Sunday, July 21, 2013

JMovie Review: Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu

The Gist: Hibino Tsubaki (Takei Emi) is a plain girl, who loves to style others but not herself. Her modest appearance makes her the target of class playboy Tsubaki Kyota (Matsuzaka Tori), who doesn’t know what to do with a girl uninterested in him. However, her indifference is short lived as Kyota spends more time with her and she can’t help but develop feelings for him. After spurning her new advances, Tsubaki learns that Kyota has deep trust issues with women. In order to even get a shot with him, she needs to teach him how to trust people and convince him that not everyone is cruel. 


1.Decent Adaptation

As an avid reader of the manga, I was incredibly curious as to how they were going to make this a movie that preteens could see. Much of the manga has pretty strong sexual themes that are actual pretty vital to defining the relationship between Tsubaki and Kyota. I was glad that they left the karaoke scene in, even a less explicit version, because it really drove home the kind of person that Kyota is. I also thought they were going to leave the ending cheesy and innocent and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. 

2.The Scope of the Story

 Like I said, having read the manga, I know how much ground there is to cover to this story. I was pleased to see a bit of the dating life instead of spending all the time on the buildup. I felt that there wasn’t a decent chunk left out of the story like I do with most adaptations. I am glad that the producers decided to jump ahead into their relationship, so we could see some long term struggles. While it doesn’t follow the manga closely, it hits a bunch of the right emotional points.

3.Sibling Relationship

Shinkawa Yua plays Hibino Sakura, Tsubaki’s younger sister, who knows how to work it. The contrast between these characters was beautiful and I found Sakura to be a pretty typical teenage girl, which really highlighted Tsubaki’s unique personality. As the plainest of three sisters, I really identify with this relationship and I thought it was portrayed beautifully. It was great to see that despite their differences, they really supported each other. Sakura was a good sister at heart.


1.Chemistry Between our Leads

While I am not totally in love with either lead actor, I also felt that their chemistry was a little off. I think Emi was able to pull off a better emotional performance than Tori, where I actually felt bad for her when their relationship starts to get a little bit rocky. I didn’t think that you could feel the tension between our characters, which I find to be a pretty big part of their interactions. I do think that Tori had a nice moment in the Ferris wheel, but I think overall he didn’t quite capture Kyota’s underlying sincerity and issues. 


There’s not a lot to this story that I can really say is unique to KKWH. For the manga, I’d say it’s the stronger sexual overtones, but that doesn’t really translate to the movie. Everything this movie does has been done before. Unassuming lead gets the playboy and changes him for the better – doesn’t get much more cliché than that. That said, it does it well with likeable characters and decent writing.


1.Running Everywhere!

OK. This could be on a whole bunch of reviews, but I’m finding it here. How small does Tokyo have to be to run everywhere? At the end when Kyota is running all over God’s green Earth, I’m just thinking, man this is ridiculous! Tokyo is huge, massive and to run to find someone should never really work in a show. 

2.Sick Mom

This was one thing I just found too cliché. The fact that Kyota’s mom is dying and now he has to go see her. Even though Kyota’s mom makes an appearance in the manga, I don’t believe there’s a sickness accompanied with it and I thought that was just too on the nose. I think it would have been better to leave her out altogether. 


So… As far as Japanese shojo movies go, this one is really not bad. The story doesn’t feel rushed or incomplete and is a pretty fair representation of its source material, despite being way toned down. It’s not really covering any new ground and I didn’t love the leads, but it was an enjoyable few hours of my life.

Final Grade: B+

No comments:

Post a Comment