“Your life is a result of your own decisions.”–text message briefly glimpsed in the opening scenes of Mind Game
“There’s a lot of randomness in the decisions people make.”–Daniel Kahneman, psychologist
FEATURING: Voices of Kôji Imada, Sayaka Maeda, Takashi Fujii, Seiko Takuma
PLOT: Aspiring manga artist Nishi meets his schoolboy crush Myon on the subway and realizes he still loves her. They go to eat at her family’s noodle shop, but two yakuza break in, demanding repayment of loans, and in the ensuing scuffle kill the cowardly Nishi. In the afterlife, Nishi meets God, but decides he’s not done living and returns to earth, where he becomes a hero by rescuing Myon and her sister, then is swallowed by a whale and shacks up with the old hermit who lives in its belly.
- Certified Weird short feature Cat Soup (2001), working as co-writer, co-producer and animation director. ‘s feature film debut as a director. He had worked as an animator since 1990. He also had a big role in producing the
- Animation director Kôji Morimoto’s credits as an animator include Akira (1988) and Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989).
- Mind Game won the equivalent of Best Animated Feature at Japan’s Media Arts Festival (placing ahead of Howl’s Moving Castle) and was named Best Film at the 2004 Fantasia Festival (narrowly beating out Survive Style 5+).
- Despite its accolades, Mind Game never had an official U.S. premier or home video release until 2018. It nevertheless developed a cult following with the few people who managed to see it, and told their friends.
- Mind Game was the winner of 366 Weird Movies’ final readers’ choice poll.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: God, the cigarette smoking fish. Seriously, how many movies dare to literally depict God on-screen? Now, subtract the ones that show Him as a bearded old white guy or George Burns, and ask yourself the question again.
THREE WEIRD THINGS: God’s many cartoon faces; gay ex-yakuza in a whale; external translucent womb
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Mind Game is trippy and surreal—the plot and the animation style both change every few minutes—but a sense of mystical wonder and an elusive wisdom underlies the whole crazy game. Put your seat belt on, this is going to be a bumpy ride.
US release trailer for Mind Game
COMMENTS: Mind Game begins with a stakeout in the rain; a man Continue reading 349. MIND GAME (2004)