Director and screenplay: Matsui Daigo.
· Hashimoto Ai
. Aonami Jun
· Inaba Yū
· Rijū Gō
· Machida Marie
. Oomori Seiko
Production: Space Shower Network
Running Time: 82 min
Release Date: January 17,2015
Official Site: haa-haa.jp/
Shiori has a very close blog post, that is, a blog that posts video and audio, almost always herself in the various situations of everyday life. Whether it is from a public park or from the school’s bathroom, dispense with those who follow it, little rumors about itself, pearls of wisdom, and why not, some images that glimpse a sensuality to be discovered. Every now and then she participates in a public event of small dances in costume by Gothic Lolita (vintage dress and dark make-up in some Japanese teenage bands with vaguely transgressive flavor) and offers the admiration of those who among her followers went there to meet her personally. One day, after one of these events, a video was produced, approached by Ayumi, a very young and somewhat enigmatic fan. Shiori discovers that the girl has a real worship for her and has even fled home so she can follow her closely. Shiori is a bit sparse but also flattered by this adoration and brings her to her boyfriend’s house. Soon Ayumi copies and even replaces Shiori. She goes to live at Shiori’s boyfriend’s house, dresses like her and opens her own blogcast alike.
In a climate of growing dissatisfaction, Shiori, after closing his blogcast, discovers the total insensitivity of her boyfriend to him and during a clarification meeting he begins to fight with him. As he is about to succumb, Ayumi comes up with no hesitation in choosing between the two and helping his friend to break his boyfriend. So begins a real and deep friendship between the two girls.
Director Matsui Daigo had already made his debut in 2012 with bizarre generational comedy Afro Tanaka. The following year he had signed Danshi kōkōsei nonichijō (Other Lives of High School Boys) another youth comedy with originality traits, and in 2014 the most interesting Sweet Pool Side. Here is this little important film – also presented at the Berlin Film Festival – that portrays in tune with the time pieces of life of Japanese teenagers.
“In keeping with the times” is not a generic phrase but refers to the fact that the film also reflects on the stylistic disintegration of traditional forms of communication, especially in the youth world. The film itself is inspired by two music videos made by Oomori Seiko, the author of the music and actor himself. With unimpeachable viewing and editing capabilities, Matsui brings not only the private thoughts of the protagonist, but also, and above all, how the characters interact with the characters. It is as if the display of the immaculate smart phone – true deus ex machina of today’s communication (sic!) – was brought to the screen. The chat phrases scroll over the screen overlapping the events that the chats themselves comment on. Shiori resumes with the phone and transmits it to blogcasts, while the messages of followers arrive in overlay. A singer holds a concert in a local and while sings please send fans to his twitter address. Still, Shiori when he realizes that Ayumi is trying to steal his identity, he does not spy on Ayumi but his blogcast and tries to modify his own.
There are some examples of how Matsui managed to uncommonly visualize today’s more intuitive communication methods and above all their high virtual integration in defining youth identities in a metropolis at high and growing solitude. The use of the hand-held room, either in “rough” or in stifled interiors, or long pitches close to the floor, corroborates the feeling that Matsui is a full-time director – his subject, his mounting – that it may reserve significant surprises in the future.
A final word must be spent on the protagonist, the nineteen-year-old Hashimoto Ai who, after Kirishima, bukatsu yamerutteyo (The Kirishima Thing, 2012) and the recent Kawaki (The World of Kanako, 2014) is slowly but concretely claiming as a new icon youthful algae and irresistible.