Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem
From AnimepediaInterstella 5555 (インターステラ5555) was created by a collaboration of Leiji Matsumoto and Daft Punk, a French House band. It was produced by Toei Animation. What makes this anime so unique is the lack of dialogue and sound effects. The entire anime is written to the music of Daft Punks Discovery album. Parts of the anime were played as music videos for some of the singles off the Discovery album.
The story revolves around a group of four blue skinned musicians from another planet. The anime opens with the song "One More Time" being performed as a concert that the entire planet is watching. The songs finishes as the planet is raided and the entire band kidnapped by the evil Ear de Darkwood. The attack takes the defenses by surprise but one person is able to send out a distress call. This call is heard by Shep, who goes after the Earl in his guitar shaped spaces ship. He follows the abductors through a wormhole and ends up crash landing on earth. The bands members are taken to a secret facility where they have their memories replaced and their alien origins hidden. They are dressed and have their skin dyed and are presented to a record label as a new up and coming band "The Crescendolls", with the Earl de Darkwood as their manager. They are forced to play to exhaustion and sign autographs for enthralled fans. The song “One More Time” flies up the charts eventually hitting number one. Here they introduce each of the bands members; Stella, on bass guitar, Arpegius, lead guitar, Octave, keyboard/vocals, and Beryl, drums.
The band eventually plays a huge concert, with thousands of fans all dressed up like The Crescendolls. During the concert Shep flies down on a hang glider landing on stage and with a device begins to break the mind control devices on Arpegius, Beryl, and Octave. He finally goes to help Stella when the Earl de Darkwood stands in his way preventing him from helping her. Reluctantly Shep escapes with the other three members. In the pursuit Shep is severely wounded.
With only Stella still mindcontrolled, the Earl de Darkwood takes her to the Gold Record Awards. There The Crsecendolls are up for the main award, and ironically enough one of their competitors is Daft Punk themselves. When they are named as nominees the word "Happy" and the symbol "?" flashes on their 'faces', when The Crescendolls are named as winners they show a "Great" and a "</3". Beryl is able to sneak into the award show and while the Earl de Darkwood is onstage accepting the award he is able to break the mind control and escape with Stella.
They drive to a warehouse where Shep is laying on the floor bleed profusely. As Stella arrives he reaches out to her and she kneels to take his hand. This sends them both into a dream where he shows her that he loves her. When they come back, Shep dies.
The band then drives to a large tree and buries Shep at the foot. As they pray around the grave, Shep’s spirit emerges from the ground and flies into the night sky. The band begins to drive back towards the city they see an exit for Darkwood Manor, which resembled a card that Stella picked up after it fell out of the Earl de Darkwoods pocket before the award show. They all agree to go check it out.
They head to Darkwood Manor and enter to find a book called “Veridis Quo” that recollects all of what the Earl de Darkwoods plans are for world domination and the collection of 5555 Gold Records (Veridis Quo is latin for “The truth told”). Reading the book they realize that they themselves were record number 5555. They are found by the guards and are taken to a large chasm under the castle with a giant machine that holds all of the records. They are surrounded by several people in red robes with the Earl de Darkwood standing on the island with the machine holding up the final record. The Earl grabs Stella and throws her into an opening in the machine.
Arpegius frees himself from the guards and runs to rescue Stella. The Earl de Darkwood lunges at Arpegius and ends up falling off the bridge and into the chasm below. Every one of the robed followers jumps down after him. Darkwood Manor begins to crumble around them and The Crecendolls escape as it collapses. After the entire manor seems destroyed the spirit of the Earl de Darkwood ascends to the sky.
Trying to recover their lost memories and identities Octave breaks back into the record company to retrieve their master memory discs. He ties up a janitor and takes his clothes. The security guards are watching a soccer match on the TV (Japan vs. France) and are distracted as the tied up janitor squirms his way to their station. They search the building and turn the corner to find Octave walking out of the elevator, he reaches into his pocket to show them something, thinking that he’s reaching for a weapon the guard tazers him. The electric shock knocks Octave unconscious and causes his skin to revert back to its natural blue. The executive of the record company happens by and notices the note which explains the story of what the discs are.
Everything then seems to fall into place as people find Sheps ship and the police search the Darkwood Manor and the record company. Scientists then figure out how to restore The Crsecendolls memories and send them home, and even report that many of the most famous musicians from the past were victims of the Earl de Darkwoods plans.
While heading back home Shep’s ship is attacked by the spirit of the Earl de Darkwood. Just as they start to think that they’re doomed Shep’s spirit flies up and saves them, containing the Earls spirit enough for them to escape. They arrive at their home planet and everyone celebrates their return and they beam down and begin playing.
It all pans out to show that even the earth is watching them play. After the concert it shows the entire band walking up to a veiled statue, as Stella places her hand on a stand a symbol of a guitar lights up and the veil drops to reveal a statue of Shep. The view zooms out to the planet, then the solar system, the galaxy and eventually reveals the Discovery album spinning on a record player with a small boy asleep next to it with dolls of The Crescendolls in their natural blue coloring and Shep. A mother comes in and puts the child to bed, tucking him in with a doll of Shep and Stella.
Stella is your stereotypical Leiji character. Long slender woman with long hair that curls every which way. She is the love interest of Shep. Stella plays the bass guitar in The Crecendolls and is the last of the band to be rescued.
Arpegius is also a very standard male for the Leijiverse. He is long and lanky with longer hair that waves as he moves. He plays the lead guitar for The Crecendolls.
Octave is the keyboardist and lead vocals for The Crescendolls. When he was made into a "human" he was the only member to take on a Black appearance (in fact all of the vocals sung by him for One More Time and Too Long were done by Romanthony who is also Black).
Beryl is drawn in the character form that Leiji most identifies with. He looks very similar to Tochiro. He plays the drums for The Crecendolls. Always seems very childlike and will show more emotion than any of the other male characters.
Shep is the hero of the story. He pilots a space ship that is shaped like a guitar. He sacrifices his life to save The Crecendolls and more importantly the woman he loves, Stella, and even saves her as his spirit when the spirit of the Earl de Darkwood attacks them as they try to return home. He is immortalized as a statue at the end of the anime.
The Earl de Darkwood is your antagonist. He is evil in every way, and has lived for a very long time. During his lifetime he has kidnapped people from many different planets, the anime hinting that such legends as Mozart, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong, were all used for his evil scheme of world domination. He is defeated when he lunges at Arpegius and falls into the chasm below his castle the Darkwood Manor. Although he does come back briefly as a spirit and attacks the ship taking The Crescendolls home, and is thwarted by Shep’s spirit.
The following tracks from the Album Discovery are used in Interstella 5555
- One More Time
- Digital Love
- Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
- High Life
- Something About Us
- Veridis Quo
- Short Circuit
- Face to Face
- Too Long