Welcome to the Otaku Corner, Man In Black Review’s resident place for all things anime. Today we take a look at Interstella 5555, AKA the world’s longest music video.
Interstella 5555 was released in 2003 by Toei Animation, directed by Kazuhisa Takenochi, produced by Leiji Matsumoto, and features the music of Daft Punk’s Discovery album.
The plot of Interstella, the 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem follows four blue skinned alien musicians who are kidnapped and brought to Earth. They have their bodies altered and their memories changed, and are forced to follow their captor as they become the biggest musical sensation and make him tons of money. Before they have their memories erased, however, they send a distress signal. This makes its way to a star captain who just so happens to be a huge fan of the band, and he blasts off to Earth to rescue them.
Let me just get this out right now. I. Friggin’. Love. Daft Punk! I think they are without a doubt one of if not the greatest house/techno acts in history, and if I were to make a list of my favorite albums, Discovery, which this entire movie is built around, would probably rank in the top 10. It’s one of the few techno records that I can listen to comfortably without being at a rave or party, with most of the songs on there, including “Digital Love”, “Something About Us”, and “Face to Face” ranking among some my favorites. Needless to say, the music is what turned me onto this little movie in the first place. So why am I making such a big fuss about it? Well much like Fantasia, the music is practically the only sound and the main storytelling modem in the whole movie, which is, let’s face it, essentially an hour long music video that just so happens to have a plot. Think Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, but on a much grander scale.
The animation was helmed by Leiji Matsumoto, who is ranked up there with Hayao Miyazaki and Osamu Tezuka as one of the most influential anime directors out there. As such, the animation is very well done with nigh a hiccup in sight. The character designs are simple but eye fetching, and no, I’m not going to make any Avatar jokes. It’s pretty solid, but there isn’t much to write home about. (Okay, I will admit the spaceship shaped like an electric guitar is really cool.)
I made that plot synopsis brief and undetailed for a good reason. The writing, I have to say, is probably the movie’s weakest link, and that can be attributed to two factors. One factor is that the story is told almost entirely by the music, so there is no dialogue. Now there are few people who have mastered the art of wordless storytelling such as Pixar and the like, and even fewer who have been able to do it with just music. Of course the animation’s part in it is just as important, but the story and animation doesn’t always match the music. Discovery was released in 2000 but Intertella 5555 was released in 2003, so the story had to be built around the music instead of the other way around. There are parts where songs and scenes synch together perfectly, such as the scene where the alien rockers are turned into humans being paired up with “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, and the album’s love song, “Something About Us”, gives more weight to the most dramatic and romantic scene (which I won’t give away). But then there are scenes such as the ones involving the songs “Voyager” and “Superheroes” which don’t match up at all, and are only paired up because they appear in that order on the album. With Fantasia, they could choose whatever songs they wanted and make it all work. With Interstella 5555, they kind of wrote themselves into a corner. While it doesn’t really feel forced, it does seem a little awkward and out of place if you’re seriously looking and listening to both at the same time.
So what it all comes down to is that Interstella 5555 is great for both animation and music enthusiasts alike. If you don’t like Daft Punk’s music then chances are you’re not going to like this at all. If you are a fan of Daft Punk, then this is a much watch. If you’ve never heard of Daft Punk, what the hell are you doing reading this review? Go download their entire discography! DO IT! DO IT NOW!!! RUUUUUN!!!!!
I give Interstella 5555 a 7/10.
- The Otaku Corner: Afro Samurai (mibreviews.com)