[This post has no spoilers]
2003 was a bit of a lull in my anime watching; it was the last year of my life that I could tell myself I wasn’t an otaku. I had been watching anime pretty much all my life and was pretty intense about Macross, but I was casual about everything else. But this was before I discovered Cowboy Bebop and Neon Genesis Evangelion, and before I had met my wife who’d turn out to be one of the best people to watch anime with.
During this time I still watched a lot of television, and fairly enjoyed discovering new music via the different music television networks. It was then when I discovered this video ‘One More Time’ by Daft Punk. What was incredibly striking about it was that it was wholly and unmistakably anime.
I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, but later on I figured out that the very distinct character designs reminded me of Space Captain Harlock and Space Battleship Yamato — both shows from very vague memories of my childhood. Harlock I saw via a movie, Arcadia of My Youth (1982) which I had seen in black and white as a 9-year old back in 1986.
I had seen only four of the videos, including ‘Aerodynamic,’ ‘Digital Love,’ and ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.’ In fact I was mostly ignorant of the whole concept album ‘Discovery’ and the project Interstella 5555 until I had recently read the delightful blog post on it at kritik der animationskraft. I had just seen it just before I wrote this, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s a very interesting and entertaining extended music video in the tradition of Macross Flashback: 2012; while being a much older work (1987) did a pretty good job of using new and existing animation to make a swan song for Minmay and the primary cast of SDF Macross.
Of all the pieces in the film, I adore ‘Digital Love’ the most. Why? I can wholly relate to the Shep daydreaming about Stella, the bassist of his favorite band. The whole dynamic of loving from afar, silly indulgences, and a poster on the ceiling… it’s marvelous. Instead of me talking and talking about it, here it is:
It’s a silly sweet love song, hardly relevant to me at present, if ever. I never really daydreamed about pop stars, but why do I feel so strongly about this? I mean, I really find this compelling and affecting! I really thought about it, and I realize that while I never really dreamed of pop star love, I had lived vicariously through a pop star loving teenager before I even knew anything about love and infatuation. It was such a strong image from my childhood and stayed with me through my adolescence. I’m talking about Ichijyo Hikaru’s pining for Lynn Minmay in SDF Macross. I had met them as a 7-year old kid, and was probably one of the formative love stories that formed the foundation of my narrative experience. Macross after all, gave me my prototypical love triangle (if Tossho Daimos gave me my prototypical star-crossed lovers).
I had attempted to replicate Shem’s dream of Stella using the gorgeous Mikimoto Haruhiko drawings of Minmay and Hikaru. Hikaru too is a pilot, who wished he was the boyfriend when Minmay sings ‘Kyuun~ Kyuun~’ about a pilot boyfriend. Like Shep in Interstella 5555, Hikaru gets called to rescue Minmay. animekritik called it right when he implied that Shep is an avatar for us fans, only more awesome. We cannot act on our fandom the way he does — to rescue the band when they need him, the way Hikaru fights giants to protect Minmay. While Shep may represent fans, he is an avatar for Daft Punk in particular, who get to remember love for Leiji Matsumoto’s anime by making their own and fulfilling his dream of making an animated musical.
Omake: Bassists to Love
Star of the moment: Akiyama Mio, K-ON!
Mio’s pretty hot, and moe to a ridiculous degree by being picked on by Ritsu and Sawa-chan, and by being a scaredy-cat. She’s the most serious about music among the original club members, and the best student.
Star of Stars: Stella, Interstella 5555
The film may be about the Crescendolls band, but there’s no doubt that Stella is the star. She displays some of the best aspects in Leiji Matsumoto character design.
Star on Fire: Mylene Flare Jenius, Macross 7
I’ve said it before, Mylene is the most winsome idol in the Macross pantheon of pop idols. I’m a loyal Minmay fan, and give Ranka lots of love, but Mylene is it. Best bassist chick in anime. [->]
(Sorry FLCL fans, I’m not feeling any love for Haruka).
Macross Flashback 2012 is all about ‘Tenshi no Enogu’ [->]
Watashi no kare wo pairotto [->]
More Interstellar Love (spoilers): (animekritik 2009/06/06)