I have a bunch of movies on my computer that I need to watch, and looking at the list, I decided to just start alphabetically. A Scene at the Sea / あの夏、いちばん静かな海。 is a 1991 Takeshi Kitano movie about a deaf man who starts surfing.
I enjoyed the relaxed vibe and 90s-era clothes. So uncool and yet so kakkoi (cool). The story was not anything to write home about and the end was kind of a head-scratcher, but it was an interesting movie, if only for the nostalgia. On a positive note, the soundtrack was really good, which can be expected from the great Joe Hisaishi.
Today I finished up watching the last episode of Rikokatsu リコカツ starring my favorite actress, Kitagawa Keiko 北川景子 as Saki. Co-starring with her is Nagayama Eita 永山瑛太 as her husband, Koichi. The premise of the story is that the couple meet by chance and marry quickly, and later decide that they have nothing in common and should divorce. Along with them, their parents are also divorcing, as well as Saki’s sister.
It’s a very lighthearted comedy, and Eita’s comedic acting is hilarious. I was laughing out loud several times watching this dorama because of him. Besides the humor, there were also a few times that tugged on the heart-strings which is something I always appreciate in a movie or dorama. 😭
I thought the story itself was just okay, and a bit repetitive and predictable. It’s a typical melodramatic Japanese dorama, so if you are in the mood for it (or a fan of one of the actors as I am) Rikokatsu is a decent choice.
One of the characters that I disliked greatly was Minazuki Ren, a novelist to whom Saki is assigned as editor. Minazuki’s behavior is infuriating, exhibiting sexual harassment, power harassment, and literal thievery. He’s a total asshole. I kept hoping he would get his lights punched out. I know this is not a serious dorama, but normalizing that kind of behavior (without any repercussions) is awful. Towards the end, we learn he had a difficult childhood and is struggling to become a better person, but the way he treats everyone just makes my blood boil.
Okay, back to the positives… the ending where Koichi bends a bit to make a compromise so that Saki can live her dream was pretty cool and well-done. The long-distance relationship and video calls were funny and during this pandemic time, everyone can relate. I enjoy anything Kitagawa Keiko is in, but in this dorama it was refreshing to watch her as a “normal” person. In Ie Uru Onna 家売るオンナ, her character is very one-dimensional, outwardly emotionless, and never smiled. After watching two seasons of that character, it was nice to see her acting as a person with a range of relatable emotions, and is not always dressed/made-up perfectly.
I saw Children of the Sea at the theater with my good friend, and I thought it was excellent! I wasn’t so sure about the character design at first, but the facial expressions quickly grew on me. The landscapes, clouds, and background art were amazing, and the word “Wow” was constantly running around my head.
The story itself was interesting, but I wasn’t a fan of the “2001: A Space Odyssey” moment, as my friend so accurately called it. Still, I liked all the characters. A very fun and beautiful film, well-worth watching, in my opinion.
What I also noted was that the soundtrack is fantastic. Joe Hisaishi captured the mood with a minimalistic orchestration perfectly. I loved it so much. Give the Spotify playlist a listen at the end of this post if you are curious!
I hope you get a chance to watch Children of the Sea, especially if you love the warm summer ocean breeze. 😊
I was browsing Amazon Prime Movies and came across the Satoshi Kon movie Millennium Actress so I made some popcorn and settled in to watch it.
I enjoyed it a lot! The story was cool and imaginative, following the story of a veteran actress Chiyoko’s career, with flashbacks to different genres of movies in various historical settings. The scene where Chiyoko appears as a scientist/doctor in a kaiju movie was one of my favorites, even though it only lasted a few seconds. But the transition between the genres was so cool. There was also a nice amount of action and fighting during the ninja-assassin scenes which was very well-done.
I’ve never thought that the character style in Satoshi Kon’s movies were to my liking, but I might finally be coming around. Some of the expressions in Millennium Actress were fantastic. Definitely a recommended anime to watch!
Tonight I watched the 2004 Japanese movie Crying Out Love in the Center of the World / 世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ, which was the breakout movie for my current actress crush Masami Nagasawa. I love melodramatic tear-jerkers these days and I knew going in that this was a sad story (you find out early on that Aki passes away), but I didn’t know that the story’s time period would also include a lot of nostalgic interest for me.
The story switches between 2004 (present day) and 1986, when the characters were in high school, which means the characters are the same age as me and Mariko. Adding to the nostalgia, Aki (Masami Nagasawa) and Saku (Mirai Moriyama) exchange messages to each other via cassette tape and it’s fun to see the old Walkman models and compact boom-boxes in action – it almost makes me want to find an old cassette player. 😁
The plot is more interesting and complex than you might expect, and there’s a bit of mystery as to who the character Ritsuko (Kou Shibasaki) really is, and how the cassette tapes connect the past to the present. But it’s the acting that really impressed me. Most of the scenes are quiet are drawn-out, so all attention is on the acting and I am happy to say that it does not disappoint. A+ from the entire cast.
I really liked that the story Crying Out Love in the Center of the World is so pure and innocent, yet can still be so moving. There’s no controversial, disturbing, or uncomfortable scenes – it’s just a story about love, loss, and trying to move on.