Even if he’s never actually made a film you can stand, you cannot ignore Takashi Miike—no one working today is as preposterously fecund, has visited as many genres (gangster, musical, horror, psychodrama, fantasy, oy), or has made each as perversely his own. With The Great Yokai War, add children’s film to the CV. With as big a budget as he’s ever had, Miike chronicles the Neverending Story–ish saga of a young boy lured into helping out the spirit world against the forces of robotic technology. Fittingly, the mecha-villainry is digital-and-stop-motion, while the Edenic “yokai” creatures, which take hundreds of jostling, arguing Bosch/Pufnstuf shapes, are the eye-stunning analog work of makeup and costume. The film makes no more or less sense than Ridley Scott’s Legend or Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, and in fact has a creaky, blue-gel ’80s-ness to it, but for many, keeping up with Miike’s cranked output is an end in itself. (This is only the first of four films the nut has made in the last 10 months.) Who can say they’ve seen them all?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 20, 2006