beutiful heritage these Haniwa have become a distorted, 'cute' and over-commercialised bouncy little caricature to be sold to braindead cretins as a soft toy and/or as figurine to attach to their fucking mobile phone.
Or cast as a star in its own videogame of course, and that's just what Face did. Who can blame them? It's weird, wacky, and to all extents a little disconcerting - how can a gravestone idol be cute? Well, hey - it has to be said that little 'Hany' is quite sweet, and maybe that's why a distressed Buddha has called upon him to sort out his rampaging wife who has gone on a savage bender and distorted different plains of consciousness without his knowing.
Well, the weirdness just keeps on coming. In fact the 'weird factor' is so strong here that it comes as a pivotal accessory to the game itself, which to all extents is a perfectly acceptable shooting game in which you can rotate your weapon at different angles. Upgrades can be purchased by spending your cash/score at the end of every level - it is even possible to do certain stages over again to save up extra $$$. The soundtrack is catchy, the visuals are unique in their abstract design, and the gameplay is faultless - really challenging even, especially towards the later stages.
For Face, despite a semi-sequel Hany on the Road (1990) and the sleeper hit that was Alice (1990) this remains their hour of glory on the PC Engine: a distinctive, unique and charming little shooting game that became a massive underground cult, marking one of the more random highlights of the growing shooting game scene of the late 80s.
 


 
 
 
 
 

 
Hany In The Sky
はにい いん ざ すかい
PC ENGINE
DETAILS
Format PC Engine
Released 1 Mar 1989
Publisher Face
Product ID FA64-0001
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
An undeniably weird, twisted, haunting, and refreshing shooting game for the PC Engine.
Just look at that box art. Brilliant.

Standard PCE case, 2Mbit HuCard, booklet.

 

'Hany in the Sky' and 'Face' are registered trademarks of Face Co., Ltd.
'PC Engine' and 'NEC' are registered trademarks of NEC Corporation
Hany in the Sky TM & © 1989 Face All Rights Reserved
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