On Your Mark (FAQ)
Q: What is "On Your Mark"?
On Your Mark is a 6 minute and 40 second music promotion film for the Japanese rock duo, Chage & Aska. Miyazaki wrote the original story and screenplay, and directed it. It was released in theaters with Whisper of the Heart in 1995, and also screened at C&A's concerts.
Q: How can I see it?
It's included on the Studio Ghibli Shorts R2 DVD.
Video and Laserdisc are available from Pony Canyon, 2,700 yen. It is also included in the Ghibli LD Box Set. For more information, visit the Availability page.
Q: Who are Chage & Aska?
They are two of the most popular Rock/Pop musicians in Asia. They (sort of) look like the two policemen in the film. To know more about them, visit one of their fan pages.
Q: Is a translation of the lyrics available?
A translation from Aardvark Anime Concerts.
Q: Does an English version of the song exist?
"Castles in the Air" (lyrics) uses the same melody but has different lyrics. The song is included on several of Chage & Aska's CDs and is an audio option on the Studio Ghibli Shorts DVD.
Q: What is the big building which looks like a box in the beginning of the film?
According to Miyazaki, humans in this time are living underground because the earth is covered with pollution, radiation, ultraviolet light, and so forth. You can see a car with a radiation warning sign moving in front of this "Box". After the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, the reactor was totally covered by concrete to keep radiation in. The plant now looks like a huge concrete box, called a "coffin". Since Miyazaki mentioned Chernobyl in his interview about OYM, this big "box" is probably something like Chernobyl's coffin.
Q: Who are those people who were raided by the police?
They are the followers of "Saint Nova's Church". We don't know why they were raided by the police. However, unfortunately, a religious cult being raided by the authorities is not such a rare event today. OYM was made *before* Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese cult, was raided by the police for their criminal activities.
Q: In the scene where the policemen and the girl are driving in the tunnel to the outside, there were a couple of signs in Kanji. What did they say?
They are in Chinese: "Beware of Sunlight" and "Life not Guaranteed". It seems that the level of ultraviolet radiation is dangerous to humans due to ozone depletion. There was also a sign in Chinese in the scene where they were running through what seemed to be a Chinese slum. It said "God is Watching You", the slogan of the cult.
Q: I thought those two policemen were killed. Why did they keep coming back?
The timeline in this film doesn't flow linearly. As with the lyrics "We still don't stop", they keep trying, no matter how many times they fail.
Q: Was CG used in "On Your Mark"?
Q: Are there any in-jokes in "On Your Mark"?
Yes. The truck that the policemen use to make their getaway is equipped with "Ghibli" tires.
Q: Who was the girl? What was the story about?
Please read this Miyazaki interview.