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Mind Game (Unrated)

Release Date: September 2nd, 2005 thru September 10th, 2005 (NYC- Museum of Modern Art)
The Voices: Koji Imada, Sayaka Maeda, Takashi Fujii.
Directed by Masaaki Yuasa.
In Japanese with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: After he is killed by the Japanese mafia and reaches the gate of heaven, Nishi (Imada) gets a second chance by God to lead a better life.

ENTERTAINMENT: The most entertaining part of this film is the animation, which is very colorful and imaginative. There is a brilliant combination of CGI, live action, and traditional hand-drawn animation. At times, the animation seems very true-to-life, especially with close-ups of the characters' detailed faces. The movie definitely lives up to its title because the plot is very wild, crazy, and even confusing at times, but it is always unpredictable. What begins as a violent gangster film ends up in the fantasy/adventure genre. There is a little humor, but most of it is dry. At times, the pace is surprisingly slow, but it eventually picks up. There are so many creative, mind-blowing scenes that mentioning any of them would just be spoiling the fun. This is one of the most refreshing and original Japanese anime in a long time.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: It is interesting that God comes in many different forms of life rather than just sticking to the traditional biblical image of the tall, bearded man--although his voice is still male. There is a lot to think about as Nishi discovers important facts of life through his adventures and encounters with strange, yet wise characters.



THE BOTTOM LINE: Although the plot drags at times, it is a lively, imaginative and refreshingly original anime film that is truly mind-blowing and full of splendid visuals. It truly deserves to find an audience.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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