[[quoteright:220:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/936full-mind-game-cover_1165.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:220:[[AnAesop Your life is the result of your own decisions]].]]

''Mind Game'' (マインド・ゲーム) is a Japanese animated feature film based on the comic by Robin Nishi. It was written and directed by Creator/MasaakiYuasa and animated primarily by Creator/Studio4C.

Nishi is a 20-year-old, self-deprecating loser who dreams of drawing manga for a living. Since the age of nine, he has always been in love with a girl named Miyo - but although she has feelings for him, his shyness and inability to confess his love have led her to think about marrying another man.
Shortly after learning of this, Nishi is shot through the butt by an angry Yakuza mobster and dies - and thus begins the story of Mind Game, a movie about second chances and living life with no regrets.

The whole movie is told in several different styles of animation, visual metaphors, intertwining plots and philosophical messages. Since its release, it has become something of a cult classic, being praised by directors from both the West and the East for its storytelling and visual style(s).

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!!This film provides examples of:

* AllJustADream: It is being [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0452039/board/nest/85321909 theorized]] that the bulk of the story takes place inside the senior Yakuza's head while waiting in the car. That explains the {{Bookends}} closing scene where he snaps out of his day dream to give the story a different turn.
* AlwaysNight: Most of the locations are set in a dark environment. The first part plays out at night in typical rainy CityNoir style. The second part is set inside a whale with limited artificial lighting.
* AnAesop: Live life to the fullest.
* ArtShift: The entire movie switches between three or four different art styles, the main two being a sketchy, surreal style and ''Rotoscoping''.
** StylisticSuck: ... which is occasionally interspersed with clean, fancy and sometimes breathtaking animation.
* AssKicksYou: Saves Nishi's bacon on the second time around.
* {{Blipvert}}: The intro and final scene show fast-paced flashes of images depicting events going on before and after the timeline of the movie.
* BondOneLiner: The senior Yakuza, after [[spoiler:shooting Atsu for killing Nishi]]: "Think about what you did on your way to hell."
* {{Bookends}}: The film starts with Atsu and the senior Yakuza waiting in the car, when they see Myon run by. We return to the same scene at the end of the movie. See AllJustADream for a possible explanation.
* ChildhoodFriendRomance: Nishi and Myon.
* CatapultNightmare: Half-way through the movie, Nishi has a nightmare in which he is locked away in a cell by God. Cue the Catapult Nightmare.
* DerangedAnimation: The message may be clear, but the presentation leaves one occasionally baffled at just [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs what sort of chemicals would be required]] to envision what plays out on screen.
* DinerBrawl: In which [[spoiler:TheHeroDies]]. Or does he?
* DirtyOldMan: "Ji-san" (his real name is never revealed and his nickname is an abbreviation of 'Oji-san', Japanese term literally meaning 'old man'), the old man in the whale.
* DisneyAcidSequence: Many parts of the movie fit the bill.
* AFateWorseThanDeath: Nishi narrowly avoids being erased from existence by God after he dies.
** Actually, it's rather TheNothingAfterDeath than the CessationOfExistence.
** The scene where the people trapped inside the claustrophobic darkness of the whale are helplessly listening to the radio... and the weatherman describing the beautiful day, hoping everyone enjoys the warm sunlight and lovely breeze...
* FlashForward: The ending basically shows a series of possible future events.
* ForgivenessRequiresDeath: Done to Atsu, the junior Yakuza, by "Aniki" (his real name is never revealed and his nickname is a Japanese term of respect literally meaning 'older brother'), the senior Yakuza, after he killed Nishi.
* GainaxEnding: The climatic TimeCompressionMontage does clear up some aspects but it doesn't come together in a coherent way.
* GreenAroundTheGills: Nishi's head turns blue after tasting the food prepared by Myon. Apparently, she wasn't such a good cook.
* HomoeroticSubtext: Many believe the old man to be gay and eventually coming to terms with his orientation towards the end of the movie.
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: Atsu [[spoiler:blowing Nishi's brains out (through his ass)]], which most likely wasn't planned to happen.
* ImagineSpot: Early on, when Myon tells Nishi she wants to marry someone else, he has a HeroicBSOD and retreats into a short wish dream of Myon falling around his neck, asserting she still loved him.
* ImportantHaircut: Yan cuts her hair short, supposedly as a sign of new found self-confidence to live out her masculine side.
* InnocentInnuendo: Half-jokingly Nishi suggests to Myon to look for a Love Hotel after they met on the subway. Then the scene cuts to a series of misleading close-ups: on a disposed package of what could be condoms, a zipping sound, Nishi telling Myon not to move, Myon's straining face, Nishi's grinning face with grunting sounds. Cut to the RevealShot of how he patched up her ankle. What else were you thinking?
* KingOfAllCosmos: {{God}}, "In all his infinite manifestations".
* LemmingCops: A bunch of Lemming Yakuza are crashing their cars while in pursuit of the protagonists. On the upside, no tax money was wasted.
* LikeABadassOutOfHell: Nishi TookALevelInBadass while there, and even pulled a fast one on God... Or did he?
* LukeIAmYourFather: It is [[TheReveal revealed]] to the viewer via flashbacks that [[spoiler: Ji-san is actually the father of Aniki (the older Yakuza) who went missing when his son was a boy after he got swallowed by the whale. None of any of the characters ever find out about this, at least in the movie.]]
** It is also revealed via flashbacks that [[spoiler: Aniki is actually the first boyfriend of the girls' mother, before she was seduced away from him by their father. Furthermore, it is shown that the mother is still alive and has apparently gotten back together with her ex-boyfriend after she left her husband, presumably for his philandering with Atsu's girlfriend]]
* MaleGaze: Nishi, looking at Myon's boobs after exiting the subway.
* MindScrew: And goodly amounts of it. It's named "Mind Game" for a reason.
* MissedTheBus: Atsu, the young Yakuza, missed the metro in the end when pursuing Myon. This scene plays out differently in the beginning where he actually manages to get onto the same train so that he can follow and find Myon at her sister's place.
* {{Montages}}: Several.
** GoodTimesMontage: Extended montage of the four inside the whale, enjoying themselves with good food and water games.
** TrainingMontage: Of them doing rowing practice for their big escape.
** TimeCompressionMontage: The movie's last act is a montage of key events in the lives of all characters.
* MultipleGunshotDeath: The senior Yakuza empties his magazine into [[spoiler: Atsu, who shot Nishi]].
* NoEnding: The movie specifically ends with "This movie has never ended."
* NonHumanSidekick: The Plesiosaurus.
* PastelChalkedFreezeFrame: Parodied in Nishi's fantasy sequence in which he's a famous {{Badass}} author.
* SerialEscalation: The entire whale escape sequence. Notably the obstacles that crop up.
* SiblingYinYang: Myon and Yan are on opposite ends of the spectrum, both in breast size and general femininity.
* SlowMotionFall: Of Myon diving into the subway car.
* SwallowedWhole: Invokes the trope in classic fashion by using a gigantic whale.
* TheGodsMustBeLazy: God.
* TookALevelInBadass: Nishi, after coming BackFromTheDead.
* TrainEscape: In the opening sequence Myon tries to escape Atsu with a courageous jumps into the subway train. However, he manages to enter the next car unknowns to her. This scene plays out differently in the end, where Myon successfully shakes off Atsu.
* TrashTheSet: In a moment of frustration, Nishi trashes the old man's dwelling.
* XMeetsY: A good description of this film would be a Japanese, art-house "Jonah and the Whale".
* {{Yakuza}}: The movie features two of them, Atsu and his senior partner.
* YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm: God.
* YouWakeUpInARoom: Nishi wakes up in a dark room after [[spoiler:being killed by the Yakuza. It turns out to be some kind of gateway to the TheNothingAfterDeath.]]
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