The Five Star Stories, the animation
There was an hour length animation for the Five Star Stories back in 1989. It covered volume 1 and it ended there. They probably couldn’t continue even if they wanted to animate more due to a fact that, in 1989, there were only 2 volumes. Even if they wanted to animate volume 2, it wouldn’t have been possible because volume 2 is pretty much entirely different from volume 1 from a viewpoint wise.
The manga volume 1 is pretty much a standalone story. The story is about fatima Lachesis. Interestingly, after volume 1, there is hardly any focus on her. Then 35 years later, there is a dedicated story on her in volume 16. That… took a while.
The animation begins with finalization of Lachesis’ maturation where Dr. Chrome Ballanche asks for a forgiveness as she wakes up from years of slumber. She, in return, replies that there is no need for him to ask such as she wanted it in the first place.
Now, what their conversation really means, you won’t have any idea unless you read the manga. Even if you’ve read the manga, there is a decent chance that you may fail to grasp the meaning behind their conversation even.
Then we see, Sopp crashing into surface as he loses control of something.
He is visiting Bastogne in Rent, an autonomous district, on the planet Addler to visit a fatima debut party. This is where everything begins.
A fatima is a biologically engineered humans that are meant to control mortar headds. They usually come in female forms. Because they are pretty much perfect human beings, both in shape and mind in addition of desirable appearances, some rich people want them for a different purpose. However, there are strict laws in place to prevent that from happening.
While a fatima has no right on her own, she does have one right that cannot be taken away from her: It is her right to choose her master. Once a fatima calls someone a master, the fatima in question belongs to its master which also means her master’s right extends to her.
For an extreme example, if a fatima calls a king her master, she becomes either a queen or a royal mistress. Her right as a human being will be that of a royalty.
A fatima debut party is where new/masterless fatimas are introduced to numerous headliners in which they can choose their first or new master. In this particular fatima debut party, three new fatimas are introduced, Atropos, Clotho, and Lachesis. Atropos has already escaped, so in essence, just the latter two.
Because they are Dr. Chrome Ballanche’s fatimas, they are highly sought after, meaning renowned headliners are attending. But Grand Duke Juba of Bastogne has an ambition to “acquire” both fatimas for himself.
Now, you will probably be lost by time you finish watching the animation. It is faithful to its source material however.
In my opinion, you should watch this ONLY if you’ve read the manga, at least up to volume 4. I strongly feel that this animation is a supplement material to the manga.
On its own, it’s rather confusing stuff because there is no big picture in the film.
When F.S.S. was first released in 1986, it was considered a unique series. Fast forward 2022, it is still a unique series. There is nothing really like it, the scale, the lore, and most importantly its atmosphere. It feels like a genuine and proper sci-fi series.
Interestingly, the old animation style of 1980s boosts its atmosphere further rather than showing its age. Yes, even in 2022, this is a good looking animation.
There is another animation of F.S.S. which is called “Gothicmade” released in 2012. But it was released strictly for Japanese theaters, and home media was never released for it. Apparently, the author refused a home (DVD, Blu-ray) release, citing that the film should only be viewed in a theater with a good sound system.
Whether that reasoning is true, I do not know. It is a certainly good way to prevent privacy though since it’s not available on the internet. And, according to what I’ve read, the film is still played regularly in Japan due to a constant demand.
Now, from what I’ve been able to watch from Youtube which were mostly promotional materials, it looks very nice. Despite its age (released in 2012), it holds up very well.