Release Date: August 24, 2013 Running Time: 109 minutes Director: Toshiyuki Morioka
Kii Kitano as Natsumi Takahara
Sosuke Ikematsu as Ryosuke
Asaka Seto as Fubuki
Fumino KImura as Ryosuke's ex girlfriend
Ittoku Kishibe as Natsumi's father
Kanon Tani as Saki
Been so long since there's been a movie review here hope I remember how to do one. This movie also goes by the name of "Joukyou Monogatari", have three subbed films from Kii which I hadn't watched so figured this would be a good one to start with. Thought it was a decent view but really nothing special, wasn't complicated at all but really didn't know what the movie was supposed to be about, maybe I'll figure it out during the hopefully short review.
Obviously she's never visited here before as she finished #7 on my top ten list.
Kii plays Natsumi who is an art student at a university. Which school was never disclosed during the film along with where Natsumi grew up, we see flashbacks of her living in a seaside town but the name of it was never revealed too. Natsumi is anything but well off, we learn later in the film that her step father had lost her college savings gambling and hoping for that one big winner. So Natsumi is somehow putting herself through school while living in Tokyo, she works part time at a bar but that's not nearly enough for her to live on.
Especially when her boyfriend ends up moving in with her, he doesn't work and seems to sponge a lot of money off of her. We don't learn where or how they met, think things like that hurt the film a bit as there's so much we never learn about Natsumi and the other major characters. Needing much more money Natsumi eventually gets a job at a hostess club, doesn't seem as though she's overly popular with the customers but makes a decent amount of money at the club.
And Natsumi needs to as her boyfriend doesn't work and seems as though he has no intentions of getting a job which doesn't bother Natsumi until the second half of the film. As an art student Natsumi is literally at the bottom of her class, none of her teachers seem to respect her at all. For an art project for her major class Natsumi ended up finishing 30th out of thirty students. Natsumi does use the word 'struggle' quite a bit which she does all the time, she does work hard at school, home and her job but things just aren't working out for her and she doesn't appear to have much of a future.
As bad as things were for Natsumi they get even worse, she can't say no friends who want to borrow money from her as she's hit zero as far as funds go. Desperate Natsumi applies to every publishing company there is, she's really not a talented artist/cartoonist which she gets told over and over as no company will hire her. Eventually one small place does hire her but they publish a bit of a soft porn manga, Natsumi being in such dire straights accepts the offer.
Her drawings end up being very bad along with the dialect she writes for the cartoons but in a perverse way they're so bad readers end up liking her and she starts to think she could have a future in the world of manga. Natsumi's fortunes take an upswing when a bigger company hires her to write a seven part manga for them and along with that comes enough money where she can afford to live a bit decently again. Her boyfriend Ryosuke isn't impressed with her drawing though, he wonders how can she draw and write things like that if her heat had been set on becoming a regular artist.
That led to a huge argument between the couple as Ryosuke had no right to say that , especially as he hadn't worked in close to a year. Eventually he ends up moving out and it didn't appear Natsumi was upset at all, she was probably relieved. The good times don't last for long though as the company that hired Natsumi to write that seven episode manga have cancelled her contract after five telling her the readers weren't impressed with her work at all.
Natsumi kept plugging away though, she never set out to be a manga artist but that's the direction she's taken. Eventually some of her work does start to become a bit more popular with readers, popular to the point where the publishing company is going to have her write her own manga. Which Natsumi ends up doing, not quite sure what it was about but while not soft porn think it was a bit racy. The company even staged a fan signing event for Natsumi, it started off slow as no one was there to buy a book or have a copy signed.
Howevefr a few of her college friends showed up to buy a copy, before you knew the event was turning into a big success as many others in the store bought a copy for her to sign. During the session though Natsumi glanced up to notice Ryosuke staring at her through the store's window. We had thought Natsumi had no more feeling for Ryosuke which turned out to be false as she leaves the event to see him. However he had taken off by then and Natsumi was unable to locate him in the busy Tokyo streets. To end the movie off she gazes into the sky and said the Tokyo that she had hated so much now deserved her thanks.
That's where the film ended leaving us wondering about many unanswered things that happened during the movie or events that were about to happen. Never did talk about Fubuki during the review but she was an older woman who worked at the same hostess club as Natsumi. The pair eventually became good friends through Fubuki's young daughter Saki, she was really the only friend Natsumi had in Tokyo. One day at work Fubuki suddenly collapsed and Natsumi brought her to the hospital where it appeared nothing was serious. However it was serious as a short time after that Fubuki died leaving Saki all alone. for a while thought that Natsumi may adopt her but she ended up living with Fubuki's sister. Like a few things in this film thought that relationship in the movie was underdeveloped, their friendship and eventual death really didn't add much to the movie.
Realize it was a shorter film review than usual but for a 109 minute film not all that much really happened, may have left out a few things which were mostly flashbacks with her father but really hit on all the events in the film. Think it may have worked out better being a 85-90 minute film, not that there was a lot of filler but so many little things didn't have much to do with the movie.
But then again it was an enjoyable view, certainly not a must watch but for being so slow never nodded off once which has happened to me during many slow films. Will give this a rating of a
7.5/10, worth a watch and as a matter of fact plan on viewing this again. Though this film came out in September 2013 it jsut got subbed a few months ago, usually don't see a film get subbed after such a long gap.
Main reason or perhaps the only reason for viewing this film was Kii who did a superb performance, the film naturally wasn't superb as I said but she was in it. Looked mighty fine too as you can see by the screenshots, easy to see why she got the #7 spot on my top ten list and if you think she looks ultra fine in these screenshots check out the next post for even more. After these pics check out the trailer which follow them.