Director Baba Yasuo directs a gem of a comedy with a wonderfully engaging story, great performances, and eye opening cameos in a story based around the premise of the possibility of going back in time and preventing the collapse of the Japanese economy before ill fated legislature bursted Japan’s financial bubble boom.
The special edition’s packaging is yet another example of how well presented Japanese releases are. The extra large slip case which is absolutely the thickest I’ve ever seen on a release is made to look like a Hitachi washing machine! Inside are housed 2 discs which includes along with the fully English subtitled movie a treasure trove of special features including making of feature, campaign footage, digital comic, alternate ending, cast information, and more.
The films stars Hirosue Ryoko alongside Abe Hiroshi who delivers one of the best comedic performances that I’ve ever seen as he steals the show and will instantly turn anyone who watches this movie into a fan of his. I’ve seen Abe Hiroshi in a few programs including dramas and as well as the incredible epic “Musashi” which ran for about 1 year with weekly 45 minute episodes! While he’s always had a great charisma about him and I’ve thought of him as a good actor I’ve never seen him deliver comedy in this way. This was a real eye opener as Abe Hiroshi delivers perfect timing and touch to the lead role as a member of Japan’s Ministry of Finance. And his role is two fold as he portrays his character in both the present as well as the past going back to the 90’s.
Hirosue Ryoko is absolutely perfect and adorable as the lead female character who is the focus of the story. It’s present day and she’s attending her mother’s funeral only to find out that the Ministry of Finance has staged her mother’s death and is seeking her help in locating her mother who’s traveled back to 1990 in an attempt to prevent legislature that will eventually become Japan’s undoing financially. Unknown to her daughter she’s invented some quite interesting items including a time machine made out of a washing machine!
It’s very common in Japan for actors/actresses to be involved in the music industry as well and Hirosue Ryoko did briefly venture into the music scene.
Here’s the PV for her single “Jeans.” My favorite song by her is “Kaze no prism” but it doesn’t appear to have been uploaded on You Tube.
Getting to one of the most prominent cameos in this film and it actually comes by way of the soundtrack and a brief appearance of the PV on a giant video screen on the street as portrayed back in 1990. See pic 1124 and although it’s small and low resolution it’s Okui Kaori! Princess Princess’ single “Diamonds” is played during this scene and it’s not one of those brief 5 second moments but it plays throughout the entire scene! While walking on the streets in Tokyo it’s not uncommon to be entertained by large video screens with music and Puri Puri delivers the perfect flashback moment here! I can’t even begin to explain how much of an impact this had on me while watching this film. It was the sweetest touch! Above is my Princess Princess collection which includes all of their original studio albums and CD singles along with their 2 remastered discography box sets and original DVD releases.
But Puri Puri deserves a post of their own so I won’t elaborate anymore her but here’s a performance of their huge hit and personal favorite “Diamonds”, the song that makes an appearance in this film.
Moriguchi Hiroko also appears in this film and while I only own one of her best of collections it was a nice surprise to see her!
Ito Yuko who looks absolutely incredible in this film is a former idol whom I’ve seen in a drama awhile back and I actually bought her DVD “Route 1” back in 2000. When she appeared in the film I had to go check the shelf for this DVD to see if it was really her. She’s so beautiful and after so many years have passed it was really nice to see her in this movie in a substantial role. She’s wearing red in pics 1177 & 1178 below.
Iijima Naoko makes a brief cameo in this film and portrays herself as she was back in 1990! She also ventured into the music business and I bought one of her albums as well as a single back then. One of J-Pop’s glamour girls Iijima Naoko represented sexy and she also is a successful actress.
Fukiishi Kazue has successfully crossed over from idol to actress and really shines in this film! They really made her to look like the 90’s!! Her transformation is incredible. Kazuechan is so incredibly pretty and seeing her in a substantial supporting role in this film was a real joy! Of course as you’ve probably noticed the trend, she did release a single as she tested the music industry. This however is her sole release as she primarily went into acting but after seeing her in an issue of Up To Boy awhile back I did order her single and here it is above. Although she only released this one single it was a really proud and happy moment for her as she later revealed in an interview in Up To Boy.
I’ve only included a few screen pics here as I didn’t want to give too much away about this film. I can’t stress enough how much I recommend this movie to anyone. Most of these screen pics are of moments involving Abe Hiroshi’s character who when you travel back to 1990 was a…womanizing playboy. :O It’s quite a contrast from his current 2007 character who’d drab, dark, and kind of depressing. lol! As I mentioned earlier he really steals the show! From trying to seduce his own…….:O although he didn’t know at the time! To the crowning comedic moments in this film where he meets up with the many many many many many women in his life who sock him one! But the beauty of these scenes is in his reaction………like a breath of fresh air…..albeit after being socked by a former lady interest…..he seems refreshed and always reacts with a “Ah! Nasty!” There’s really no way to describe this and do it any justice really but I’ve included a few screen pics below of him being socked and reacting…uh well appropriately…if you live in his world. lol! By the third time it’s gut busting! 😀 Also note that they insisted on including detergent in the time traveling washing machine when Hirosue Ryoko took the journey! lol. A couple of conversations about fashion as 2007 meets 1990. One involving Hirosue Ryoko’s “low” pants style and a great exchange between her and Fukiishi Kazue (pics 1145-1160). Imagine how hard it would be to convince someone that you’re from the future and the funny results from such conversations! Abe Hiroshi’s womanizing character also tries his charms on Hirosue Ryoko in pics 1128-1131 but later on he’ll realize she’s……..:O! Ryoko freaks out the crowd with her modern day dancing! Pics 1173-1175. More golden moments of Abe Hiroshi getting punched out due to his uh….womanizing ways of his past! LOL! “Nasty!” Language is a constantly changing thing in every culture and it’s highlighted in an amusing conversation between Abe Hiroshi and Hirosue Ryoko as he’s bought her some tiramisu at a fancy restaurant and after taking a bite she uses the word “yabai” to express how good it is while he misinterprets it and is quite confused (pics 1223-1235) heheh! :). The old “brick” style cell phone of the late 80’s and early 90’s also makes an appearance! I always laugh when I see one of these! It’s not just a phone it’s a brick!
The attention to detail is superb as the hairstyles, clothing, music, and scenery of the 1990 is captured to perfection throughout this film. Japanese love American pop and the soundtrack is wonderfully filled with these familiar sounds and presents a walk down memory lane not so long ago. While a knowlege of Japanese pop culture will enhance the experience the viewer has while watching this film as many inside jokes do occur along with the cameos being more meaningful with this familiarity, I truly believe that anyone who enjoys comedy will really enjoy this film! Abe Hiroshi really made an impact and is now a favorite actor of mine due to his single performance in this film. I can’t get over how funny he was in playing duo roles to comedic perfection. I’ve always thought of Abe Hiroshi as a handsome actor but now I really appreciate his ability and charm like never before. I highly recommend this film to anyone! It really is something special!
And of course one last punch from Ito Yuko…AHHHhhhhhaaa Nasty! 😀