[No Spoilers] Movie Review: 陽だまりの彼女 (Hidamari no Kanojo) & movie-going in Japan

Today was a national holiday in Japan, 体育の日, or “Health and Sports Day.” It was also the 14th, which is “every movie is ¥1000 day” at TOHO Cinemas Midorii. Furthermore, a new movie came out this weekend on the 12th. The movie was the sport, and I had a black sesame tofu smoothie later, which would be the health part ^^

IMG_2066
Starring MatsuJun and Ueno Juri!

TO THE MOVIES!

I went to see this movie as part of a little experiment, too. Every time I go to the theater to see a movie here (both now, and when I was in Tokyo for study abroad, too), there were almost no other people in the theater, and so it was obviously also very quiet. I even went to the Rurouni Kenshin movie the day it came out, and there *still* weren’t that many people, and it was quiet. But! If I go to a movie with two really really really famous leads, on the weekend it comes out, on a three day weekend that everyone has off work, and on ¥1000 sale day, will there be tons of people? Will it be noisy?

The cinema I went to is located inside the Fuji Grand building across from Midorii station on the Kabe Line (you take it from Yokogawa). I took this picture the last time I went to see a movie, not today, but it was also sunny and nice like this today!

IMG_0808
TOHO Cinemas, on the third floor, on Nazo Toki day.

The cinema is inside a shopping mall. I think they time the showings of the movies with the times the train arrives, because there always seems to be a perfect gap between when my train arrives and when the movie starts. I went to the 12:10 showing today, and my train arrived at 11:49.

There were indeed a lot more people coming to see movies. The last movie I saw had probably less than 10 people in the whole theater. This time, there were people sitting in every row (but still enough space for me to sit in a good spot without anyone on my right or my left). You can either buy your tickets online in advance (with seat reservations and everything), or buy them when you get there. I just buy them when I get there. To do that, you walk over to an area that has ticket machines and movie times, and select the movie, number of tickets, prices (regular, seniors, students, special days, etc), and seat. All the seats are numbered and marked, and you select a seat and number from the screen, and it’ll be printed out on your ticket! I’m sure not every theater in Japan is this fancy…but this one is!

(Something else that’s kind of funny, if you’re the type of person that cares, is that if you’re seeing a movie alone and you don’t want to be the only loner, you can check the seat reservations online and choose a screening that seems to have at least a couple other loners with seat reservations too. You can probably predict how many couples will be there using this method as well, haha. Anyway.)

The result? There were a lot of people, many of whom had popcorn, food, and snacks, but you could hardly hear any paper crinkling, food crunching, or anything else. No one’s cell phones went off; people didn’t stand up in the middle to go to the bathroom. I consider it a success! My dad hates going to movies in the U.S. for reasons like these, so I told him he should come back here and see a movie instead :)

THE REVIEW — No Spoilers!

I realized after seeing this movie that it would be difficult to say anything about it without giving important details away, so I have to keep it brief! The title is 陽だまりの彼女 (Hidamari no Kanojo), or “The Girl in the Sun.” It’s about a guy named Kosuke and a girl named Mao, who were close in middle school but various things happened and they don’t see each other for years; then they suddenly meet again and fall in love, “but Mao has a secret…” (dun dun duunnnnn) The movie is based on the book of the same title.

I believe I found out about this movie from the trailers before the last movie I saw, Nazo Toki. Matsumoto Jun (or Matsujun–male lead) is a member of Arashi, the same as Sakurai Sho from Nazo Toki. I saw him in Gokusen and Boys Over Flowers (television dramas) before, and really liked him in BoF. I first saw Ueno Juri (female lead) in the drama “Nodame Cantabile.” She’s really good at those “weird” kinds of roles. I think that her character’s weirdness this time actually distracted me from figuring out the secret of the movie earlier, haha.

I really liked the music; I feel like it really set the tone of the movie, and made it more surreal. The way the director did the colors for the movie was really nice, so every time a new scene started I was like “ohhh, pretty.” It will make a lot of nice screenshots for fans to make icons and website layouts from later. I also, kept thinking how they coordinated the actors’ matching couple outfits well…

I liked that Mao’s secret wasn’t super predictable. I kind of wished I could see literal light bulbs going on above people’s heads, so that I could tell how fast I figured it out compared to everyone else.

Overall, I suppose I liked the movie. I wasn’t able to find anyone to see the movie with, but I was glad I ended up going alone, because the movie made me cry and it would’ve been really embarrassing (although I heard other people sniffling in the theater, too). It’s funny, because my mom likes the Beach Boys, so she’ll probably hear the song “Wouldn’t it be nice” (the movie’s theme) and happily remember listening to it, and I’ll be like “That was the part when…!!” and cry (haha). For the record, the trailer does say 恋は奇跡のハッピーエンドへ “Love heads toward a happy ending,” but still, if you’re someone who cries at movies…you might cry. Beware.

The trailer claims the novel is “the movie made from the No.1 romantic novel that girls want guys to read.” (「女子が男子に読んでほしい恋愛小説No.1映画化」). Hmm…I haven’t read the novel, but I’m not sure I would call this the number one romantic movie that I’d want a guy to see…in the end, I think I would need to see it one more time (after reading the book) to decide if I really like it or not.

I didn’t buy any merch this time…there were a ton of magazines at the theater with MatsuJun on them, but this movie just didn’t resonate with me the way the Boys Over Flowers drama did. I know you shouldn’t just compare actors to their most famous role, but I really liked him as Tsukasa…

Afterwards, I took the train back to Yokogawa, bought some Kimi ni Todoke manga, and had a shrimp sandwich and a black sesame soy milk drink of some sort at Vie de France. I really just did it for the sandwich, but the milk smoothie was really good! I think I’d actually ordered a banana smoothie, but after I’d said it I saw the black sesame drink and didn’t want to bother with changing the order. I think she misheard me because I was surprised to get a black sesame drink. I was really happy! haha.

IMG_2129

Song of the Day: Beach Boys, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”

6 thoughts on “[No Spoilers] Movie Review: 陽だまりの彼女 (Hidamari no Kanojo) & movie-going in Japan

  1. Wow that’s a very cool experience to go to cinema in Japan and now i miss that country :(

    I didn’t have a chance when i went to Japan because i only there for 10 days. I wish i had gone though :)

    Matsujun and Ueno Juri are my favorite stars. Their acting are stellar! I think i’d love to watch the movie next time. Thank you for the review anyway!

  2. Hi Stephanie. Thanks for the review and I am glad you enjoyed moviegoing experience. I just finished reading the book (but have not seen the movie). Although I liked the book (and yes, it made me cry a little, too), like you, I also wonder if the story appeals to the girls THAT much; in fact, I read it more like a romantic fantasy for boys/men (I am a man, btw). In any case, I will check out the film when DVD comes out in Tsutaya. Thanks again!

    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment. That’s something I didn’t think about before. I just assumed that since MatsuJun is the lead guy, they were trying to get a lot of girls to watch it (haha, which I know worked). Maybe I’ll have to ask a guy friend to watch it and tell me what he thinks :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s