Jellyfish Eyes marks the feature film directing debut of Japanese superstar artist Takashi Murakami. Described as a post-Fukushima sci-fi fantasy, the $7 million live-action/CGI hybrid film incorporates Murakami’s goofily-styled creatures throughout, as well as an appearance by his fine art character Miss Ko2.
Murakami had intended the film to be the first in a trilogy, but he pissed off his animation crew so much that they refused to work on the follow-up films with him. According to the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Murakami came up with an encyclopedia of animated characters—a froggy fighter that uses its long tongue like a weapon, a red-eyed monkey with a mean streak, a critter with a tin-can head and rocket thrusters—and sketched each one. He told his animators how the characters should move and then waited a month to see the results, which he rejected—again and again, over a year. “It’s not a really amicable process,” he said through a translator. “By the end of the film, the team was so fed up they didn’t want to work on the second film.”
Later in the same interview, Murakami alludes to a sequel, so perhaps additional films are still being planned. What we know for certain is that Jellyfish Eyes flopped when it opened in Japan last spring. The film is currently on an 8-city musuem tour in the U.S. with Murakami appearing in person at a number of the events: