I have a (large) announcement to make. I moved to Tokyo from Yamaguchi this August to teach English. I’ve been quite busy with a number of things, so I haven’t had much time to write–but one of the consequences of moving to the city has been more accessible movie theaters, with more movies, and a friend to go watch them with!
Today, I went to go see Heroine Shikkaku (ヒロイン失格、”No Longer Heroine”) at a theater in Chiba. Contrary to my expectations, I really enjoyed it, so I want to share my thoughts.
I haven’t read the manga Heroine Shikakku is based on, and to be honest, I thought that the movie seemed pretty dumb from the trailer, but my friend wanted to see it, and I like to see Japanese movies, so I gave it a try–and I’m glad I did!
Heroine Shikakku is about a high school girl named Hatori who has been best friends with a boy named Rita since childhood. She views him as the hero and herself as the heroine, but is shocked when Rita begins to fall for another girl, and works throughout the movie to “get him back.”
Don’t be discouraged by the trailer! The trailer makes this movie look overdone and stereotypical, but actually, it really only covers plot points, and in my opinion doesn’t represent the heart of the movie.
The text that appears in the movie is used a little like in “Nazotoki,” and some of the plot points remind me of Ao Haru Ride, but one thing that made this movie strong was that it took certain common, stereotypical situations from the shojo (girls’ manga) genre and took them to new extremes that were pretty hilarious. Hatori is also a whole new level of dramatic, which might come across as annoying at first, but her performance in the movie ended up being really funny and enjoyable, not just noisy. At the beginning of the movie, I wasn’t sure if I would like her or not, but by the end, her persistence had really grown on me. The actress, Kiritani Mirei was convincing and expressive, and the movie wouldn’t have been so funny if she hadn’t continued to keep up her exaggerated style of acting and fast-paced line delivery.
If Hatori was one strength of the movie, then the other characters can also be included in that. My friend and I both really liked the side character/Hatori’s other love interest, Hiromitsu Kousuke. Although his development could be compared to Aoha Ride too (as well as probably a ton of other shojo manga), his honesty with himself and with Hatori kept the plot from dragging on. My friend and I both liked Hiromitsu a lot.
I also enjoyed Hatori’s relationship with her cool and composed friend, Kyoko. Kyoko’s personality is the polar opposite of Hatori’s, but she understands Hatori well, and so her reactions to Hatori’s moaning are telling, and funny. Even just watching the trailer again, her expressions!
The movie shows how well Hatori knows Rita, and their knowledge of each other after years of being friends is reflected in the “present” of the movie. Both main characters have to decide what they mean to each other (well, Hatori was pretty convinced, but still.)
The movie still had some “How did you just trip, exactly?” moments, and somewhat unrealistic parts that were supposed to make the movie more romantic, but the good things about the movie outweigh the bad, and I thought everything tied up quite nicely at the end without feeling forced.
As always, remember to put a lot of space between when you watch the trailer and when you go see the movie, because the trailer gives too many things away and it’s better to forget most of it before you watch the film.
Worth seeing if you like the shojo genre. It was sweet, and also made me (and other people in the theater) laugh. Would see again (on DVD). 7/10.