Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lemon no Koro (檸檬のころ-2007)

AKA: The Graduates
Lemon no Koro
Nana Eikura - Kayoko Akimoto
Mitsuki Tanimura - Megumi Shirata
Naojiro Hayashi - Kazuya Tsujimoto
Tasuku Emoto - Tomizo Sasaki
Hoshi Ishida - Takumi Nishi
Yasuo Daichi - Megumi's father
Takashi Hamazaki - Mr. Tanba
Masanori Ishii - Shinpei Kaneko
Mami Nakamura - Sakiko
Junkichi Orimoto - Kaneko

Kayoko Akimoto, a senior student in high school, adept at practically anything she does and makes good grades. She has her mind set on entering a university in Tokyo. Takumi Nishi, who is a member of the baseball team, can’t keep his eyes off her. He is unable to get over his feelings for her that he has harbored since junior high school. One day after school, the ace pitcher of the baseball team, Tomizo Sasaki, says to Takumi in a joking way, “I like Kayoko.” Takumi’s feelings for Kayoko are unrequited, and the distance between her and Tomizo becomes closer.

Meanwhile, Kei Shirata is always listening to music in the corner of the classroom. Her dream is to someday become a writer specializing in music. One day, she becomes aware of Kazuya Tsujimoto’s presence, a boy in her class who plays in a rock band at school. She senses a similar vibe from him as herself, of someone who “feels” the music. By chance, they end up spending some time together, and have a great time chatting about their favorite music. “I’ve never hit it off so well with someone,” says Kazuya, and suddenly, the world looks like a much brighter and more vivid place for Kei. Their final school festival is coming up. Kazuya asks Kei to write the lyrics for a song that he has written for the first time, and this triggers various dramas in the seniors’ lives.

The seasons change as the feelings of these five seniors intersect each other. Their graduation day, the day they say good-bye, is drawing near.

MV by Hayashi Naojiro (Kazuya)~"Hikari"

Same song but sung during festival in movie (rock style)~

I fell in love with this show. Yeah, I'm easily pleased.

I wasn't expecting this to be as good as it was. And Kazuya, played by vocalist/guitarist of the duo Hirakawaxhi Iccho-me, gave a totally wonderful performance for his first acting gig.

I have to say it threw me back into the 1980's and had to recall my graduating experience. It's sad but true that we lose most of our friendships as we all part and go into our adult lives. We are lucky to keep at least one friend throughout that experience.

This was a totally commendable performance. Many reviewers claimed this was boring or too slow. I think most of them haven't experienced graduation yet and haven't connected yet to that sorrowful existence.

I have only one complaint with this movie. They didn't explain Kayoko and Nishi's relationship was before high school and why Kayoko blew him off during their high school years. That had me quite confused. But other than that....this movie gave a few tugs to my heart strings.

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