Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura
In 2012, a giant comet is about to hit the Earth, bringing total devastation. Japan is expected to be totally submerged by a huge tidal wave. The population have fled to high ground, but as one doom loving character reminds us, that won’t help. The streets of Tokyo are deserted. But one small record shop is still open, and the owner is confident the apocalypse will not come. His certainty is rooted in Fish Story, a forgotten record made in the 70s by a band no one remembers. This song will save the world, he insists.
A good chunk of the film is the story of Gekirin. They are a proto punk band, stealing a march on the Sex Pistols by twelve months, but this is 1975 Japan and no one is interested. They gradually succumb to low sales, record company antagonism and a dispute with their singer, but not before recording the song Fish Story. The song disappears without a trace, but other parts of the film set in 1982, 1999, 2009 and 2012, just hours before the comet’s impact, follow its afterlife, and show how it does indeed save the world.
This is terrific ridiculous fun. The non linear structure makes you wonder how on earth all these disparate strands (the parts I haven’t mentioned yet include a collector of paranormal recordings, a ninja-esque baker, ocean going terrorists, a deceitfully incompetent translator, Nostradamus and a bizarre cult) can come together, but the wrap up in the final few minutes makes it all satisfyingly clear. The film explains a Fish Story as an exaggerated tale that grows in the telling, and this fits that description to a tee. And the song is pretty good as well.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
anyone who’s ever been in a band that never went anywhere, anyone who used to watch Moviedrome on BBC2, anyone who loves a doomed cause and believes the world needs saving