Interstellar Love II (Visually Enhanced)
I figured out how to make my own screencaps from the Interstella 5555 DVD, and the results are good enough to warrant a post to splash them on! But I do have more to say about this musical story too. Warning, spoilers abound.
…in the final analysis, this is very much a nostalgia piece and a lovefest for (and more significantly as Daft Punk came up with the concept) by the fans of Leiji Matsumoto’s work; a good example of what ghostlightning keeps harping away at in his blog We Remember Love.
The ANN article on Interstella that I mentioned last post talks about how the identification Shep = Fan works so well in the story. After all, Shep is literally a fan of the Crescendolls in the tale, so we are bound to identify with him. I think his death is necessary because Matsumoto fans can’t really stick around in the Leijiverse forever. They have to go out and study, work, at the very least refill their stash of instant noodles if they’re hardcore otaku. But Shep gets to do what every anime fan dreams of, meet and convey their feelings of appreciation toward the characters. The dead Shep’s spirit goes so far as to protect the Crescendolls on their way home, so this is Moe Fulfilled!
And my favorite scene is when the Shep, skulking around Earth, realizes what’s been done to the Crescendolls as he stares at a large screen. I like it because of this beautiful shot here:
The lovefest is not only thematic, but also visual. There are a myriad examples, so I’ll just mention a few.
When Baryl the drummer is secretly trailing Darkwood and Stella, he sports Tochiro’s hat (Tochiro’s hat becomes Tetsuro’s hat in the Leijiversal chronology, so it’s a very historical item). The main guard or security operator or whatever he is at the Crescendolls’ homeplanet is practically a clone of Yattaran, not only in appearance but also in his very behavior. When the Earthlings help the Crescendolls go back to their home planet on Shep’s spaceship, they send the ship off on a galaxy railway of the sort we see in Galaxy Express 999. The strangest link is Darkwood’s outfit in the Veridis Quo book the Crescendolls find, which looks the same as Nazca’s in Space Symphony Maetel.
It might seem there’s no need to point this out as it is obvious…
But the references themselves are obvious…
…and me pointing them out serves the same purpose the creators had in putting them in the first place…
i.e. to express our Love.
I wrote last time about how the art in this film reminded me most closely of the Matsumoto Renaissance series of the late 1990s on. I can say now that it reminds me of Gun Frontier (2002) more than any other. Specifically the thick black lines around things. There are some screencaps of Gun Frontier in my post here if you want to take a look.
Finally, I should discuss canonicity. Probably 99% of the fans out there aren’t going to try to fit this into any Leijiversal Canon. You can include me in this 99% too. That said, I know of at least one attempt to do precisely that. Mr. Mandel in his Leijiverse Integrated Chronology, a 150 page PDF document available on torrent, posits the theory (he clearly states it’s only a theory, to be sure) that the technology developed by Darkwood in Interstella 5555 was employed by Earthlings during their conflicts with the Gamilons in the conflicts shown in Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers.
I know next to nothing about the Yamato franchise (shame on me, I know) so I can’t comment very much but I can say this: Mandel’s approach, as he states in his Introduction, is “to make everything possible fit into one single, consistent timeline.” Thus he tries to fit Interstella (not to mention Yamato) in there. My own research is concentrated on Matsumoto’s tremendously elaborate concept of Time (can I get a grant??) so a single, consistent timeline is off the table from the start. Anyway, it’s an interesting theory.
Let me leave you with one last pic, this one’s large so be sure to click on it.