November 19, 2005

(We've already reviewed Mind Game in an earlier print edition; but I'll add my two cents, if only because the movie is so damned good.)

The critically acclaimed Japanese film, Mind Game, was on the menu tonight in Waterloo. The film is the product of Tokyo's Studio 4°C. The studio was co-founded by master animator Koji Morimoto (Robot Carnival, Akira) and the studio's feature credits to date include: Memories, Spriggan and Steamboy, but they are perhaps better known in North America for overseeing the Wachowskis' Animatrix project.

The studio's CEO, Eiko Tanaka, was on hand tonight to introduce the film. It's fair to say Tanaka is veteran of Japanese animation. She used to work for Studio Ghibli and was line producer on My Neighbor Totoro.

Tanaka warned us that Mind Game is manga, but the kind of manga that is "not very popular in Japan." Indeed, this film takes all the anime cliches you can think of and soundly ignores them. The story follows a young manga artist to death and back, on a frenetic ride that is both ribald and exhilirating. It's is a melting pot of a multitude of animation styles, that somehow all work seamlessly together.

Mind Game is highly recommended for fans of innovative storytelling of any kind.

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