I had planed to continue my look at the Yamato franchise over the course of the next two months, however they’re a few things that are stopping me for doing that right now.
Due to a school thing, I’ll be taking a step back from the blog for a while, but I’ve prepared a few posts to tide you guys over until I return. Additionally their might be a few more articles from Denis coming soon.
But for this first post I wanted to look at something kind of related to the Yamato series, a title from one of the shows co-creators. So let’s look at another story from another universe altogether.
Hope you brought your dancing shoes.
Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecert 5tar 5system was directed by Kazuhisa Takenouchi and supervised and co-written by Leiji Matsuomto.
The film is based upon the album Discovery by French House act Daft Punk. At the time the band had some international success but not as much as they have since the release of Random Access Memory. The film works as an extended music video for the album, but features an overarching storyline.
The plot opens on an alien world where the blue skinned inhabitants are dancing the night away while listening to a band play. The band must be popular as their performance is broadcast throughout the planet and is picked up by a strange ship.
On the ship a shadowy figure sees the band and orders with minions to abduct the musicians.
Once on the ship it’s revealed that the kidnappers are in fact humans in a dimensionally shifting ship. With the band in toe the humans travel back to earth. But before the ship get’s away, the planet sends out a distress call that’s picked up by a pilot out in deep space. He follows the odd ship into our solar system, but ends up crashing away from the airfield the ship lands in.
The evil human uses technology to transform the band into humans, replacing their memories and changing their appearances. He turns the band into a brand new pop act that sweeps the charts (sounds like the real origin of the Spice Girls to me).
The band, now called the Crescendolls (a not so clever take on crescendo) becomes extremely popular selling records, shirts and even signing autographs.
As the group become over worked and become bigger and bigger stars the blue pilot starts planning a way to save the group from the evil pop music-marketing machine.
At a large concert the pilot lands on the stage and is able to free three of the members and manages to get them to safety. However, in the process the pilot is wounded.
While the majority of the band is free, the record label still continues to promote the band using their female bass player. The bands drummer goes undercover and tails the final brainwashed member and ends up frees her after the group wins a gold record.
Reunited the group are powerless to save the pilot as he dyes due to his injuries.
The band soon looks for a way back to their world. The search brings them to the home of the manager where they discover that they’re not the first alien group to be kidnapped but the latest in a series of groups who concurred the charts.
The four are captured and the shadowy manager tries to sacrifice them in a Cthulu like summoning ritual. While they escape, the evil spirt is still awakened.
The band tries to find their recorded memories stored away in the headquarters of the record label. Despite getting caught in the process and discovered for the aliens they are, earth’s scientists offer to help them get back to their home world.
With the combination of the pilot’s ship and earths space program the four are able to open a gate back to their world, however their not alone as the evil creature follows.
The Cthulu spirit tries to destroy the ship but is stopped by the ghost of the pilot. The band make it home and play a concert for not only their planet but the one they just escaped.
On the technical side, Interstella is a good-looking title.
The animation is clean, solid and fits with the whole idea of the film.
Additionally each of the characters has their own interesting designs that make them stand out. With their being no dialogue the majority of the story telling is done through body movement, something that the film seems to pull off. However as a side note, these characters also end up looking just a bit too familiar.
The band all share similar designs to other characters from Yamato, Galaxy Railways and Captain Harlock all titles that Matsumoto designed the characters for. While this isn’t a bad thing, it’ll be difficult for otaku not to notice the similarities while watching the film.
As stated before Insterstella is more or less a giant music video and as you’d expect the plot takes a backseat to the soundtrack, that being Daft Punk’s music.
DEspite this the editing is based around the action of the music and uses tight editing even speeding up the animation to stay in time with the music. This production trick helps the film flow.
Interstella isn’t a long film clocking in at 65 minutes, five minutes longer than the album itself.
Almost all of the film is animation based around the music with little breaks thrown in here and there in order to move the plot along. The film features no dialogue and as you’d imagine the plot is a bit of a mess because of it.
While it’s easy to explain the basic concept, the complexities of a space traveling story are lost in the shuffle due to the fast pace and lack of spoken words. But at the end of the day the focus isn’t on how they travelled through space but why.
However, Interstella isn’t famous for it’s story. In fact, the story is kind of a forgotten element.
Like many people, I have strong memories of this film, however I didn’t see it all the way through till I purchased the DVD 5 year ago.
In Ontario there were a number of dances that kept kids out of trouble (or at least that was they thought, fights had a tendency to happen from time to time) and several of the songs from this album/film were played at these dance.
The films opening One More Time is so entrenched in my brain due to these dances and it’s playtime on Much Music (the Canadian MTV) that it holds a special place in my heart.
That being said, that song is nothing compared to the awesomeness that is Digital Love. Despite my lack of people skills, I have strong memories of dance with girls to this song at these dances.
So what I’m trying to say is, Interstella 5555 is a mess of a story, but an amazing music video and it’s hard to hate it for that. The film was meant to be an ad for the album but manages to stay in your memory after the music has stopped.
While some might know the duo for their newest album or for Kanye West sampling them for a song, for a lot of people the music videos are linked to strong memories of dancing the night away.
Interstella 5555 was produced by Toei Animation and Daft Life Ltd. The film is licensed by Virgin Records.