Apr 25, 2014

Takashi Murakami's "Jellyfish Eyes" - Coping With Fukushima

Before taking on his first film project, Takashi Murakami built up a reputation with his ultra colorful, stylized paintings featuring a wide array of strange creatures. I ran into Murakami's work countless times over the years in modern art galleries, which familiarized me with his 'superflat' style, which borrows from traditional Japanese art and post-war culture.

In his directorial debut titled Jellyfish Eyes, it seems that the main theme of the scifi film revolves around an anti-nuclear message, and to serve as an indirect reminder for younger audiences about the devastation that Fukushima had on people's lives. The addition of the Pokemon-esque elements definitely makes the message en easier pill to swallow. Despite that the movie looks visually stunning, and I hope to catch a screening during it's limited US tour, which begins on May 1st.

Jellyfish Eyes tells the story of Masashi, a young boy who moves to a sleepy town in the Japanese countryside with his mother in the wake of a natural disaster. After returning home from his new elementary school one day, Masashi discovers a flying jellyfish-like creature whom he befriends and names Kurage-bo. Masashi soon discovers that all his classmates have similarly magical pets, known as F.R.I.E.N.D.s, which are controlled by electronic devices that the children use to battle one another. Despite their playful appearances, however, these F.R.I.E.N.D.s turn out to be part of a sinister plot that will threaten the entire town.

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