29 March 2005 | mike8869
A mind-blowing, surreal, life-changing adventure
Wow. What can I say? I was truly blown away by this movie. Winner of the Noburo Ofuji award (the most prestigious award in Japan for an animated film), this film has unfortunately only had a very limited release in Japan (although it is playing in theaters again since winning the award). The director, Masaaki Yuasa, has previously done critically acclaimed animation work on other series, and helped create the equally mind-blowing, and somewhat disturbing short animated movie "Cat Soup".
The first thing about the movie to note is the animation. The animators worked in a collaborative effort, and included a wide range of experimental and traditional animation techniques, a bit of CGI, and even a bit of live action. Viewed as individual pieces, it can be jarring, but seen together as a whole, each piece seems to fit with each other perfectly, with the different animation forms setting the mood perfectly.
The story begins in present-day Tokyo, and follows a loser who is letting his childhood girlfriend slip away. Things take a twist to the fantastical side, as the characters embark on a surreal journey that changes everything about them. The actual elements of the plot are not really the focus of the movie..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. The pace of the movie picks up and slows in parts, before building up to its thunderous and (literally) exhausting climax.
See this movie , if only for the virtuoso animation that you will not see in any other film. And who knows? it just might change your whole outlook on life.