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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« Mind Game: First impressionsAll together now »

Thursday, December 23, 2004

02:00:37 pm , 885 words, 1265 views     Categories: Mind Game

The Mind Game DVD has English subs

Mind Game Official SiteI just received the Special Box, and as it turns out, the film does have English subtitles, despite all the fretting about the word "planned". So anyone who wants to see Mind Game right away, before the remake, should jump to it and get the DVD to support this kind of animation, if you want to see more like it in the future.

To anyone who still does not know what Mind Game is, here are a few links that might help to give you some idea. You can browse through all my Mind Game-related posts here.

=> Mind Game trailer

=> All about Mind Game - a primer

=> Masaaki Yuasa interview - translated from the official site

=> Movie review by Mark Schilling - spoiler alert

=> Mind Game DVD - detailed info about the three sets (photos)

=> Mind Game Bibliography - which I've been neglecting

The packaging of the box is just lovely, all drawn by Masaaki Yuasa. He reportedly drew more than 240 individual characters for the even more beautiful looking Perfect Box. The 500-page storyboard book is truly a sight to behold. I like Yuasa's stand on the book - he lays it all bare, warts and all, without correcting anything, so we really have an accurate blueprint of the film here, and not a prettified one, which I've heard happens sometimes these days when directors know their storyboard is going to be made public.

Studio 4°C and Yahoo! Japan recently linked up to present the first ten episodes of Kimagure Robot to the public, and yesterday, to commemorate the release of the DVD, they started a series of what will eventually be four charity auctions, where they'll be auctioning off various items drawn upon by Yuasa. At the same time they put up a new interview with Yuasa, which touches on aspects of his experience on the film that are familiar from other interviews, such as the rapidity with which the Yoshimoto Kogyo voice actors breezed through their task, but also a few other less familiar anecdotes, such as the one about his experience creating a musical scene for "a certain show" many years ago (the 1992 Chibi Maruko-chan: My Favorite Song movie), when he created an incredibly imaginative 3 minutes of animation that was arduously matched to a song, only to nearly die of mortification to find that the song had been changed at the last minute, and the animation no longer matched. He relates that this led to his determination to be pliant as a reed in his work as the director of Mind Game, and not get hung up on details, which accounts for the unique way he approached the job - not as an auteur handing out commandments to subordinates, but as an organizer trying to figure out how best to accomodate the various ideas offered by his talented staff, from whom many of the most memorable ideas in the film reportedly originated. This has obvious similarities with the production style of the Crayon Shin-chan films, in which he was involved as designer, animator and storyboarder for almost a decade, providing many of the most interesting ideas in the films.

In addition to this interview, a special feature on Yuasa was added to the Animeister section of the Japan Media Arts Festival site after Mind Game won the grand prize. It also includes an informative interview, which I'll soon be translating. Not long ago I talked about how a feature in said section had been devoted Keiichi Hara, director of several recent Crayon Shin-chan films. In retrospect that could well have been taken as a hint of what was to come. In each feature there is a "keyword" and "key figure" section where the person in question provides six words and individuals that can be cited as keys to their oeuvre. Masaaki Yuasa is one of Keiichi Hara's key persons, and vice-versa, which makes the similarity in the directing style of Mind Game and the Shin-chan films that much clearer. Yuasa's list is quite gratifying personally. Topping the list is Takashi Nakamura, whose legendary animation in mid-80s anime TV series like Gold Lightan and Urashiman Yuasa cites as his door to sakuga anime otakudom, definable as the state of watching anime largely for the thrill of being able to see work by individualistic "karisuma" animators like Nakamura. Second only to Nakamura in Yuasa's sise is Shinya Ohira, who since Nakamura's heyday has been one of the most uncompromisingly individual artists working in Japanese commercial animation, and whose influence on Yuasa both spiritual and stylistic is even more palpable. The other figures are Mitsuru Hongo and Keiichi Hara, directors of the Shin-chan films; Sueyoshi Yuichiro, the brilliant animator and animation director of Mind Game who is widely considered to be Yuasa's direct stylistic successor; and Tsutomu Shibayama, the great animator at the root of all the classic A Pro anime that captured Yuasa's imagination as a child, eventually leading him to become an animator at Shibayama's studio, Asia-Do. A feature on Yoshiyuki Tomino was added immediately prior to the Yuasa feature, presumably because Tomino heads the judging committee this year.

Adding to this the three hours of bonus material on the DVDs, I think it's fair to say that we've got a good beginning in terms of expository information on Mind Game.

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3 comments

Tsuka
Tsuka [Visitor]

I take the english subtitles as a special X’mas present … and I’m waiting for my box ^_^ !

But Ben … have you enjoyed Mind Game :) ?!

12/23/04 @ 16:30
Ben
Ben [Visitor]

The million dollar question. :) I’ll be able to say in detail once I’ve watched it in a few hours. I’m eager to hear what everyone else thinks of it too.

12/23/04 @ 16:34
Random person
Random person [Visitor]

I’m looking forward to it too. Your review of it will be the final clincher for me to decide whether to get it or not. I have to be very careful because it is incredibly edxpensive to get stuff from Japan to here…

12/23/04 @ 19:29