It's completely mental, but not in a good way. Do a google image search and you'll see amazing things that (if you're like me) make you want to watch this film. There's a bearded freak in a white Austen Powers suit dancing with girls in their underwear. There's explosive samurai sword fighting. There's a scary Edo-era gambling den, but with almost hallucinogenic 1960s pop art sets and costumes. There are fashion victim prostitutes. There's a little boy who looks as if he's broken the colour contrast on your TV, in bright purple check trousers, a yellow-and-green diamond-patterned sweater and a vivid orange wig.
It looks incredible. That's because it is. The film's full of impossible things, eyeball kicks and lunacy. Unfortunately, though, it all felt shallow to me and I didn't care. The film's got heavily invested in its mad surface that it doesn't give any weight to the characters.
The first ten minutes are about that little boy I mentioned. He's seven years old and we're watching his romantic love story with an adult woman called Milocrorze. (It's not creepy, though. It's just mad.) They bounce around a kiddie book landscape, wag their heads in unison and say nothing because the whole thing's being narrated like a fairy tale. At one point, a sunset is portrayed by the sun falling into the sea with a splash.
After that: THE END. Only ten minutes have passed.
The second segment is about an intimidating, hateful love guru who only gives romantic advice to "wimps". He abuses them, tells them to do ludicrous things and dances a lot. (He's the Austen Powers guy I mentioned. I loathed him, but his scenes are photogenic.)
He's dancing in a car when he runs some people over. He doesn't stop, obviously. This leads into...
The third segment is gamblers. I hated these people too.
...and it continues, on and on. The film plays with anachronisms. A modern-day segment has a flower seller pricing her wares in ryou, which was an Edo-era currency. (Her customer thinks two ryou is expensive, which it definitely would have been, and even pays with authentic kouban.) Conversely, a grimy samurai scene might have an old bloke watching TV, wearing spectacles and using a modern fan that's presumably plugged into a power socket.
There are wacky names. The little boy is called Ovreneli Vreneligare, which sounds weirder than it reads because of the repetition of "vreneli". We visit Nipple Springs in Autumn Field.
There are lots of protagonists, but they're all played by Takayuki Yamada. Impressively, noticing this takes longer than you'd expect.
There is, apparently, parody and pastiche. Different segments may or may not be ripping off Paco and the Magical Book (which I now want to watch), Japanese "herbivore" men, lots of historical dramas and even Satoshi Kon's Millennium Actress. (I need to watch that too.) However I didn't spot half of those and the film doesn't stand up very well if you haven't noticed and/or don't care about what's being pastiched.
The different segments will sometimes link unexpectedly. I quite enjoyed that. As a whole, though, I found it an invitation to hit the fast-forward button. It's the kind of mad explosion of impossibility that's turning your eyeballs inside out, but is also unfortunately a bit dull and not very likeable.