A couple of readers of the site recommend that I watch this film and pointed out it should have been a crime that I didn’t include this in my top 10 anime of the decade. Since so many readers praised it, I thought I should dive into Mind Game for myself and see what all the fuss is about. The animation, then again, shows that this is a big budgeted movie. Overall, it looks pretty creative and fluid. Mr. Yuasa, taking full advantage of the fluidity of animation, wanders from realism to fantasy, often cutting images together with the disorienting speed of a music video. In the next paragraph I will explain just what this film is truely all about.
Nishi is an aspiring Manga Artist in love with a girl named Myon who claims to be considering a proposal of marriage from some other guy. Nishi, it seems, is not really focused, outgoing or strong enough, and he displays this aptly when he meets Myon’s new lover at a family diner. This new guy appears to be a nice fellow, and in great shape too. Nishi acknowledges this and admits a defeat which that would have been assured if not for a Yakuza intrusion and a chance to develop and prove a new outlook on life. The story, such as it is, focuses on young Nishi and his insecure relationship with Myon.
The plot is a lot to absorb but once you take it all in, you can consider yourself as unprepared for what you will see but be ready to be surprised when you do and mentally exhausted once you did. The actual elements of the plot are not really the focus of the movie though, but instead it is about setting the mood, creating the atmosphere of the characters’ emotions, and drawing the viewer in to same mental journey the characters are going on, without even realizing it. Mind Game is a great example of artistry, fusing stories of love, self worth and other qualities of life, without forcing conclusions or values.
The moral of it all is that you must live your life to the fullest and enjoy everything life throws at you, since it is all you have. No one else is going to live your life or enjoy what you have. My thoughts are that this story is deeply personal to Robin Nishi and, even if a lot of the symbols in it can be singled out and understood, most of it you are left to guess. While the plot is inventive and complex enough, it is not what makes the film, in my opinion. It is the ability to focus on tiniest details and create, well, a detailed consistent absurdist universe. I am grateful readers of my site have good taste and can point me in the direction of good films…anime or not. It was well worth my time.