Several seemingly unrelated but surprisingly connected tales explain how a Japanese band that independently invented punk rock in 1975 will, 37 years later, ultimately save the world from destruction by comet.
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In the year 2012 a comet approaches earth, threatening to end civilization when it impacts. On the streets of Japan, a single music store remains open, its proprietor insisting to his customers that the world is not coming to an end. He plays a forgotten song recorded by an obscure band 37 years ago, and insists that somehow, this song will save the world. A series of short stories spans the years from the recording of the song in 1975 to the modern day, and shows how--in roundabout fashion--the man in the music store is absolutely right.Written by
The song 'Fish Story' is an improvisation on the key riff in the song 'New Rose' by The Damned. This was the first 'punk' single released in the UK. The film sets the recording of 'Fish Story' in 1975. 'New Rose' was released in October 1976. See more »
If this film were a fish, it would be a big-hearted delightful fish
A comet hurtles towards Earth, and Tokyo is abandoned as people head to high ground. A cynical one-time guru comes across two otaku, a record shop owner and his customer, who believe an obscure seventies song, Fish Story, will save the world. Many years earlier, a timid young man laments his inability to stand up for himself. Some years after that, a narcoleptic high school girl finds herself trapped on a hijacked ship, where a pastry chef is her best hope for a champion for justice.
Director Nakamura fashions a likable, engaging human drama here, but deserves most credit for the naturalistic performances he elicits from his actors. Too often Japanese films are sunk by TV-style mugging from the principles, but here, there is a subtlety and nuanced portrayal evident throughout the ensemble cast. In the band, leader Atsushi Ito and Vocal Kengo Kora have betrayal and remorse to deal with between them. The tension is played out in a series of looks and never over-cooked. Kiyohiko Shibukawa as the drummer takes a while to speak, but when he does, it is with reason and tact. It would be so easy to have proto-punk band members sink into spats and histrionics. These portrayals resonate and convince. Gaku Hamada is especially effective as the meek friend who loses the girl (a spooky, sexy Mai Takahashi) to his overpowering alpha-male 'friend.' His tormenting of himself in the car after that particular episode is tragic and comic in equal degree, and proves the trigger to his redemption.
The portmanteau structure is an over-used trope these days and detracts from the drama here. However, the film succinctly ties it all up at the end, and visually too - the lack of expository dialogue here as compared to other J-cinema is refreshing. A wonderful soundtrack tops it all off, the best use of a song for thematic purpose since Gimme Heaven. "Summer Days" is now the anthem to my August.
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