Register so you can check out ratings by your friends, family members, and like-minded members of the FA community of users. In 1981, Filmteen and his pals spent a good portion of their summer vacation sitting in the UA East 85th St. Yuasa's debut feature, Mind Game has been touted as an anime masterpiece, and one that completely redefines the medium.
Mind Game starts out promising, with a montage of rapid-fire scenes that (without context) makes little sense, but is utterly fascinating to look at. Nishi is an awkward, insecure manga artist who has never been able to properly confess his love for his childhood sweetheart Myon. Filmbrain isn't familiar with Robin Nishi's manga that the film is based on, but the characters in the film aren't all that interesting.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License. After an encounter with the Japanese mafia, the film follows Nishi as he journeys to heaven and back, and ends up trapped in an even more unlikely place.


The story is the creation of production companies "Daiei Motion Picture Company", "Fuji TV", "Horipro".
While the latter might be true, there's simply too much in the film that feels overly familiar. Yuasa makes use of many different styles of animation -- everything from the familiar lo-fi sharp-edged style found in classic anime TV series to hi-tech 3D computer generated wonders. Brutally murdered in her presence, he demands that god (depicted as a non-stop shape-shifter) give him another chance to prove himself, and so begins our adventure. With all the visual trickery going on, you sort of half-expect something slightly more creative, original or anarchic from the screenplay, but what we get we've seen before. Nishi (and some friends) attempt to break out of their trap, and discover what it truly means to be alive along the way.
In between there are visual references to other animated classics -- everything from early Fleischer brothers to Fantasia, Yellow Submarine, and Fantastic Planet. After a scrape with the Osaka yakuza, Nishi, Myon and her sister Yan find themselves trapped in the belly of a whale where they meet Jiisan, a modern-day Jonah.


Do we really need another child-like, doe-eyed, stick-figured heroine with outlandishly large breasts and the men who sweat, scream and physically distort themselves over them?
It's a visual feast from start to finish, yet without a compelling enough story to support it. Unfortunately, the film starts to sputter out, and by the seventy-five mark minute feels very tired (with still another thirty minutes to go!) Fortunately, it begins to pick up again towards the end.
The lengthy sequence inside the whale (where most of the film takes place) segues from one fantasy scene to another, which allows Yuasa to come up with a whole new slew of visual ideas, but grinds the plot to a halt. This is the feeling Filmbrain had when watching Masaaki Yuasa's Mind Game, an animated film that he would have no doubt loved years ago, but found somewhat tiresome today. A feature-length non-narrative experiment might have been more successful than this hybrid approach, which is ultimately unsatisfying.



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