Like a plate of cinematic sushi, writer-director Yosuke Fujita’s debut is an off-the-menu mixture of crazy comedy and bland romance that won’t satisfy everyone. But it’s certainly worth a try.
Teruo (Arakawa) has a gift for gruesome pranks which he intends to expand into a horror-themed empire. Only time and money stand in his way – he’s a lowly tree surgeon who has to spend hours minding the family bookshop for his depressed dad.
His best friend is hospital manager Hironobu (Okada), a handsome lad who isn’t much interested in dating his female colleagues… until pretty Akari (Kimura) applies for a job as a cleaner.
Unfortunately, she’s all fingers and thumbs – or at least she would be if she didn’t keep breaking her digits on lift buttons or having them bitten by stray dogs.
Hironobu cares not, and persuades Teruo to put her to work in the bookshop. But an encounter with a real ‘ghost’ has shocked Teruo into reassessing his life; love is the way forward and Akari is now his girl.
In the midst of helping a couple filmmaking pals create their first movie, the ensuing rivalry between the old pals spills into their acting work.
Alas, their bickering is to no avail; Akari’s heart has been captured by a more sensitive soul…
Treating us to love songs about rice, the etiquette of selling porn, the aphrodisiac qualities of fish sausages and some unarguable pearls of wisdom (“Life’s more fun when you’re an idiot”), Fujita’s funny bits are fine, totally fine.
Quiet contemplation and sentimentality, however, are not his forte. Several scenes are pointlessly stretched and he is clearly more enamoured of his characters than he thinks we are. A little of something different can go a long way.
Like I said - cinematic sushi.