ART/4/LIFE: #3 – Masaaki Yuasa

I thought I’d feature someone who recently rekindled my love of animation. Masaaki Yuasa is a visionary Japanese animator who spins surreal, irreverent, and improvisitory tales of wonder. Though they’re equally brilliant, he’s kind of like the anti-Miyazaki. I first heard of Yuasa, I suppose like many Westerners, through his 2004 masterpiece Mind Game. This film is quite literally indescribable. It jumbles style and emotion in one exhaustive potpourri and concludes in an explosive (and percussive!) scene snatched straight from Pinocchio. Shinichiro Watanabe, of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo fame, handled the music production and it was animated by the singular Studio 4˚C. (Watch everything you can by this studio!).

I seriously recommend, even if you think you have no interest in anime, that you seek out this and Yuasa’s other work–including the first crowdfunded animation, Kick Heartfrom 2013. I won’t attempt an in-depth apologia for why you should watch great anime. Great animation, like all life-affirming art, is simply worth your time.

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