Japan, 2004, 103 min, 4K DCP, Dir. Masaaki Yuasa, Not Rated, GKIDS
"A virtuoso narrative loop-the-loop that travels through a phantasmagoric catalog of animation styles, Mind Game is […] one of the most fantastically experimental anime features seen stateside." – Ed Halter, Village Voice
For all the anime masters you’ve heard of, Masaaki Yuasa is the one you probably haven’t. His directorial vision - inspired by everyone from Tex Avery to René Laloux - is distinct in its fluidity and surreal nature, creating shows like Kemonozume, The Tatami Galaxy, and most recently Devilman Crybaby. With the release of his two new films, Lu Over the Wall and The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl, this year, his first and most insanely ambitious feature returns to theaters after over a decade. That film is Mind Game. Flirting with an abundance of styles to tell one story - that of a loser who gets killed by two yakuza because of a crush on his childhood girlfriend, prompting a psychedelic journey of self-discovery when he goes to heaven and back - Yuasa brings everything and more to the table. Mind Game indulges in the goofiness and malleability of animated filmmaking, building up a funhouse of kaleidoscopic visual tricks. This is a movie that blends digital animation with rotoscoping, watercolors, sketches, and CGI as effortlessly as it navigates the genres it bounces through.
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