User:Astounding Beyond Belief/Sandbox/Jellyfish Eyes

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Jellyfish Eyes
The Japanese poster for Jellyfish Eyes
Directed by Takashi Murakami
Producer(s) Mana Fukui, Chiaki Kasahara, Yoshihiro Nishimura
Takashi Murakami (executive)
Written by Jun Tsugita, Yoshihiro Nishimura
Takashi Murakami (story)
Music by kz, Yoshihiro Ike
Distributor GAGA CorporationJP
Janus FilmsUS
Running time 100 minutes
(1 hour, 40 minutes)
Aspect ratio 1.78:1
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Four cloaked figures conduct a mysterious experiment in a laboratory, resulting in the brief appearance of a wispy, monstrous head. They deem the test a failure, in need of more negative energy to succeed. A researcher berates them for carrying out the test without notifying him.

A year after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, two evacuees prepare to begin a new life in a rural town. Before long, young Masashi Kusakabe notices strange things in he and his mother's apartment: glimpses of a small figure's shadow and chee-kama (cheese-and-fish-cake stick) wrappers strewn about the floor.

The next day, Masashi returns home from a visit to his new elementary school to find it ransacked. Suddenly, a box of chee-kama launches itself towards him. He pins it to the ground and discovers a floating pink creature inside, who he names Kurage-bo (Jellyfish Boy). They quickly become friends, playing soccer and practicing martial arts at a deserted shrine. That night, Masashi dreams about feeding chee-kama and talking to his now-deceased father, who made the snack as part of his job. They are interrupted by a tsunami shimmering with unnatural colors.

On the first day of school, Masashi brings Kurage-bo in his backpack, sneaking him chee-kama when he gets hungry. To his surprise, everyone in his class possesses a similar companion, who they call F.R.I.E.N.D.s. Small rectangular Devices allow them to summon and control these creatures, who emerge en masse as soon as their teacher turns around to write equations on the board. A frog-like F.R.I.E.N.D., Yupi, menaces Masashi at the whim of its owner, Tatsuya, but Kurage-bo defeats it in a fierce battle.


Masashi comes home to find his uncle, Naoto, who works at the local research center, arguing with his mother at the door. “This town is dangerous,” Naoto appeals to Yasuko. She retorts with anger, “You want us out of here?” Later, Naoto makes Masashi promise to report to him if he notices anything strange. Although Naoto takes note of Kurage-bo in Masashi's backpack, he doesn't bring it up.

One day on his way home from school, Masashi comes across his classmates playing on the grounds of a shrine, making their F.R.I.E.N.D.s fight one another. The boys try to force Masashi to join the battle, but Kurage-bo is nowhere to be seen and the F.R.I.E.N.D.s are upon him. At the crucial moment, enormous and powerful Luxor appears together with Kurage-bo and they fight the F.R.I.E.N.D.s off. Luxor, Masashi finds out, is his classmate Saki's F.R.I.E.N.D.

Saki reveals to Masashi that her Device was given to her, at a time when she was feeling down about family problems, by the top-level members of the research center. Cloaked in black, the four told her that the Device would give her “a friend who will never betray.” They gave out Devices to all the elementary school students in town. Soon the children started pitting F.R.I.E.N.D.s against F.R.I.E.N.D.s in battle, and now these battles take place all over.

Meanwhile, a school festival is going on at the University, where Naoto's research center is located. The cult group to which Saki's mother, Shizuko (Asuka Kurosawa), belongs claims that the research going on at the University is evil and dangerous. They have organized a protest. When Shizuko presses Saki to pray with her, Masashi and Saki run away hand-in-hand and end up stepping into the midst of the research center. The Black-Cloaked Four, seeing the powerful energy in Masashi, start plotting to trap him in their hands.

Having shared their problems with one another, Masashi and Saki start to develop a bond. But Tatsuya and Juran, who have found out that Naoto works for the research center, conspire against Masashi and kidnap Kurage-bo. While visiting Masashi, who is injured by Yupi and hospitalized, Naoto gives him a Device "as protection," but something seems amiss.

What have the Black-Cloaked Four done to Naoto? As the negative emotions of the children heighten, the mysterious research center sends a message to the children, luring them to the ultimate F.R.I.E.N.D. competition.

What is the true aim of the Black-Cloaked Four? Can Masashi reunite with Kurage-bo? And what is the secret kept inside the F.R.I.E.N.D.s? Masashi and his schoolmates must now face the most powerful F.R.I.E.N.D. of all, summoned by the Black-Cloaked Four...


Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Takashi Murakami
  • Written by   Jun Tsugita, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Takashi Murakami (story)
  • Produced by   Mana Fukui, Chiaki Kasahara, Yoshihiro Nishimura
  • Executive producing by   Takashi Murakami
  • Music by   kz, Yoshihiro Ike
  • Cinematography by   Yasutaka Nagano
  • Edited by   Yoshihiro Nishimura
  • Production design by   Nori Fukuda
  • Assistant directing by   Jun Shiozaki
  • Special effects by   Kiyotaka Taguchi, Tsuyoshi Kazuno


Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Takuto Sueoka   as   Masashi Kusakabe
  • Himeka Asami   as   Saki Amamiya
  • Asuka Kurosawa   as   Shizuko Amamiya
  • Kanji Tsuda   as   Tatsuo Kusakabe
  • Mayu Tsuruta   as   Yasuko Kusakabe
  • Takumi Saito   as   Naoto Kozuka
  • Masataka Kubota   as   Blue Dragon
  • Shota Sometani   as   White Tiger
  • Hidemasa Shiozawa   as   Black Tortoise
  • Ami Ikenaga   as   Vermilion Bird
  • Takehiro Otsuki   as   Tatsuya Kodaira
  • Taiki Negishi   as   Juran Sagara
  • Arata Ishikawa   as   Koh Nakagawa
  • Masaya Fukumoto   as   Manato Hayashi
  • Wataru Murakami   as   Toshida
  • Eihi Shiina   as   Home Room Teacher
  • Shoichiro Masumoto   as   Mr. Sasaki
  • Kentaro Shimazu   as   Vice-principal
  • Kentaro Kishi   as   Ichiro Kodaira
  • Umi Yamano   as   Cultist
  • Shin Ikeda   as   Cultist
  • Makishi Suzu   as   Cultist
  • Naoki Haga   as   Akira Shibata
  • Tensei Matsuoka   as   Ryo Kokubo
  • Kakeru Yoshida   as   Yusuke Kuwano
  • Ruka Uchida   as   Hayato Yokosaka
  • Keiya Inada   as   Shingo Noguchi
  • Kazuki Hashimoto   as   Kazuya Hara
  • Ami Fujii   as   Hisako Sawano
  • Miyu Takagi   as   Kumiko Okada
  • Mofuku-chan with Denpa   as   Idol Singers
  • Akiko Yajima   as   Kurage-bo (voice)
  • Houko Kuwashima   as   KO2 (voice)
  • Flamingo   as   Performance Group
  • Shofukutei Riko   as   Rakugo Performer
  • Arata Yamanaka   as   Manato's Father
  • Ikuko Tsuruoka   as   Akira's Mother
  • Nami Miura   as   Ryo's Mother
  • Mieko Ishikura   as   Yusuke's Mother
  • Masaki Hayashi   as   Naoto's Body Double



  • Kurage-bo
  • Yupi
  • Shimon
  • Luxor
  • KO2
  • Oval
  • Naoto's Body Double
  • Megarocco
  • Pyonyon-Pyonyon
  • Dozens of other unnamed F.R.I.E.N.D.S.





Theatrical Releases

  • United States - April 8, 2013
  • Japan - April 23, 2013
  • Spain - October 12, 2013 (Sitges Film Festival)
  • Canada - July 20, 2014 (Fantasia International Film Festival)
  • Mexico - November 14, 2014 (Morbido Film Fest)
  • Argentina - April 18, 2015 (Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema)
  • Poland - November 19, 2016 (Five Flavours Film Festival)

U.S. Release

Box Office



Video Releases

Toho Blu-ray (2014)

Criterion DVD/Blu-ray (2015)

  • Region: 1 (DVD) or A/1 (Blu-ray)
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special Features: Leaflet, Jellyfish Eyes 2 trailer, interview with director Takashi Murakami (23 minutes), Making F.R.I.E.N.D.S. behind-the-scenes featurette (16 minutes), Takashi Murakami: The Art of Film behind-the-scenes featurette (40 minutes)


The trailer, available on the Criterion DVD and Blu-ray, indicates that a significant amount of post-production work had been completed by 2015.


Japanese Jellyfish Eyes teaser
American Jellyfish Eyes trailer
Takashi Murakami Q&A session following a screening of the film
Takashi Murakami interview by Creators
"Last Night, Good Night (Re:Dialed)" music video


  • The title Jellyfish Eyes comes from a misprint in a famous manga by Yoshiharu Tsuge, "Screw Style." It furthers a favorite theme of Murakami's: that "misinterpretation, misunderstanding, produces something new and interesting. As the title for my first film—because I didn’t have any idea what I was making, where it was going—I wanted the title to be something that can be anything."[1] He first used Jellyfish Eyes as the title of a piece in 2002.[2]

External Links


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