On Your Mark - A Short Video by Hayao Miyazaki

Via Wikipedia:

"On Your Mark" is a song by the Japanese rock duo Chage & Aska. At their request, animator Hayao Miyazaki 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.

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-style police 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, similar to those of the Dorok priests in Miyazaki's Nausicaa manga. The police are victorious; as they sort through the bodies of apparent mass suicide victims, 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 - something as beautiful, as miraculous as this young girl, should be free to fly, to shine - not be held in a security field and have tests run on her. The two hatch a plan - we see them working on various aspects of this, then the pair wearing radiation suits and breaking into a laboratory and rescuing the girl. This triggers the lab's alarms, and we see the three of them 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.

There is a short musical bridge, and the story "resets" for another telling.

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(one of the truck tires has come off, but one of the men kicks it to keep it from hitting anyone); they are seen in their sports car racing through a dark tunnel underneath signs which bear radiation symbols and read (in kanji) "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. From very high up, we see the shape of the car veering off the road and slowing to a stop in the grass - it has been suggested on various messageboards that the two men have either succumbed to radiation poisoning or had simply stopped the car to watch the girl fly away. However, in an interview with Hayao Miyazaki in answer to a question about the 'fate' of the policemen, his answer implies that they survived.

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