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Almost Otaku: Can We Get Some More Music?

There's got to be more than just INTERSTELLA 5555.

 Is there no music in your souls?
 Is there no music in your souls?

I’m kind of surprised, myself, that I never brought this up before… but is there any more anime out there along the lines of INTERSTELLA 5555?

I don’t know what place INTERSTELLA 5555 has in the hearts of the more experience anime-watching community. Actually, seeing how it’s been seven years since it was released, I suppose some of you might even remember it.   You can describe it as the world’s longest AMV or anime’s answer to Pink Floyd’s THE WALL with equal mileage. It was a collaboration between living legend Leiji Matsumoto (he of CAPTAIN HARLOCK and GALAXY EXPRESS 999, among many others) and the House duo, Daft Punk, visualizing the latter’s 2001 concept album DISCOVERY.

Certainly musical scores are essential to anime, but I get a special enjoyment out of animation that’s specifically music-driven. There’s a sense of… totality to the artistic expression that you don’t really find otherwise. You really do feel like you’re stepping into another world.  And it’s something I’d love to see more of. The only other example I can think of an official production (well, technically unofficial but still not just a fan edit) is DAICON IV, which was the perfect meeting of my interests in Gainax, E.L.O. and basically everything else in 80’s genre entertainment.

Maybe it’s just too much of a niche market? I remember Walt Disney wanted FANTASIA to be an ensemble piece that would get updated ever year, but its disappointing box office performance quashed those plans. FANTASIA 2000 was incredible, but even that didn’t do well-enough to warrant Disney doing more.  

That’s a frustrating prospect to accept and I’m really hoping this is just a case of me not being aware of the other musical anime  that's out there. So I ask you, oh rhythmic Anime Vice community, to help me out here.  Name some similar titles I should look for, and let me know where INTERSTELLA 5555 stands.

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. HYBRID BASTARDS! is available  here and UNIMAGINABLE is available here for pre-order on Amazon.com.  

Count_Zeroon June 13, 2010 at 3:54 p.m.
I wouldn't mind seeing some additional anime works based on music in the same way that Interstella 5555 is an adaptation of the Daft Punk album - though it would be best if the album being adapted is some sort of concept album, so any connection between the tracks is less contrived.

For example, an animated film based on Hawkwind's "Chronicles of the Black Sword" album would be awesome, and not just because it would also have to be an anime adaptation of the Elric Saga. However, as much as I like Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, I can't see that album being as good a candidate for adaptation.
newaveon June 13, 2010 at 3:59 p.m.
unfortunately i don't know of any other things out there that are full length music / anime movies. i do however love interstella 5555. 
i do know that  leiji matsumoto did original work for a queen song too. and there is always the vid for mathew sweets girl friend. wich they took scenes from cobra.
Gaffon June 13, 2010 at 4:27 p.m.
If I remember the news from about 8 years back correctly, Daft Punk went to Matsumoto with the idea because they were huge fans of his work? I'm guessing they also bankrolled the entire thing too. 
 
One major problem with films like this is that the art of the concept album is, quite frankly, dead (or at least it's starting to smell off and weird patches are starting to appear all over the place). Also, the money issue is a hurdle to take: Someone who is recognizable enough to ensure sales and warrants spending a lot of money on animating his / her album.
JDon June 13, 2010 at 8:21 p.m.
There are plenty of anime that center on music, but I don't think any are like that.  It's probably a lack of a bankable market.  We do have several anime where music is one of the basic themes.  The entire Macross franchise.  Legend of Black Heaven, Key the Metal Idol, Chance Pop Session, Bubblegum Crisis are among others.    
No_name_here staff on June 13, 2010 at 11:10 p.m.
@spongbros:  Ah, that's right! I forgot about that.
No_name_here staff on June 13, 2010 at 11:12 p.m.
@Count_Zero:  Concept albums are always be pretty loose anyway, right? Unless it's a musical. I feel like the story to any concept album I've ever listened to could only be seen only after somebody explained it to you.
No_name_here staff on June 13, 2010 at 11:14 p.m.
@Gaff:  I heard it was some kind of partnership between them and Toei. I guess it is just exceptionally rare, since you need an act who's that famous and also happens to like anime enough to commission something.
No_name_here staff on June 13, 2010 at 11:15 p.m.
@JD:  Isn't there one GUNDAM where the universe is saved through the power of rock 'n roll?
jamdownon June 14, 2010 at 7:20 a.m.

DAFT PUNK RULES around the word
ZachTheAnimeGeekon June 14, 2010 at 12:31 p.m.

Theres always Miku Hatsune!!! I forget what shes from but its like Vocal something right?
ShadowKnight508 moderator on June 14, 2010 at 4:34 p.m.
@ZachTheAnimeGeek: From the Vocaloid project (click on Vocaloid to see what I mean). 

 The newer Incarnation Album by HSP (feat. Miku Hatsune)
 The newer Incarnation Album by HSP (feat. Miku Hatsune)
Count_Zeroon June 15, 2010 at 6:48 p.m.
@Tom_Pinchuk: Some albums are more clear in explaining the concept in the liner notes than others (like Horslips' "Book of Invasions") or they're clear in the lyrics (like Rush's 2112), or they get an elaborate stage show that explains the whole thing, in case you couldn't figure it out the first time (Pink Floyd's "The Wall"). 
 
Anyway, Concept Albums give a studio something to start from for their project to make it more than just a music video that happens to be animated (like Leiji Masumoto's Bohemian Rhapsody video).
Kelleth moderator on June 15, 2010 at 6:50 p.m.
@Tom_Pinchuk said:

" @JD:  Isn't there one GUNDAM where the universe is saved through the power of rock 'n roll? "

That's Macross 7
 

Dig Deeper into Interstella 5555

A anime musical which is the visual realization of Daft Punk's "Discovery album", about four Alien Musicians who are kidnapped from their galaxy by the Earl of Darkwood who plans on using their talent for his scheme to rule the universe.

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