Straight Outta Kanto here reeling you in with a Third Window Films movie that I can guarantee you won’t be the one who got away…
The dictionary defines Fish Story as an “improbable, boastful tale”. Well, on the surface one may agree that Nakamura Yoshihiro’s movie of the same name (based on Kotaro Isaka‘s novel) is indeed quite an improbable tale.
Filmed in 2009 yet set in 2012, an apocalypse is nigh. There is a great whopping comet set to collide into the Earth sixty minutes from now and the only thing that can save humanity from utter annihilation is a highly obscure 1975 song from forgotten punk band Gekirin (Wrath).
As we ourselves have just barely gotten through the monstrosity that was 2020 (shudder), the end of the world technically isn’t exactly an “improbable” concept; so what makes Fish Story so completely and utterly ‘out there’!?
While we have all seen vignette style storytelling in cinema many a time, no one has done it quite the way Fish Story has done it. Taking you from the “present day” last hour on Earth as two indie-heads muse on music and life in a record store, to a group of dorky little lads in 1982 driving on their way to a dismal group date all the way to a ferry hi-jacking in 2009. These wacky stories chop back and forth through the initial 1975 time line chronicling the rise and fall of Gekirin with such dizzying agility that the viewer is left utterly exhausted at the end.
I did enjoy certain vignettes more so than others and would have preferred a more in-depth treatment of the earlier story lines. For example, had the movie just been entirely about the band Gekirin that would have stood up on its own as a worthy musical film.
My personal favourite vignette was the 1982 arc featuring the young men about town playing cassette tapes as they drive through the gorgeously deserted Japanese countryside. In this scene they discuss a music urban legend reminiscent of the Junji Ito tale “Used Record” about the spectral voice of a dead songstress appearing on a record when it shouldn’t…
I was originally completely baffled by such seemingly disconnected vignettes but by the closing credits I was clapping my little hands off at how clever this movie is. I also blubbed my little eyes out too!
Featuring endearingly loveable losers, fantastic cinematography, dark, unique humour and a smorgasbord of plot twists, Fish Story is an emotional masterpiece highlighting the importance of music, the enduring hope in the hearts of humanity and how all people, no matter how small, do make a difference in the world.
Fish Story is not only an off-beat and quirky tale about how the fates of mankind are all bizarrely linked but a joyous heartfelt treatise on the power of the persistent underdog. So, next time you feel like being hard on yourself for not “achieving” goals of grandeur, just think of Fish Story and remember, just being alive and on this planet matters. (But try telling that to your parents when they’re nagging you to get a real job and move out…!)
Fish Story is available on Blu Ray now from Third Window Films and features an array of interesting special features for those who fancy an extra helping.
Straight Outta Kanto is the nerdy nom de plume of international horror-shock musician, illustrator and radio personality Venus de Vilo.
Straight Outta Kanto is a podcast and review blog dedicated to bringing it’s audience the warped and weirdest in nerd culture, nightmare fuel and 90s/00s nostalgia.
Champion of the Shurikon 2018 Pokémon League competition, certified VGC Dragon Gym Leader and CEO of Pokémon Fan Club Ireland, Straight Outta Kanto is an unapologetic otaku and psychotic J-Horror fanatic.