A little while ago I was fortunate enough to catch the film Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem at the Mercury Cinema in Adelaide. Why I was fortunate was that the film opened my eyes to different ways in which to convey a story. You see, what made Interstella 5555 a unique anime experience was that it contained no lines of dialogue whatsoever. Instead, the film consisted of the animated story with an audio track contributed by music group Daft Punk. This concept was fantastic since even though there were no words, the music still seemed to give the audience an idea as to how they should feel at any particular point in the film.
I feel that Interstella 5555 is relevant to this review of Space Firebird 2772, not just because both titles have numbers in them, but for the fact that Space Firebird 2772 begins in a similar vein, with no words uttered, only vision and music. It’s a fantastic way of showing a montage, in this case we are given the opportunity to see how our protagonist, Godo, was born and raised.
In fact, it would probably have been great if the entirety of Space Firebird was in this format since the animation and the music worked so well together. Unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want and it isn’t too far into Space Firebird that the film changes and the characters finally get a chance to speak. There are a number of reasons why introducing speech turned a potentially good film bad, however I found the greatest similarity with the computer game Zero Wing. The computer game Zero Wing was made famous for the memorable quote “All your base are belong to us”. The reason for this rather interesting quote was that the game was translated from Japanese to English with no real care for any form of grammar. Why this is relevant is that there is a similar problem with the translation of the voice track of Space Firebird. This includes both the English dub version and the English subtitles. What adds insult to injury is that the voice acting for all characters is abysmal.
This transgression could be forgivable if the rest of the film was sound, say if the plot was interesting, but this just isn’t the case. Whilst the basic premise of the plot shows promise, the implementation is poor with massive jumps between plot arcs.
The whole film just doesn’t hold well together, whether this is due to the terrible translation or a combination of the translation, the editing and other factors cannot be fully ascertained. What is known is that Space Firebird 2772 is one anime film that is not worth the two hours required to watch it.