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Film / Fish Story

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In the year 1975, before there was the Sex Pistols, there was...Gekirin.

Punk before Punk ever hit the mainstream, they signed a contract, recorded one album, and then disappeared off the face of the Earth.

Fast forward to 2012. A comet is fast approaching Earth, with 100-meter waves expected to sweep across the world once it impacts. Mankind is doomed.

Or is it?

On the streets of Tokyo, a single record store remains open, its sole clerk calmly insistent to the two customers who stop in that the world will be saved, by the title song of a record nobody's ever heard of.

And he's absolutely right.

This 2009 Japanese Film is the story of how.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Anachronic Order: Vaguely. The movie skips from 1975 to 1982 to 1999 to 2009 and back to 1975 and then briefly in the credits back to the 1940's—but regularly returns to 2012 in between.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: In-Universe, the book that inspires the titular song.
  • Butterfly Effect: Okay! In 1975, the song "Fish Story" is recorded, containing a brief segment of perfect silence. Seven years later, a young man listening to the song comes upon the silent part just in time to hear a girl screaming for help. Thanks to his intervention, she escapes, and the two marry and have a son. The father raises the son to be strong in body and in principle, training finally coming in to use when an apocalyptic cult hijacks a ferry 27 years later. The young man saves the crew and passengers, including a young woman with a brilliant mind for mathematics. Three years later, her rapid and ingenious calculations are required to detonate the explosives left in the approaching apocalypse comet, thus saving the world and civilization as we know it.
  • Chef of Iron: The Champion of Justice.
  • Collapsed Mid-Speech: Shigeki's girlfriend does this twice—the first time, she doesn't even manage to say anything before she collapses, drunk, and later finds herself making a mad dash to the bathroom in mid-tirade.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The record store clerk almost never loses his cool at all, even with the rest of the world preparing for the end. Also, the Champion of Justice qualifies.
  • Executive Meddling: In-universe example. When Gekirin finally get signed, they find their music being softened up, slowed down, with keyboards and tambourines added in after the fact. Not that any of this helps them sell. The lead singer letting loose an impassioned Author Tract during their final shot at recording even prompts harder executive meddling, hence the inexplicable silence in the middle of the titular song.
  • Good Parents: The unnamed Champion of Justice got Tough Love, certainly, but the Training Montage we see places his parents as loving even as his father tries to make him the brave hero that he tried and failed to be.
  • Hope Spot: In 2009, the Champion of Justice frees himself from being tied up, rises and begins The Slow Walk toward the remaining cultists. As he fades into white, we see the onlookers flinch as a series of gunshots unload. subverted, in the end, as we learn that he lives and wins.
  • Jerkass: The guy with the wheelchair/cane who goes into the record store at the beginning of the movie. A former con artist and cult leader (who is heavily implied to have used the cult to bilk money out of people), he's almost gleeful that the world is going to end and everyone is going to die, because he'll never have to pay for his misdeeds (and also that he proved his fellow cult leaders wrong when they thought the world was going to end in 2009 and he thought it would end in 2012)
  • Karma Houdini: The Nietzsche Wannabe visitor to the record store certainly considers himself this. He's dying of cancer, lived his life as a con man and scoundrel, living the last decade in a party of borrowed money...
  • Kick the Dog: He even takes a moment in the beginning to knock over a series of bicycles on the way down the street. And none of it matters, he reasons, since everyone's going to die in a few hours anyway.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The Champion of Justice was introduced as a pastry chef. Minutes later, he's taking on cult terrorists unarmed and not even dropping the pie he was carrying.
  • Multinational Team: the team that successfully blows up the asteroid. It's an Indian rocket, the team leader appears to be Scandanavian, another team member has a Spanish last name, a third team member is East Asian, and a fourth the high school girl from the 2009 section is Japanese
  • Nameless Narrative: Mostly. Until the 1975 flashback, we only get one character named from one of four separate series of events.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: When one character is on his own and accidentally finds himself unable to shut off the Gekirin tape, a very lengthy one of these occurs when he stops his car during the infamous silence in the middle of the title song.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Played entirely straight with the Chef of Iron. His shoulder wound doesn't count as an injury, the bullet went right through!
  • Saved by the Phlebotinum: Guess.
  • Shout-Out / Take That!: the American plan to destroy the asteroid which failed is pretty blatantly based on a certain Michael Bay movie. It's even called Project Armageddon
  • Teen Genius: the high school girl from the 2009 section apparently is one, given that she had to have only been a few years into a college degree when she was recruited for the rocket mission in 2012
  • Those Two Guys: Two of the college students from 1982 appear again in the relatively brief 1999 segment.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The driver from 1982 finally stands up for himself and finds this trope subverted, promptly getting beaten mercilessly by the rapist he tries to stop.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: As a result of "Blind Idiot" Translation, above.