Hi, everyone. Dhitzunako is back in reviewing eiga (japan movies). ^^ As part of my participation in World Cinema Series (my apologize to Caroline, sorry for being late in posting 🙂 ), I’d like to take you to Japan, where slice-of-life teen movies are common. One of them is Way of Blue Sky. Let’s check it out.
Boys basketball captain and an easy going Takahashi Masaki (Takuya Nakayama) is going to US because his parents job. When he announced the news, he told the class that he have one thing to do before he go. Furthermore, in front of his basketball fellows, he jokingly told the juniors that he gave up his love to a girl for basketball. Curiousity strikes to all girls that have “relationship” to Masaki; Suzuki Takako (Saya Yuki), whom Masaki befriended even though she’s rude and unladylike; Kawahara Haruna (Mikako Tabe), his childhood friend whom Masaki loves to tease; Takahashi Alisa (Mei Kurokawa), whom Masaki volunteered to accompany when they’re in Shibuya; Hayami Yumi (Ayaka Morita) whom Masaki likes to play basketball with; and Ichida Naoko (Aki Nishihara) whom Masaki loves exchanging mail even tough he didn’t like mailing from mobile phone before.
What is the one thing that Masaki wants to do before going? Who is the girl that Masaki likes?
Slowly but sure, the mystery is solved….
You know what, I “think” I know which girl that Masaki likes. But on the other hand, I see many bloggers said that they are confused on which girl that Masaki likes. Hm, that made me wonder whether I jump to conclusion to fast. Anyway, this is no Hollywood teen movie: there is no kissing nor bluntly saying “I love you” scenes, so every clues will be subtle, except… except… Ah, I leave it as it is. Hehehe. *no spoiler
Well, being a slice-of-life movie, Way of the Blue Sky may bored you to death. I won’t be surprise if you’ll push the fast forward button here and there (FYI, that’s how I watch this movie for the first time ^^). Way of Blue Sky is also not your typical love story with typical boy meets girl, conflict between protagonist and antagonist (or between the lovers itself), and a “ends up” (or “not ends up”) together ending. It is more like a part of your ordinary life, where people come and go, and life goes on.
To enjoy the movie, don’t set your expectation to high level. Do not expecting bombastic events. Take your time to know the characters, the set, the mood, and let the movie revealed its mystery.
I don’t know about you, but watching slice-of-life movie is one way to reflect. This time, it brings nostalgic moods. Somehow, I can relate to students feelings in the movie. Sometimes it feels good to have someone that can understand you even though you’re not a social person, sometimes knowing a person for a long time doesn’t mean he/she’ll stay forever, sometimes being friends is hard when it comes to love… All the conflicts are simply presented as it is, without exaggerating them.
Despite on “liking” the same person (Masaki), though in different level, the girls relationship and friendship are heartwarming. My favorite characters and scenes will be Suzuki and Haruna’s, whom Masaki introduced one to another and they hit it off quickly because they had same attitude.
Ideas and Story Development: 3*
The idea of teen romance is not especially special. However how the main character kept his love as a secret (from the others) make the plot flows in a little bit mysterious way. There are things that aren’t clearly told though. It can leave us unsatisfied with the story. Also, the slow pace really test my patience, too, but not for being bored, I’m just too curious.
Cast and Characters: 3*
I can’t tell that all casts are acting perfectly, but I can tell that seeing their natural smile makes me also happy. All girls has different personality that I can relate. There is subtle character development between them that gradually forming bonds that shaped the ending very well. Like I said above, my fav charas are Suzuki and Haruna. Saya Yuki has this cocky comical face gesture while Mikako Tabe has this innocent face that made them looks perfect for each other as best friends.
The problem is… I can’t relate with Masaki’s character when he is sad/troubled. Maybe it is just me, or it is in his acting that made me doesn’t sympathize him more than his other friend: Yudai Sugihara (Kazunori Sasaki).
Music and Sounds: 3*
Every BGMs act as… mm.. background music. Nothing stands out on their own. However, the music played in the fireworks scene did make me shiver a little bit. It delivered the joy and the sadness of the scene well.
Schools, basketball field in the neighborhood, the town; no imaginary places here. It is very down to earth and everyday like. There are no special effects (of course), so at least, in a drama movie like this, you’ll expect shots of beautiful scenery as background…. mm.. but not in this movie, I guess.
Opening and Ending: 3*
The opening might make you wondering, what was Masaki doing? Near the end of the movie, you’ll find it out, but… it is not the main plot. The ending filled with heartwarming moments, which I like.
Final Score: 3*
1,0 – 1,9 = Don’t even try to see it, ever!!!
2,0 – 2,9 = You may see it, on your own risk though.
3,0 – 3,9 = IMHO, it’s entertaining to watch. Try to see it.
4,0 – 4,9 = Must See!!!
5,0 = Absolutely Superb!!!
There is one scene where Alisa felt ashamed when Masaki asked to call her with her first name “Alisa” (plus a woman smiled at her, seeing Masaki’s attitude). As far as I know, Japanese rarely called their friend, especially the opposite sex, with their first name, except they’re very very close (in this case, it is as if Alisa is Masaki’s girlfriend). If you’re Japanese or familiar to Japanese culture and happens to read this, I’d be happy to hear your brief explanation about the scene above. Thank you in advance. 🙂
Way of Blue Sky is no way mine. Title picture is presented here for illustration only. No copyrights infringement is intended.