The year is 2012 and the world is threatened by imminent destruction due to a comet impact. At least that’s the basic premise of the Japanese film Fish Story, though it has little to do with the movie other than providing a beginning and ending to it. The main bulk of the film is a series of flashbacks which relate the individual stories of a cast of characters over the course of 30 years. The stories come out of order and are loosely held together by a the common device that a particular song, produced by a little-known Japanese punk band, will end up saving the world.
Each of the smaller tales is humorous, relevant and interesting in its own way, though the real purpose of the film comes from showing how one small action can affect the way that the entire world plays out. The stories are all connected, though unless you’re sharp you may miss how they interrelate. I won’t explain exactly how the film gets from a punk rock song to the end of the world (or rather the other way around), since the journey is the most enjoyable part about this film.
Since the stories don’t play out in a strict chronological order, the movie can be a bit confusing at times. The meaning behind the film comes at the next to final scene, when the flashbacks finally make it to the original production of the punk song and the story of the band which created it. For those that get lost (like I did), there’s a brief walk-through at the end of the flick to show how each scene plays off the one before and after it. Actually, this kind of explanation is a bit lame and shouldn’t be needed if the editing is done properly, but I was grateful for it nonetheless.
Fish story is definitely worth a watch, though it might be better to just enjoy each scene’s appeal as it comes instead of trying to piece it all together. It is a fun film that explores the way sometimes seemingly inconsequential actions, driven by strength of character and altruism, can form a chain which has a direct and meaningful affect upon the world.