Caught up on a few Japanese flicks on my recent travel to KL on Emirates. Pickings were a tad slim, as I was hoping to see the sequel to Ansatsu Kyoshitsu -Sotsugyou Hen- for one. Hence, these were the ones I chose to watch, most of which were pretty mellow stories.
I think mentioning that this 2015 film is based on a manga gets pretty tiresome by now. Interestingly, there is also an anime which started its broadcast just last month. The story revolves around a lass named Naho (Tsuchiya Tao) who received a letter from her future self which left instructions on what to do so as to prevent a regret that she would have regarding her new classmate, Kakeru (Yamazaki Kento). The storyline is somewhat reminiscent of the 2007 drama プロポーズ大作戦 -Operation Love- but without the rom-com lilt to it, where the protagonist attempts to alter an event to create an alternate future. The difference with Orange is that it is the current event that needed to change, as opposed to changing a past event to correct the present.
I have noted that many Japanese stories, may it be in film or television, tend to employ a non-happy ending, so I was pretty keen to see how this ended as it is not made obvious until the end. The storytelling here is engaging enough – so, this is worth checking out.
Mohikan Kokyo ni Kaeru (Mohican Comes Home) was an interestingly bittersweet comedy. A deadbeat punk rocker named Eikichi (Matsuda Ryuhei) in Tokyo returns to his island home near Hiroshima to tell his family that his girlfriend, Yuka (Maeda Atsuko, previously of AKB48), is pregnant. This didn’t really impress Eikichi’s dad, Osamu (Emoto Akira), especially when Eikichi’s departure to Tokyo was to succeed in being a musician. Things got a bit more pear-shaped when Osamu is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and Eikichi’s reluctant trip home is prolonged for obvious reasons.
My fav bits from this film – Osamu’s high school band that could only play one song, the wedding scene and this song by Hosono Haruomi from the film’s end credits:
Nobunaga Kontseruto (Concerto) is a manga that was made into a drama back in 2014 (which I haven’t watched). Unlike those Japanese films extending plots in previously made TV dramas, this one is a newly-made film but with basically the same cast. Saburo is a high school kid (played by a not-so-kid Oguri Shun) who got into a time slip back to 1528 when it appeared that he was the spitting image of Oda Nobunaga. Nobunaga in this story is portrayed as being weak, and he ordered Saburo to take his place. In turn, the real Nobunaga took the name Akechi Mitsuhide (talk about a plot twist) and worked under Saburo, watching closely under the shadows. Saburo then essentially kick-started events that led to the unification of the warring factions in Japan. And the rest is history, pun not intended.
I actually slept halfway through the film (too much to eat on the flight) and managed to catch its conclusion, but will endeavour to watch the actual 2014 drama first, and then the film. The drama/film also stars Yamada Takayuki (Serizawa in Crows Zero) playing Tahara Denjiro, and Kō Shibasaki as Kicho.