Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2004

07:50:38 pm , 764 words, 2391 views     Categories: Animation, Mind Game

Mind Game Trailer


Mind Game Official Site

I just couldn't resist. I swore I wouldn't watch the trailer before the movie, to retain the impact of watching it unprepared, but the second my eye caught it on the updates page, it proved stronger than me, and I watched it. Yes, it was choppy, but GOD it was just as wonderful and mind-bending (an adjective sure to resurface regularly when the movie hits our shores) as I had surmised. Staggeringly wonderful. Sublimely terrific. My reservoir of bliss has been replenished for some time to come.

The official site informs me that, in addition to the new interview with Masaaki Yuasa printed in the June issue of Animage, there are now a handful of other media outlets doing coverage of Mind Game, including a television program that lists it among their '30 must-see' movies of the moment. Unfortunately I have not been able to find an Animage anywhere in Vancouver, so I'm still looking for that.

Fortunately, however, over at Web Anime Style--without any doubt the best anime-related publication ever--, Yuichiro Oguro, the editor, is currently in the process of putting up the old interview he did with Yuasa around 1996 for the print version of AS, and let me say, the joy hath been in abundance. It actually takes the form of a discussion between Toshiyuki Inoue and Masaaki Yuasa, and it's wonderfully fun and informative about both of their characters, as Oguro's great interviews always are. Most of my knoweldge of animators comes from AS, pretty much, with just a little 101 knowledge about Toei animators that I managed to scrounge up on way to the great learning that is AS.

The Mind Game comic, which allegedly has a major cult following in Japan (numbering among whom Koji Morimoto, who was the one who first showed the comic to Yuasa while they were working together on Noiseman), but had gone out of print so quickly due to its sheer bizarreness that during production of the movie version the entire workforce of Studio 4C had to be mobilized to comb Tokyo for copies of the by-then exceedingly rare volumes, is now slated to be reprinted in association with Oguro's company, Studio Yuu, around the end of June. Around the same time will be released the "Mind Game Remixed" DVD directed by Koji Morimoto, apparently a making-of/behind-the-scenes/preview featurette type thing. Both are pre-orderable from and CD Japan. Their release happily coincides with my birthday.

As a fan of Yuasa, I've been dying to see the film since I first heard the rumours that it was in production in 2003, and the intervening months have been hard to endure, but the first signs were positive, and now everyting I've read points to only one thing: Mind Game is the movie of the year. And for me, it's the movie I've been waiting for since I first started watching anime. Sure, there's been some good stuff, but nothing really new, it always felt like they were still just playing in the sandbox, all the familiar habits and tics were there, and as endearing as they might be, what I wanted was something revolutionary and new, something like the impact of Miyazaki 25 years ago, something like what Shinya Ohira did in 1995 with his Hakkenden episode -- that's what I'd been hungering for, I now realized, the sort of movie that would really energize people, that you just couldn't look away from, uncategorizable, monstrously beautiful! I'm thinking Mind Game is going to be that movie. The movie to shatter the still of that old pond. Kaeru tobikomi, mizu no oto. BANG! As searingly unforgettable as that pivotal gunshot scene in the film.

Nekojiru-so was great, the best anime film I'd seen in years, no doubt, and it got some people's attention, but this is going to be ten times that, undiluted Yuasa, the real thing. I can't wait for the reaction over here. All the blogs I've read by people who went to the preview screenings speak of the experience using the sort of rapturous language more reminiscent of a religious experience than a mere film screening. They tell of an excitement that just wouldn't go away after seeing the film. Of literally not being able to get it out of their mind. Of being inspired to live life to its fullest, to break out of those self-imposed barriers, to charge ahead and make the most of every moment, and to be positive and only positive, nothing else, because life is too short and precious to be anything else! Mind Game is that kind of movie.


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