Go see it!
I went on the opening day with my friend, at a different theater than planned because the original TOHO Cinemas theater we planned on going to at that time was sold out (!!!!), but anyway, it was really good! I get chills (good chills) just from watching the trailer.
The story follows Kiriyama Rei, who lost his family as a young boy, and grows up learning the game of shogi with his adopted family. It also delves into the shogi playing styles of the other players, and the stories behind the way they play.
There was a special campaign at the theater asking what your main motivation was for wanting to see the movie. For me, these were the top three:
- Kamiki Ryunosuke as the lead actor
- Directed by Ohtomo Keishi, who also did the Rurouni Kenshin series, which I loved. If you liked the Ruroken movie series, then you should definitely check out this movie, too.
- Music by ぼくのりりっくのぼうよみ (Boku no Lyric no Bouyoumi, or Bokuriri for short). I also credit the director with this, because he chose One Ok Rock for the Kenshin series, and that was a great fit, too.
(I showed up to Shibuya Station and walked right into a huge poster of Bokuriri. Happening upon posters of my favorite artists is one of the little joys of living in Japan. I had to wait a while to snap this picture without people passing by in front of it on a weekend–but worth it!)
I know very little about the game of shogi, except that it’s a bit like chess. Even if you don’t understand shogi or even all of the Japanese having to do with shogi, you can follow the story and understand things based on who’s winning or losing. Most of the movie consists of two people sitting on opposite sides of a board thrusting down shogi pieces, but the matches were so intense that my friend and I looked at each other after the movie and realized that our hands were all sweaty from the anticipation. The movie accomplishes a lot even when there’s no dialogue. It’s like watching a series of close sports matches.
Even though the movie is mostly serious, there were several lighthearted parts that provided comic relief, which my friend and I enjoyed. We both agree that Kamiki Ryunosuke is one of the few people in the world who can be both good-looking and cute (かっこいい & かわいい) at the same time.
We went to the right theater apparently, because we were greeted with the Wall of Kamiki:
To top it all off, there’s a part 2 coming out in April, so you barely even have to wait for the conclusion!
So go and see it :)