Anime Discovery 2018: MINDGAME – #197

Image result for MIND GAME
So about 5 months ago when April Fools arrived, we noticed the night before was on Saturday, meaning something special was going to happen during Toonami and no, it wouldn’t be pre-emptied for a Rick and Morty marathon of the same episode like last time. No, something happened that no one would ever thought of in quite a while. Yep, the day that Toonami aired subbed content. Yes, for one night, the block aired the majority of the block in Japanese with English subtitles. In other words, you can’t say that Toonami never aired subbed anime. Now while the highlight of that night was them airing the first episode of FLCL Alternative, that’s not the subject for tonight. It’s about what aired after that and many people have wondered (before the JPN language reveal) that why this particular title is airing on Toonami….when it never had a dub. Thus……we have Mind Game. The anime movie directed by Masaaki Yuasa in his directorial debut. Many known him as the guy that brought you such works like Kemonozume, Kaiba, The Tatami Galaxy, Kick-Heart, Ping Pong The Animation, Adventure Time (for the episode “Food Chain)” and Space Dandy (for “Slow and Steady wins the Race, Baby”). Recently, he still garnered more acclaim with him directing Lu Over the Wall and Devilman Crybaby. So, how does this debut fare well, especially after 14 years since its release?
 
Nishi has always loved Myon since they were little. And now as adults, he wants to pursue his dream of becoming a manga artist and marrying his childhood sweetheart. There’s one problem, though. She’s already been proposed to and she thinks Nishi is too much of a wimp. But upon meeting the fiancé while at her family’s diner and accepting him as a good guy, they encounter a couple Yakuza (Japanese mafia), only to have Nishi grasp a certain revelation. And, with his newly aquired look on life, adventures abound as he, Myon, and her sister Yan escape the Yakuza into a most unlikely location where they meet an old man.
  So, while I do respect a lot of Yuasa’s material, I’m not exactly in love with everything he makes as a lot of people do. In other words, haven’t seen Devilman Crybaby or The Tatami Galaxy yet and not a fan of Ping Pong The Animation (didn’t hate the art style but the show never resonated with me at all) but his other works, I do like and appreciate over the time and looking at this for the first time…….HOLY HELL!!! That must’ve been some good shit he was on while doing this. I don’t know if he did smoke weed while making it but the whole presentation feels like it. First things first, this doesn’t have a straight narrative feel to it. It goes from girl running from Yakuza to her meeting her old friend to him running into same Yakuza, and the way he goes out being shot in the ass is all kinds of fucked up and I don’t mean a cheek or two, I mean in the hole and through the head. But then, a second chance happened and bam!! Clenched the gun with his buttcheeks, shoots the guy and a bunch of other crazy shit happens from there on out from escaping in a yakuza car to being inside of a whale. There isn’t much to say other than this is very, very, very unpredictable and it works.
With the main character Nishi, the journey of his is basically him always playing it safe as in the movie, he’s trying to tell Myon, his childhood friend and crush, that he loves her but never has the balls to do it but then of course, getting shot in the ass then being revived will give you a new meaning of life and finally do some shit he was too afraid to do. On a visual note, you know what you’ll into when Masaaki Yuasa and Studio 4°C are involved. They are either very sporadic, odd-looking, weird as fuck, even being unsettling when it comes to them using some realistic-looking human faces on the characters in close-ups and man, that shit is very creepy-looking but again, I really admired and respect the craft of it. I do dig the music in the movie and there is a lot of montages as well that adds up to the already-eccentric vibe in the movie. However, some of the score doesn’t grabbed my attention aside from a few scenes but this is still quality sound.
FINAL VERDICT: Mind Game is definitely a trip in all the right ways from its art-style, the plot that definitely go bonkers and to see after 14 years since its release does cement why Yuasa is one of the many talked-about anime directors in our time.

8/10

  MIND GAME is available to own on Blu-ray and DVD via GKIDS. Streamwise, it is available to watch on Crunchyroll but it was available to watch on VRV Select for a short time (although it is technically still on VRV)   I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, now say shit-pee-dick 10 times but add a kiss at the end of the last one.   MIND GAME – animated by Studio 4°C / licensed by GKIDS

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