When ever you think he will run out of borderline-insane surprises (as well as running out of cool jackets), Yōkai-Bottenberg, of the Fantasia programming team, always hides a card up his sleeve. An oddball object, a psychotic UFO, but of tremendous artistic merits. This year’s surprising (twisted) gem for 21 years old kids: Violence Voyager.

Ujicha’s Violence Voyager (In 2013, his previous animated feature, Burning Buddha Man, was shown at Fantasia) is the nightmarish journey of a young American boy in Japan, a sort of higher evil Stand by me with upsetting schemes, spooky themes, evil dogs, crazy monkeys, gargoyles, mutants, robots, evil scientists, missing children and flesh eaters… And that’s the first seven minutes (except for the flesh eaters, they come a bit later).

Well, it is hard to fully explain without spoilers, so we’ll let you live the experience.

Director Ujicha using cardboard-like paper marionettes techniques, referred to as Gekimation, draws a visually rich world of dark fantasy, skillfully reaching for aesthetically creative (and sometimes gruesome) details. Situations, music and sounds add to the atmosphere of offbeat distressful neurosis, depicting various state of decay, building tension and sentiment of lurking danger.

Violence Voyager is artistically challenging and curiously coherent (but on its own terms).

Fantasia Screening : Tuesday, July 24th 9:30 PM – Concordia University’s J.A. De Seve Cinema

Official Fantasia Website