Japanese Movie: L♡DK
Nothing like a movie about first love. Especially when the film hit theaters in April, a spring month very suitable for first love. L♡DK is a live action movie based off the manga of the same name by Watanabe Ayu. It revolves around a male and female high school student who both live alone in the same building and end up cohabitating after a series of misadventures.
When it comes to anything based off of books…or an entire book series, there really isn’t enough time to go through all your favorite scenes and plots. I honestly can’t remember much from the manga. I do recall that I have read it. I’m not sure I finished it because it might still be ongoing. The thing about many manga series is that the longer ones end up getting highly repetitive and thus I eventually stop reading. Who really does care to see our OTP face a bajillion and one challenges just in order to be together. So…where was I going with this…oh, yeah. Yes, I have read the manga up to a point. No, I don’t remember enough to give commentary on accuracy of plot. I also just wanted to mention this because I do feel things weren’t as developed as well as they could have been in certain respects of the story due to the limited amount of time they had to cover everything.
I shall start off by saying that on a whole I did enjoy this movie. I especially enjoyed Yamazaki Kento’s acting as our leading man Kugayama Shuusei. I do believe this young actor played my favorite clone in the evil science fiction drama Clone Baby. His acting was such in a way that you really can’t tell he’s acting, he was quite natural. I only bring this up because our leading lady’s acting was…not the best. This isn’t because the actress is not any good. Gouriki Ayame has showed some very good acting chops in her various dramas and movies and she did have some shining moments in this movie. It’s just the problem that her characterization of Nishimori Aoi was really annoying. You know how exaggerated manga and anime can be with characters’ reactions. Sometimes it translates okay into live action and sometimes it didn’t. I found Gouriki’s acting to be painful at times because it was sooooooo much overacting and all those scenes with her screaming and yelling and throwing histrionics over little things was too much for me.
One thing I do find a little sad is the fact Kiriyama Renn had a role. I do believe his character had more significance in the manga than within this series. Sure, he’s suppose to be Kugayama’s competition for Aoi’s affections, but he faded into the background more than anything else. Sad days. I really would love to see more of Kiriyama in the forefront. A nice little cameo in this movie is by Takashima Reiko. I just love this actress. Her role is very small, she’s a kimono shop owner who helps encourage Aoi twice, but I still love seeing her even in this small role.
Okay, for people who want to know a little bit more about the story, here goes. Nishimori’s best friend Shibuya Moe (Okamoto Rei) confesses to Kugayama only to be coldly rejected very publically. The angry Nishimori storms up to him and the two argue about his rejection and Nishimori accidentally kicks him down a flight of stairs. This leads her to piggyback the young man home. I always laugh at the reverse piggyback rides when our seeming frail leading ladies carry the larger man. Anywho, in taking him home, Nishimori learns he’s her new neighbor and thanks to his injuries, she’s cleaning and helping him set up the apartment. She goes back to get food from her place and starts cooking only to freak out when she sees Kugayama shirtless and she inadvertently sets off the sprinklers. It will take some time to fix the water-laden apartment, so Kugayama moves in with Nishimori.
As always, the two start squabbling and Kugayama really loves to tease Nishimori. Eventually Nishimori and Kugayama start falling for each other, but Kugayama keeps his distance thanks to his ex-girlfriend Mizuno Satsuki (Ishibashi Anna). Like Kirayama’s character Sanjo Wataru, I actually felt that Satsuki was very minor and didn’t show up all that often even though her existence was a big stumbling block to our characters. Because Kugayama felt guilty over her hospitalization on Christmas three years ago, he’s vowed to stay by her side until she finds happiness. Thus he doesn’t confront his true feelings for his housemate and runs from them instead, earning him the wrath of his best friend Sato Ryosuke (Nakao Akiyoshi), Shibuya (who ironically ends up dating Ryosuke after being rejected by Kugayama), and Kugayama’s older brother Soju (Fukushi Seiji).
After a breakup of their non-official relationship, the OTP reunite at the Tanabata festival and kiss during the heart firework finale which is supposed to mean they will stay together forever. The end.
Again, overall it is a good movie. I do think that things were not developed as well as they could be due to the limitations of translating literature to the big screen. Thus Satsuki was not nearly as horrible a stumbling block as in the manga and I really od think Sanjo’s character was also shoved too far into the background. Sure he surfaced to warn Kugayama to stop stringing Nishimori along a time or two, but you don’t get enough to show that he’s really interested in the girl in a romantic and not brotherly way. I also think that Nishimori falls way too quickly without little provocation in this movie. After she falls then you get all their lovely scenes together. Since the main focus is on their relationship and cohabitation, everything else is just in the background and things don’t get as developed as they should be, which is a little sad.
Definitely a cute romance and if you can stick through Gouriki’s overacting, I think you will be able to enjoy it. I shall leave you with a favorite scene—the thunderstorm scene in which Nishimori gets really scared and Kugayama’s hand crosses the line so she can hold onto it and be comforted. It’s sweet and when his hand crawls under the curtain wall and waves at her to take it…just cute. And another favorite scene. Nishimori is a mess because Soju kissed her. Kugayama grabs her and scolds her as she cries and then he watches her for awhile before leaning in to kiss away her tears saying her first kiss has now been reset…he then proceeds to push her down a steep hill to make her laugh. LOL. What a great plan that was. And a few more scenes from their developing bond to their heartbreaking breakup.