Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Ballad: Na mo naki koi no uta
When the young boy Shinichi runs away from his life problems and fears, he goes to an old tree next to a Buddhist Jizo statue to pray for courage. The next thing he knows, he is appears in the feudal Japan of the samurai in the domain of Kasuga during the Sengoku (Warring States) era, in the midst of a battle. Here he befriends a famous samurai called the Demon Ijiri. Ijiri is feared in battle, but he proves to be a less successful lover. He has been in love with Princess Ren since his youth who has loved him in return, rebuking offers of marriage in the hopes of marrying for love. When the powerful and feared Lord Takatura asks for her hand in marriage, she dares not refuse him for the safety of her domain. Shinichi's family begins searching him where they also travel to the past and find him in Kasuga, but with them they bring shocking news to the domain leaders. The Kasuga domain had never been recorded in history, and their enduring battles with other clans were seemingly fruitless. In light of this news, Princess Ren is relinquished of her duty to marry the formidable Lord Takatura. Ijiri is overjoyed, as is the Princess Ren. Yet Lord Takatura is unaccustomed to rejection, and his rage results in a fearsome battle.
I watched this movie on a February 1st 2010 flight from Los Angeles to Japan. The movie stars Tsuyoshi Kusanagi who is a member of the popular Japanese pop group SMAP and also stars in the female lead Yui Aragaki who is also a famous model and singer. I love samurai movies and, although this was not the average sounding samurai flick with the time travel and all, it sounded interesting enough to watch. Well, it turned out to be pretty cheesy. I will give you a good example from the movie of how cheesy it is. Shinichi's parent's travel back in time to find there missing son and they travel to the past in their sport utility vehicle where they proceed to drive it around the feudal Sengoku landscape. The classic cheesy scene is when Shinichi and his parents help Ijiri fight Takatura when they blast their off-road vehicle through a great samurai battle between Ijiri's and Takatura's forces. It was pretty silly. There is one short but decent samurai battle scene near the beginning of the movie but the last battle with the car driving around was a complete joke.