Based on the Robin Nishi manga, Masaaki Yuasa’s postmodern cult animation Mind Game, his debut feature, is a genre-melding ego-cum-acid-trip to the beyond (and back) that channels everything from Buddhism and the Bible to Hayao Miyazaki, Tex Avery, and Salvador Dalí. The head-spinning barrage of surreal images in its opening sequence should tell all you need to know about Yuasa’s singular style, which mixes live-action and animation with a far-from-linear story about a wimpy protagonist named Nishi. After Nishi is shot in the butt by a deranged Yakuza gangster, his consciousness is projected into the afterlife, where he’s confronted with a shape-shifting god and a phantasmagoric journey expressed by Yuasa’s singular imagination—a film instantly hailed by the likes of Satoshi Kon and Bill Plympton.

Proof that Anime is 20 years ahead of Hollywood. This film has one of the most chaotic and jubilant finales, and we’ll be chasing this inspiration for the rest of our careers.”Daniels