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Let's start the dancing
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Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem is an anime-style visualization of the Daft Punk album Discovery produced by Toei Animation with visual supervision 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"
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Tropes:

  • 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) that descends into a very thin division between the two halves of her bodice, before fanning out to become another, also heart-shaped (this time upside-down) 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.
  • Afro Asskicker: Octave
  • Alien Abduction: More like Human Abduction. 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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  • Alliterative Title: With the sub-title Letters 2 Numbers S-to-5, Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem
  • 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. He 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 shown biting his hat when Shep is dying.
  • Bound and Gagged: What Octave does to the janitor whose clothes he steals.
  • Brainwashed: The Cresendolls were abducted from their home planet, and brainwashed into thinking they were human so that they would perform.
  • Broken Masquerade: Not only did everyone learn the Crescendolls are aliens, but became aware of Darkwood's secrets.
  • Canis Latinicus: "Veridis Quo" ("Very Disco") *flip* ("Discovery").
  • Car Chase: Shep's initial rescue attempt of the Crescendolls ends with him and the male band members fleeing in a van while the Earl's security gives chase.
  • Cartoonish Companions:
    • Baryl is shorter than the other characters and has dots for eyes. This is a staple of Leiji Matsumoto's style.
    • The diminutive fashion designer that shows up later is also drawn a lot more cartoony than the other characters (and doesn't even have the excuse of being an alien).
  • 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 with a very unconventional design.
  • 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. However, once they do find out, they waste no time in supporting them.
    • 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.
  • Damsel in Distress: Stella falls into this trope a few times. She is the last of the Crescendolls to be rescued from the Earl's clutches, remaining under mind control longer than most, and is put into the Earl's machine at the story's climax.
  • 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.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: After freeing the other members of the Crescendolls from the mind control, Shep turns to Stella, but is so taken by her beauty that he freezes long enough for Earl de Darkwood to intercept him.
  • Doom Troops: The Earl's soldiers.
  • Dream Sequence: Shep's introduction has him resting in his room, and then daydreaming about Stella taking him on a magical flight.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Baryl as an alien, but not as a human.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Shep to Stella.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: Apparently, all pop music in history was the result of abducted aliens being forced to perform while brainwashed.
  • 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. Though Octave did make sure to hunch over, with his back to the guard, and in the shadows.
  • Fake Band: The Baron takes manufactured bands to a whole new level, with an actual production line for them.
  • Fake Memories: The Crescendolls' memories are altered so they believe that they were born and reared on Earth — such as kid Arpegius riding a hover-scooter being changed to him riding a tricycle.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Well, teal.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Twice in the movie, with the guards watching TV instead of their cameras. First time benefitted the villains, the second the heroes. Though the guards in question were both overnight civilian security guards at low risk sites.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: It's shown after Shep's death that Stella did have feelings for him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: During his attempt to rescue Stella, Shep is killed.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: The Crescendolls' human manager. In contrast with the Earl de Darkwood, he's shown as young and likable, earnest and enthusiastic about the music, and when the aliens are later revealed, he helps them return to 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.
  • Industrialized Evil: A downplayed example, but the implications are all there with the automatic brainwashing assembly line in the "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" segment.
  • 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 music being already established Daft Punk pieces.
  • 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.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Earl's two bodyguards are actually robotic minions. After they are damaged in a car crash, it's trivial for the Earl to rebuild them.
  • 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.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Arpegius, Shep, and Octave are all athletic and muscular, and are treated to the same kind of camera attention as Stella.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Stella
  • Mugged for Disguise: Octave steals a janitor's clothes when breaking into the record company.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Earl de Darkwood is arguably a mild example of the trope, if only because "dark" is in the name.
  • Near-Villain Victory: The Crescendolls were the last of the 5,555 musicians Earl de Darkwood needed to sacrifice to attain enough power to conquer the world.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Before the Crescendolls, Earl de Darkwood's previous victims were famous musicians who look an awful lot like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jimi Hendrix, Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin and Jimmy Page.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: The entire movie contains no dialog - only song lyrics.
  • No Name Given:
  • The Nudifier: Once kidnapped, the Crescendolls are fed into a machine processor that proceeds to strip them to their underwear using lasers that cut off their outer clothing.
  • Older Than They Look: Baryl looks like a teenager or a little kid. He's actually 20.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Earl comes back from the dead as an Energy Being to thwart the Crescendolls' return to their planet.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: One connects The Crescendolls' galaxy to our moon. It's rhombus-shaped, looking like a white version of the Phantom Zone Picture in the Superman movies. The interior is an Acid-Trip Dimension full of large objects that can damage spaceships. Both ends disappear after the Crescendolls use it to get home at the end of the movie.
  • Punny Name:
    • Octave is a music term, and Arpegius is based on arpeggio, which is also a music term.
    • Shep, who is in charge of the guitar spaceship.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Stella's dress for the "Gold Record Awards".
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Arpegius wields a baby pink guitar.
  • Retraux: The art style from this movie evokes a similar feel to some manga and anime series from the '70s. Not surprising, considering the characters designs are made by Leiji Matsumoto.
  • Rock Opera: The entire film is a silent rock opera.
  • 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!: When sneaking into the record company to retrieve the band's memory disks, Octave is confronted by security guards and gets tasered when he reaches into his jacket for the papers explaining himself.
  • 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 change shape, 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 lot 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.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The second Earl de Darkwood — our Big Bad — grows up to look a lot like the first, only lacking his father's brown hair color and pencil-thin mustache. It's a portrait of the first Earl in the entrance hall of Darkwood Manor that tells the Crescendolls they're on the right track.
  • Subspace Ansible: At the end, people on Earth (including one guy on the International Space Station) are shown watching a live concert from The Crescendolls' homeworld.
  • 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 flies 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, is the only black character in the main cast.
  • Unmasqued World: By the end humanity is aware of aliens and seems to have contact with The Crescendolls' homeworld.
  • Unwitting Instigatorof Doom: The manager of the record company. Thanks to him the Crescendolls' turn into a worldwide success, and thus plays a key part of the Earl's evil plan. He also had no idea he was involved in a scheme to conquer the universe, and is actually helpful and kind to the aliens once said scheme is revealed.
  • 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.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: With a dash of Lightning Can Do Anything - getting shocked by a taser not only incapacitates Octave, but also undoes the Earl's human disguise, returning his skin color to his natural teal.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: During the "Voyager" section, the Crescendolls are driving out from the city and into the gorgeously-depicted countryside, passing by beaches, waterfalls, vast plains, and forests, seemingly for the first time ever. Despite this, the drive is twinged with melancholia as the entire purpose of their roadtrip is to find a burial place for Shep.
  • World Tree: Where Shep is buried.

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