“Interstella 5555”: More Of That Please

When I was in kindergarten, at the verge of 1990s, I had my first contact with foreign channels for children on the satellite TV. One of the things I remember watching – not understanding anything, since it was all in German – was an anime series “Queen Millenia”, which I remembered having a mix of – I didn’t understand it then, learned the lingo years later – superdeformed male characters with tiny black dots for eyes and tall and thin, gorgeous long-haired heroines with pointy noses (the titular character of Queen Millenia). Later, on one of my nostalgic research projects I learned the series also had music composed by Kitaro.

And then, about a week ago, I learned there is a feature length anime music video to a 2001 album “Discovery” by Daft Punk (whom I also know from TRON and “Get Lucky” and general cultural osmosis), made with the band’s heavy involvement (actually based on the narrative they came up during the recording session). This was enough for me to have a look at the movie, but what I wasn’t expecting was a sudden realization just as soon as the movie started that I recognize this particular style!

The look of the movie is beautiful, animation as smooth (not your typical anime 4-8 frames per second) as needed to make a video so well timed to the rhythm of the music, but the character design? Those dotted eyes on tiny men next to tall and thin, pointy-nosed heroes and heroines? These looked strangely familiar…

interstella5555

And indeed, Leiji Matsumoto is the person responsible for both of those works of anime accompanied by amazing music by established artists. In this case it tells a space opera story of an interstellar music band captured by an evil being to be exploited on Earth, and their rescue by a space hero. It’s told solely with the songs from the album and the amazing animation, no dialogue at all, and the ending is so charming that I even forgive one of the lamest ending tropes existing, because for this story, this aesthethic and this whole concept of a feature-length space opera music video this just makes sense (enigmatically put: we ALL were that kid, at least I’m sure I was. Still am, really.)

A wonderful piece of motion picture art. There should be more works like this. Please tell me there’s more.

You can read this and other reviews on my Letterboxd profile.

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