By the time I watched a late night screening at Fantastic Fest in 2006, Funky Forest had already accumulated a cult following, while also alienating others whose heads split open at the silly weirdness of it all. (Several people walked out of the screening after the first scene, while others scurried away after an hour or so.) In my book, it's the best post-modern musical ever made. I was humming songs and fondly replaying entire sequences for weeks.
Funky Forest is composed of a myriad number of comedy skits and musical performances. Some are very brief, with just a dash of dialogue or a visual joke, while others are extended, convoluted, and bizarre. Rupert Bottenberg described it for Fantasia as a "daringly disjointed narrative ... a mish-mash of blackouts, non-sequiturs, flashbacks, lucid dreams, magical moments and so much more." Directed by Katsuhito Ishii (the considerably more sedate The Taste of Tea), Hajime Ishimine and Shinichiro Miki, the film stars Tadanobu Asano and features Rinko Kikuchi, later Academy Award-nominated for Babel, in a small role.
The two-disk speical edition from Viz Pictures includes a "making of" feature, "Katsuichi's Dance," described as a "choreography lesson video," and "The Transfer Student is Here!" I can't wait to let this one inhabit my dreams again.