June 7, 2009

Mind Game


  • Mind Game
  • aka マインド・ゲーム
  • Directed by Masaaki Yuasa, 湯浅政明
  • 2004
  • 103 minutes
  • IMDb
  • CDJapan, Amazon.co.jp

Goosebumps. Mind Game gave me goosebumps the first time I saw it. Mind Game gave me goosebumps the second time I saw it. Mind Game still gives me goosebumps whenever I see it.

It is a movie about meeting your high school sweetheart, going to her sister's resturant to catch up, getting killed by a yakuza shooting you with a pistol jammed up your ass, meeting God, getting a second chance to come back to life, fleeing from said yakuza's yakuza brothers, getting swallowed by a whale and meeting an old man living in the belly of the beast. And then you have 54 more minutes to watch!

The eight-and-a-half minutes the main character, Nishi, spends in purgatory after getting shot are delicious, the way Yuasa portraits God as everything at the same time is genius. It is my favourite part of the movie and works pretty well by itself, take a look.

The movie is visually throbbing, the animation style is constantly changing, one second sketchy, rough and flat, one second round and full 3D animation, one second an impressive colorama, one second a dark and gloomy reality, one second a strange marriage of live action and animation. The plot is thinner than rice paper yet it hits harder than a sledge hammer. Yuasa throws in random vignettes here and there that don't make any sense yet you can't imagine the film without them. The movie is unfocused at best yet I can not stop loving it.

In fact I belive that Mind Game is the animation of the decade.

Mind Game Trailer

The Japanese DVD contains English subtitles and is very import friendly, extra material remains unsubbed though. You can get it through Amazon.co.jp or CDJapan.


That Girl said...

god I loved this movie.
They used to have it on Crunchyroll, but it has since been removed...
Will the DVD work on US region players?

zytroop said...

@That Girl: The DVD is region 2 so it will only work if you have a region free DVD player. Or you can pop it in you computer and watch it with VLC.

That Girl said...

cool. is there anywhere to buy it here, in the US? or must one order online.

alex.kiseki said...

my favorite alltime anime movie

p.s. i love your blog! keep it up!

ryan said...

Love this movie-- I got into it after Hellen Jo showed it to me a year or so ago at her place.

It freaks me out too

zytroop said...

@That Girl: I don't know, you should ask at a specialized DVD store or a Japanese store, they should be able to import it for you. Online is the easiest way to go though!
@alex.kiseki: I hear ya. Thanks
@ryan: it's freaky in warm special place kinda way.

Oliver said...


I bought this film on your recommendation and wanted to thank you for it. It's great!
I got an Australian edition of the dvd and the extras were subbed. An extra that was quite revealing was one that featured the director talking through the final scene. I had picked up on a number of things myself - that the snippets of possible outcomes to the characters lives was all about Nishi wanting to be back in the the real world, with all its complexities - but the amount of detail in that scene that I hadn't picked up on was crazy. For example, the ship and the plane coming through the whales mouth was meant to represent the difficulties of life, the tank was war and the office was work. Also that bit where they show a road changing over a number of years, from dirt track to city suburb? Well that actually was the story of a woman who lived there, from her childhood to old age, and you see her throughout this tiny scene. Those are only two examples! It's insane the amount of stuff they crammed in to this film. It's like a zip file being extracted. Amazing.