August 04, 2011

Mind Game (2004)

I'd been meaning to check out this anime film for a while. I had heard a lot of good things about it, especially from the Anipages Daily blog (one of the best animation blogs out there, and the few that has intelligent, rational discussions about anime). I finally got around to watching it last night, and I was completely blown away.

I was expecting it to be a pretty bizarre experience just from the title, but I really didn't know anything about the plot. I assumed it was a heavy, serious psychological piece with a slow pace, with maybe one or two cool sequences. I definitely wasn't expecting it to be so fun. The animation was phenomenal. Just about every shot had some kind of hilarious character distortion in it, which is so rare in Japanese animation. The sheer amount of imagination on display was awe-inspiring. The variety of visual styles somehow managed to avoid feeling contrived, and actually gave a deeper sense of the characters' emotional states.

The story and its structure were just as original as every other aspect of the film, but I can't say too much about that without spoiling some of it. The "throw-anything-in" directorial style might not be to everybody's taste, but personally I'd been waiting to see a movie like this-- that felt like it was jam-packed with a little bit of everything-- for a long time.

I'm still in shock from seeing it. Maybe I should have waited a couple of days before writing this so I could say something more objective about the movie. But I just couldn't contain my enthusiasm. Right now, it's definitely my favourite anime film, as well as one of my favourite films of any kind. It's a tragedy that it doesn't have any official English release, and the only way to see it is to either watch a blurry online video (as I did) or get a bootleg DVD (which I probably will as well, just so I can own it in some form).

If you haven't seen Mind Game yet, do it as soon as possible. It's a potentially life-changing movie. I can't tell how yet, but it will definitely affect my own work in some way.

But then again, I also re-watched Wayne's World recently, and that's still one of my all-time favourite movies, so what do I know.