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On Your Mark

From Academic Kids

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"On Your Mark" is a song by the Japanese rock duo Chage & Aska. At their request, animator Miyazaki Hayao produced a music video for the song. The music video was created in 1995, is entirely animated, has no dialogue, and runs for about six and a half minutes.

Synopsis

The video begins with shots of a peaceful but vacant village, overgrown with weeds, with the enormous concrete sarcophagus of a covered-over nuclear reactor in the background.

As the music picks up, the scene changes to a nighttime military raid on a religious group. Futuristic flying troop transports crash through the windows of a tower topped by the neon slogan "God Is Watching You," and anti-terrorist policemen exchange gunfire and grenades with people whose hoods depict an enormous eye. The police are victorious; as they sort through the bodies, two of them find what appears to be a girl, lying unconscious, with large feathered wings on her back.

The scene changes again, now to bright daylight and blue sky. The two men are driving a sports car down an empty road. One of them helps the girl up; she spreads her wings; he holds her hands as she gains confidence, and finally with a nudge she is airborne.

Back to the discovery of the girl in the tower: the two men carefully carry her out and offer her something to drink, and are encouraged when she sips. But a team of scientists wearing radiation suits arrives and quickly whisks the girl away after placing her into a sterile container.

The two men are shown relaxing later, but thinking about the girl and looking somewhat morose, until they have some sort of realization - we then see the two of them wearing radiation suits and breaking into a laboratory, rescuing the girl and escaping in an armored truck. They drive along a narrow suspended roadway over what appears to be a domed city built in a crater. Police craft pursue them, and one of them collides with the roadway and destroys it, sending the truck plummeting. The winged girl refuses to let go of the hands of her rescuers, and so the three of them presumably fall to their deaths.

A montage of previous shots follows: the discovery of the girl, the girl flying through a blue sky, the two men rescuing the girl from the laboratory and stealing the truck, the truck plummeting amidst the wreckage of the roadway. But this time, the truck fires stabilising thrusters and makes a short flight into the side of an apartment tower. The men and the girl escape; they are seen in their sports car racing through a dark tunnel underneath signs which bear radiation symbols and read (in Chinese) "Beware Of Sunlight" and "Survival Not Guaranteed", then finally they emerge into daylight, passing through a field of nuclear cooling towers and past a sign which reads "Extreme Danger." Besides the green fields and trees, there are no other signs of life.

As the car speeds down the road, one of the men helps the girl up, and she spreads her wings and gives them a grateful smile; he kisses her hand, and she is gone drifting upward into the sky.

Analysis

The video was inspired in part by the Chernobyl accident of 1986, in which a damaged reactor had to be covered with concrete and the surrounding area evacuated.

The two men are meant to look like the singers Chage and Aska themselves. One of the men (wearing a naval cap) is depicted as brave and caring, while the other (wearing a helmet and dark goggles) is depicted as being somewhat goofy. This kind of pairing is common to anime.

The winged girl bears close resemblance to the princess from another Miyazaki film, Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind.

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