Jmovie Recap: Last Quarter (Incredibly image heavy!)
***Special guest post by nichan***
“Last Quarter” is a Japanese movie based on a manga by Ai Yazawa. That manga isn’t “Nana”, which means I haven’t read it, so I can’t begin to tell you if it’s a decent adaptation of the original.
Here’s what I can tell you, though…
“Last Quarter” is the tale of this girl:
And her mind-numbingly slow journey to decide which of these two guys she wants to hook up with…
(And you thought you had problems!!!)
Yes, there’s more to the story, but it’s kind of long-winded. If you pay too much attention, you’re going to wind up looking like this guy:
Oh… And did I mention that most of this flick was shot in “Crazy 80s Overly Dramatic Children’s Fantasy Movie” mode? Yeah. Totally has that feel.
Okay, so anyway, the story starts out with Mizuki celebrating her 19th birthday. Mizuki is a happy-go-lucky girl on the outside, but on the inside, she’s the sort who you suspect has a whiny LiveJournal account, lurks around Hot Topic, and complains all day about how miserable her life is. She’d probably dye her hair black if it wasn’t already that colour.
Granted, she has some good reasons to be miserable. Her dad cheated on her mom, so her mom killed herself. And then her dad got some girl knocked up and married her. And Mizuki? Mizuki’s not particularly down with her step-mom or half-sister.
To add some spice to her internal torment, it seems like her boyfriend, Tomoki, forgot her birthday and just brought a cake to one of his crummy concerts. Oh, and her best friend gets plastered and shows Mizuki a photo of her getting it on with Tomoki. Happy birthday, Mizuki.
So Mizuki chucks a shoe at Tomoki and storms off into the night. She’s so angry she doesn’t think to take off her other shoe, and instead elects to hobble around like a one-shoed idiot. Good stuff, chicka.
Eventually she stumbles across an abandoned mansion and decides to take up breaking and entering as a hobby. Through the mansion she goes, down the hallway, and into the sitting room. There’s a guy there, but that doesn’t stop her. …Oh, and she’s still stumbling around with only one shoe on. Classy.
He seems totally cool with her being there, and he’s even strumming the song she’s got perpetually stuck in her head. It seems like a match made in heaven, so she decides to come back the next day. And when I say she “decides to come back”, I mean she runs away to his house. Yup. Nothing rash about this relationship. …Momma needs a rebound, I guess.
So she spends her days banging away on the piano, and then Adam shows up after the sun goes down. And he doesn’t speak much. But he does decide to choke her, so there’s that.
What girl could resist all that charm? When Adam informs Mizuki (over the phone) that he has to leave, she jumps at the chance to go with him. He tells her to meet him at the bus stop before the moon disappears, so she runs like she’s never run before. In high heels. This girl’s in love!
Spoiler alert: Mizuki gets hit by a truck. Protip, kids: Don’t go standing around in busy intersections gawking at the sky like a space case if you don’t want to meet the same fate.
Well, anyway, off she goes to the waiting room of the dead. Or the grove near a fraternity house. You decide:
While there, she meets up with Hotaru. It’s an awfully awkward scene, and it also marks the transition from where the movie was mostly following Mizuki, to where it mostly follows this girl.
Apparently getting hit by trucks is a popular fad, because, come to find out, Hotaru also got plowed over. Anyhoo, when we next see her, she’s being told by her mom to hurry up, because it’s time for school, and hey, don’t forget to microwave dinner when you get home.
Come to find out, Hotaru got run over while looking for her cat. The temporary interruption doesn’t slow her down in her quest, and in no short order, she’s back on the prowl, searching for her kitty. The trail leads, predictably, to the same mansion that had earlier attracted Mizuki’s attention. Oh, and Hotaru decides to break and enter, too. …This is a really bad neighborhood!
Boring story summarized, she finds Mizuki in the mansion, but it seems that Mizuki is a ghost now (she doesn’t realize that, by the way – she just thinks she’s an amnesiac 19-year-old trapped in a house). And while Hotaru can see the ghost, the boy who’s stalking her cannot.
Remember how I mentioned earlier that this movie has all the same sensations of an 80s flick about kids who wind up in the thick of a fantasy plot? Yeah… So after getting hit by a truck, breaking into an abandoned mansion, and meeting up with a ghost, Hotaru and her stalker, Masaki, decide to go on a hunt to determine what Mizuki’s story is. Hijinks ensue. …But not really.
Meanwhile, Mizuki starts having dreams about her past. But not her past as Mizuki. Nope. She’s dreaming about her past as Sayaka. …Sayaka and Adam. Ooooh! Plot twist! (Not really.)
So where are we in the plot at this point…? Oh! Right…
It seems that Sayaka was the girl who used to live in the mansion. She went to London to study the piano, and there she hooked up with Adam. Hey, here’s a shock for any fan of either HYDE (the dude playing Adam) or Ai Yazawa (I’m starting to see a pattern here): Adam was a singer! Thrilling plot twist: Sayaka died nineteen years ago! And, coincidentally enough, Mizuki is nineteen years old!
The key to the mystery of why Mizuki is trapped in the mansion as a ghost, and why she thinks she’s Sayaka, seems to be rooted in the whereabouts of Adam. By this point, though, the actors are starting to zone out:
But the plot must go on, so off Hotaru and Masaki go in search of more answers. Since Hotaru had met Mizuki in the waiting room of the dead, Masaki decides to root through the newspaper in an attempt to find out who else got hit by a truck on that fateful night. Thus, they figure out who Mizuki actually is, go to her college campus, and hunt down her boyfriend, Tomoki.
Tomoki takes them to the hospital where Mizuki is. It’s, like, the crappiest hospital ever…
Tomoki eventually finds it rather weird that two kids have come out of the woodwork asking about his girlfriend, so he follows them back to the mansion, watches them break and enter, and decides to do the same. Like… Honestly! Are there no cops in this town?!?
Once he gets in there, he hears them talking about “Eve”, which is their nickname for Mizuki/Sayaka. He storms in, thinks they’re playing a joke on him (like Masaki, he can neither see nor hear Mizuki), and attacks Masaki. Because, because that’s a reasonable reaction.
Mizuki intervenes, which freaks Tomoki out, and he has to leave to sort his thoughts out. After spending the night crying in the rain, he comes back with a new resolve to help two grade school kids try to figure out the mystery of why his girlfriend has become a confused ghost, trapped in a mansion.
You know how I mentioned earlier that Mizuki always has a certain song stuck in her head? Well, she plays it on the piano for Hotaru, who recognizes it from hearing Adam sing it on the TV. So Hotaru and Masaki go to a music store (those are places of antiquity where people used to go to buy CDs, which were the storage units of songs before iPods came into play) to hum the tune to the salesclerks – one of whom recognizes it as a song by Adam’s band, Evil Eye.
After they find this out, they send Tomoki off in search of a videotape featuring Evil Eye so that they can see who Adam is. And yes, I just said videotape:
The videotape is a documentary of Evil Eye in London, nineteen years prior. (HYDE, the guy who plays Adam, loves to sing in English, so he takes this opportunity to act in English. It doesn’t go particularly well.)
Then this happens:
After thorough internet research, the team discovers that Adam killed himself after Sayaka died. So now they’ve got Mizuki’s body in a hospital, her spirit’s trapped in a mansion, she thinks she’s Sayaka and is pining away for Adam, Sayaka’s dead, and now Adam’s dead, too. Everybody’s confused at this point:
Oh! And in case you’re slow, the movie takes the time to make it really obvious that Mizuki thinks she’s Sayaka:
So Tomoki, Hotaru, and Masaki decide it’s time to bring things to a conclusion. Everybody’s bored, the acting has gotten simply awful, and, seriously, this movie has dragged on for what feels like an eternity at this point. They tell Sayaka that Adam is dead, and that she needs to get out of Mizuki’s spirit, and that Mizuki’s spirit needs to return to her body. Mizuki/Sayaka doesn’t take it particularly well.
Mizuki’s managed to escape the mansion, and she goes off in search of Adam. This doesn’t bode well for her body, though, and she keels over and dies. Tomoki freaks the heck out, as does everybody else. Then things begin to wrap up the way only an 80s children’s fantasy movie can.
Meanwhile, Mizuki’s back in the waiting room of the dead, banging on the gate, waiting for Adam to let her in. And you know what? After all of this, when Adam is juuuust about to open the gate, she suddenly changes her mind. Like, she put us through all of this, and, oh!, now I want to go back to being Mizuki! Oh my gosh, you fickle brat! Make up your mind, would you?!?
Well, anyway, then things sort themselves out, and the movie finally comes to an end. We never see Hotaru again, even though she was a huge part of this movie – but we do see Masaki trying to start a forest fire:
Tomoki and Mizuki, meanwhile, go off on a romantic stroll in the night. Tomoki appears to have learned his lesson from this whole affair and seems to be motivated into upgrading from the useless slacker he had been at the beginning of the movie. …Oh, and there’s a creepy twist at the end, but I don’t want to ruin it for you since I’ve obviously sold this movie so well that you’re clamoring to run out and get yourself a copy to watch, now.
Anyway, then the credits roll. I sit through them every time ’cause HYDE sings, and… Honestly? I got this movie because he was in it. I’m a fangirl. Deal with it.
There’s a little clip towards the end of the credits in which Adam gets trapped in a boat. I feel pretty bad for him: Everybody else managed to escape this disaster of a movie except him.
And that’s it! That’s the general gist of “Last Quarter”!
More about nichan:
i like cantonese music, japanese music, a dash of korean music, and our site owner has recently exposed me to mandarin music. — joey yung was my introduction to asian music.
i like manga and anime. — “sailor moon” was my introduction to anime, and my first manga obsession was “gravitation”.
i really like ancient chinese literature. — i believe “the tale of genji” was my introduction to asian literature, but i very quickly converted from japanese to chinese. i’m pretty sure my first chinese literature experience was “a dream of red mansions”.
i was a history major in college. i did my senior thesis on the comparison of yaoi and slash fan histories. when i got out of college, i still had a year left on my parents’ insurance, so i went back to the local college and did an independent study on learning world war i through “gundam wing”.
i like the occasional asian movie, but i don’t really have the attention span for movies…
i loves me some loligoth/gothloli
the problem, you see, is that i’m way, way, way too cheap and lazy to bother getting new stuff, so i predict that all of my reviews will be on things i’ve already watched/read/heard, rather than new and up-to-date releases. don’t be expecting to see new titles and whatnot listed under my name… i buy from the bargain bin!