Present For You

Claymation/live-action hybrid about a salesman-turned-hit man

Every so often, a work comes along which is not brilliant or emotionally gripping, but creative enough that it deserves to be watched. Present for You is one such piece. Director-writer-producer Yoshihiko Dai and the folks at production company Plus Heads Inc. (famous for the quirky animated TV series, The World of Golden Eggs) have put together a 3-D mixture of stop-motion claymation and live action which is fascinating viewing.

Switching randomly between the animation and live action, the film tells the story of Kajiwara (Jo Odagiri), a two-bit salesman of suspect health products laboring in a dingy office. Struggling Kajiwara finds himself deep in debt to the evil capitalist overlord boss (Isao Natsuyagi) of the Give Me Money corporation. The company president/gangster forces Kajiwara to set up a front company and become an on-call hit man.

Needless to say, the small time marketer can’t stomach the task and problems ensue. Critically speaking, the flick lacks direction and works neither as a film noir nor a comedy. But the stop-motion clay figures are expertly done, and the tension between the two presentations makes the piece interesting and memorable. (With English subtitles; 95 min)