Amy Harlib · From fps #3 · July 1, 2005
| Mind Game
, an astonishing directorial debut from acclaimed animation designer Masaaki Yuasa
(and co-written by Robin Nishi, creator of the original manga) presents audiences with something refreshingly different from the standard giant mecha, beautiful teenagers and cyber-noir SF tropes associated in the West with most otaku-anime fare. Mind Game
even distinguishes itself from and challenges the undisputed master of the art form, Hayao Miyazaki, with its unique approach, which garnered the film a prestigious Nobuo Ofuji Award among other accolades in its home country.
Directed by Masaaki Yuasa
Madhouse Studios, 2004
Employing a deceptively rough-looking, sketchy and angular art style reminiscent of American avant-garde animator Bill Plympton, Mind Game
unfolds in a stream-of-consciousness flow of kaleidoscopically diverse visuals using techniques that include: rotoscoped voice actors portraying their characters; collage; CGI
; and traditional cel drawings that sometimes include fleeting riffs on anime clichés. The images mesmerize at a mostly frantic, MTV-style pace but they do slow down at significant moments of drama and character development. The renderings sometimes distort the figures in a clever animation trick used to emphasize emotions—an effect that makes Mind Game's
surreal ambience and conviction in its dreamlike logic easy to believe.
Want to read the rest of this review?
You'll find it and many other articles in the July 2005
issue of fps
, available as a free download.