Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on May 2013Contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, known for coining the term “superflat” to refer to a present-day Japanese aesthetic—as well as the look of his own work—appropriately helms the stylish Jellyfish Eyes for his directorial debut. This is fitting since the superflat oeuvre is heavily influenced by manga, anime, a kawaii sensibility and Japanese commercialism, making Murakami the ideal candidate to create this type of popular feature-length film.
The story revolves around Masashi (Takuto Sueoka), a boy who has come from a tsunami relocation center to a small town in Japan. At his new school, he learns that every child gets a Friend, something like a robot spirit totem controlled by technological devices to serve the child. This allows Murakami to create a whole range of otherworldly creatures while focusing on Kurage-bo (“Jellyfish boy”), Masashi’s totem.
Visually inventive, Murakami mixes live action and animation to create a compelling flick. While the idea seems to borrow a bit from the great manga-based film Ikechan to Boku (2009) and it is a children’s story; overall this is a fine cross-genre jump for Murakami.
Japanese title: Mememe no Kurage (100 min)