Let’s begin with this oh so Japanese movie starring Ishibashi Anna and Taketomi Seika. Just mentioning those two names should get everyone already tangling behind this movie’s tail and while I might understand the feelings of those who will be disappointed by this, if you have some experience in Japanese movies you will really like this even with the bit of salt that’s mixed in with the taste. But sometimes you have to add a bit of salt to fully enjoy the flavour, am I right?
But I will be honest with you dear Readers, I am not sure if I am broken but movies that have a smooth road with a GOOD END usually leave something to be desired. I don’t really know why but you will not find me re-watching such movies. I guess all these bumpy road movies have broken me completely if I prefer feel-inducing ones over smooth-sailing ones. There is a reason why I haven’t blogged about the Yes or No movies. Just saying.
I love a movie that will make me feel, it doesn’t matter if it’s rage or complete break-down levels of feels but if it will make me react and want to re-watch it later, be it a BAD END or crazy character modifications through out the movie or Directors turning into Sissies towards the end kind of movie, I love hose more. Now not to say that a happy go lucky yuri movie isn’t welcome. I used to love those when I was still a movie virgin and it won’t go away like memories of that first time you had sex…Err… Excuse me…
Ishibashi Anna as Mari/Yuri
Taketomi Seika as Rie
Anyway, there is a story going around that ghosts walk among the people of a certain village and that those un-fortunate enough to be able to see them go missing and the saying is that they get carried away to the other-side by these ghosts. Mari (Ishibashi Anna) moves to such a place which is her birth-place from Tokyo because of healthy reasons and nature is supposed to help her apparently. Rie (Taketomi Seika) is one of the feared folklore ghosts mentioned.
The first person she meets is, it pains me to say it, Dick! But of course seeing as she was walking down a path and he was holding a camera and she being from Tokyo and everything of course she scurries away from the pervert. Well he isn’t but good luck to him trying to explain that to her. Not to fear though people, because I am going to clear things up for you right now! Their relationship, even if the movie both opens to them and closes to them both too (As painful as that fact is) their relationship stays ambiguous through out the whole movie! She practically spends the first half or so of the movie trying to keep the stalker away from her while strangely she seeks out Rie’s company…Um getting ahead of myself here as usual. And it seems they used to know each other when they were young but Mari has no memories of such things even if photos exists LOL. So even the childhood friend card is against them getting together.
The next person she meets is a young boy playing by the riverside bed. Turns out the boy is a ghost which kind of first sends alarm bells off for me in regards to Mari’s state of mind. This is made apparent later on when the reason for her moving to the countryside is mentioned.
Mari is a loner and wishes to be alone in turn to protect herself and also because she knows if others get close to her and find out that she can see ghosts they might hate her or be ridiculed as well. And so when she transfers to the new school, she tries to be alone and this gloominess even makes her enemies on her first day. But she is such a nice girl that she snuffs that blaze out before its smoke even turns into a naked flame by getting to the good side of the ring leader or is she the Class Rep, can’t really decide between Aneki or Iinchou! But despite their rocky start, Mari wins her over and by the end they are great friends. That’s another relationship down. I actually found myself liking Satsuki (the Aneki of course) more than I thought I would. My first impression of her was that of a bitchy character but it seems she just has a sharp personality and talks what’s on her mind. But she turned out to be such a great girl and her grand mother was also one of those characters you just can’t help but love. She is from whom we learn of the ghost stories and seems to be a part of the few blocks that make up the solidity of the story. I was also glad to see that Satsuki wasn’t one of those teacher-crushing characters. I feared for her when I saw the closeness she had with their teacher but it seemed there was nothing there and Satsuki was just genuinely a good girl helping the saving if the school.
Yeah, seems like the school was in danger of being closed for some other development plan or something and this mentioned teacher was sending out petition fliers to go against the closing. Satsuki was helping with this and it is through this struggle that she and Mari finally manage to get along and become friends eventually even though Mari wasn’t making things any easier. Yeah, it was Mari that was the thick head not Satsuki but in her defence, she is kind of sick so she can be forgiven for standing up Satsuki on their first date…Um well, you know…Any way I am talking about the school here. Closing it would be bad in so many ways but the most important one to us concerns our resident ghost.
And they first meet when Mari comes into contact with the grand hallway clock that’s still ticking on even after half a century and a couple of decades as she walks around the school inspecting everything about her new school. Mari sees a girl’s reflection in the glass of the clock and thinks of course like any normal person would, that there is someone standing behind her and smiling at her like they were lovers or something. not that Mari knows what a lover is like, she is as virginal as they come but more on that later. When she turns around though there is no one there. She turns back to the clock but the reflection is still there so she turns back around again and there she stands, in all her old school uniform glory – Okabe Rie, the school ghost! Of course despite having witnessed such things before should be aware of what she had seen, maybe she doesn’t watch movies? Any way Mari still doesn’t understand that the person she sees in not real even as Rie walks off and then disappears.
The two do not meet again for a while but even with this time passing without Mari seeing Rie again, she still doesn’t put two and two together for a 4 as we see her asking Satsuki if there is a different uniform fro the one they are wearing. Seems like she still thinks that Rie is a real student at their school. But at their first meeting Mari was not the only one that was intrigued by the other for later on, while Mari does her weird thing where she walks around the school admiring its contents, I mean who does that, really! While she does that, a song sails through the air from a piano somewhere. The song is very nostalgic for Mari and as we find out, it is because her father (one who passed away when she was young) used to play it and it seems that memory of him playing the piano with her is the only one she has of him. I guess it makes sense seeing as he died playing that very same song on the piano. No wonder Mari is traumatised.
She of course wastes no time in searching for the source but when she gets to the music room, the piano is there but there is no one to be seen. The music also stops. Spirits dampened, Mari walks off with her head down but she doesn’t get very far when there comes the music once again. When she ruses back to the room, Lo and behold, Rie is there looking all cool as she plays the piano that was vacant just less than a minute ago. Of course upon seeing her again, one can only imagine Mari’s feelings right then and there. This scene is of course the one from the trailer that leads to the thing, that is if you saw the trailer!
If you did then you might wonder about the suddenness of what happened and indeed in watching the movie, it still feels very sudden but the reasons are explained and if you were in Rie’s shoes, well, ghost shoes, then you would do the same thing too. As for Mari, for some reason she turns around and tries to flee which I guess means that I have ben to hard on her. It seems she knows, or has an inkling of what Rie is but Rie won’t let her go so easily, not this time! ‘You’ve returned, haven’t you? Please don’t leave. I’ve waited so long to see you again.’ That statement raises no flags at this time but as we soon find out, it means a whole lot more.
Now since I’ve already seen the movie and this is a summary of sorts, I will say this here even if it doesn’t happened for a while but when I said that Mari was not the only one intrigued by their meeting, I meant that Rie had been waiting for Mari’s arrival as well. As we know, Rie is a ghost. Ghosts stay around for a reason. But thankfully Rie’s reason is nothing like Sadako’s and in fact, they wouldn’t be any more different. No, Rie is sticking around because of LOVE. No, I am not going to say it! I am not going use the
Any way Rie was so happy to see Mari again that she couldn’t hold it in anymore so she of course kissed Mari to whom it might have seemed right out of the blue. But Rie was not kissing Mari, well she was but she wasn’t and let me clear this mess up before anyone gets lost. As mentioned Rie is a ghost, which means she has lived for a long time seeing as even the school uniforms have changed. In fact when she was alive, Satsuki’s grandmother was their classmate (which goes to show how important that grandma is). We learn that back in the day, even when yuri was most un-heard of, there were two girls who were not afraid to let their feelings for one another known despite the negativity they must have received especially in such a rural area. They were mentioned to have been so happy and that many were more envious of their happiness than anything else but of course as we know the world doesn’t work like that.
Disaster strikes and one of the girls falls ill with a fatal disease. That girl’s name was Tanama Yuri, who, Rie be forgiven, looked exactly, and I mean, exactly like Mari. Despite their promise, well Yuri’s one-sided promise because let’s be honest, in fantasy stories like this, if two people loved each other as much as these two did, then if one were to die really, it ‘s wishful thinking to think that the survivor would go on and if they did live, that they would have a happy life. So of course even as Yuri begged Rie to live on after she is gone (due to her illness), Rie soon followed and it is assumed that she committed suicide. But what is made clear is Rie and Yuri’s feelings towards each other and with how long Rie has been waiting to be re-united with Yuri, it is no wonder that when she sees Mari, a person that to Rie is the one and only Yuri she loves more than anything in this world, she would of course kiss her.
And so I am not that disturbed by the suddenness of that kiss and don’t feel like it was she-horned in for the sake of being. And the way it affects Mari was also very interesting too. We see her in her room, lights off, sprawled on the floor staring up in the heavens her mind definitely on that kiss. She most definitely felt that one, am I right! While others would react differently after that were they in Mari’s shoes, she of course is even more drawn to Rie. You sure that you aren’t the reincarnation of Yuri, Mari? Any way, she goes into research mode and Satsuki invites her to their home where they get more information while searching about the old school uniform that Rie wears.
There they find an old album with old photos which contain Satsuki’s grandma’s photos of her school days. In them they find Rie and it is when Mari learns of her name and also Yuri’s. She decided to meet Rie again and let her know of her situation thinking that maybe she doesn’t know that she is dead. Rie on the other hand of course thinks that Mari her Mari and that she has come back so they could be together but Mari breaks the news to her telling her how she is dead and how Mari isn’t Yuri. Rie almost lives up to the legends of ghosts taking people off to the other world as she asks Mari to go with her to the other side but Mari of course refuses. Rie then asks her why she came back and I also wanted to know the answer. What we get is very unexpected. Mari says that she wants to know more about Rie and Yuri’s feelings towards each other. Um yeah, my mouth was hanging open while gears in my head sped up to 11 cycles a second. I was like, what will you do wit that knowledge!? And how will it affect Rie?!
And so, the two start to hang out together, much to Dick’s discomfort. Seriously, that dude was stalking Mari everywhere even on her dates with Rie but since he couldn’t see Rie, of course it might have looked to him like Mari was out of her mind talking to herself doing crazy things but that doesn’t mean I can’t hate on him for crushing Rie and Mari’s dates. Thankfully he was always out of the scene until Rie was no longer there but then how did he know if he couldn’t see Rie? But the way he talks to Mari indicates that he only saw her talking to herself but then he too saw that little boy ghost so…Arg, I am confused!
Any way, when he learns of the fact that ghost take people with them and they go about it by getting close to them, this makes him more of a pain in Mari’s sides every single time she goes off into the field of Eden with Rie. The field where Rie talks of her life with yuri to Mari and through which interactions they grow closer to the point of Rie’s feelings shifting and Mari’s growing to the point of Rie now wishing to stay for not Yuri’s sakes but for Mari and wishing to love her. But of course Mari is sceptical thinking, as we all would, that Rie is only seeing Yuri in her and that she doesn’t actually love her. But Rie insists saying that things are different now. I guess sometime passed since they started hanging out but as you know it’s always difficult to tell in movies. Then again, seeing the way that Mari has opened up to the other students it’s safe to say some marginal time has gone by. So while it might look sudden, it actually isn’t.
Rie says that she wants to be with Mari now and that she also doesn’t want to leave her alone because despite how closer Mari had gotten to the others, there is still this glaring distance she places between herself and them that doesn’t seem to exist with Rie. Rie pulls her into an embrace and since Mari reciprocates, I took it as her accepting Rie. But of course things never go according to plan as that little boy shows up and pours a bucket of ice water on what was suck a warm scene! He tells Rie that she can’t take Mari with her (Speaking of ghosts taking people away with them) but really, Rie wasn’t planning on doing that. She only said she wanted to be with Mari not take her away with her. She already tried that and Mari had refused anyway. That didn’t change the fact that the insinuation placed a kind of doubtful cloud over Rie’s own feelings because for all she knows, she might not be in control on her own feelings and maybe she was just luring Mari into a trap without her knowing and only wishing to not be forgotten. This of course leads to Rie running away and staying away from Mari for quite some time.
Mari doesn’t take the separation very well which showed how strong her feelings towards Rie had grown. She was back to pacing out totally shutting everything else out not even Dick’s attempts did a thing. Well, he temporally put a smile on her face but it would soon disappear because sorry Dick, you ain’t no Rie! Not even Satsuki could help it seemed. Yep, Mari was so far gone. At one point it even looked like Mari was going to off herself, seriously! The tone also went really weird with camera spinning and ominous piano tones going off in the BG. She even fell sick for crying out loud! I was like, Rie please get back here! We need you! But of course we all know what was actually wrong with her, don’t we…
More time pass, seasons change and still no word from Rie. Every single day Mari comes to the clock and waits and still no sign of Rie. But when she does finally show up and Mari sees that oh so beautiful reflection in the clock’s surface, her smile is blinding. She interestingly says what should be and was Rie’s line – “I’ve been waiting for you!”. But Rie says that she can’t stay here anymore. Here as in the sense of the world of the living. The smile of course disappears! As did mine too. The go on one last date to their field of Eden and this time Rie takes Mari to her special place but there was bound to be a reason for it.
Looks like Rie was doing some deep thinking during her time away as it seems like she has made up her mind. She says that she can’t stay around anymore. Seems like time is running out for her and for reasons I could not fully understand (Sorry, not even my yuri powers, that seem to always manifest themselves when I watch a yuri movie, can fully over-come the language barrier). She has come to understand that ghosts and living people shouldn’t be living together to which I say bull! You could easily be Mari’s personal ghost if you wanted! Fuck the plot! Of course as we know Mari has come to love Rie so she doesn’t take that information quite well. She gives up on life and says that it’s okay. Rie can take her away with her to the other side!Yeah, that’s how deeply in love she has fallen for Rie.
You just have to love how totally full circle these two have come. From Rie being the one that wants Mari so badly she would take her to the world of the dead and Mari being hesitant to Rie being the hesitant one and Mari being the one that wants Rie so badly. But once again, the beautiful scene is darn broken by another un-wanted guest and this time it’s the least wanted – Dick! Seriously if Mari ever ends up liking this Dude later on in their life after the movie I will question her sanity that she has built back together so far! Stupid Dick stalked Mari all the way to Rie’s secret place like, can you even believe that shit! I wanted to crush something when I saw him bursting through the doors with sunlight behind him like some kind of 2nd gen Edward Cullen coming to a un-wanted rescue!
When the camera shifts back to Mari and Rie, Rie is nowhere to be seen which goes to further support the point that Dick can’t see her. Mari doesn’t care anymore though for she shouts out for Rie even knowing how silly and mad she might have looked. but really, who cares what Dick thinks, eh? She pushes that stalker out of the way as she bursts through the doors in search of her love. That put a huge grin on my face! Sorry Dick but you are off the radar when Rie is n range!
Then for some unexplained reason, an earthquake hits and…Ah AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I see now! I am sure I mentioned it but this movie was filmed in 2011 according to the facebook page. You will see it too when you watch it and see the acting. These two aren’t that bad if you have seen them in some of their other works but they weren’t really on that level in this movie which farther supports the time gap between filming and release. I was wondering why it was delayed for over two years so I guess this was the reason. And by that I mean the 2011 disaster that hit Japan. it would have been insensitive to release this movie at that time so I guess that explains the delay.
Any way going back to the movie, the earthquake hits, the school is of course wreaked and with it goes the clock. As we know, that clock was like Rie’s centre and point of contact with our world which was why Mari had joined the fight to stop it from being closed a while back. But when Mari goes for a walk back to hers and Rie’s field of Eden, guess who was waiting for her…
But of course it ain’t all roses. With the clock gone, there is no way Rie can stay around anymore. This was time for their goodbyes. Rie tells Mari that if she would only remember her then they would be together forever. Even if she would no longer be physically present she says that she would still be with Mari so Mari should go on with a happy life and not give into despair. I really don’t know how that works but I guess that what it’s all about…
Any way, we see Mari finally moving on with her life, getting along well with others but still talking to Rie in her head. yep, this love won’t die and the feelings won’t disappear even if they are separated and will stay with her until the moment that they are re-united. Looks like Rie won herself another love which really brings a quandary about though. When Mari dies and she gets to meet Rie again in the ether world, what will happen then? I mean Rie will have been re-connected with Yuri, right? But then when Mari gets there, how will things go between these three then? Will Rie get to have a threesome with two twins or…
Any way the movie ends with Mari waiting for the bus to go back to her mother in Tokyo with Dick! That guy, seriously! Not that I hate him or anything really. he wasn’t that much of a blockade anyway and he helped Mari out a bit, I think. And so the movie ends and I wouldn’t have asked for a better ending. Mari came back to her home town to heal and found much more than what she had come for. Seeing her leave with a smile that she most definitely did not have when she arrived and how healthy she seemed compared to her arrival, makes a complete story if I ever saw one.
And since she carried Rie with her, through her feelings, it makes sense that the school got trashed and the clock broken to free Rie because otherwise, we would have them separated when Mari went back to Tokyo. Then again the question then would be if Mari would have left for Tokyo. Yeah, this was the best possible outcome that I can think of. And who is to say that Rie won’t get bored and come back to Mari in Tokyo after some time? Things happen you know! And so with that optimistic view, I have to say that I absolutely enjoyed this movie! I know some will be disappointed but not me! So totally worth the money and wait for shipping.
Recommend? Hell yeah!