In a world that had been decimated by a nuclear meltdown, humanity has fled the Earth’s surface and moved civilization high up into the sky. The police raid the place of worship for the followers of Saint Nova’s Church, a Japanese cult. Within the confines of the church two policemen find an unconscious woman with the wings of an angel; she is quickly subdued and taken to a laboratory for observation. Having believed they have seen a real angel, the two policemen set out to rescue and release her to the outside world.
summary by Kain
Highs: Splendid extravaganza of CG and cel work; uplifting theme; Chage & Aska fans will rejoice!
Lows: Disjointed feel; music does not work for non-J-Rock lovers
This movie is less than seven minutes long. There is no dialogue. There are no names, nor background on who the characters are. Yet through miracles that only Miyazaki Hayao could perform, On Your Mark ends up being a captivating cinematic experience.
On Your Mark is actually a music video performed by Chage & Aska, two of the most famous rock musicians in Japan today. The two policemen in the movie are supposed to be the musicians themselves. Those who can follow spoken Japanese will be confused because the video doesn’t match the lyrics at all. This is intentional; Miyazaki Hayao put a lot of his own interpretations into this artwork, and anyone who has followed his previous movies will instantly recognize the themes he pays homage to. In particular, Nausicaä connoisseurs will find parallels between the post-apocalyptic setting and the character of the winged angel.
What I really had a hard time swallowing, and thus costing this anime points in my book, are how the scenes meld together. Yes, there are limitations as to how cohesive an anime can be when the allotted time is only six minutes and forty seconds, but I expect better from Miyazaki and was ultimately disappointed in this department. There lacked that smooth flow and transitions that I had come to expect from a Studio Ghibli film.
Never having been big on J-Rock myself, I found it ridiculously easy to tune out the music and concentrate entirely on the visuals. Needless to say I was most pleased. Seeing as how short On Your Mark is, there really is no excuse for any anime otaku not to invest the time into watching it.
On Your Mark can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.