Metamorphoses, or Winds of Change [星のオルフェウス Orpheus of the Stars] (1978-79)

1978’s Metamorphoses (it was called Hoshi no Orufeusu or “Orpheus of the Stars” in Japan) was a feature-length film directed by Takashi Masunaga that was released in the United States by Sanrio Communications. The surreal film was a five-part animated anthology of stories from Ovid, including those of Perseus, Actaeon, Aglaurus and Herse (“The House of Envy”), Orpheus and Eurydice, and Phaeton. Each vignette featured a recurring boy character named Wondermaker as the hero of the story. Metamorphoses was intended as a Fantasia for the rock era, with no speaking characters and music by Joan Baez and Mick Jagger. However, the film was not well-received and so it underwent a metamorphosis of its own, being re-released in 1979 as Winds of Change, with a disco score by Alex Costandinos and narration by famed actor Peter Ustinov. The film features a veritable smorgasbord of influences from the late 1970s: a clear echo of Disney is present in the illustration and its opening sequence is an exact copy of Star Wars. Though considered a box-office failure, Metamorphoses looks forward to the distinctive and often random ways that Japanese anime of the 80s and 90s will go on to engage with the Classical past.




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