Ladies and Gentlemen, here we go! The last of the long awaited yuri movies since a year ago today and another of Miki Honoka’s series of dominating projects. This is her best performance to date in any of her works that I have seen and if anyone who watches this does not fall for her till the end of time, I pray for thy wellbeing. She was so good that she made my relationship with this movie so complicated. Even now as we speak, I still find myself lost as to where to place this movie on my list!
Now please there is no reason to panic! Let me assure you that this is a legit yuri movie and in fact there is no het anywhere in sight so stay calm and read on. I have watched this movie about eight times since I got my BD and yet every watch produces a different feeling from me towards the end. But while by that I usually mean that it gets better and better, this time it went back and forth, meaning that I might love it today, but then I watch it again and I am left so angry I wanna throw something! These feelings alternate so you can imagine my confused state as to how to rank this movie!
Remember how back a few months back when I got that Spin off DVD and I mentioned how there had to be a catch for us to be given such an awesome extra of a movie that wasn’t even out yet? Well, watching this movie I was once again proved right. I no longer feel positive about being right anymore! For some reason I am sure that had it been any other movie, the happenings of this movie wouldn’t have affected me that much after all the experience I have but this movie infuriated me from time to time.
From Little Trip (Houkago Lost), to the new movie where she plays a ghost that couldn’t move on to this, I am only praying that poor Miki Honoka did not get irreversible emotional damage from all the hurt her character in all three movies, all three movies that were released in a row suffered through! I obviously haven’t watched the third one (for which she cut her hair I would like to believe but there is another reason I think she cut her hair but much later on that) but the two that I have watched, her character was hurt so deeply that she cried. Her tears in Little Trip were a cake walk for her cries in this movie, let me tell you! I cry every time I watch that scene, but once again, I am getting ahead of myself as usual.
The movie stars Miki Honoka, a girl that most, if not all of you will be familiar with by now. She first appeared on this blog, and my gaydar too, all the way back in 2010 I believe, when I found out that there was going to be a Live Action Marimite movie and she was playing Yumi, our main character! She was so young back then! She has starred in a lot of dramas and movies since then. She also has a twitter account in case some of you want to join the stalker list that I am on. Honoka plays Takane, the best girl as she is the one once again, that falls in love with the other main of our story.
Aoyama Yuki plays Mika, Takane’s classmate, best friend and secret love, well, until the climax of the movie that is. She loves books and her favourite author is Hanaoka Namie, a librarian at the local library that is a washed out writer despite still being a young woman. Namie plays a major role in the fate of Takane and Mika’s relationship. Mika’s dream is of course to be a fictional writer and though most will miss it, also very intelligent. Sure Takane called her an idiot but I don’t think she was that air-headed. Let’s just say for now that the secret love thing might have been Takane’s view on things. Then again there is the way she acted during the climax but that was kind of realistic, maybe so it is kind of hard to judge her. Before I drive myself crazy, let’s just get this over with, shall we?
All yuri fans out there, I wish to take this opportunity to mention something that I just realised, thanks to this movie. There is no denying that we have to suffer a lot mostly due to BAD ENDs or getting disappointed when for some reason the writers, or the directors get wet feet and suddenly turn our lesbian characters straight or dump that destination of the story all together.
Even with all that, I realised that most of the time, we always get the best stories! It’s not just me, right? I find all yuri stories more thought out, more feel-inducing, more impactful than the normal romance stories. I just figured this out recently so if anyone is looking for a reason as to why they love yuri despite all the pain, here is the reason.
Shishunki Gokko’s story falls into that same awesome story category. Before the movie, no one would think that it would be as serious as it turned out to be. I too was expecting cute girls doing cute things, or straight up fluff yuri (since we knew already from the synopsis that it would be yuri) so I was not fully prepared for what we got.
The final trailer kind of hinted at the seriousness when we saw that look on Takane’s face as she stared Namie down! But even then I did not think that it would be as deep as the movie actually turned out to be. If I were to promise you something about this movie it’s that it takes yuri seriously!
From the very first time that we see Takane and Mika together you will find yourself already glued to the screen as the movie demands your full attention from the get go. Of all the movies I have seen so far, I place Shishunki Gokko at the top if we are talking about a realistic take on this subject. You won’t find Takane and Mika having a laugh at girls loving girls. That is reserved for their friends but that too is realistic seeing as those two apparently have boyfriends (though we never get to see them) and Japanese School Girls are known to be very emotionally attached to one another to the point of blurring the line.
As soon as the movie starts, not even 5 minutes in and we already know that Takane is in love with Mika. It is not spelled out loud but it is written all over Takane’s face and integrated into her actions. She and the audience probably think that Mika is clueless about Takane’s feelings but I have doubts. It is very difficult to tell in the movie alone especially if you don’t watch it more than one time but if you do and take into consideration the spin off, that is considered to be canon of the movie even though I couldn’t place where it happens in the timeline, you can tell that Takane isn’t as blind as all take her to be. Now that I think about it, maybe this fact kind of explains her reaction later on when Takane finally confesses her feelings to her.
We started the movie at the library (disregarding the transition scene that combined the book characters and the real characters having fun on the roof top). Mika was there to borrow some books and Takane had come with her. In that very scene as Mika goes over to the counter to check out the book, Takane watches her up on the first floor and it was within that first look that I knew she was already smitten with Mika. That look was what you would imagine Madsen having as she looked at Sakura in the second Card Captor Sakura movie. It was one that was filled with so much emotions it was kind of painful to watch. As if she had felt the weighty gaze on her, Mika turned and looked up at Takane to give her a heart-melting smile. Watching the movie the first time you would think that they were already in a relationship.
That was the beginning of the movie! Not even six minutes later when Takane and Mika were back at school, Takane was preparing her art equipment in the art classroom getting ready for what seemed to be their usual routine of Mika sitting and posing for Takane to paint her portrait. After placing the rough sketch up on the stand, Takane proceeds to lovingly caress the sketch and as I saw this I thought that Mika was not in the room. I was expecting Takane to jump like a cat caught stealing fish when Mika entered the room but that would have been so cliché. As Takane put on the protective apron, she turned around and froze in motion, something had caught her attention. Cut to Mika on the other side of the room, examining one of the sculptures looking oblivious to Takane lovingly caressing a sketch of her. I wonder if Takane had actually forgotten that Mika was around! We cut back to Takane who is watching her in silence with that look on her face once again. Seriously the tension in that look, in that room could be felt all the way back here in the real world.
Out of the blue she asked Mika what she thought of ‘kissing’. She asked it with a seriousness that surprised even Mika who wondered why she was bringing that up all of a sudden. One could tell that this wasn’t just playful curiosity but that Takane was serious about the question. As to why she was asking, I can’t say. Takane gives an excuse of one of their friends Sonoko, doing it. Mika says she heard about it and turns back to studying the sculptures. Takane give a dry laugh that disappears just as fast as it had appeared and continues to watch Mika with a gaze so longing that one would have to be blind to not see it! Nay, even a blind person would have heard it in her voice, the repressed love she held!
The camera stays on her and you can see the battle going on within Takane just from looking at her face. Just as I thought was done she fires another question at Mika, asking what about her. Had she ever kissed anyone? Mika replies that of course she hadn’t as if Takane should know. Which reminds me that unless I missed it, I don’t know when they first became friends. Had they been friends since childhood or did they meet in Junior High? Either way Takane says that she too has never kissed anyone. She laughs uncomfortably and you could hear her voice shaking.
Seriously, 7min in the movie and the tension is already way high to be healthy! From that moment on I knew that I was in for a roller-coaster ride! Takane finally beckons Mika to sit down so they could start on the painting. Mika takes her seat and pulls out the Shishunki Gokko novel (seriously) and opens it to the last page she had read but before she proceeds, she turns over to Takane whose face is hidden behind the painting board and it that there dear Reader is the first proof that Mika knew! Sure she might not have been sure but I think that she suspected. The seriousness with which Takane has asked those questions, which in rough translation means she was acting weird, raised flags in Mika’s eyes me thinks!
Again just when I thought that Takane was done, she fires another question at Mika who had just started to read. She wonders out loud what a kiss is like. Mika replies that she doesn’t know (Of course! She said she hadn’t done it yet) and tells Takane to ask their friends Sonoko and Suga instead (since they have boyfriends and have done it). But wait, the best question is yet to be asked. Finally Takane comes out from behind the sketch board and looks at Mika. Mika feeling the silence and the gaze on her, lifts her eyes and meets Takane’s. She asks her what’s wrong. Takane asks if Mika wants to try it (Talking about kissing, duh!). Mika stares at Takane waiting for her to laugh it off. Instead Takane just drives the point farther home by clarifying if she should try it.
Yeah, this conversation just went in that direction! 9min and counting and we are already having this type of talk between the two! I could feel myself sweating and we are just starting the movie for crying out loud!
Mika is flabbergasted with the question and doesn’t seem that pleased. This was the first red flag! Takane sensing the edge on which she was dancing, laughs it off again and hides behind the board once again. She lets out a very emotionally heavy sigh soon after probably berating herself as to what the hell was wrong with her. You know, I think at this moment Takane herself wasn’t sure yet about her feelings. They were driving her crazy forcing her to do these weird things but she wasn’t aware of the true meaning of them. Then again I might be wrong and she might have known even before the movie time-space. Finally they do what they had come there to do as Mika reads her book while Takane works on her Mika painting.
A little bit later Takane asks Mika what book she was reading. Mika says it’s ‘Shishunki Gokko’. Takane asks who the author is and Mika answers ‘Hanaoka Namie’. Takane wonders if she is famous but Mika doesn’t know. What she knows is that Namie is their senior having graduated from their own school and that she wrote it when she was 14 years old. Takane is awed because they are almost the same age, with Takane and Mika being a year older meaning that they are 15 and thus in their third and last year of Junior High, if I remember the Japanese school system correctly. Takane asks if the book is interesting to which Mika answers that she loves it. Takane encourages on Mika saying that she has to work hard too (Mika’s dream is to be a writer). Mika looks at Takane and gives her a smile so irresistible no one that sees it would ask why Takane could ever fall for her. Takane returns the look and it is all so wonderful, the way they look at each other!
Enter another day and it is time for P.E class. The girls are at the pool but Mika is in her gym clothes. It seems she couldn’t participate because she was on her period I think. Cut to the changing rooms where Takane is changing from her school uniform. The music is so moody and I could just tell that something was about to go down! The first time around I did not know what happened but the second time I figured it out. Takane puts on her gym clothes too but before she leaves, she pulls out a swim suit. On the first watch I believed that it was hers and that maybe she had a disease that prevented her from partaking into the swimming activities which was why she was longing to put on her swim suit. She pulls it out and tries it on (she did not wear it, just laid it on her front). She turned to look into the mirror and the BGM was just so powerful that I knew something was going on here, something deeper.
Well dear Readers, there was indeed something much deeper going on. Turns out that the suit wasn’t Takane but Mika’s. Remember this scene and that fact because we shall be getting back to it later on during the climax.
Takane finally joins Mika at the poolside and she gives the period excuse to the teacher as well before skipping over to Mika’s side. Mika says she wanted to go swimming so I guess she was not lying about having her period. That Takane though, I have my doubts. So, seeing as Mika said she wanted to swim here it made me think. Does that mean that the spin off movie about the pool takes place after this scene? Seeing as it was Takane who had planned the whole thing maybe it was her way of making Mika happy by sneaking her into the school so she could finally go swimming. Will be back to that later.
After school, Mika goes to the library to borrow a book. Namie volunteers to get the book for her but it turns out that they did not have any copies. That was Mika and Namie’s first meeting. As Mika leaves the library, Namie stops her and says that she has a copy of the book Mika had been looking for and if it’s okay with Mika, she could borrow it. Yep, the gears are turning!
Since they would not be working on the painting that day, Takane spends her time with their friends Sonoko and Suga and I think I mentioned it but these two are like the textbook description of what High School Girls are. They do these cute things, play these cute games that would make any shipper’s heart start and I am sure some will be shipping them but I know they have boyfriends (that we never get to see) so that takes me out of their playful kinda gay games. Takane watches the two playing these games and you can just imagine how envious she might feel always seeing them be that playful towards each other. Maybe she took some lessons from them, actually every move she put on Mika made me think that she got the courage from watching Sonoko and Suga!
Another day finds Takane in their classroom, looking solemnly out of the window. She is watching Mika leave school, going to the library of course. She is so lost in her world watching Mika that it takes her a moment to hear someone seeking her attention. As she turns around I could tell that she wasn’t very happy about being interrupted. This looks on her face…But with that person being the nice model student-like Ohagi (She has glasses and everything!), Takane lost her frown. Ohagi tells her that their teacher wanted to speak to Takane. He was standing outside their class. He handed her some materials to help her in her paintings if she was serious about art. It seems that Mika had talked to him about it. Seems these two are supporting each other in their dreams. So much love! When the teacher asks if they would be painting that day as well, Takane says no.
The reason as I had imagined was because Mika had gone to the local library again. She had gone to collect that book that Namie had promised her. Namie says that she can take it home if she wanted but Mika chooses to sit there in the library and read it! Mika, Y U so clueless!? Takane is missing you back at school. You can read the book there as she finishes the painting just as you have done up to now. But then again, here we see that Mika isn’t that taken with Namie before she learns of her identity. If we take love as fate, if these two were meant to be together, Mika should have felt something, a pull towards Namie even before learning who she was. In fact it seemed that Namie was the one taken with Mika the way she was watching her as Mika read the book. She felt pulled to Mika. I guess if they were going for a triangle then it makes sense to make Mika neutral and Takane and Namie be the ones attracted to her. Not that I am saying Namie is attracted to Mika. Well, I would have during the first watch but now I know better!
Since Mika spent the whole evening at the library reading the borrowed book, Takane stayed behind in their classroom going through the notes their teacher had given her. Sonoko comes over to her and asks her again, if she was going to paint! It seems everyone knows about their time and activities in this school, eh? Takane says that not today since Mika had plans. Sonoko volunteers to stand in for Mika. Takane shuts her offer down just as fast because she was right, it would be meaningless seeing as the painting was almost half done and Mika was the model. So the only way this could have worked was if they began from scratch. The two leave together to go home.
Meanwhile back at the library, Namie is still intrigued by Mika who is almost done reading the book. When she returns it having finished, she turns to leave but Namie stops her by striking a conversation of Mika’s school and stating how she too went there. This is the two’s first real conversation and Mika takes the chance to ask if Namie knew the author of the book she had just finished reading. You could totally see the happiness evaporating off of Mika’s face. She was just so taken with the author. Kind of star-stuck really.
Namie doesn’t say anything and probably wouldn’t have but the male librarian jumps into the conversation asking if Mika was Namie’s fan. Mika’s reaction was priceless! She went into complete fan-girl mode disregarding the surroundings! She of course asks for an autograph just like any other diehard fan would.
When she cools down, the two go for a drink and Mika apologises for her behaviour. Namie didn’t seem that bothered by it. But after that you could tell how affected Mika was by this new development. Seriously, this movie’s story is so good. Mika’s character development was one of the best aspects of it if I am being truthful. The way she looks at Namie is a complete 180 from how she saw her before learning her identity. Namie wrote that book she loves so much, Shishunki Gokko. Maybe it was written in first person view but Mika seems to think that Namie was Chiyo, the main character in that book, as she asks her why she isn’t smoking (Chiyo was a smoker). Namie says that she doesn’t smoke.
Mika’s hormones are so high that she can’t help herself but barrage Namie with questions. She brings up the topic of Chiyo and Mikako’s relationship (from the book) and wonders if Namie had based that off of real events. Namie asks Mika instead if she didn’t have someone like that (a friend so close that they blurred the line between friendship and love). Mika’s answer here was very interesting to me. She said that she did not know! Usually the answer would be no, sometimes said in a defensive panic, right? But she said she did not know! And the way her eyes shifted to the side a bit was really telling, at least to me (Point No.2 that Mika isn’t as clueless as some might think)!
As if turning into Takane, Mika’s questions keep on coming! She asks if Namie has someone like that. Namie says that she had one. But she wasn’t if it was love or deep admiration. Mika is still trying to connect Chiyo’s character to Namie implying that Namie had based the story of Shishunki Gokko off her own experiences and that she was Chiyo in the story. But Namie just laughs it off saying it is just fiction!
The next day at school Mika arrives and is in super high spirits. I doubt she even slept the night before. She of course wastes no time in telling of her fated meeting the previous day to Sonoko and Suga. Unfortunately for her, the two girls have never heard of Namie or Shishunki Gokko so Mika proceeds to wow them with the story of the infamous 14 year old author. Yeah, you can tell how that ended up as. Young people and books are like the fated enemies these days. Thankfully Takane chose that moment to arrive and as soon as she stepped into the classroom, an excited Mika was all over her, telling her tale all over again.
But Takane is as excited about the news and the other two were. She asks if that was what Mika’s plans were. It seems it has been a couple of days since the two got together to work on the painting. Mika apologises for not being able to help Takane but Takane dismisses them saying that she had plans as well (yeah right!). Mika is too happy though so she asks what about today, and of course Takane says that she has no plans (indeed). Takane knowing that she had Mika all to herself that evening and Mika already on her high for finally meeting her idol, the two proceed to stare lovingly into each other’s eyes, albeit with completely different thought running through their respective minds.
Meanwhile back at the library, Namie’s life is seeing a bright side now that word is out about her achievements. This is going to backfire on her later but before then…
Back at the art room, Takane stretches and proposes to Mika that they take a break. But when she turns to Mika, Mika’s full attention is in the book. Takane probably doesn’t register in her mind at that moment. I don’t blame her, this happens to me all the time, especially when I find a great fic to read. Ten hours passes by just like that without realising it so I can understand where she is coming from. But I can also understand Takane’s worries. Takane is at that stage where everything, every little action that Mika takes is read into with more scrutiny than it warrants. She is probably feeling like Mika is distancing herself from her.
This might explain the desperation that takes over Takane. After they are done Mika helps Takane clean-up and as she washes Takane’s brushes, Takane suddenly hugs her from behind. She compliments Mika saying that she smells nice. Mika is sceptical since she was all sweaty. But Takane says that’s what she loves. Mika splashes water on Takane and the two start playing the chase game. Mika runs away as Takane chases her and then something happens.
As they two run through the corridors, Takane falls to the floor. The music stops dramatically. Mika turns around and Takane breaks down begins Mika to stop running away from her. It was a really WTF moment because it was so sudden. One second they are chasing each other around playfully and the next Takane is on her knees, ready to cry as implores Mika to not run away from her.
A surprised Mika makes her way quickly to Takane’s side asking her with great worry what was wrong. She asks if something happened. But get this, it turns out it was all a ruse! Takane tackles Mika and gets on top of her, pinning her on the floor. She was only playing to get Mika to come to her so she could do that! I was ready to throw something for being played with like that! But then the next moment happened and I wasn’t so sure Takane was only playing around.
On top of Mika, Takane raises her hand and starts threading her fingers through Mika’s bangs. She stops and looks deeply into Mika’s eyes, her smile fading. She slowly starts to lower her face, closing the gap between hers and Takane’s faces. Less than an inch away from their noses touching, Mika finally breaks out in laughter, incidentally breaking the tension that getting so thick I could feel it in my throat. She thought that Takane was playing, I too thought so during the first watch but get this, Takane did not return the laugh. A Mika turns her face away you could see that Takane was more lost than anything. She was really planning on kissing Mika right then and there! It was hard to tell if she was relieved or totally disappointed. If I were to pick out though I would go for disappointment. This was just the beginning of Takane losing herself!
Afterwards, the two decide to go swimming in the pool. While in the changing room Takane asks if Mika is really planning on swimming. Mika says she is, that her period is done with which makes me wonder why Takane seemed so against Mika swimming. As Mika searches through her things for her swim suit, it is no there. Takane offers Mika her own suit. When Mika asks if she won’t be swimming, Takane says she is still on hers. Mika thinks of not going swimming all together but Takane is now doing the reverse of what she was doing in the beginning. She pushes on Mika and says she will be on watch instead.
As Mika chills in the water and Takane wanders the side of the pool, she asks if Mika had any plans for the following weekend. Mika says she is free so Takane proposes that she go with her to visit a certain art school. Mika is surprised that Takane is still interested in going to an Art High School. Takane says that she is not confident about her skills. That she has a limit when she is alone and wants Mika to go with her for support. Mika swims closer, accepts the invitation and gets out of the pool to sit next to Takane. Takane offers her a sip of her drink. Mika takes some and returns the carton to Takane who doesn’t waste time before diving for that second-hand kiss and takes a sip of her own as soon as Mika returns the carton.
Yes, I saw that Takane!!
The next scene takes us to the past, or maybe it’s more accurate to say that we are taken to the story of Shishunki Gokko, the book that Mika is reading since these scenes are proceeded with a page turn. We see what appears to be Chiyo and Mikako’s first meeting (speculating because this was like page 25 in the book). Mikako seemed like that bright girl that suddenly crushes into normal girl’s life and changes it forever.
More evidence that that was a scene out of the book is that soon after we cut to Mika reading said book. She is outside the art rom waiting for Takane. Glasses girl shows up and Mika asks her if she had seen Takane on her way. Ohagi hadn’t stumbled into Takane though. It turns out that she too loves books and yet another friendship is started. This will be important later on. Just as Mika scans through the book Ohagi gives her, her phone goes off.
Cut to the staff room where Takane is exiting with a key, which I believe is the key to the art room. She kips her way to the art room looking forward to yet another of her precious alone time with Mika in their special place. On her way to the art room she passes by Ohagi who had just split up with Mika. Ohagi tries to tell Takane but Takane is too hyper and just says hello as she zooms past Ohagi. When she gets to the art room there is of course no one there.
Cut to the library and it turns out that Namie is the one that had called Mika over. She hands her a bag full of books she had promised Mika sometime that we did not get to witness. We also learn that Mika had been doing some writing of her own because she pulls out some drafts and gives them to Namie to read and tell her what she thought of it.
A bit later back in the art room, Takane is sitting there in her spot, blankly staring at the portrait. One can only imagine the storm or emotions and thoughts rumbling within. Mika shows up and apologises, asking if Takane had seen her text telling her she would be late. Takane only checks her phone at that moment telling of the state she was in. Seriously, one can just feel where this going. Mika and Takane are changing and in completely different ways yet both are affecting the other. Though maybe it is more Mika affecting Takane and Namie affecting Mika.
Back at the library, Namie’s coming out is starting to affect her. The library is thinking of holding a public reading (where the librarians read stories to the public, mainly kids) and they want Namie to write an original story for the kids. She resists initially but eventually gives in. Speaking of the library, there is this other girl that works there, who at first seemed like she had a beef with Namie and I thought for a second that maybe she was Mikako (Namie’s crush back in the day) and maybe that was why Namie had come to work at that library. They had quite a few scenes together and I at first thought they would be another ship to get aboard on but I might as well say it here since I won’t mention it again, they went nowhere! That thread was completely wasted! The girl didn’t even play out her mean girl role to the end when she found out how Namie had fucked up (oops, spoilers), in fact she seemed to care for Namie more but again like I said, that thread went nowhere! If I was to mention the negatives about this movie, that would be on that list.
Any who, another day finds Namie and Mika on a date (hey, why not meet at up at the library like usual? Why at a café?) and Mika is ecstatic that Namie had read her attempts are writing. Namie tells her that her story was easy to read and kind of childish but it turns out that Mika had that plan in mind. It seems she is thinking of writing children books. Namie suggests that if she worked with her artistic friend (Takane?) that they would pull of children books if they worked together. Mika is really happy about the prospect but wait, when did they talk about Takane? Seems there are gaps in the time-line.
Namie thanks Mika saying that reading her story motivated her to write again. She tells her about writing that children story to read to the kids from before. The whammy is that the day for the reading is the same day that Mika and Takane were planning to go to that art school. So Mika kind of turns Namie down when she invites her to come over to the library on that day. I say kind of because Mika says that she isn’t sure yet. She says she will make adjustments and I am like, really Mika? Really?!!!
And just as I think of Takane, the next scene is of her in the art room, sitting there in her usual spot, watching Mika’s empty seat with a look that can only be thought of as sad. It’s pouring outside! Sometime passes and it is still raining but this time we are at Namie’s home. She is staring at her screen, probably writing that story she is to read the following Sunday. She is smoking! What the hell Namie, you said you didn’t smoke! OMG, was Mika right? Is Namie actually Chiyo from the novel? Either way when we are shown her computer screen, Word is open but get this, there isn’t even a single character in that document! She hasn’t written a single thing! She was lying through her teeth during her date with Mika! The camera shifts to her ash tray as she shakes off her cigarette and next to it we see a stack of Shishunki Gokko books. Just like that we are taken back into the book, to page 69.
Convenient rain is convenient because it was also raining at that time in the book. Chiyo and Mikako are soaking wet as they enter what I believe is Mikako’s home. Mikako throws Chiyo a towel and goes to change out of her wet uniform. An opaque glass door that is half closed is the only thing standing between an undressed Mikako and a watchful Chiyo! Seriously, she was watching Mikako change like it was no big deal. Even after Mikako turned to look in her direction, as if feeling Chiyo’s burning gaze on her, Chiyo did not turn away!
A bit later after Chiyo takes a shower and changes her clothes (which I think belongs to Mikako BTW) she finds Mikako dozing off at the table. Walking over to the table, Chiyo tucks Mikako’s bangs behind her ear, touches her cheek, as if checking if Mikako was really asleep. Mikako doesn’t stir so Chiyo taking that as her queue, leans in and kisses a sleeping Mikako’s cheek.
Such a cute moment! Seriously, I was rooting for Chiyo and Mikako almost as much as I was Takane and Mika. Peaking of our heroines…
Cut to the art room and it seems that was the chapter Mika was reading for she had Shishunki Gokko in hand. Meanwhile Takane is over at her usual place but instead of painting, she is just sitting there watching Mika in silence. Mika decides to break the silence and she tells of her happening with Namie! Takane tells her to keep quite because she is concentrating!
Wait a darn minute! Did Takane just tell Mika to shut up!!! Isn’t it too early for things to get to this point? Wait, let me check where we are at…We are just about half-way through the movie! Dear Takane, Why so serious? Now of course it’s not that this is rushed. The movie was already serious even before it began so this is the right moment for Takane to start losing herself especially if you consider what has happened so far. I can understand if she has begun seeing Namie in a different light.
Cut to the promised Sunday and I just knew there was going to be trouble! We are first taken to the library and the readings are already in progress! Meanwhile Mika is on her way to meet with Takane so they could go on their promised date. But on the way Mika stops. She pulls out her phone. She starts texting someone. We immediately cut to Takane at the bus stop, eagerly awaiting Mika’s arrival. Her eyes are glued to the direction she thinks Mika will arrive in. Her phone buzzes and we know that it was she that Mika was texting. Takane takes out her phone and starts reading the text. Her expression changes.
A crow cries.
Cut to Mika again and we see her running back in the direction we had seen her walking from just previously. The change in the enthusiasm with which she take either journey is really telling. When she was on her way to meet Takane before, she looked like she would rather be someplace else than where she was going.
Kind of like I was back in the day. You see we lived very far away from my Grand parents’ place. It was actually a whole different part of the country. Every Weekend we would go over there and spend it with them. They lived in a rural area without internet, and so I never was looking forward to going there, even though I always ended up having lots of fun!
Mika here reminded me of that time. Yet she looked super eager to go to the library the way she was all but sprinting there. As if to drive the point home, we cut back to the library but it is not Namie’s turn yet. Currently it’s her would have been lover girl that is reading. Just as the plot planned, she finishes soon after and it is Namie’s turn to read to the people. She first scans the audience as if making sure that Mika wasn’t amongst them. Why? You are soon to find out.
As she reads, we are shown Mika running, most definitely making her way to the library. She can’t wait to hear what her favourite writer has cooked up. A first, a special treat that would never be published. An exclusive event and she wouldn’t miss it for the world. She dumbed her best friend for this yo! Back at the library, Namie is getting engrossed in the story as she reads it and the audience seems as awed as the fellow librarians.
Cut to Takane again and we see her collapsing backwards as if she had just finished reading that text from Mika! I doubt it was that long so she probably was trying to make sure she was actually reading what she was seeing!
Meanwhile, Mika is still running to the library and Namie is still reading and getting pulled into the story that she herself had written. There is this huge smile glowing on her face with every passing second.
Back to Takane, she decided to go ahead without Mika as we see her in class with other art students already busy at work sketching.
Cut back to the library and Namie is finishing up the story. Mika also just arrived. Namie gets an applause from the audience. She smiles feeling proud of herself and as she turns, her smile disappears completely. At the side, on the stairs stands Mika. She looks at Namie with a look that I haven’t seen her give her, nay, a look that I haven’t seen Mika give anyone before.
Later after the audience disbands, the two are alone and while before Mika in the presence of her idol Namie looked about ready to get down on her knees and kiss Namie’s feet, this time she was looking away from Namie, a very dark look on her face. Namie is saying something that I can’t understand, or maybe I choose to not understand because they are all stupid excuses!
That’s right, that woman just 100% plagiarised Mika’s story! She did not write a new story for the kids, she took Mika’s own story, photocopied it and read that instead! In fact I don’t think she changed even a single word (That Word document was still blank even as she practice read through Mika’s writing)! Mika was all about ready to break down and cry! I cannot even begin to imagine how she could have felt right then! And that bitch did not even apologise!
Sorry Namie, but you just turned into the villain! Sure I was against you from the very beginning even before the movie was out because I knew you would get in between Takane and Mika but I didn’t hate you! Now though, sorry woman but this is just NO! Do you have any idea what you have just done?! You just went and crushed Mika’s dreams! The girl looked up to you with so much pride and respect and you just cut all that down, and in the worst way possible! Seriously! I’m sorry but I am jumping the rest of this scene! Still can’t handle it!
Cut to the book and we are on page 94. Chiyo and Mikako are having a moment. Chiyo asks if it’s okay if they kiss. Mikako turns to her. Chiyo takes that as a yes and leans in to kiss Mikako. But just as their lips are about to touch, Mikako turns away and apologises. Chiyo asks what’s wrong! That line there got me thinking. Does this mean that at that point Mikako knew of Chiyo’s feelings? Does it means they have been dating (even though they hadn’t gotten past first base yet) until that moment? The way Chiyo asked Mikako what was wrong shows that she expected Mikako to kiss her back. Wait, could it mean that they have kissed before? But then why would Chiyo ask first instead of just kissing Mikako? Being polite? Did they have an understanding?
Either way Mikako’s answer to Chiyo’s question was that she was in love with someone else. No, to be more precise, what Mikako says is that she has fallen in love with someone. That means that she wasn’t in love with Chiyo!! But wait, this is all so confusing! If we take Chiyo’s question to mean that she thought they were an item, doesn’t that mean Mikako should have been in love with Chiyo? What if this is all a misunderstanding and the person Mikako is talking about is actually Chiyo herself! What if Chiyo was misunderstanding the fact that Mikako loved her but did not think she knew!
No, who am I kidding, that makes no sense at all. Either Mikako was lying to get out of Chiyo’s oppressing feelings and there was no other love, or that was a completely different person she was talking about. It is probable. I understand who complicated this is!
Back in school, what day I don’t even know anymore, in the art room we see Takane packing up her things as if done for the day. But then Mika walks in and asks if Takane is done. Looks like she just arrived! Takane says nothing in reply. Mika asks her if she will be painting over the summer break. Takane doesn’t answer her but instead asks her about the day before.
Well, I guess that answers my quandary. This has to be Monday, and yesterday the day they were supposed to have their date! But then why does Mika look so normal? You would think after what happened she would be looking for a shoulder to cry on that only Takane could provide.
Mika doesn’t tell her but Takane guesses it had to be about Namie. The two part ways on not so great terms. Cut to summer break and the distance between the two is as clear as day. Mika’s days are spent alone, she looks really sad and lonely all the while ignoring Namie’s calls. Meanwhile Takane is attending some kind of summer school I believe.
One day Mika fed up with all the bullshit decided to confront Takane after her classes. She says they need to talk. Takane’s new friends leave the two alone. Takane says that she is busy, Mika replies that she knows but Takane really doubts it. Mika apologies but confesses that she is lost. She says she doesn’t know what to do. I want to side with Mika here because she is hurting, she was really hurt by Namie but then thinking of Takane’s side of the story, just being close to Mika hurts her too. Now, that isn’t Mika’s fault but she did dump her on their date for Namie and that is a physical crime, so…
Anyway it seems Takane knows of what happened. Maybe they talked about it but we certainly never see it. She asks Mika if the calls are still coming (From Namie no doubt). Actually, I take that back! When Mika says that yes, the calls are indeed still coming, what Takane says is not what I expected. She says that isn’t it okay? After all, Mika adores Namie! This shows that she did not know of what Namie did! Mika probably didn’t tell her because she was afraid for Namie’s life! I have a feeling Takane would have done something much worse had she known!
Speaking of the Devil, Mika finally comes clean and spills the beans! She tells Takane about the betrayal. Mika breaks out in tears as the feelings of betrayals come crushing down all over again. And as Takane battle with herself deciding what to do, (remember, Takane is in a very unstable state right now) that woman decides to call Mika right then! Talk about raining on Takane’s parade all the damn time!
Mika pulls out her phone and as she decides to what do with it, answer it or throw it in the river, Takane takes matters in her own hands. She grabs the phone and answers it! She shouts in the speaker for Namie to stop bothering Mika and never call her again. But the interesting thing to me here was Takane’s voice! It was so shaky and it sounded like she was also on the verge of tears! She was probably asking God what she had ever done to deserve this! This Namie was like the bane of her existence! Takane returns the phone into Mika’s hands and runs away. Really, she literally runs away from Mika and my heart was all but breaking for her. Mika watches her go without saying anything.
Later than day as Mika makes her way back home, that woman is there out in the streets waiting for her! What a weirdo! Okay, first of all, how the hell does she know where Mika’s house is? Are you telling that she knows where Mika lives?! We haven’t even seen Takane visit Mika’s home at all and we can only guess that she has been there at least once. But that isn’t the worst, later as we shall find out, Mika too does know where Namie’s house is because she goes there, again, later on. Like, what the hell is this?! You would think these two were the mains in this movie or something!! I ain’t even mad yo!
Any way Namie apparently was stalking Mika because she wanted to apologise! Woman, the time for apology is way passed! ‘Sorry’ should have been the first word out of your mouth as soon as you saw Mika at the library on Sunday! You are already a villain to me and nothing you do will redeem you!
Mika ignores her and tells her to never come near her ever again. After she crosses the road, the woman calls to her as she apologises once again! Stupid Mika stops and turns around! I guess it couldn’t be helped. She adored Namie so much that her feelings were almost bordering on love so of course just watching away never to see Namie again would be one hard decision to make.
And that woman had to place the bait there! She was like, ‘we might not see each other again’ or some shit like that. Of course Mika would bite! And bite she did because she turned around and started to run back Namie, like the baka she is! And just as she crosses the street to run back to Namie, she misses the car that horns and screeches as the driver tries to stop it but Mika had come out of the blind spot!
Son of a bitch!
Damn you Namie! Not only did you hurt Mika emotionally but now you have hurt her physically to?! Oh no you didn’t! Any love I had for you just went out of the positive field and into the negative! What good have you been to Mika? Seriously, what good have you done Mika? No good、 that’s what! And with every second you spend with her the more happiness you take out of her life! Just disappear! I swear if Mika is dead I…
With school back in session, we see Mika going to class with one leg in a cast! Sonoko and Suga are shocked and ask what happened but Mika doesn’t say. She just passes them by and takes a seat. Soon after Takane enters the room and the girls point her attention to a hurt Mika. Takane makes haste to Mika’s side and demands to know what the hell happened to her! Her tone screams her thoughts! Sadly Mika is back to playing the ‘it’s nothing’ game! Takane berates her saying it is not nothing! She is seriously hurt. Mika says that it’s got nothing to do with Takane!
Dear Mika, why are being such a bitch? Oh year, character development!
Cut to later that day as Mika is leaving school and guess who was standing outside the gates waiting for her? That’s right! Namie! Like, woman, woman, please save yourself from my wrath and never show your face again, won’t you!! Haven’t you done enough damage already!? What else are you looking to take from Mika? How much more can you hurt her?! What are you looking for now, her life? Her soul? OMG, are you the frikking devil!? Are you trying to break Mika so it would be easy for her to give up her soul?! I’m onto to you!!
While she tries to play more mind games on Mika, Takane comes to the rescue. Actually she was just going home but she found these two at the gates and of course wasn’t very pleased to see Namie! She demands to know what the hell is going on! Namie says she had come to pick up Mika since it was her fault she is hurt.
Yeah, so you can get her into a fatal accident? No thanks bitch!
Ah but get this, Mika is still defending this woman! She says it wasn’t Namie’s fault. She says it was an accident! But dearest Mika, every accident has a cause and this was most definitely Namie’s fault! But Mika is so done with everything. She is almost over that line! She starts putting on the heat on Namie.
Sadly, she doesn’t win any points with Mika because the two have a fight with Mika still defending Namie and for some reason seems to have a grudge against Takane. The two depart on very bad terms with Takane almost ready to break down right then and there.
By the way, at this moment in the movie I realised that I hadn’t heard the BGM for some time. It had turned into one of those common Japanese movies without background music without me even realising it!
Anyway cut to the library, which I believe is a different day and we see Takane confronting Namie. She demands the two have a talk! She takes Namie to the school and eventually the art room. Takane takes her usual place and asks Namie to sit down. It’s the spot that Mika usually sits in. She says she is going to draw Namie.
After some time Namie looks as uncomfortable as I feel. She shifts quite consistently and eventually Takane gets fed up with her shit! She throws that sketchbook on the floor and looks totally pissed off! Apparently Namie couldn’t stay still even after Takane had asked her not to movie but really, that wasn’t the problem at all. Takane wasn’t even sketching Namie, she was just colouring the page back!
She tell Namie that she is sitting in a place where Mika always sat. She tells her how always Mika sat there and read her books. She says that ever since meeting Namie, Mika began to change. And as Takane says this, the camera is on her face, the light is shining in a way that her eyes and up are shadowed, totally complimenting the feelings, the state Takane was in at the moment. You could just see the rage boiling within, ready to be released at a moment’s notice.
That is exactly what happened next when Mika explained that that was her time, hers and Mika’s precious time together and that Namie had taken that from her! This scene right here is one of my favourites in the movie! Honoka perfectly acted out this scene! You could feel what she was feeling! The rage was evident in both her voice and on her face! I seriously thought she was going to start strangling Namie right then and there. I could see the constraints trying to hold herself back. I think if they had continued to be together in the same room any longer she would have done something much worse. Either way, something else gave way in Takane as we shall find out no much longer now.
Namie starts to say something, that sounded like she was about to deny the accusation, but Takane didn’t let her finish a damn word. She ordered her to get the fuck out! At this point I had no feels for Namie but even I feared for her life, whispering for her to get her ass out of there pronto! Wouldn’t want Takane to turn into a killer! Then again, She would be saved by the Japanese law against underage criminals so…
The BGM finally returns to put even more weight on Takane’s breakdown after Namie leaves as she tries to get her feelings in control but I could tell there was no going back. Takane was already broken. She managed to not cry but something else had broken within her. They finally show us the ‘should have been Namie’s sketch’ but as I said, it was all black charcoal! It was very strong imagery showing the chaos, or maybe the emptiness in Takane’s heart!
This imagery of dark Takane continues on through the night when we see her call someone. It is of course Mika, who comes back at school still in her uniform. Takane was waiting for her at the swimming pool. When Mika gets there, she panicked, thinking at first that Takane was drowning because she was face down in the water and not moving but again, Takane was into her dark humour it seemed.
Something catches Mika’s attention. The swimsuit that Takane was wearing. She asks about it and Takane confirms that yes, it is indeed Mika’s lost swimsuit. Remember the previous two scenes in the locker room? The first scene we saw Takane trying on a swimsuit, turns out that was Mika’s. The second time as the two go to change, Mika finds her suit missing, now we know that Takane had taken it! Yes dear Readers, it is that bad! Takane is Shizuru level crazy but this time she is not crazy just for the sake of it. She was pushed to this cliff and I was waiting to see her finally fall off, well, this is it.
And that damn BGM is heightening the feels to over 9000! This is some intense suspense you all!
Back to Mika, she wonders out loud why Takane has her suit. Takane answers with ‘I wonder why’. She offers her hand, as if asking Mika for help to get out of the pool! Poor naïve Mika, she falls for it and is pulled into the pool with Takane! Mika asks her what she is thinking but Takane only gives her enough time to breath once before taking Mika’s head in her hands and then kisses Mika hungrily!
Yep, she just attacked Mika just like that! Mika pulls free and pushes Takane off of her. She tells her to stop. Takane comes closer again and confesses that she like Mika. She takes Mika’s hands in her own (HANDS!!!!!|), caresses her face, then takes Mika’s face once again in her hands and looks into her hands. She repeats that she likes Mika. Takane says that is why she would prefer it if Mika did not see Namie again. Mika is taken aback. She tries to stop Takane. Takane is on fire though, she is already far gone. She says that Mika said it too, that she said she likes Takane! That she said they would be together forever!
Now, wait a damn minute! When did Mika say this?! Why are we learning these important details as by-information?! Did this happen in the spin off? Nay, I don’t remember hearing this at all! What gives yo!?!
Takane says that she too likes Mika. She begs Mika to come back to her. She begs her to let her draw her again. But just as I know Takane is at the brink, I also know how Mika is feeling right now! This is all too much for her. Her leg is probably hurting like crazy, her best friend just confessed her love to her and even kissed her! So I understand how lost she must feel. But even so…Even so! She asks what is wrong. She tells Takane that she is acting strange. Takane just laughs saying she isn’t! She takes a hold of Mika’s cheeks once again, ready to give her another wet kiss (what, they are in a pool!). The two fight it out, Mika pushing Takane away from her while Takane fights to get closer to Mika, all the while begging Mika! But Mika turns out to be much stronger than we thought, even Takane. She pushes Takane away from her and shouts out…
Dear readers, let me tell you something! There is no word I hate more than the Japanese words 気持ち悪い. If Kyuubei ever appeared in our world, I would make a contract just so I could erase those words from the history books, from everyone’s minds and from the DNA of the unborn children! I hate those words with a passion!
That one sentence is the cause for my conflicting feelings towards this movie! To think that Mika said those words to Takane! Poor Takane was so shocked by them that she did not even make any more attempts at attacking Mika with her lips! Mika says that she is wrong, that her relationship with Namie wasn’t like that!
Her saying that causes me sometimes to have delusions of grandeur thinking that maybe she used that sentence in regards to the notion of her being with Namie like that and not because of Takane coming onto her like that! But let’s be honest here, you did not think of it that way until I mentioned it, right?
Mika leaves a shell shocked Takane in the pool. She says this is all so wrong. She calls Takane an idiot, which really make me even more confused! Maybe Mika wasn’t that disturbed by the fact that Takane loved her but then what’s with all the negation!?
Takane finally breaks down because really, to her this was it, this was the end! She had just lost everything! She had lost Mika, her world! The scene that follows is hands down the most heart-wrenching! Takane’s cries of loss and all those feelings finally coming out was so emotionally heavy that I dare to hear someone tell me they did not cry along with her! Even the most stone-hearted will feel the lump in their throat at this scene! Takane, standing there in the pool as she cries all her sorrows into the night was just…
Switch to Namie’s place and there comes the doorbell to her door. She opens it to reveal a wet Mika standing there! She lets her in and handing her a towel urges her to take a shower before she catches a cold. Mika gets a flashback to the book and thinks of that scene when Chiyo goes over to Mikako’s place. While she takes the shower we hear Mika breaking down, finally letting everything out too.
Mika takes her time in the shower because when she is done, Namie is all but dozing off, yep, you guessed it, just like in the book! Mika of course takes the queue and does exactly what Chiyo had done in the book. Accompanied with scenes from the books (or was it flashbacks because books don’t have visuals, am I right?), Mika makes her way to a sleeping Namie. She leans in to kiss Namie but unlike in the book where Chiyo had kissed Mikako on the cheek, Mika goes for the lips here!
Now, Namie was asleep so this doesn’t count but I feel so cheated for some reason! Takane and Mika’s kiss was in a faraway shot, the light wasn’t so great, it being dark and them being outside and all and yet here we get a clear view of Mika’s lips touching Namie’s! So unfair! Is it me or does it seems like the director was shipping Mika and Namie in this movie more than Mika and Takane!! That’ like, so uncool!
And Mika lingers on the kiss so long that Namie is awoken from her sleep! She of course doesn’t take Mika’s closeness well as she all but pushes Mika away from her. Namie apologies saying she was just surprised. She makes to help Mika up but Mika raises her hand in defence! Mika apologises to Namie with so little emotion I am left wondering what the hell she was doing?
But then a bulb went off in my mind! What if Mika was only doing it to see if maybe, just maybe there was weight in Takane’s words that that maybe she had feelings for Namie! If that was the case, then her expression tells me that she did not! See? What did I tell you, this movie confuses me the deeper I try to think about it!
Cut back to the book, we are on page 136 and Chiyo is back in that spot where she and Mikako first met! She watches as down below, Mikako leaves the school. Half way Mikako stops and turns around to gaze up at the spot that Chiyo was in. Chiyo ducks to avoid Mikako.
That was very reminiscent of Yuki and Ayako’s scene from Houkago Lost, wasn’t it? Just from that I can already guess that Shishunki Gokko the book did not have a GOOD END! But what about Takane and Mika’s fate then?
Another day in school, Takane is in the art room packing her stuff but this time not for storage but rather, for the finale! In walks Mika and I am like, are we doing this again? My heart is not ready! It’s still recovering from the previous damage!
Mika cuts the silence saying that the teacher said she would find Takane there. Takane says ‘is that so’. Mika asks about the painting. Takane battle with herself trying to decide what to say. Whatever she says might change her life forever but then really, how worse could it possibly get! So she settles for giving Mika her just desserts by telling her that she no longer has anything to do with it! She tells Mika that she is an idiot too (Mika had called Takane an idiot as she left Takane in the pool).
Takane leaves the half-finished painting saying that she doesn’t need it anymore and that Mika can do whatever she wanted with it. But even as she says that I could tell how hard it was for her to say goodbye! How hard it was to leave that painting that meant so much to her! You could hear the sorrow and the tears in her voice. She was this close to breaking down again. She was so vulnerable!
Takane pauses by the door and I am chanting ‘Come back, come back’ while at the same time I am shouting at Mika to say something! Say something to make Takane stay damn you! But she says nothing, Takane leaves. In the corridors she passes by the teacher who starts talking to her but Takane completely ignores him! He goes to the art room to find Mika sitting in her usual spot in silence. He asks her if they had gotten into a fight!
Bruh, this is beyond simple fight! Get your damn head into the game!
Mika completely ignores him of course. He walks over to the painting and is surprised by how great Takane is at drawing! We finally get to see the painting and he was right! It was so good, only a little bit was left before it was complete but what was there was enough to judge! I am no artists but even I can tell that that painting was one only someone emotionally invested in it could produce. It’s all too much for Mika who breaks down in tears again.
All these feels dear Readers, all these feels!
Cut to spring and we hear Mika’s voice over. She says that they graduated without speaking again. We see her at the library as she gets a book. Mika looks around, probably looking for Namie but she is nowhere to be seen. She was either fired or skipped town! Either way good riddance. That woman did so much damage it would take a miracle (and a sequel where she helps these two back together) for me to ever look at her with kind eyes!
But thankfully Mika wasn’t alone. She had found a friend in Ohagi, they shared the same passion for books and it was kind of nice seeing them at the library together. Poor Ohagi needed a friend to any way so all are winners. But what about Takane? Well, Takane is still taking those art classes but what was interesting is that when they show us her drawing, the rough sketch looks too familiar to Mika. A Mika reading a book! All this accompanied by Takane’s voice over of time and how things change with time but she says that no matter how much time may pass, she would remember that time they spent in that room, in their secret place forever!
We transition back to the library as the camera zooms in on Mika, who has her back to us. We hear Takane’s voice calling out Mika’s name. Mika turns around and…
FADE TO BLACK!!
Just like that? Really dear Director? Just like that?!! They give us an extra scene that is the continuation of the opening scene of the girls playing on the rooftop. And that is it!
So, with that ending we can say that Takane and Mika got back together? Or at the very least that Takane went and met Mika, right? But what happened after that? Does the spin off take place after the movie?!
Sorry you all, I was planning on integrating that spin off in this movie but we are already over 11000 words!!! I did warn you, didn’t I? I said this post would be over 10k, words and here we are! Talk about a record breaker!
Anyway, there you have it. Shishunki Gokko! Not as bad and definite end like Houkago Lost but like I said, some times ambiguous endings hurt more than defined endings! I guess we could say that Takane and Mika made up by the end and that it was indeed Takane making her way back to Mika. Also we can think of the spin off as a continuation of their adventures. But seeing as Mika told us they had graduated from Junior High, then why the uniforms? Then again, they could still have wore them as a guise to be able to go into the school, even if it was closed off for the summer!
Seriously, I apologise, I was planning to include that spin off in this post but it is just too long! Let’s save that for another day shall we?