This is the first time I’ve reviewed anime for this site, so I’m still getting used to the whole deal. But I think on the surface Interstella 5555 is a film I’m excited to review. Being a fan of house music from way back, I can easily say Daft Punk is one of my favourite acts from the genre, making this film a lot more enjoyable from the very beginning.
As I alluded to above, every segment of the film was a perfect complement to the music that accompanied it. However, without any extra sound effects or exposition, the narrative was confusing at times. It’s
only through joining the dots together do you get the whole picture as to what’s happening (most notably the main antagonist Earl de Darkwood’s master plan). Not that it takes away from the story however, because if you understand the music and follow the animation closely you’ll put it together in your head fairly easily.
Being animated by studio Toei, I was anticipating the retro style in terms of characters and the environment. Despite the fact Akira Toriyama was not involved in this project, I still got a vibe of his trademark Dragon Ball character design in some areas. The vibrant colours and intergalactic groove of the story are suited well for a Daft Punk project. The only downside is the animators weren’t given a challenge where they could use a frame-by-frame art style to add drama and suspense, which could have given this film a little more class.
Despite the loss of dialogue and additional sound effects (except in a few key scenes where they were necessary), that is easily made up for with Discovery. The album on its own is enough to take you on a journey, one where you can use your imagination to create a story of your own. That’s how good it is. And of course, who can forget the two hit tracks off the album, One More Time and Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. Two house classics that are still as popular today as they were a decade ago, and two of Daft Punk’s standout songs. Granted they were meant to be here, but their addition to any film or visual piece is a plus in my book.
Being an hour long film, there wasn’t as much time as necessary to properly flesh out the characters. But what they lack in backstory, psychology or even dialogue, they make up for in emotion. The focus on bassist Stella was really well done, especially when it comes to her connection with her band-mates and their desire to return home. Suave astronaut Shep was also a standout character, as he had a clear motivation for coming to the band’s rescue, and his deep connection to Stella was drawn out at a necessary pace for the run-time. His dreams involving his waifu Stella were perfectly done and the songs used for the scenes showing the connection between the two of them were spot on.
As a music film, I enjoyed this a lot. However, I was checking the time in parts, but that’s no reflection on the story. In my eyes the most enjoyable anime series are the ones that pass by too quickly, simply for my ability to get lost in them. This wasn’t quite at that stage for me, but the music and its unique ability to get me lost was enough to find this a fun experience. I wish there were more great albums given an anime visual representation. The two blend together better than you’d expect.
Having never actually sat down and listened to Discovery from start to finish before watching this film, I can easily say this film was a stunning, entrancing and well executed visual journey. The album on its own is enough to suck you in, but the animation from Toei was simply icing on the cake and complemented the music perfectly. Seeing as the two men behind the masks wrote this themselves, that’s expected. Overall, a beautiful film that’ll have you celebrating and dancing so free for the rest of the day. I need to get that song on my iPhone right this second!