Thursday, June 3, 2010

And now for something completely different! (それでは、全く違うことをどうぞ!)

Yes, I did just quote and (mis)translate Monty Python for today's title. I fail to see the problem.

Anyway. The meaning behind my seemingly out of place title should be perfectly clear:

I am going to write about a movie that I actually regret taking the time to watch.

It made me feel yucky for the rest of the day. So, in hindsight, it was a good thing I watched it late at night.

Though admittedly it may have been partially responsible for those odd dreams... though admittedly my subconscious is sort of a sadist, so I suppose, horrible as it may have been, no movie could be blamed for my nighttime romps into the surreal and nonsensical.

... and yet again I digress.

恋の門 (Koi no Mon, Gate of Love)

The International title is apparently "Otakus in Love," which is not only a mistranslation, but a VAST misrepresentation of the movie. Whoever was in charge of that department should be fired. Then cast into the sea. And shot for good measure.

I honestly can't tell you why I stuck with this thing to the end. It's possible that my good-natured, trusting naivete would not let me quit, desperate to find something redeeming in this film. It could be that my cynical side wanted the grim satisfaction of being able to warn others away from this horribly confusing excuse of a film. Or, honestly, it could be because I was waiting for the one sex scene that didn't end in someone throwing up or having mass delusions.

... yea. That's just the kind of movie it is.

Basically (and I do mean basically, because I honestly don't think I'm capable of giving a good, unbiased summary of this thing), starving, obsessed-with-rocks artist Mon runs into crazy-pants-otaku-doujinshika Koino on the street, and both find themselves intrigued by the other--Koino thinks he's hot, and Mon sees her panties.

... yea. I probably should have turned it off right there.

But, Mon is played by Matsuda Shota's (my first idol crush) somewhat attractive older brother, Matsuda Ryuhei, and perhaps that's why I found myself inexorably dragged onwards...

(Also, I thought the pun in their names as related to the title was sort of cute. I'm a sucker for puns, you know.)

Though it appears that the two will never meet again after their brief encounter on the street, Koino takes Mon home with her after his attempt to gain a part-time job at her company (followed of course by a welcoming party with complimentary booze and jerky co-workers) fails utterly. We find out that Mon draws manga on rocks, and is defensive about his art form.

After a drunken night together, Mon awakes, thinking that he's finally lost his virginity, but finds instead that he has been dressed in cosplay while unconscious by the horribly, horribly otaku Koino, who wants to do a photoshoot with him.

See, see, it COULD have been charmingly quirky.

And instead we get to see the, in actuality, rather frightening aspects of otaku life (using up one's rent money on goods, fighting online, slacking off at to work to attend tours and cons), the over-use of the throwing-up-when-nervous gag, and a whole hell of a lot of loose plot ends that really go absolutely nowhere.

In the end, it just made me feel a little gross inside to see this aspect of life, which just seems so dismal and hopeless and fake.

And see, the thing is? Mon is only an otaku in the broad sense that most "International" folk don't even really understand. He is ridiculously single-minded when it comes to his, quite frankly, ridiculous rock art, which technically qualifies him as part of the otaku fold, but when compared with Koino and her brethren, I think that most audience members would draw a different conclusion--particularly those outside of Japan who don't really have a firm grasp of what otaku means (aka those for whom the international title was created). Basically, being an otaku means having a deep-set, single-minded, possibly harmful obsession with something. You can be a train-otaku, an anime-otaku, a game-otaku, whatever strikes your addictive personality's fancy. It originally stems, I believe, from the fact that otaku tend not to leave their homes very often, focused as they are on their interests (お宅, otaku, a polite term for a third or second party's home).

Then again, maybe I'm not giving my fellow gaijin enough linguistic credit.

Regardless, though. Consider this post a warning. I do not recommend this film; it does NOT receive Edo's stamp of approval.

And really, it's not that I just don't like silly/slightly weird comedies; I love The Handsome Suit (another post!) and 少年メリケンサック. This movie just... blargh.

And I had such high hopes for it, too...

This is Edo, signing off and consoling herself with pictures of the younger Matsuda...

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