Friday, August 17, 2012

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots … In My Heart

I recently read that musical group The Flaming Lips is finally getting the musical based on their album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots off the ground. I read this, and was a little surprised by how happy I was when I announced it to a room full of people who could not possibly give a smaller increment of a crap.

I'm not particularly a Flaming Lips fan, nor to I have a terrific affinity for much of their discography. I truthfully only know the "Yoshimi" title track, and I'll often confuse The Violent Femmes tracks for theirs. Sorry, I just wasn't hip in 2002.

But this is a Broadway musical about a Japanese girl who works for the government, taking suspect "vitamins" to help her destroy giant, evil, pink robots, and the hapless boy(?) who loves her and basks in her protective wake.

It's Voices of a Distant Star, Battle Angel Alita (sorry, Jim Cameron), Saikano, Vision of Escaflowne, to a lesser extent Evangelion, and about 19,000 other Japanese shows/comics. The point here is not that it's a trite, worn, or even time-tested story.

The point is it's a musical about a kickass girl fighting giant robots.

Remember when I said Green Day's rock musical American Idiot was the thing that could save Broadway, being all things rock and roll and no things H.M.S. Pinafore? This is an extension of that. It's taking something beloved and interesting and shoehorning it into a faded and failing shell, hoping that the seams will tear apart and we'll be left with an original work, more like its inspiration than the factory-fresh commodified artworks we've grown used to.

Or it'll be a wildly entertaining piece of garbage and we'll just get a few good chuckles out of it. I'd still call that a win.

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