It often amazes me to find some of the strangest combinations that exist in media. Often times it comes off as gimmicky. Look at the number of crossovers the WWE has done with Hannah-Barbera cartoons in recent years. But other times these combinations can produce what I can only describe as art. This is where Netflix’s newest film Sound & Fury falls into place.
Sound & Fury can easily be described as this generation’s Interstella 5555. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Interstella 5555 was an anime film that was told by playing Daft Punk’s Discovery album. But where Interstella found it’s imagery working perfectly with the futuristic-sounding group, Sound & Fury comes from Grammy-winning Country artist Sturgill Simpson.
That’s right, this anime film is teamed with an American country music artist. The result is a film that feels completely unique and original. The film is broken into small “episodes” and there is absolutely no dialogue throughout the film. Rather the story is told purely through the visuals and then accompanied via an amazing album that I’d be hard-pressed to say is country.
Each of the episodes has a different look to their animation style. Similar to how each episode of Love Death and Robots is different. But the first few episodes were designed by Takashi Okazaki, who has worked on Afro Samurai and Batman Ninja. So if you’re fans of that creative look this film is a must-see.
Sturgill Simpson was heavily involved as he is credited as the producer, writer, and his newest album of the same name, acts as the source material. I won’t go into detail about the story as it’s open to interpretation by the viewer. Though at the end it does say “To the victims of senseless violence.” This point does hold up as the setting is in a dystopian future and for myself, that message rings through each episode.
The film is 42 minutes long, so it doesn’t take up too much time. The visual elements are interesting and stimulating to those that take it in. The various episodes are directed by 6 different Directors. Elsa Nakamichi and Jumpie Mizusaki are first-time Directors. While the rest all have had experience with other well known Anime properties. Henry Thurlow has worked on series like Tokyo Ghoul and Naruto: Shippuden but this is the first time as a director. Michael Arias has directed Tekkon Kinkurito and produced The Animatrix. Koji Morimoto was one of the directors for The Animatrix and worked on Akira. Lastly is Masayuki Matsumoto, who has directed episodes for Transformers Armada, To Love-Ru, and Naruto Shippuden. They provide different directions for their episodes that all match well together. And of course, Sturgill Simpson’s music accompanies the whole film masterfully.
In fact one of the episodes is the official music video for the latest song “Sing Along”. So it can act as a way to get a view to want to see more. Or if you watch the film first, you might be like me and find yourself wanting to get the album just to listen to the music.
Of course, this film may not be for everyone. As it doesn’t have a narrative that is spoken might be off-putting. And some of the visuals might be confusing to the average viewer. Similar to anyone that watched FCLC for the first time with no context. But I would say that’s more of an experience than typical anime. For that, I give it 4 out of 5.
To those that have seen it or listened to the album, what was your favorite song/episode? I’ll say personally on both levels Remember to Breath was the coolest for me.