At best, I’m only privileged to an occasional Japanese cinema. But when it does, they are usually came within two categories for me. One, a slow, tedious drama with a particular strength in quiet and deliberate narration. Yasujiro Ozu’s works, and last year’s excellent “Okuribito” fell into this category. Two, the rest that more or less a passing curiosity that sometimes amusing, and left forgotten as the end credit rolls. This film, despite a promising concept fell into the latter category. For me, the film was cute, easy to love, but felt like a high school crush. Achingly elevating when it happened, but doesn’t linger for much longer after it ended.
I’m guessing that the film works better to those who had seen its original anime version. The guy sits next to me just wouldn’t want to shut up. Sadly, I’m not shared his enthusiasm.
Akari Yoshiyama is your typical Japanese schoolgirl stereotyped by popular anime/manga. I had no doubt that fans of either would immediately came to her side and rooting for whatever mischiefs she was about to do. Luckily, she wasn’t about to do anything wrong. I found myself also hopelessly in love to this girl but well, like I said, once the film is over, I’d move on and who was her name again?
When her mother, Kazuko Yoshiyama was hit by a car, and left mostly unconscious in hospital, she revealed to Akari about the time-leaping liquid she had procured in her lab. For no apparent solid reasoning (and I don’t think that any would be necessary because we’re definitely on her side), she asks Akari to travel to April, 1972 and search for a man named Kazuo Fukamachi to deliver her message. Akari obliges but as it is typical to your likeable, cheerful Japanese school girl, she clumsily went to February, 1974 instead where she met and befriended a college boy, Ryota who then helped her look for the man.
Okay, who am I fooling here? This is a love story. The time leaping mechanics are just a tool to starts the romance. But damn, I think it’s effective. Even if the film never edges toward a great or an amazing material, the film was pleasant enough to follow. There are more than enough ‘awwww’ moments that even if I’m not entirely sure the effect would be prevalent to every viewers, I found myself blushing most of the time. Riisa Naka delivered a perfect stereotypical Japanese school girl. Her mumbling monologue is effectively hilarious, and her expression is gold. If you asked me, this film was solely hers.
My rating: ** / **** Yea, it’s cute, yea, I’m blushing, but the film was unremarkable and the ending sequence runs almost to the limit of my patience would warrant. But I guess it’s true to most Japanese films that I saw. They tend to linger for longer than it’s necessary. Only of course, it doesn’t work all the time. Also, the film relies heavily on Riisa Naka (仲 里依紗), the leading actress. You liked her? You’ll liked this film. You’re running out of patience with her? Good luck staying in your chair for longer.