Mind Game

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Genre: Surrealism

Studio/Creator: Studio 4°C/Asmik Ace/Beyond C/Rentrack Japan Go/Gainax/Production IG/Robin Nishi

Distributor: No American company has released this on DVD, however Netflix carries it.

Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Suggested Age: 17+

My Rating: 5/10

Summary: Nishi is a 20-year-old aspiring manga-ka who meets his childhood crush, Myon, on the subway. He declares his love for her, but she is actually engaged to someone else. They go to her father’s restaurant, where we meet Ryo, her fiancée, her elder sister, and her father. Suddenly, two yakuza gangsters enter and threaten to kill and rape Myon. Her boyfriend is knocked out, unable to help. Nishi tries to stop them, but is literally shot in the butt, where he dies and meets God. Unable to accept his death, Nishi runs right past God back to the world of the living, where he gets a second chance. He kills the yakuza and then escapes with both Myon and her sister, eventually ending up in the belly of a whale.

Review: In case you can’t tell from the summary above, this is one of those kind of anime, the kind that’s really difficult to describe. It’s beyond strange. I couldn’t understand it at all. The animation style is sketchy at first, but when close-ups are seen, it switches to a more rotoscoped look. I didn’t mind how surreal it is, because I was prepared from having read online reviews.

It should be noted that the story is actually meant to be optimistic. Robin Nishi wants the viewer to realize that life is a brief moment and that it should be lived as if we are unaware of our deaths, which we are. This is difficult to grasp from the movie itself, especially with the scene where the protagonist encounters God.

So, can I recommend it? I’m not sure. It depends on your tolerance for stories that don’t make much sense at first. I liked it, but that’s me. I suggest you at least give it a try. It’s worth a look, at least.

Sub/Dub: The anime never got a proper DVD release. Because of this, Netflix only offers a subtitled version.

Music/Score: Actually, there’s very little music.

Violence: (7/10) There’s the death scene near the beginning, and while our protagonists get swallowed by a whale, it’s like the story of Pinocchio, they’re still alive.

Sexuality: (5/10) At one point while they are in the belly of the whale, the protagonists appear to throw a bondage party.

Nudity: (4/10) Nishi is nude when he meets God.

Religion: (9/10) First, I want to give the animators props for how God is depicted. The animators seem to be unable to decide on how to depict God, which I actually like. We are finite beings and ultimately, we would be unable to grasp Him.  HOWEVER, I cannot condone the depiction of Him as an uncaring being who just creates us and then leaves us to our own devices.

 

 

 

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