Lovely Complex (Movie)

I recently discovered an anime (based on a shojo manga) that I instantly fell in love with called Lovely Complex. But since the series is currently airing, and is only up to episode 11, I needed something to ease the torture while waiting for new episodes. So, you can imagine how excited I was when I learned there was a live action movie made recently!!

So, as soon as I got caught up with the anime, I watched it.

And wow. At first I thought it was terrible...they add lots of unnecessary original stuff... and rather than focusing on the relationship from both perspectives, we're given Risa's angle and little else. The main thing that kept me watching was the awesomeness of Teppei Koike who played the role of Otani: he had the character down perfectly and did an excellent job bringing the character to life!! ^_^

The girl playing Risa, however...

Err, well, she certainly looked the part, and she was very cute.

Her performance on the other hand...

To be honest, it kind of annoyed me. For one thing, the way they had her over-acting drove me crazy. I realize that's probably the way the director wanted it... especially since there were certain scenes where the other characters mimicked the same kind of gestures. But still, it was distracting, looked bad, and was really unnecessary. It was like, with every line she delivered, she'd shake like crazy, and make weird motions with her hands. And her movements were over-exaggerated and looked staged--part of the reason though, is probably because they had her wearing high heels for a majority of the film. Which, by itself, didn't make much sense to start with. I mean, she's supposed to be at least a little self-conscious about her height, especially when standing next to Otani... and yet they have her wearing high heels to make her look even taller!

I just thought that was funny. Especially since being tall and being a good actress should have been the only requirements for Risa's actress... and yet, the girl they chose, didn't have either.

Throughout the entire movie, I just couldn't picture her as Risa--not like I could picture Otani. But that's just my personal take. I've heard of a LOT of people who loved her. And to be fair, her accent is adorable.

But still... was she the ONLY semi-tall girl in Osaka with an accent, or something?!

Oh! And it was cool how they had Maity narrating... though I really wish they would have had him doing it in Japanese instead. His English really wasn't very good, and half the time, I couldn't understand what he was saying. If they really wanted to include an English speaking narrator, they should have at least chose someone who can speak it fluently. Why else include Japanese subtitles, when the language you're translating can't even be understood by native speakers?! Though I do like how they saved that "revelation" until the end. It was funny, on hindsight, that it was that crazy teacher speaking all along, lol.

I did NOT like that strange guy in the chair though--the one who kept popping up at random moments, to point out something really obvious or stupid. What was the purpose...?! Because it definitely wasn't funny.

And what was with Risa's sister?! That whole bit was annoying, disturbing, unnecessary, corny, and stupid. Instead of wasting time with made up story-lines and over-used jokes (their teacher's "wig" anyone?) they should have concentrated more on developing Risa and Otani's relationship. Or in the very least, developed Otani's side of the story a little more. We never got a good look into his head, so his revelations at the end practically came out of nowhere! I wish they had stuck more closely to the manga Maity-storyline instead. It wasn't quite as corny... and much more romantic.

Plus, the whole "height" issue which is the staple of the story, wasn't as powerful in the movie. She really wasn't that tall. In the anime, you can DEFINITELY see the difference between them in height--same goes for the manga--but in the movie, there really wasn't that much of a difference. Not enough to make such a big deal over anyway...

And (this is me, totally being nit-picky) but I really wish they would have had the kids wearing school uniforms like in the anime. Normally, I really wouldn't care, but the clothes they had the girls wearing (particularly Nobu, Risa's best friend) made them look like junior high delinquents pretending to be grown-ups--not high school students. It was so annoying! Plus, I didn't like how they tried to portray Nobu and Chiharu's relationships, into something dirty.

Prime examples: Chiharu blushing as she admits to her boyfriend that she's not wearing any panties underneath her kimono. And at the beginning of the movie, Risa's other friend, asking her bf to buy her something, and in exchange, she lets him do stuff to her body--

They sounded like lines out of really bad fanfics!

At least make it subtle!

Overall, it was a pretty average adaptation of a wonderfully, funny, cute, romantic story. They could have done so much better with the script and the casting though...

But again, Teppei Koike definitely held this movie together: in my mind he IS Otani. Of course, I'm in love with the japanese seiyuu for the anime too, so it could just be that I love his character period. Risa is one lucky imaginary girl, lol.

In the future, I have (and will) watch this again... simply because I have an unhealthy obsession with this couple, and need to see them in whichever form they happen to embody. If, however, you could care less about Lovely Complex (or most high-school oriented romantic comedies, for that matter) I'd suggest skipping this one all together. But for shoujo fans, you're sure to be entertained. Just ignore Risa's shaking, concentrate all your energy on Otani, and enjoy! ^_^

My Rating:




Yobi, The Five Tailed Fox

What a gorgeous movie. The directing, the animation, the music, the story. I fell in love with it all. I never would have thought I'd like it this much--it reminded me a lot of a Korean version of the Japanese anime, Spirited Away. If you like fantasy stories, with a touch of romance, then you'll definitely enjoy this one.

The characters in this film are wonderful, especially Yobi. It's so much fun watching them come to life, and interact with each other. It really made me nostalgic for when I was younger. Since most of the characters are children, you get to relive the innocence and joys of youth, and all the things that go along with it: childhood friendships, crushes, playgrounds, facing your fears in the woods. It was all so much fun to watch!! The little aliens were really cute too, especially the little guy that ate nails, lol.

The animation, of course, was just beautiful. The way they animated the forest alone was breathtaking--the use of colors, the images of the leaves flying like butterflies. You can tell they put a lot of time, effort, love, and energy into this movie. I was consistently blown away. Of course, this is by the same director as My Beautiful Girl Mari (which was the first thing I reviewed on this site) so it's really not that surprising.

People who are overly familiar with Japanese anime, will notice how different the Korean style is, though there are some similarities. Those not familiar with anime, however, will probably assume this is just another one. But the way they set the scenes and capture the different frames--even the way the characters move--really sets itself apart, boasting a completely different style. I personally love it, and can't wait to watch more like this one!

I was actually familiar with the legend of the foxes already, so I understood most of what was going on. I'm not sure if it's really necessary to know the history beforehand though--all you really need to know is that a fox with tails have the ability to become human, but in order to do so they need to steal a human soul/liver.

It's a common folk tale in Korea, and one that the target audience will surely know about. But non-Koreans, of course, can (and will) still enjoy it.

SPOILER

One of the reasons I think I fell in love with this movie, was because of the reincarnation aspect at the end. I am a sucker for anything reincarnation/fate related, and almost any movie that ends this way is going to get an automatic high score from me.

That's not to say I wouldn't have given this movie a high score anyway--it's that great a movie. I'm just admitting that I'm bias in this particular way... which is probably why I was so impressed after watching it. If it had ended differently, I probably wouldn't have started gushing so unabashedly about it.

If you dislike reincarnation story-lines though, then you probably won't like the ending, and consequently, the movie.

I personally find the idea incredibly romantic...

I thought it was the perfect ending for Yobi. She finally got to become a human, and didn't need to steal a soul in order to attain it. I really believe her and Geum-yee will someday be reunited. And that's all I need to believe, in order for me to consider it a happy ending.

END SPOILER

Again, my favorite thing about this movie was the ending. But everything about this film was enjoyable. If you like funny, interesting characters, and a story that's unpredictable, original, and entertaining, then Yobi will definitely be a movie you'll enjoy. ^_^

So if you have any free-time, hurry up and watch it!!

My Rating:


Witch Amusement (16 Episodes)

EPISODE 01-16


Chalk up another finished drama to my list of accomplishments! Two down, three more to go!

Overall, Witch Amusement was a cute, amusing drama. It was one of the shows I was watching that was being subbed almost simultaneously as it was airing in Korea. I really liked the premise, and kept watching mainly to see what would become of the OTP. Moo-Ryong's character alone was enough to steal the show... it's not often you see a thoroughly likeable character that you wouldn't mind dating in real life! I wish I had a maid like him, who would clean and cook for me, lol. He was so sweet, and really complimented Yoo Hee's character perfectly. Without him, she would have forever been a witch! The fact that he also has a girlfriend at the beginning of the series, just made it that more unique, and made it seem a little more realistic. After all, a guy that awesome CAN'T be single! Plus, he was played by Jae Hee who was also in Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang (another favorite of mine). So really, he can do no wrong! ^_^

I'll be honest though... I've never been a huge fan of Han Ga In. I've seen her in enough dramas/movies to have formed an adequate opinion of her (A Tale of High School, Super Rookie, Dr. Kkaeng, Witch Amusement) and I've decided I definitely don't like her as an actress. She's not exactly bad... there's just something about her that rubs me the wrong way. For one thing, she always has this huge, doey-eyed look, where her eyes get HUGE--and no matter what drama she's acting in, it's ALWAYS present. It annoys me to no end for some reason. Plus, she's terrible at kiss scenes... and in a romantic drama, you really want the romance to be believable, and to get lost in their story. I can't do that when I see her kissing Moo-Ryong: all I see is how stiff and uncomfortable she looks! Of course, this is just my own personal opinion, so others might not (and probably won't) feel the same way. It all comes down to personal preference I guess...

But really, despite my dislike for the lead actress, the story was interesting and engaging enough to keep me watching. Plus, with so many handsome actors, (Dennis Oh, Kim Jeong Hoon; aka, Yul from Goong!) I had more than enough motivation to stay tuned in.

The only other thing that stopped me from giving it a higher rating (up until episode 15, I was planning on giving it a solid 4) was the last two episodes. I don't know what the writers were thinking at that point... but all of a sudden, the big climax was filled with korean cliches that you can see in any drama!

The "break up" scene: check.

The spurned-lover's accident scene: check.

The airport scene: check.

The sick parent in need of an operation: check.

Honestly! The only thing missing was an incurable disease! For such a fun series, I really wonder why they ended it the way they did. It was very anti-climatic, in my opinion. And the last 10 minutes, was just a lot of "evil" characters seeing the light out of nowhere, and pushing the main character to be happy. I was like... "WHAT?!"

So again, it was a good, cute series... but the ending (though ultimately happy, don't worry) was a huge disappointment. To be honest, I guess I expected more considering its lead-in.

My Rating: