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Anime / Interstella 5555

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Let's start the dancing

Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem is an anime-style visualization of the Daft Punk album Discovery produced by Toei Animation and directed by Leiji Matsumoto. A group of blue-skinned extraterrestrial musicians are kidnapped, brainwashed, and altered, mind and body, to be identical to ordinary humans. Under the control of their abductors, they become rock stars on Earth, playing their music and skyrocketing to massive fame. Can an alien pilot rescue the band, return their memories and get them home? Or will they be forced to play their part in the scheme of the evil, greedy Earl de Darkwood?

The music tracks are the same as the Discovery album:

  1. "One More Time"
  2. "Aerodynamic"
  3. "Digital Love"
  4. "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"
  5. "Crescendolls"
  6. "Nightvision"
  7. "Superheroes"
  8. "High Life"
  9. "Something About Us"
  10. "Voyager"
  11. "Veridis Quo"
  12. "Short Circuit"
  13. "Face to Face"
  14. "Too Long"


  • Absolute Cleavage: The dress Stella wears on her home planet has a heart-shaped Cleavage Window just above her breasts (i.e. in the usual place), a very thin division between the two halves of her bodice, and another, also heart-shaped, cutout several inches below the waist. The effect is oddly innocent — similar to a midriff-baring top — but just try to pitch that design to anyone on Earth.
  • Acid-Trip Dimension: Inside the wormhole.
  • Adorkable: Baryl the drummer.
  • Afro Asskicker: Octave
  • Alien Abduction: Inverted Trope. For once, those are humans from Earth kidnapping aliens.
  • Alien Blood: It's golden yellow, even though their skin is blue and Shep blushes red.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Well, singing English, without any explanation or justification. Then again, there's no actual dialog for the entire movie, so...
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  • All Just a Dream: The last scene implies that the whole movie may be what some kid imagined his toys were doing while he listened to a Daft Punk record.
  • Almost Kiss: Shep and Stella during the dream sequence in "Digital Love" before the ship's warning signal starts sounding.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Hyperspace.
  • America Saves the Day: America helped start the plan to send the aliens back home.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: It's heavily implied that the whole Earl de Darkwood business has been going on for a VERY long time. Especially obvious because aliens resembling everyone from Mozart to Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin make an appearance during the history revelation scene.
  • Animated Music Video: The whole movie is essentially a glorified one.
  • Arc Number: 5 and variants, most notably 5555.
  • Ascended Fanboy:
    • Quite literally in the case of Shep. Saves his favorite band, dies, then comes back in spirit form to save them One More Time.
    • In a sense, Daft Punk themselves, working with their favorite anime director to create the movie.
  • Backup from Otherworld: Shep saves the Crescendolls' ship in hyperspace from the evil spirit of Earl de Darkwood.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The story implies that Mozart, Ella Fitzgerald, and Janis Joplin among others were previous alien victims of the Big Bad.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Baryl the drummer seems to have a rough streak. While the other Crescendoll's memories, while they were being rewritten, were standard childhood fair like riding bikes, Baryl was being held back after knocking another kid to the ground.
  • Big Bad: Earl de Darkwood is the one who kidnapped and brainwashed the titular group of aliens to become his musicians.
  • Bishōnen: Shep, Octave, and Arpegius are all slim and toned, with soft, handsome features. In his alien form, Arpegius is so pretty that he's nearly identical to Stella.
  • Biting the Handkerchief: Baryl is bitting his hat when Shep is dying.
  • Bound and Gagged: What Octave does to the janitor whose clothes he steals.
  • Cartoonish Companions: Baryl is shorter than the other characters and has dots for eyes. This is a staple of Leiji Matsumoto's style.
  • Cat Folk: The true form of the alien that got turned into Janis Joplin.
  • Celeb Crush: Shep has one on Stella, as shown by his Dream Sequence during "Digital Love". He's able to go through another, similar fantasy with the real Stella during his dying moments in "Something About Us".
  • Celebrity Paradox: Daft Punk appear cheering on the Crescendolls at the award ceremony and don't seem bothered that they lost to a band that plagiarized their songs.
  • Children Are Innocent: Children in this film are often portrayed as sweet, Wide-Eyed Idealist, dreamers, particularly the one who dreamt up the entire movie's premise of good triumphing over evil and music connecting the universe.
  • Cleavage Window: Stella's alien dress has one.
  • Cool Shades: Subverted; they're part of the brainwashing process (that's why they're screwed into place). If they break, it wears off.
  • Cool Starship:
    • Shep's is shaped like an electric guitar!
    • The Earl's spaceship is quite impressive too and can change its appearance for camouflage purpose.
  • Cosplay:
    • In one scene during "Crescendolls", you can see two little kids dressed up as Octave and Stella. Shortly afterwards a kid dressed like Arpegius gets an autograph from the man himself.
    • Later in the movie, after the Crescendolls have been revealed to be aliens, two kids are shown wearing blue facepaint.
  • Crapsaccharine World:
    • Earth; all of the Crescendolls' fans hear great music and have no idea about the brainwashing.
    • The Crescendolls' homeworld; everyone was too busy enjoying the concert to worry about planetary security in the first place.
  • Creator Cameo: Daft Punk show up in animated form at the Gold Record Awards. They're nominees in the same category as the Crescendolls. Bangalter asks Homem-Christo if he's happy with the nomination, to which Homem-Christo responds with indifference. When they find out they lost to the Crescendolls, Bangalter cheers on the winners with "GREAT" displayed on his helmet. Homem-Christo claps politely, but still has a "heartbreak" symbol on his helmet.
  • Cross-Cultural Handshake: Happened in the later half between Arpegius and the Crescendolls' human manager.
  • Cult: The Earl appears to be running one.
  • Deal with the Devil: Earl de Darkwood made a deal with an unidentified supernatural entity, in which he will sacrifice 5,555 award-winning musicians to it in exchange for cosmic powers. The main characters will be #5,555 if he isn't stopped.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Shep
  • Disney Villain Death: Earl de Darkwood falls to his death in the lava below his mansion.
  • Distressed Damsel: Stella
  • Doom Troops: The Earl's soldiers.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Baryl as an alien, but not as a human.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Shep to Stella.
  • Failed a Spot Check: One of the security guards in "Short Circuit" somehow doesn't notice that the janitor's uniform Octave is wearing is several sizes too small.
  • Fake Band: The Baron takes manufactured bands to a whole new level, with an actual production line for them.
  • False Memories: The Crescendolls' memories are altered so they believe that they were born and raised on Earth.
  • Fanservice: The entirety of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger".
  • Fanservice Extra: A Brazilian dancer during "Crescendolls".
  • Fashion Show: While Stella is still captured, the rest of the band sees her attend one.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The Golden Record awards to the Grammys.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Baryl has them.
  • Flower in Her Hair: Stella wears one from "Voyager" to the beginning of "Short Circuit". Said flowers are the ones that grew from Shep's grave.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: In the song "Aerodynamic".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Near the end of "Crescendolls", the covers of the Monthly Charts (seen briefly before each chart position of "One More Time") show issues labelled September, October, and November. It took at least three months for the Crescendolls to become famous and for Shep to find them.
    • The same sequence also briefly shows us the names of the Crescendolls' members.
  • Frozen Face: The brainwashed band and all of Earl de Darkwood's victims.
  • Galactic Conqueror: If the Earl gets all the records, he can take over the universe.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The band's kidnappers are an army of identically-dressed gas mask-wearing humanoids. Justified in this case since the mooks use knockout gas to subdue the band and audience.
  • Gonk: Baryl isn't necessarily ugly, but his goofy appearances stands out when alongside his gorgeous bandmates.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Well, teal.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: The Crescendolls' human manager. In contrast with the Earl de Darkwood, he's shown as young and likeable, earnest and enthusiastic about the music, and when the aliens are later revealed, he helps them regain their planet.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: Shep.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Seemingly played straight when it turns out the malevolent invaders are from Earth, then subverted when the rest of the population is informed of the Earl's plans and do everything they can to help the Crescendolls.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Or in this case, a very funky and psychedelic place with big shiny objects that can heavily damage your ship.
  • If Jesus, Then Aliens: The Earl made a pact with an unidentified dark entity, which he fulfills by sacrificing space aliens to it.
  • Instant Sedation: The knockout gas subdues everyone within seconds.
  • In the Hood: Shep's disguise while on Earth.
  • Jukebox Musical: Sort of, with all the song being already established Daft Punk songs.
  • Knockout Gas: The band is kidnapped with the aid of sleeping gas which somehow keeps them unconscious during the lengthy "processing" which turns them into the Crescendolls. Though the band's prolonged sleep may be due to the pods they were transported in.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Conducted not by just wiping the memories, but by rewriting them to take place on Earth.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Earl de Darkwood. Justified in that his falling into the lava beneath his mansion could conceivably... somehow... make it explode. Maybe.
  • Lost Superweapon: The object that landed on Earl de Darkwood's family manor centuries ago has an unusually high-tech feel about it. Especially since it's already calibrated to disguise aliens as other species and brainwash them; they didn't have that in the days of the first Darkwood.
  • Male Gaze: Stella gets tons of it; her first close-up is of her backside. And again in the finale, the camera lingers on her rump for several seconds before panning out.
  • Manly Tears: Octave's, Arpegius', and Baryl's reactions when Shep is dying.
  • Masquerade: Enforced by the Big Bad until near the end, where it gets crazy subverted.
  • Meaningful Name: The band (which, remember, is hypnotized) is called the Crescendolls.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Shep's quarters on his guitar ship are pretty messy.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: Think of it as an Animated Music Video for an entire album, instead of one song.
  • Rousseau Was Right: After humanity learns the true identity of the Crescendolls, they spare no expense in setting things right.
  • Save the Villain: Attempted by Arpegius with the Big Bad. See Disney Villain Death and Load-Bearing Boss above.
  • Schizo Tech: The Earl has Faster-Than-Light Travel, a starship that can disguise itself as a 747 jumbo-jet, and various machines that can alter a person's appearance and memories. He's had some of these since the mid-1700s, and by the time the story takes place, people are still using video cassettes, cathode ray tube televisions, and 33⅓ RPM Longplay records.
  • Self-Deprecation: Daft Punk appear as themselves in a cameo at the music awards ceremony, where they lose to the main characters. In case you don't get the significance of that, in a 65-minute video (opening and credits included), they have a five-second cameo, and then they lose to a Fake Band playing their music.
  • Shoot Him! He Has a... Wallet: Octave, when sneaking into the record company is confronted by security guards and gets tasered when he reaches into his jacket for the papers about the memory disks he's trying to retrieve.
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: Baryl while in his human disguise.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The guards at the record company watch a soccer game between France and Japan. This is a subtle nod to the cross-cultural cooperation that produced a Japanese anime set to the music of the French Daft Punk. (Note the score: 2-1 for the French — the Daft Punk duo and the one Leiji Matsumoto.)
    • Several shout-outs to Leiji Matsumoto's works:
      • The hand-on-heart salute of the alien is similar to the one in Space Battleship Yamato.
      • One of the families dancing at the beginning seems to be based off of the Yamato's doctor's character design.
      • During the music award, Baryl's disguise includes Captain Harlock's coat and hat, and his humanized character design resembles Captain Harlock's Tochiro.
      • Toward the end, Shep's ship uses a lengthy trail to take off, a reference to Galaxy Express 999.
    • Several allusions to 2001: A Space Odyssey with Shep's spacewalk and the psychedelic wormhole. Discovery was released in 2001.
    • The Earl's spaceship, both through its looks and its ability to shape change, is very similar to the protagonist's spaceship from the French graphic novel The Vagabond of Limbo.
    • The "Crescendolls" logo is inspired by Coca-Cola's.
    • When "One More Time" climbs to #2 on the charts, #1 is "High Anxiety" by Mel "Bean" Brooks — High Anxiety being the title (as well as the title song) of an actual Mel Brooks film.
    • The cyborgs' car is crushed by a truck, and when emerging from it, the damaged cyborg has a red eye behind sunglasses, like in The Terminator.
    • Darkwood Manor looks an awful like a certain vampire's castle. The music in that segment wouldn't be out of place in one of those games either.
    • The arrival of the band in a van at night is reminiscent of many Scooby-Doo episodes.
    • The true form of the alien who got turned into Jimmy Page looks like a Ferengi.
  • Showgirl Skirt: The dress Stella wears to the awards show does go all the way around the waist, but the front is a lot shorter than the back, to invoke this trope.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: A statue of Shep is built on The Crescendolls' home planet at the end.
  • Slasher Smile: The Earl's face when he recieves his 5,555th Golden Record. Collecting exactly this many Golden Records will allow him to take control of the universe, explaining this.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Stella's the only girl in the band. Doesn't help that her original blue-skinned self actually resembles a bishoujo Smurfette.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The music and action, awesome as they may be, rarely have much to do with one another. Particularly unsettling when a rather upbeat tune plays during the burial scene about midway through the movie. Then again it is an anime movie. Anime has always had a talent for misdirection when it comes to their soundtracks.
  • Subspace Ansible: An astronaut at the end watches a live concert from The Crescendolls' homeworld on a screen.
  • Sung-Through Musical: Has no dialogue besides the songs.
  • Supernaturally Marked Grave: After Shep gets buried, The Crescendolls hold hands and meditate around his grave. Blue flowers instantly grow on it and his ghost appears and fly off.
  • Surveillance Station Slacker:
    • The three soldiers watching the "One More Time" concert rather than paying attention to planetary defense.
    • The Record Company guards are too busy watching a soccer game to notice that Octave has broken in.
  • Tareme Eyes: Stella
  • Token Black: Octave as a human.
  • Unmasqued World: By the end humanity is aware of aliens and seems to have contact with The Crescendolls homeworld.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: The Earl drops a business card with some plot info on it. Stella's the only one in the room and she's wearing a cleavage-heavy dress. Down it goes.
  • World Tree: Where Shep is buried.


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