Love Com: The Movie (2006)

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Aya Nakahara’s shojo manga becomes a live action film that is definitely made for the older junior high to high school crowds driven by the performances of lead actos Ema Fujiwara and Teppei Koike.

11th graders Risa Koizumi and Atsushi Otani have trouble finding love. Risa is 170 centimeters tall, which is more than an average Japanese girl. As for Atsushi, he is short at only 150 centimeters. The two, however, somehow make everyone think they are perfect for each other, despite their constant bickering. However, when Risa meets up with a duo called the All Hanshin Kyojin, who are also like Risa and Atsushi, she feels uncomfortable when the taller of the duo starts to hit on her. As she leaves, Atsushi catches up to her and notices a cut on her leg. He holds her hand and she soon starts to develop feelings for him.

At a local festival, Atsushi runs into his ex-girlfriend and when confronted by her best friend, he calls Rika his girlfriend. Rika is in a state of shock until she finally admits her feelings for Atsushi. However, he thinks it is a joke until she finally confronts him. Shocked, Atsushi tells Rika he must think about it. During a school trip to Brazil, Atsushi reveals he can’t think of Risa as a girlfriend. Rejected, the arrival of teaching assistant Maitake gives Risa a chance to get revenge for her rejection by leading a charge to make Maitake extremely popular. What happens when Atsushi finally comes to his senses? Will it be too late?

The title of the manga and film may seem a bit confusing to folks outside of Japan. Most may think the title is “Love.COM” and with the star in the middle, this can cause confusion. However, the title is short for “Lovely Complex” and that’s exactly how the relationship between lead characters Risa and Atsushi can be described. It truly is complex because of their differences in height being a major problem for the both of them. Elements of the manga have been taken away for this film adaptation, especially the core story of Atsushi falling for Chiharu and Ema falling for Ryoji. In the film, Ryoji and Chiharu are already a couple.

Actress Ema Fujiwara and actor/singer Teppei Koike have pretty good chemistry as Risa and Atsushi. They truly are the heart and soul of the film. J-Pop singer Nami Tamaki is great to watch too as Risa’s best friend Nobu with Risa Kudo rounding out the trio of girls as Chiharu. As for the boys, Yusuke Yamazaki is a goofster at times at Nobu’s boyfriend Heikichi while Hiro Mizushina shows a funny side as Ryoji, especially when he hears anything about the birds and bees. The visualizations have Ryoji end up with a bloody nose in something expected in anime fashion.

The appearance of Shosuke Tanihara (Fudoh: The Next Generation, my introduction to Takashi Miike) makes for quite an interesting surprise. The character of Maitake is what one would expect in this type of film. He is the most popular newcomer to the school as all of the girls instantly fall for him and start up some sort of revolution. Everything culminates at a three-on-three basketball game and it is somewhat predictable but ends in a way only a live-action anime can be done.

Love Com: The Movie is driven by the performances of Ema Fujisawa and Teppei Koike, which proves that love may possibly conquer all, even a very insane height complex.

WFG RATING: B

A Shochiku production in association with TFC. Director: Kitaji Ishikawa. Writer: Osamu Suzuki; based on the manga by Aya Nakahara.

Cast: Ema Fujiwara, Teppei Koike, Shosuke Tanihara, Nami Tamaki, Risa Kudo, Yusuke Yamazaki, Hiro Mizushina, Shizuyo Yamazaki, Masanori Hata.

 

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