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Closed Note
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
I finally got around to watching the 2007 Erika Sawajiri movie Closed Note, a film that I’d actually tried to watch three times before, but the beginning of it seemed so typical of a by-the-numbers romance that I always lost interest and saved it for another time! Upon seeing it again in my folder, it occurred to me that I still didn’t have any real idea what the movie was even ABOUT, read more so I put the movie in, this time determined to watch at LEAST the first hour of it- and what a pleasant movie it turned out to be!


A melancholy movie with beautiful, atmospheric backdrops and a slow paced rhythm to it that really soothes the viewer’s soul
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Flowers
1 people found this review helpful
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
The 2009 movie Flowers follows three generations of girls as they embark on their exciting and uncertain new life starting a family. Jumping back and forth through time, the film tells the tale of Rin (played by Aoi Yu), her daughters Kaoru, Midori and Sato (played by Takeuchi Yuko, Tanaka Rena, and Nakama Yukie), her grand-daughters Kana and Kei(played by Suzuki Kyoka and Hirosue Ryoko), and her grandchildren!

I picked up on read more this movie simply for the stunning array of stellar actresses they’d gotten (Aoi Yu, Takeuchi Yuko, Tanaka Rena, Nakama Yukie,Suzuki Kyoka and Hirosue Ryoko, MAN,have you ever seen so much TALENT in one movie?) and the movie’s touching and heartfelt story certainly put them to good use, but the overall thing that stunned me the most was the film’s unbelievable cinematography and special effects!

Having a movie set in the years 1936, 1964, 1969, 1977 and 2004 would be a daunting task for anyone, and I wouldn’t have blamed them if they just winged it and made do with the sets they had on hand, but MY GOSH, those period pieces (and, in particular, the 60’s scenes) seemed like they were actually shot at that time!

Every time they opened another scene, just one look at the girl and her surrounds and I’d instantly KNOW what decade they were in, and DAMN if the Yukie Nakama scenes didn’t just remind me of those Tomokazu Muira/Yamaguchi Momoe flicks of the 70’s! And to bring out the flourish of those period pieces , the scenes alternate between modern 2004 shots which REALLY makes them stand out in comparison!

Of course, all this talent and special effects wouldn’t have meant much without a solid story to go on, and FLOWERS wonderful message is the cherishing of life, family, and the miracle of motherhood. (and never has a movie utilized Olivia Newton John’s (!) “Have You Never Been Mellow” better than this movie’s conclusion…so touching!

And for those of us who were just so blown away by the period piece effects, they went one further for us, as the ending credits ran and they showed these old, yellowed family photos of the generations of families, and I was like HOLY CRAP, THESE PICTURES LOOK SO DAMN AUTHENTIC! Especially the Aoi Yu shots- DANG, those could have been in MY Grandmother’s photo album! Just Fantastic!
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Rinco's Restaurant
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 4.0
  • Story 5.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 4.0
When I sat down to watch the Shibasaki Kou movie Shokudo Katatsumuri (Rinco's Restaurant), the story of a chef who slowly takes the time to prepare the perfect meal for only one select customer a day, I figured it would be a bit eclectic in nature, but I still wasn’t been prepared for how all-out “arty-farty” it was!

First off, It wasn’t quite that she “ took the time to create a read more perfect dish” for each client, more precisely, if you eat at her restaurant, amazingly, your GRANDEST WISHES COME TRUE! Whoa. A bit more fanciful than I was prepared for, but still somewhat on ground level, at least so far...I thought to myself, "OK, Um... So, this is like a fairy tale, then?" It certainly was SURREAL enough!

As the show progressed, however, the movie seemed to get more and MORE quirky, with zany singalong narration and animated vegetable picking (and of course, all those wish-granting meals) til it finally built up crazier and crazier til I had to stop and pull out a majestic WTF?!

AHAHAHA, Oh well, ya can't say that this movie wasn't entertaining, 'cause it was THAT, FOR SURE!!!
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Adrift in Tokyo
1 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
Just watched a very good movie called TENTEN~Adrift In Tokyo, A comedic story about a Loan Shark Collector who offers one of his marks a million yen to pay off his debts if he'll accompany him on a walk of indeterminate time: "Could be days or even a month", he flatly states. Without much choice, the mark accepts the job, and over the course of days, the two men form a special read more bond as they experience life on the road together.

The Loan collector is played with witty delight by Miura Tomokazu, whose character of Fukuhara is a life-loving person, and his constant chattering about this and that is reminiscent of Charles Grodin in Midnight Run or Kazama Morio in Instant Numa! The hapless debt-ridden man he eventually employs as his road companion of sorts is played with glum moroseness by Odagiri Joe, here rocking the frizziest hairdo ever seen on an asian man! As Takemura, he's a young man who's always felt like luck hasn't been on his side. Abandoned by his parents at the age of 5, he's always looked at life as a series of let downs and broken promises. But through the course of their walk, he begins to see in Fukuhara the father figure he's longed for all his life.

Don't Worry though, the Movie isn't as dark as all that, the story is played very lightly, and, like I mentioned earlier, is pretty much a comedy however you look at it. But the twist and turns the two men go through, the fun and interesting eateries, the fights and the late night-talks all add up to a very sincere and thought- provoking film.

At one point Fukuhara takes Takemura to meet a lady-friend of his named Makiko (played by the ever-stoic Koizumi Kyoko) where they can stay for a few days and it's here that Takemura meets her niece Fufumi, played by the excitably genki Yoshitaka Yuriko: SUCH a cutie, Special mention MUST be made of HER! From the moment she enters, she's stealing the scenes, going off portraying her patented "Woman/Child" girly-girl, the kind that is sooooo cute and ditsy as to border on Mental incapacitation! With her one-of-a-kind high-pitched and scratchy voice, can ANYONE do this better than her? LOL!
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Kimi ni Todoke
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
Though I’m a huge fan of adorable Tabe Mikako, I didn’t feel an immediate urge to watch her latest movie Kimi Ni Todoke at the time I downloaded it, so I put it aside to save for when I had a free weekend or something. And as I mentioned in the above post, it wasn’t until I got interested in cutie Renbutsu Misako that I put it on the HIGH priority list read more and got down to watching it RIGHT AWAY!

MAN, this was SUCH an AWESOME movie!!! To think I would have just let this one sit on my desktop for weeks... At the time I guess I thought it would be nothing more than a wacky movie, (and with the premise of a girl who looks like SADAKO from RING scaring her fellow students, who could blame me? ) who would have thought that I would find such an UTTERLY SWEET and HEARTWARMING Show? Such an earnest and sincere film, this one really made you feel good!

And HEY!!! Tabe Mikako aside, no one told me this show was gonna be FILLED with SO MANY HOT, SMOKIN’ CHICKS! I mean, I DID. NOT. KNOW. that MIREI KIRITANI was in this show, and I mean to tell you, she was lookin’ fine. Renbutsu Misako plays one of her best characters yet with the tough but loveable Chizu, and I got my first introduction to the sultry Natsuna Watanabe, playing the sexy and cool-headed Ayane (And I’ve got more to talk about HER next time). There were these gorgeous gals all over this film!

KIMI NI TODOKE is the tale of a girl named Sawako who, because of her scary looks, is feared by her students, till an outgoing and cheerful boy named Shota (played by Haruma Miura) takes a liking to the shy, insecure but good-hearted girl, and along with friends..This would be a fine story as is, but what I really, REALLY loved about it was the fact that the heart of this movie clearly centered around the importance of FRIENDSHIP. The way they showed Sawako’s bonding with Shota, Ayane and Chizu is so thoughtfully paced and actually quite believable. When it gets to the point when they think to ask her if they are friends, they realize that they’ve already passed the point where you even have to!

When things like backhanded lying, gossiping rumours, and aggressive attitudes develop in front of them and threaten to tear their friendship apart, it’s that very friendship that they draw their strength from, and you watch this movie truly feeling like, Hey, these kids really love each other!

This movie came as a bright, clear breath of fresh air after the somewhat disappointing HANAMIZUKI which seemed (to me) to be mired in melodrama. While I’m sure (positive, actually) that there are people out there who disagree with me, Kimi Ni Todoke is the way to go- This one is a winner!
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The Incite Mill
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Just finished watching the psychological horror/thriller movie THE INCITE MILL: 7 DAY DEATH GAME, where 10 unwitting subjects are lured to a remote structure miles away from anywhere, placed in a sealed habitat and are observed by electronic eyes as the party’s mistrust and suspicions go haywire when one of the participants turns up murdered.

The film was interesting enough, but what really made the movie for me was the all star read more cast that included not only Fujiwara Tatsuya (of the aforementioned Battle Royale fame), Abe Tsuyoshi (Hanadan) and the mighty Kitaoji Kinya, but THREE (yes, count them, THREE) of my favorite actresses: Ayase Haruka, Ishihara Satomi and Hirayama Aya!

Each gal played a certain stereotype: Aya as the giggly kogal Wakana, Haruka as the quiet and introspective Shoko, and Satomi as the scene-stealing morose, dramatic and suicidal Miyu! I have to say that it was their presence that really kept me glued to the computer- Man, I haven’t had a Crush Overdose like this since “Mamiya Brothers” with Kitagawa Keiko and Sawajiri Erika!

Say, it looks like Ishihara Satomi is really getting into this new kind of haunted, morbid character persona like the one I first saw in Tobo Bengoshi, and I have to say it fits her well!!! Very sultry and on her way to becoming a true Femme Fatale!
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2ldk
0 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Man, what a ride! Just got finished watching explosive thriller “2LDK”, the violent dark comedy about two highly wound up actresses sharing an apartment as they wait for the results of a movie part they’ve both auditioned for.

Remember that movie “Of Unknown Origin”, where Mild mannered Bart Hughes is so obsessed with catching a pesky mouse, at the end he ends up burning down his entire house to kill it? Think read more that, but with two pretty ‘n’ buxom gals instead of Peter Weller, and you’ve got the idea!

Can’t say that there was too much more than that as far as any deeper story goes, but BOY was it FUN watching these two beautiful girls bash each others’ brains out in true Wile E. Coyote/ Road Runner style, til each girl is a mess of blood and bruises! I’ve just become a fan recently of Nonami Maho, and I’ve loved Eiko Koike since I first saw her as a recurring guest on DOMOTO TSUYOSHI SHOJIKI SHINDOI, and it was awesome to see them let loose and go CRAZY!!!
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Honokaa Boy
0 people found this review helpful
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
A while ago, a friend had given me a copy of the movie Honoka’a Boy to watch. When I asked why he thought I should check it out, he ventured, “Well, It’s set in Hawaii... and Aoi Yu is in it.” Well!

On that note I made plans to get around to watching the movie, but to say that Aoi Yu is “in” this movie is like watching the Blues Brothers for read more Peewee Herman, seeing as how they both appear onscreen in each respective movie for about the same amount of time! But despite that setback, something about the Honoka’a Boy’s slow and calming pace really drew me in, and before you knew it, I was really enjoying it!

Starring Okada Masaki as the fish out of water, or rather a Nihongo stuck on the Big Island, the show details his adjustment to life in the Islands as opposed to his life in Japan. The show is crammed full of interesting and eccentric characters, (including a fun performance by Matsuzaka Keiko, (whom I ADORED as Ikushima in Atsuhime), and Baisho Chieko (as the spinsterly lady who falls for Okada) but make no mistake about it: The true “star” of this movie just HAS to be Sexy Hasegawa Jun! From the moment Okada’s character Leo befriends the exotic “local” girl Mariah, her sexiness totally captivates Leo’s thoughts (and ours) and with Hasegawa rockin’ the cute denim short-shorts and skimpy bikinis, you just CAN'T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF HER!

Funny that until I watched this movie, I’d always believed :”Jun Hasegawa” to be an ACTOR, that is, a dude. What I didn’t realize is that there are actually TWO talents out there with the same name, a fact I sadly discovered when I tuned in on the drama Naka Nai to Kimeta Hi thinking I was gonna see some sweet local goodness and instead saw an up ‘n’ comin’ Johnny’s Boy. D’oh!

Living in Hawaii myself, I love going out to visit the outer islands, and I think this movie manages to capture the laid-back and relaxing vibe the islands give off perfectly! When the movie was over, I found myself strangely mellow, as if I'd just come home from a long, breezy visit to Honoka'a! AHAHAHAHAHA!
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Air Doll
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
When I picked up the movie Kuki Ningyo (Air Doll), the story about an inflatable sex doll that comes to life and goes out exploring the world when her owner is at work each day, I thought I was in for a cute, light-hearted, quirky comedy...BOY was I wrong about that!

While Air Doll does have its quirky moments, and Korean actress Doona Bae is extremely adorable as Nozomi, the sex doll read more come to life, this was much much more than a light comedy. While following Nozomi's search for the meaning for living and happiness, she discovers the world and people around her are just as much in confusion about the very same things as she is. When she proclaims to a lonely old man that she is "empty inside" (as she's full of air), he sadly notes that a malady of that kind is not such a rare thing for people.

As she searches deeper and deeper into the answers for her existence, we see Nozomi's wide- eyed innocence slowly turn to sadness and detachment as she is faced with the reality of "real life" and as if to punctuate how bitter living can be, we are also given insight into the people around her, where we realize Nozomi is just one of a thousand people coping with their own personal hardships from day to day.

Without giving away any spoilers I have to say that the movie ended on SUCH a somber tone that when it was over, I just could NOT shake off this feeling of utter loneliness! That's quite a movie to make me feel like that! Ahhhh, man, I'm depressed! Somebody better give me a comedy, QUICK! Time to re-watch "Summer Time-Machine Blues" to pick me up!
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
Just got through watching the incredible j-movie Funuke Domo, Kanashiki No Ai wo Misero, i.e. “SHOW SOME LOVE, YOU LOSERS!” for the second, third, and now FOURTH time, and I just HAVE to say how much I just love, love , LOVE IT!! This movie is an EFFIN' MASTERPIECE!

I've loved actress Eriko Sato ever since her mouth-watering portrayal of Go Nagai’s salacious super-heroine CUTIE HONEY, but after that, I didn’t see read more a whole lot of her besides a great appearance in the Matsuoka Masahiro drama YASUKO TO KENJI (where she played the Martha-Stewart-ish perfect girlfriend Ai against the harried Ryoko Hirosue in a battle to win Kenji’s heart) …

When I was finally able to acquire a copy of Funuke Domo, Kanashiki ai wo Misero I was PLEASANTLY surprised to not only see Hiromi Nagasaku in it- but ERIKO SATO as the HEADLINING actress as well!!!! Rounded out by actors Masatoshi Nagase and Aimi Satsukawa in an eclectic ensemble cast, I KNEW I was in for a GREAT SHOW!

Think SEIGI NO MIKATA with a decidedly violent and sadistic slant with more sexual innuendoes and you’ve got FUNUKU DOMO- Along with Aimi Satsukawa, Eriko gives one of the most electrifying performances of her career, and by the film’s end I was just WALLOWING in satisfaction-This ROCKING movie is DARK, DARK comedy at its absolute crackling BEST!
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Dear Friends
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 8.5
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
OKAY, a full confessional here: when I acquired the 2007 movie DEAR FRIENDS, my MAIN purpose of checking out this flick was to see the ubiquitous Kitagawa Keiko (who has without doubt moved up to become one of my VERY FAVORITE actresses) duked out as a SEXY, SUPER-HOT VIXEN complete with the skimpy outfits and tight, tight shorty-shorts and the attitude to match! Sexily gyrating on the sweaty dance floor and leading read more on her choice of men, she’s the kind of girl who has friends casually ask, “Could it be you’re pregnant AGAIN?” and have her response be, “Can’t Be…I’m on the Pill, after all!” WHOA!

But if I thought this movie was gonna be all fun and games, I was SORELY MISINFORMED! ‘Cause though there WAS an awful lot of that in the first half of the movie, at one point, Dear Friends becomes quite somber and turns into a serious and introspective film. Where I thought I would be spending my time drooling and pandering after Keiko, I suddenly found myself weeping like a girlyman instead!

Keiko plays Rina, a sexy girl-about town who has the world of the nightlife in the palm of her hand. She is brash, spoiled and manipulating, but when she finds herself suddenly hospitalized, she is brought crashing back to earth, her partygoing life and thrillseeking friends taking a back seat as Rina is forced to see what really matters in life.

Stellar acting from all the lead actors, especially Keiko and actress Yuika Motokariya, who plays Maki, another sick girl who gives Rina the inner strength to go on with her life when fate has dealt her a bitter hand. Also of merit is the CUTE little girl Mao Sasaki who played Kanae, a tiny shut-in patient who befriends Rina during her initial stay at the hospital. Oh, and a holler out to Hatsume Matsushima who played Rina’s partygoing friend Emi who looked HELLA like Ueto Aya in those opening scenes!

This is my second movie in recent weeks dealing with hospitalization and cancer after seeing equally terrific HEAVEN’S DOOR, the movie that starred Nagase Tomoya as the cancer patient and Mayuko Fukuda as the shut-in hospitalized girl. Though the two movies couldn’t be any more different, they both had heart at its center and guaranteed that I’d be using up all my Kleenex as it took me through its emotional ups and downs!! Sob, Sob!
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Zoo
0 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
While high on my “Ryoko Kobayashi” fan mode after her terrific performance in the supernatural revenge thriller MAOU, I found she’d starred in a similarly spooky Twilight-Zone styled movie called ZOO in one of its five stories. That sounded interesting, and, happily enough, I was able to acquire a nice subtitled version!

Well, in the end, Ryoko’s story (a tale about a set of twins, both played by her) ended up being read more so-so, and I’m sad to say that statement rang true for most of the other segments, too. In fact out of the five, I only really liked a couple of them- the story SEVEN ROOMS starring Yui ichikawa as an abducted girl in a mysterious holding cell, and segment Four which, in direct contrast to the other tales, was a short clip that was completely animated...It was this story that TOTALLY MADE THE MOVIE FOR ME!

This chapter was called HIDAMARI NO SHI, a story written and animated by Mizusaki Junpei and featuring perfect voice acting by Suzuki Kasumi and Suwaru Ryu. Hidamari No Shi tells a tale of a Scientist and his Robot Girl creation in a futuristic world not so different from our own...

The great charm of this clip is the pacing. As the girl goes about her daily life, the viewer is allowed to look about and take in the scenery along with her, examining what she is examining, reacting as she reacts. Every action is deliberate and precise, every sentence of dialog meaningful and heartfelt, and as I’ve stated before, the voice talent is just awesome, fully fleshing out the animated characters onscreen and making the girl seem real and believable.

The story of HIDAMARI NO SHI is ultimately a philosophical one, for though the girl’s days are spent doing chores like laundry, tending the garden and fetching the water, there are also rabbits and butterflies in her life to observe and chase, sunrises and sunsets to experience, and the quiet, beautiful sound of wind-chimes as they tinkle in the breeze. Yes, he’s created her to cook and to clean, but beneath it all is the lesson he wants her to learn most, and that is the joy and gratitude of simply being alive.
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Handsome Suit
0 people found this review helpful
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
Just finished watching the hilarious and sometimes touching comedy movie THE HANDSOME SUIT starring Tsukaji Muga as Takuro, a self professed “ugly” and overweight cook at a side street eatery who dons a magical suit that transforms him into a suave and devilishly good-looking gentleman (played by Tanihara Shosuke) so he can win the affection of a cute waitress named Hiroko, played (of course) by the incredible Kitagawa Keiko.

Keiko's character is read more a quiet and pure girl who shyly comes into Muga's restaurant looking for a job, and Takuro's so shocked that such a beautiful young thing would want to work in HIS shoppe, he's almost too dumbstruck to reply! It's then that he seeks out the mysterious HANDSOME SUIT to change his appearance so he can sweep Hiroko off her feet...or will he?

Hmmm. While I can understand why a sweet and naïve young girl like Hiroko might be turned off by a showboating egomaniac like Shosuke Tanihara, I have a harder time believing she’d fall instead madly in love with Muga’s character, at least so much that she would go to such drastic measures as she does…

Ah well, in a movie, like this, common sense and credibility are thrown out the window, and you’re there to simply sit back and enjoy the ride, a feat that this movie does effortlessly! SO much fun, and MY does Keiko-chan look absolutely adorable as the shy and innocent Hiroko…! Thumbs Up!
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Cyborg She
0 people found this review helpful
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.5
Just finished watching the science fiction/romance movie CYBORG SHE: Boku wa Kanojo was Cyborg (My Girlfriend is a Cyborg), and boy, was it entertaining! Sure, it had a lot of sprawling storylines with so-so conclusions as well as multiple conflicting time-travelling paradox issues, but it also featured Ayase Haruka as the titular Cyborg Girlfriend and HOLY CRAP, SHE WAS THE CUTEST, MOST GORGEOUS THING EVER!!!!

The movie also stars Keisuke Koide as read more the Cyborg Girl's love interest, and when we first meet up with the both of them, they're both shopping in a department store: He’s buying a birthday gift for himself, and she’s stealing clothes to wear (to replace her torn time-travel suit)… His eyes meet hers, and much to his surprise, when he leaves, she begins happily following him!

I cannot even begin to fully describe how cute she is in this movie, especially at the beginning. There’s this scene when they’ve just met, and she’s following him around town, smiling that infectious Ayase Haruka smile (Dammit, can anyone resist that?!), and once she has his attention, begins happily dancing and skipping along, MAN! SO CUTE!!!
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Ichi
0 people found this review helpful
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Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 9.5
ICHI puts a feminine twist on the “Zatoichi / Blind Swordsman” legend with Ayase as a blind girl who uses her hyper sense of hearing to perceive her surroundings and destroy opponents. Along for the ride is love interest Takao Osawa as Toma, he himself a gifted swordsman but unable (for psychological reasons) to draw his sword.
This movie was interesting and quick-paced, the fight scenes quick and stylized, and Ayase Haruka, read more besides being as pretty as ever (even dressed in rags!), is entirely convincing as the cold and ruthless Ichi. I loved every scene she was in, and especially liked the scenes with her and the little boy who shows her around the village and lovingly follows her around as she shuffles through town.
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