Mind Game

Director: Masaaki Yuasa & Koji Morimoto
Japan / 2004 / 103 min
In Japanese with English subtitles

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Preceded by Mary Ellen Bute, Norman McLaren & Ted Nemeth’s kaleidoscopic visual music ghost show Spook Sport (1939, 9 min). Courtesy of Canyon Cinema.

A cult phenomenon in Japan, Masaaki Yuasa and Koji Morimoto’s shoot-the-works avant-garde head-trip anime, which tries, masters, and disposes of just about every animation style you can think of in the course of its runtime, is a psychedelic secret that’s ripe for discovery. This philosophical and earthy adaptation of Robin Nishi’s manga follows a young Osakan man whose dreams of being a comic artist are seemingly dashed forever when a yakuza thug blasts a bullet up his ass—but then things really start to get weird. The pure product of an unchained—some would say unhinged—imagination matched to a dynamo talent, and a brain-blitzing experience that can scarcely be described.