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.


Sanrio and Me


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