Domoto Tsuyoshi, Kokubun Taichi,
Dir. Yabuuchi Shogo
OK the world is a jumbled mess, and it’s a difficult process sorting things out as adolescence crosses over to an uncertain adulthood.So, what’s with all the disco balls? Seriously, I saw the DVD jacket which belonged to a co-worker, a gal from Hiroshima who bought it from ebay. I’m not sure if she was sold on the: 1) casting, 2) storyline, or 3) utterly whacked-out artwork. My guess is #3. I’m trying to watch more recent J-movies these days and she has quite a collection. The last one I borrowed from her, “Moon Child,” was a little too homoerotic and SFX-y for my taste. But at least that movie had a linear narrative; “Fantastipo” is about a dozen different short (as in “page-long”) stories that don’t mesh with one another very smoothly. Japanese cinema loves its flashbacks, although this one was told before Kinki Tsuyoshi and the TOKIO keyboardist looked normal. Yes, the boys are insecure, have a detached father figure, and have Sasquach for a pet, just like most members of high society. One plays with model trains, the other ran away to Finland on a journey of rediscovery. The result is a multimedia mess whereby billionaire daddy hangs out with tennis babes, chitchats with a pale imitation of Matthew Minami, and lives in a surreal environment where the number-one son (Kokubun) is OK with his toy trains but #2 son is a candidate for the funny farm when he shows a lack of enthusiasm on the job in daddy’s company.
_____ OK, I could go on but I’m not sure if I could come up with a compelling reason to recommend this movie to anyone but hardcore fans of Johnnys Jimusho. There’s no connection to flashback and present, and the pacing of the movie jarring and inconsistent. Perhaps the most interesting (for me) moment was when Daddy is at some sort of convention for Older Fathers Whose Freeloader Sons Still Live At Home. The keynote speaker is introduced… and it’s Fujioka Hiroshi, best known for his portrayal as Kamen Rider! I think that’s what was needed to treat the malaise of Kokubun and Domoto: a swift RIDER KICK each to the head. And mine, too. *1/2 (out of ****)