Archive for April 18th, 2014

Shirome (2010)

Shirome dvd

The female idol group Momoiro Clover are asked to take part in an experiment which revolves around an urban legend deity called Shirome. This deity is supposed to grant a wish to anybody that really wants it to happen but should that person not be sincere about their wish then Shirome will drag their poor unfortunate soul to hell or curse them for the rest of their life. Momoiro Clover have always wanted to appear on the annual New Year’s Eve Kouhaku programme (a Red vs White singing contest) and they will be asked to perform a song and then say their wish to Shirome. The girls will be taken to a secret location unknown to them where they have been told that several people have killed themselves. They have to search for a specific room inside the location and seek out a large butterfly mark which is supposed to show that Shirome is present. Even before they set foot at the location, several strange things begin to happen around them. Cameras taping them are acting up and weird orbs appear. Eventually it is time for them to head off to the location and it is found to be an abandoned school. What will happen to the girls once they go inside the building and will Shirome grant their wish?

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years in watching any J-horror movies starring music idols they’re usually no good and this one unfortunately hasn’t made me change my mind. This is yet another one of those ‘found footage’ horror movies. It’s been said from other sources that Momoiro Clover were unaware that they were being set-up to take part in a fake documentary for this movie but IMO it seemed to me they were ‘in on it’ from the very start. I’m not sure if director Koji Shiraishi is a fan of the group and their management asked him to promote them but I found this to be a poor horror movie. If your idea of a good time is to watch a bunch of teenage girls screaming and crying then fair enough but I was disappointed with it and it’s fair to say this was the worst Koji Shiraishi movie I’ve seen so far. As with my review to Cult, this movie started out promisingly enough but my enthusiasm didn’t last for long. The movie is rather uneventful and it isn’t scary or tense in the least. The storyline is straight forward and to the point. The girls are constantly asked ‘if they are willing to sell their soul to the devil’ for the chance to appear on Kouhaku. Taking part in Kouhaku is a big deal for any music artist in Japan as nearly half the population tunes in for the 4 hour spectacular (though I’d rather watch Downtown’s 24 Hour punishment game which airs at the same time than this!!). Not much happens apart from seeing some orbs floating and some things banging around the girls at the school. There’s one or two creepy moments but on the whole it isn’t a good movie and it gets very tiring by the end. I know I’m criticising the very low budget for the movie but the crude special effects are pathetic to say the least. I’m guessing that Shiraishi’s tactics of baiting the group’s fans to check out the movie helped with the box office takings.


Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Momoiro Clover. I like the girls themselves – they are very sweet and you can’t help but warm to them even though I don’t like their music. They are seen as the next best thing in idols apart from the likes of AKB48, SKE48 etc and their popularity has skyrocketed in the past 2 years. Their acting does leave a lot to be desired and what was the point of having them perform a song twice in the movie (if only to please their fans). It did get annoying hearing them squeal like babies often. At the time of the movie being released, MomoClo (that’s what they’re called in short) weren’t that big of a group. Nothing nasty happens to any of the group during the movie although right at the climax one of the girls seems to be possessed by the spirit of Shirome……until you see what happens next after part of the end credits have been shown.

The only people who are going to enjoy this movie is Momoiro Clover fans. It’s an uninspring J-horror movie if i’m being honest and I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody.

Sadako’s Rating: 1.5 star out of 5

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Clannad (2007)

Clannad_movie dvd

Tomoya Okazaki is a high school student who doesn’t get along with his father since the death of his mother when he was a child and this has affected him. He is moody and sullen and only attends school as he has nothing better to do than hang out with his friend Sunohara. He keeps getting a strange dream that he is alone in an unknown world. One morning on the way to school he meets a girl called Nagisa Furukawa who asks if she can accompany him up the hill to school. He isn’t too bothered about the request and allows her to follow behind him. He discovers that Nagisa is repeating her third year as she was off the previous year due to illness. After meeting her again on the school roof, she tells him that she wants to restart the defunct Drama Club and has prepared some posters featuring some old mascots called The Dango Family. Even though the school council rejects her application and even defaces her posters that she has placed all around the school, due to intervention by school teacher Ms Ibuki the club is allowed to run. However as nobody joins, Tomoya and his friend Yousuke agree to join the club as backstage hands. Nagisa wants to do a soliloquy at the school festival based on a dream she keeps getting (the same one as Tomoya). Tomoya’s relationship with Nagisa deepens as he is introduced to her eccentric family who run a bakery. Will the two of them begin dating?

I watched the Clannad anime series about 5 or 6 years ago and enjoyed it very much but I passed up on the second series (After Story) due to negative comments about it. That was a mistake on my behalf as this movie compresses events in both series down to a 90 min movie. Two different companies have made their own version of Clannad. Kyoto Animation did the anime series whilst Toei did this movie. There are some subtle differences between the two which has divided opinion amongst fans namely the characterisations of the main players but I’ll go on about that in a bit. Surprisingly enough, this movie came out a month before the anime series was aired on Japanese TV (I’m not sure if Toei wanted to get one up on Kyoto Animation?).

clannad screenshot

I’d actually forgotten just how good Clannad really was until I watched this movie but I started to remember a lot as the storyline progressed. This movie concentrates more on the progressing relationship between the 2 main characters instead of spreading it out among the secondary roles in the anime series which wasn’t too bad a thing. What I noticed was how different Nagisa and Tomoya are from their anime counterparts and this is the main bone of contention amongst fans. Tomoya is far more angsty and resistant to Nagisa’s charm and Nagisa herself is far too cheerful and lively. She was quite a shy character in the anime if I remember rightly. As I haven’t seen the Clannad: After Story series I had missed out on the darker aspect of the storyline which is explored in this movie as well. The final episode of Clannad ended with Tomoya confessing his love to Nagisa and this is the point where I stopped watching it. In After Story the story continues after they have graduated high school with the couple marrying and even having a child but there’s a shocking turn of events as Nagisa dies soon after giving birth to their daughter Ushi which leaves Tomoya devastated and spirally into depression for 5 years. Thankfully the movie ends of a happy note reuniting father and daughter again as Tomoya has left Ushi to be raised by Nagisa’s parents. I did feel that the ending of the movie was rather rushed.

The animation is on a par with the anime series. It is crisp and the colours are vibrant. The haunting Dango Family song which was the ED theme for the anime wasn’t in this movie and I was so disappointed with that. Perhaps due to having watched the dubbed version of the movie maybe it wasn’t possible for the translators to create a straight forward English version of the song but the one they came up with isn’t half as good. I’m just wondering if the original song is used in the subbed version of the movie? At least the OP theme is played at the beginning of the movie. Even though I’m sure it was difficult for Toei to try and cram as much of the anime storyline into such a short space of time I think they did a brilliant job. The pacing given the time limitation is pretty good.

On the whole I think the Clannad movie is a worthy alternative take to the 2 anime series but I definitely prefer the series as it offers more character development and time to develop the storyline. I would recommend that anybody wishing to check this out to watch the anime series first before plunging into this movie. I will be aiming to watch After Story very soon. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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