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Archive for September 17th, 2011

By Bob Clark

When writing about the anime-musical, there are really only so many feature-length offerings to hold up as examples of the form, and certainly nowhere near as many as you’ll find in Western animation, where Disney and their imitators have all but made singing and dancing as natural for animation as, well, animation itself. Granted, there are plenty of Japanese works that feature lengthy song-sequences, and even several series that structure themselves entirely around characters who perform music (recent ones include the girl-band focused K-On!  and others about high-school classical musicians). Music often finds itself one of the most integral parts of anime works, either on a small basis (episodes like Neon Genesis Evangelion‘s “Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!” or The Big O‘s “Legacy of Amadeus” contain character arcs defined primarily through their protagonists’ experiences with music) or on a long-term, thematic one (Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo taking their stylistic cues from modern jazz and hip-hop culture, respectively). But by and large, works that takes their cue from music directly is something that’s an infrequent affair, which makes even a short work like Interstella 5555 such an interesting anomaly, both for the quality of the animation itself and for the intersection it marks between modern music and classic anime alike, pairing the electronica duo Daft Punk with the legendary creator of Captain Harlock, Space Battleship Yamato and Galaxy Express 999, Leiji Matsumoto.

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