Japanese artist Takashi Murakami directed and provided the story for this children's fantasy, which recalls Takashi Miike's entries in the genre (Zebraman, The Great Yokai War) in its wacky, free-form invention. It takes place in a small town where all the kids have fantastic-looking pets that they command with electronic devices, unaware that the pets have been created by a sinister organization as part of a mind-control plot. The creatures—which range from a human-sized frog to a sprite with a big metal box for a head—provide a worthy showcase for Murakami's prodigious visual imagination; not coincidentally, the principal theme is how imagination can play a constructive role in child development, as the kids learn to stop pitting the creatures against each other and use them collaboratively. In Japanese with subtitles.
By Ben Sachs