Friday, November 5, 2010
The story follows the experiences of four friends- a manga artist (Ninomiya Kaunari), an author (Sho Sakurai), A singer/composer (Aiba Masaki) and a painter (Ohno Satoshi) who decide to spend the summer of 1963 together in Ninomiya's house. All four have it hard trying to break into the artistic world. Ninomiya wants to write literary manga for children which is constantly rejected by his editor who thinks it won't sell. Sho Sakurai can't write a good novel. Aiba Masaki enters singing contests but can't seem to win and Ohno Satoshi paints well but is dissuaded by a tragic incident. All four of them decide to live at Ninomiya's house in the summer while trying to follow their dreams. They have to pawn the guitar, fountain pen, painting and clothes to eat. It follows the hardships of their life.
Ninomiya Kazunari gets the main role. Sho Sakurai, Aiba Masaki and Ohno Satoshi have a lot of role too. I was disappointed to know that Matsumoto Jun is only a side character. Kashii Yu is another side character who is Aiba Masaki's lover in the beginning but gets married to Matsujun in the end.
The series is realistic and I should warn viewers that the ending is not good. It maintains a lull and peaceful atmosphere, much like a lullaby. It vibrates with 1960s elements. I was surprised to see Arashi starring in a realistic and old movie like this. The songs resemble Kyu Sakamoto's style. Only enka was missing from the movie. There is nothing comic or modern about this movie at all. Its the kind of film you'd expect Hibari Misora not Arashi to act in.
Most of the series follows the protagonist's struggles and conflicts with reality. One thing I noticed was that none of the protagonists had any sense of business, commerciality or promotion. The singer just composed songs without thinking about recording deals, the painter paints without thinking of selling paintings or holding exhibitions and the author gets nowhere near completing his novel etc. Such poverty according to me is unrealistic but since the protagonists are not enterprising and cannot think of business, it is only obvious that they remain poor. The movie is rather pessimistic.
Spoilers- In the end, they end up going their seperate ways after Ninomiya's mother dies and the others write him a touching letter. Shinkasen arrives in Japan and Olympics is hosted. A year later, they have a meeting in the 'ship' (a cafe). Sakurai Sho becomes a door to door salesman, Ohno Satoshi becomes a club manager in Alaska, Aiba Masaki becomes a construction worker and Nonomiya is the only one who follows his dream and continues to create manga he likes. The series was quite pessimistic. It is hard to believe that none of them succeeded especially after the writer shows their dedication to their craft.
Overall, a very realistic/pessimistic movie. Fans of Honey and clover might like it. It is rather oldish and viewers might find it hard to relate to a 1963 movie. Shinji Nagashima's works are based on the hard life of mangakas. He was Osamu Tezuka's assistant at one time. The movie is sleep inducing (boring) and very slow moving. The ending just put me off. Next time I hope Arashi acts in something better which does justice to their acting skills.
Boring/hard to relate to
Matsumoto Jun had very little role
No good songs