Interstella 5555: A Mu5ical Anime and 5tory of Fandom

Imagine for a moment that you are in a band. One of the most successful and artistic disco / house bands on the planet. You have made it big, sold millions of albums. You’re gradually ticking off all of your life to-dos. Next on the list?

Work with a childhood hero.

French ‘robot’ duo Daft Punk, while recording their 2001 album Discovery, decided it was time to cross this to-do off their list. They didn’t just want to release Discovery as a CD of disconnected songs and unrelated video clips. What if they could release an entire film, with each song being a new chapter in the story? They just needed one special person, to make their next to-do a reality; their childhood hero, Leji Matsumoto.

Interstella 5555 – the original Na vi?

Inspired by the anime from their youth – such as Matsumoto’s Galaxy Express 999Daft Punk wrote the outline to their story, went to Matsumoto with the idea and the album, and got him on board as visual supervisor.

Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem became a reality and the result is a fun, heart-warming mix of funky tunes and and gorgeous 1970’s-style anime – containing, instead of any dialogue, Daft Punk’s entire Discovery album. You’re probably already familiar with some of the songs from this album – “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and “One More Time” – as they’ve gone on to become independent club classics and fodder for rap-artist remixes, that are still used to this day.

Regardless of whatever associations and uses the Discovery singles have picked up over the years, Interstella 5555 is sci-fi to the core. The movie begins on a planet of tall, talented blue people (some would say, the “original” Pandora / Na Vi / Avatar), four of which are in a band, playing a concert to thousands of happy, dancing fans. As “One More Time” draws to conclusion, we roll straight into the next song – “Aerodynamic” – while the band itself is attacked and drugged by a team of mask-wearing, paralysis-arrow-shooting space aliens. The four band members are kidnapped and taken to a galaxy far, far away…

Enter our hero, Shep, with the song “Digital Love” as his intro. He’s sent a distress signal from the people of Pandora Blue Planet, and – being in love with the gorgeous blonde lead singer of the band, Stella, races after their alien captors.

Our hero crash-lands in the forest, on the planet they’ve been taken to. Our favourite blue-skinned band are transformed, and have mind-control devices installed. The villain of the piece appears; his evil plan is revealed (cue much muh-huh-huh-ing)…
This transformation process is amazing and if you don’t watch the entire movie, you should at least check this part of it out – to “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger“.

Daft Punk, Anime-style

I won’t spoil any more for you. There’s a total of fourteen wonderful songs incorporated into the movie. Through both excellent animation and clever music synchronisation, we live, laugh and lament – and the whole experience leaves you with a wonderfully happy – yet anime – resolution. I think what I like most about it is that you can tell the piece has been loved. Daft Punk had this made, not because they wanted to sell more albums – Discovery had already been released for 2 years prior to Interstella 5555‘s release in 2003. They made it because they wanted to create something beautiful, with their childhood hero.

Even uber-cool arty French house bands consisting of robots have their fandoms.

You can watch Interstella 5555 on youtube –

2 Responses

  1. Avatar photo Nim says:

    There’s some really interesting discussion going on at if any fans of Interstella want to join in 🙂
    Comments on Reddit

    • Hirokazu says:

      Yeah, I know the Humans After All, although I haven’t boguht it yet. (I’m very behind, I know. XD) I LOVE the song Techonologic from it. That one is definitely my favourite from that album. But I like the other songs as well. 🙂

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