It’s officially been… three years since my last blog post on this website. For a time last year I was attempting to write a personal blog that detailed my life abroad in Japan (which you can find here, though again… check out my puny three posts… I’m so bad at commitment). However, as I have just left Japan, and am now facing the abysmal dark hole of unemployment, I have been attempting to get in as many dramas/films as I possibly can and decided I might as well try and write a couple reviews.
So, without further ado, I give you my first review in three years. I decided to dedicate it to a recent Japanese film I saw called As the Gods Will or Kami-sama no Iu Toori. Apparently the film is based off a popular manga by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Akeji Fujimura, but I’ve never read it and truthfully hadn’t even heard of it until the films promos started going viral.
Which also, I feel, warrant discussion. If you have any interest in Japanese commercials, or have heard of how crazy they get, this is a prime example of just how insane Japan can be. It features a group of AV models wearing bathing suits who are suddenly set upon by a talking Daruma doll. Every time they get caught moving, their… well… just watch the commercial.
So now that you’ve seen that, let’s get to the actual film. Unfortunately, in the film we do not get any girls with exploding bosoms, however we do get our own personalized Daruma game. In fact, the films entire premise is essentially that popular childhood Japanese games have been “re-imagined” in a much deadlier version. High school students (specifically Japanese students, though news reports indicate similar events are occurring world-wide) are being forced to play these games. The games range from “Daruma” – which is essentially red light green light, to cat and mouse, to hide and seek. However, if you lose the games, you die in some incredibly grisly way. For example, my personal favorite example was the first game, in which the students heads exploded when the Daruma doll caught them moving.
The charming and increasingly popular Fukushi Shota plays the main character of Takahata Shun. I have to admit I normally find the boy about as interesting as playing with a pet rock for 6 hours. His good looks and perfect bone structure has primed him for leading roles in pretty much every male lead romantic anime-turned-live-action role out there. But besides smiling and showing off his dimples, he’s never particularly struck me as anything other than extremely pretty. He hasn’t suddenly been gifted with acting chops in this film, but the absurdist nature of the movie almost pokes fun at his stoic and beautiful male hero role, allowing him to be far less annoying than I normally find him.
I mean, look at him. They put him in a mouse kigurumi. You do not put your eye candy in a kigurumi unless you’re trolling all his fans.
Kamiki Ryunosuke played his usual role – mentally unstable with a tendency towards chronic sneering disorder. But you can’t fault the boy… if you’re good at something might as well keep doing it. I know his “crazy” characters aren’t very layered, but he seems to relish playing the aggressive and manic personalities so much that it’s hard not to like his interpretations. I recently started watching his drama “School Staircase” and he plays a similar role, but regardless of how manic he is, he’s always fun to watch.
There are two girls in the film, played by Yamazaki Hirona and Yuki Mio. Mio unfortunately suffers from the “pretty without much personality” syndrome, but Hirona is relatively spunky. Though she ends up liking our main hero, she remains her sporty, “can-do” attitude which is frankly refreshing to see in Japan. She never starts crying because she’s overwhelmed by her circumstances.
Despite the dark humor and ridiculous gore which is incredibly enjoyable to watch, the film ends unsatisfactorily in my opinion. *SPOILER ALERT EVERYBODY* however, after multiple different rounds and competitions, Kamiki Ryunosuke and Fukushi Sota end up the triumphant victors of the competition. It’s not clear if they’re the victors of the whole world or just the entirety of Japan, or specifically the Tokyo region of Japan, but regardless… they win… something. However the ending is a cliff hanger, implying that a vagabond who has occasionally popped up throughout the film is actually God, and he’s been masterminding this competition as a preparation for the end of the world.
I mean… WHAT!? Like…. if you want to talk about continuing the non – sequitur vibe of the rest of the film, then yeah… sure you succeeded… but it just struck me as very random. I have this problem with a lot of Japanese films. They start out very interesting, but they last just a bit too long, and their endings leave me scratching my head wishing for a different, more proper conclusion. I understand this is based off a manga, and therefore the film is constricted to the source material, and may even have been setting itself up for a sequel, but regardless… you still need to make the product a stand-alone item in my opinion.
Therefore, I can’t give this film full marks. Would I recommend it? If you’re willing to turn off your brain and don’t take the film seriously then yeah, sure. It’s pretty damn enjoyable. But don’t look for anything meaningful and prepare yourself for a better intro than conclusion.
Anyway… have you guys seen this film? Are you interested? Thoughts? I know I’m notoriously bad at maintaining any sort of schedule, but comments keep me motivated to keep writing, so any love will be appreciated!!!!