Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem

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Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem
Theatrical release poster
Japanese name
Revised HepburnIntāsutera Fō Faibu
Directed byKazuhisa Takenouchi
Written by
Produced by
  • Thomas Bangalter
  • Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo
CinematographyFumio Hirokawa
Edited by
  • Shigeru Nishiyama
  • Olivier Gajan
Music by
Distributed byEMI/Virgin Records
Release dates
  • 18 May 2003 (Cannes)
  • 28 May 2003 (worldwide)
Running time
65 minutes[1]
  • France
  • Japan
Budget$4 million[2]

Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (インターステラ5555, Intāsutera Fō Faibu, "Four Five") is a 2003 animated musical science fiction film. The film serves as a visual companion to Discovery, the second studio album by Daft Punk. Interstella 5555 tells the story of the abduction and rescue of an interstellar pop band. The film was produced by Toei Animation, directed by Kazuhisa Takenouchi and supervised by Leiji Matsumoto.[3] The film has no dialogue and the audio consists only of the album Discovery,[nb 1]


The main points of the story coincide with the Daft Punk tracks on their Discovery album. On a humanoid-alien planet, a band is playing to a packed audience; keyboardist Octave, guitarist Arpegius, drummer Baryl, and bass player Stella ("One More Time"). A military force from Earth invades the planet and kidnaps the band ("Aerodynamic").

A space pilot called Shep is seen working outside his guitar-shaped ship, then goes inside. He is interrupted from his daydream about Stella by a distress call about the kidnapping, and pursues the kidnappers through a wormhole, where he crash lands on Earth ("Digital Love").

The band is taken to an underground facility, where their memories are removed to disks and their blue skin changed to make them resemble humans. They are fitted with mind-control devices hidden inside sunglasses ("Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"). Their captor, Earl de Darkwood, poses as their manager and presents them as a new band called The Crescendolls, who take the world by storm ("Crescendolls"). The fame has its disadvantages as the exhausted members of the band are forced to sign large amounts of marketing material. Meanwhile, Shep finds his way to the city and discovers what has happened to the band ("Nightvision").

During a stadium concert, Shep flies in with a jet pack and fires a beam at each band member, freeing all of them from the mind control except for Stella. In the escape, Shep is mortally wounded, and Darkwood's bodyguards are revealed to be androids ("Superheroes").

Still under Darkwood's control, Stella finds a card with the address of Darkwood's home, Darkwood Manor, which she hides in her dress. She is taken to a "Gold Record Award" ceremony, where the Crescendolls win the Gold Record. Baryl is concealed in the audience and frees Stella with the beam, and they make their escape with Octave's help ("High Life"). The band returns to Shep, who reveals their true identities before he dies ("Something About Us"). They bury Shep and his spirit rises into space. While driving away, they use the card Stella took earlier to find their way to Darkwood Manor, and decide to investigate ("Voyager").

While exploring Darkwood's mansion, the band finds their way into a secret room, in which they find a journal revealing Darkwood's plans. He has been kidnapping musicians from various worlds to acquire 5,555 gold records, with which he can rule the universe. Darkwood captures them and attempts to sacrifice Stella to complete the ritual, but Arpegius manages to throw the final gold record into a chasm, and Darkwood follows it into the abyss, which is revealed to be filled with lava, apparently killing him. His foot soldiers follow after him, killing them as well ("Veridis Quo"). The band travels back to the record company to retrieve the memory disks. Octave sneaks in to steal them, but while escaping from the building, he is tased by a guard, and his skin reverts to its blue state ("Short Circuit").

The authorities find Shep's ship and mount an operation to return the Crescendolls to normal, and get the quartet back to their home planet ("Face to Face"). On the way back to the wormhole, Darkwood's spirit appears and attacks the ship. Shep's spirit also appears and fights Darkwood, which frees them. The band returns to their home planet to great acclaim, and a statue of Shep is erected ("Too Long"). At the end, it is implied that the whole story was the dream of a young boy, inspired by the Discovery album and toys in his room.


  • Stella – The only female band member, she is the bassist of the Crescendolls, as well as the main protagonist of the film.
  • Arpegius – The guitarist of the Crescendolls.
  • Baryl – The drummer of the Crescendolls. He is noticeably shorter in stature than most of the other characters.
  • Octave – The keyboardist and vocalist of the Crescendolls.
  • Shep – An alien astronaut on a mission to rescue the captured Crescendolls. He has a crush on Stella.
  • Earl de Darkwood – The human captor of the Crescendolls and the main antagonist of the film.
  • Record Co. Owner – The supposed owner of the Record Company. He is giddy and excited in most of his on-screen time.
  • Daft Punk – The masked musicians themselves make a cameo appearance in "High Life".


The idea of making a feature film to visualize Discovery came about during the album's early recording sessions. Daft Punk's concept for the story involved the merging of science fiction with entertainment industry culture. The duo had initially conceived of a live-action film featuring themes of overcoming oppression and rebelling against the machinery of life.[4] After the live-action approach was discarded, several styles of animation were considered before settling on that of Daft Punk's childhood hero, Leiji Matsumoto.[5][3]

The film concept was further developed with Daft Punk collaborator Cédric Hervet, with Bangalter and Hervet writing the script. A team consisting of Daft Punk, Hervet, Pedro Winter and Gildas Loaec were introduced to Toei Animation through a connection at Toshiba EMI. The script was brought to Tokyo in July 2000 in the hope of creating the film with Matsumoto, who remarked that he in turn was inspired by French filmmakers.[5] After Matsumoto joined the team as visual supervisor, Shinji Shimizu had been contacted to produce the animation and Kazuhisa Takenouchi to direct the film. With the translation coordination of Tamiyuki "Spike" Sugiyama, production began in October 2000 and ended in April 2003.[3] Daft Punk commuted to Tokyo on a near-monthly basis as Toei produced the storyboards.[5] The cost of the film is said to have been $4 million.[2]

The first four episodes from the film were released to serve as promotional videos throughout the Discovery campaign, and were shown on Cartoon Network on 31 August 2001 during the "Toonami Midnight Run: Special Edition". Cartoon Network later hosted the episodes online as part of their short-lived Toonami Reactor project (later revived as Toonami Jetstream).[6] In December 2003, Interstella 5555 was released along with the album Daft Club, which served to promote the film and provided previously unreleased remixes of tracks from the Discovery album.[7] A Blu-ray edition of the film was released in September 2011 and contains similar artwork packaging.

Many elements common to Matsumoto's stories, such as romanticism of noble sacrifice and remembrance of fallen friends, appear in Interstella 5555. Daft Punk revealed in an interview that Captain Harlock was a great influence on them in their childhood. They also stated, "The music we have been making must have been influenced at some point by the shows we were watching when we were little kids."[8]

Track listing[edit]

1."One More Time" (edit)4:57
2."Aerodynamic" (extended intro)3:42
3."Digital Love" (edit)4:30
4."Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"3:44
8."High Life"3:22
9."Something About Us"3:51
11."Veridis Quo" (extended)6:45
12."Short Circuit"3:27
13."Face to Face"4:00
14."Too Long"10:00
15."Aerodynamic" (Daft Punk remix, end credits)2:08


The film was well received by critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 86% based on 7 reviews (6 positive, 1 negative).[9]

The BBC gave the film four stars out of five, saying that the film is a "visual and aural treat of intergalactic proportions".[10] said that the film was "the best animated film made in 2003, and a true testament to the artistry possible in two very different mediums."[11] concluded by stating that the film is "a unique feature that shows just how well music can be blended to animation to make a compelling story."[12]

Empire said the film was "Fine if you like the band – you'll be treated to some cartoons playing over the top of their Discovery album. For everyone else, just daft."[13]


  1. ^ Although no dialogue is featured in the film, some characters are depicted to be talking or singing. Some examples with main characters: Shep sings "Digital Love" and "Something About Us"; Octave sings "One More Time" and appears to convey information in "Short Circuit"; Darkwood talks to Stella during "Crescendolls" and in "Veridis Quo", he reads from the eponymous book as part of the ritual.


  1. ^ " Interstella 5555 – The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem". Amazon. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b Eric Ducker, "The Creators" (2007). The Fader, issue 47, pp. 115. Retrieved on April 25, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Interstella 5555 DVD insert, 2003.
  4. ^ "Poolside Presents: Pacific Standard Time Episode 11: Todd Edwards". Twitch. 26 February 2021. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Shimizu, Tomoaki (September 2001). "Interview with Daft Trax". Plus81.
  6. ^ Toonami: Digital Arsenal Archived February 14, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on April 14, 2007.
  7. ^ Interstella 5555 at Discogs
  8. ^ "Daft Punk Interview". Cartoon Network. Archived from the original on 27 June 2004. Retrieved 7 June 2008.
  9. ^ "Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 25 January 2009.
  10. ^ Jamie Russell (13 October 2003). "BBC – Films – review – Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5system". BBC. Retrieved 25 January 2009.
  11. ^ Jeremy Heilman (28 February 2004). " – Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem". Retrieved 25 January 2009.
  12. ^ Beveridge, Chris (19 October 2009). "10 Great Anime That Are Not Miyazaki". Mania. Demand Media. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015.
  13. ^ Nick Dawson. "Empire Reviews Central – Review of Interstella 5555". Empire Magazine. Retrieved 25 January 2009.

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