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Loser manga artist Nishi has a chance encounter with his childhood sweetheart Myun, although even that proves to be bad luck for him. Myun and her family are being pursued by an irate moneylender who shoots and kills Nishi. Finding himself in the afterlife, the regretful Nishi rails against not only a meaningless death, but also the meaningless life that preceded it. As he promises to try harder next time, he finds himself back in his original body, still alive-shades here of Emblem Take Two.
Back in Osaka, Nishi turns the tables on his attackers before evading their pursuit by jumping off a bridge. Finding themselves literally in the belly of a whale, Nishi and his two female companions set up house with a man they meet who has been there for some time (recalling the Jonah story, see Superbook), telling stories about far away places. Based on a manga by Robin Nishi, and with characters designed to look like the famous actors who play them, Mind Game has been loaded with awards-the prestigious Noburo Ofuji prize at Japan's 59th Mainichi Film Festival, four awards at Montreal's Fantasia, a ranking above that of Howl's Moving Castle at the 2004 Japan Media Arts Festival, and two subtitled New York screenings at the NYC Asian Film Festival and the Museum of Modern Art's Anime!! exhibit.