Masaaki Yuasa’s shocking and fascinating anima „Mind Game“ promises to become one of the most interesting candidates of this year’s Animatrix selection programme. Director Yuasa managed to create an anthology anima based on Robin Nishi’s manga of the same name. By mixing very different visual styles, Yuasa showed us a story of curious conception, which, surprisingly, turns out to be a neverending story! Around the world the film was very well received by both audience and critics, and was also praised by one of the most famous anima directors, Satoshi Kon („Perfect Blue“, „Millenium Actress“, „Paprika“...).
The main hero is Nishi, a young „loser“ who dreams of becoming a manga artist. All his life he was in love with his „busty“ childhood friend, Myon, but his lack of confidence never allowed him to profess his love for her and, in time, they grew apart. Myon also has trouble realizing her ambitions. At high school she was a swimming champion but gave up on it because she felt uncomfortable about her large bosom. One day, after chance encounter at the subway, they visit her family’s restaurant, to catch up on old times. There, Nishi meets Myon’s father and her sister. He realizes that her whole family is having a Yakuza problem who are threatening the entire family because her father was indebted to them due to his gambling and other vices.
In a sudden clash with Yakuza, Nishi is fatally wounded and dies a bizarre death. A story twist unexpectedly opens the dimension of the „afterlife“ – Nishi is on his way to meet God while animation changes with every second. However, God is late and as a consequence, Nishi chooses a wrong way out of Heaven, which brings him to a time prior to death. Nishi sees it as an opportunity to live this second chance in a totally different way, which opens a new, surreal version of the story that will totally change our hero. As if in a fairytale, he ends up in the belly of the whale, where he, Myon and her sister, with help of an unusual resident who also ended up there by accident, grow and face their own personal problems and insecurities. At one moment they manage to escape from the jaws of the whale, but director Yuasa continues to play with their destinies by putting them in a situation from the beginning of the film, hinting on a possibility of a completely new series of events.