Meta Gay Samurai Musical. If you're like me and harbor a love for bizarre, trippy cinema, then these are are the sort of words that resonate deeply within your movie-watching loins. Such was the case when I read this description of Yaji and Kita - The Midnight Pilgrims a friend had texted me. "We should all hang out and watch this". Why yes. Yes we should.
The first thing to get out of the way when writing about Yaji and Kita is that there are no spoilers. There are no spoilers, because there is no coherent plot, and I mean that in the most complementary way possible. I can talk about the Literal Metaphor (if it wasn't a thing, it is now) of the farting crying giant every-man housing the soul of a spurned wife at the source of the river Styx, or I can mention the cross-dressing tea house host(ess?) who communicates solely through song, but I'm not going to, because those are the more lucid, boring (and consequently, the baseline for normal here) moments.
The movie begins in black and white, for no particular reason I'm aware of - I can only assume in order to completely blow your mind with color and fanfare when they reveal that this isn't simply another classic story of a drug-addled gay samurai and his lover on a quest for Reality. There is inexplicable dancing, motorcyle riding, and purposeful overacting. Did I mention that the movie takes place during Japan's Edo period AND in contemporary Japan? At the same time? For no reason whatsoever?
Luckily, I was watching this with friends (which really is the only safe way to do so as the film will *force* you into a pseudo-existential state in which you begin to question how much, if any, of what is happening to your mind currently is really happening) so I was able to confirm my suspicions that I was not completely out of line to imagine this was now officially the most, as the kids say, "cracked out thing" I've ever seen. This movie will make you, as other kids say, "trip balls", and without any need for substances beyond those which your brain will hurriedly produce itself. Overall, we decided that the film was the hypothetical-made-real result of an orgy between Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Wizard of Oz, The Pick of Destiny, and 1920s slapstick.
So much of the experience of Yaji and Kita is unexplainable and indescribable, even with pictures, leaving pretty much everything open to individual interpretation - a cinematic ink blot that tells you more about the audience than anything else. As a result, I can only conclude that it is either the most carefully constructed, deeply profound theatrical commentary ever created by humanity, or the result of what happens when the entirety of a cinematic project's cast, crew, writers (assuming there are any), producers, distributors, marketing department, and packaging get together and collaboratively take acid.