Jmovie Review Round-up: Clover, Ao Haru Ride, Attack on Titan

I’ve been watching a few movies of late and marathoning a few dramas as well. In the past two weeks I’ve watched Clover, Ao Haru Ride, and Attack on Titan. The latter two are live action adaptations of two popular manga series.

cloverLet’s start out with Takei Emi’s Clover. In it we have young 20-something Suzuki Saya who works in the event planning department at a hotel and who is constantly getting into scrapes. Her 30-something superior Tsuge Susumu (Okura Tadayoshi from Kanjani8) is a seemingly cold perfectionist who announces his interest to date her out of the blue. The only problem is Saya has been waiting for her first love Hino Haruki (Nagayama Kento) since they were separated in middle school. Oh…and lets add on the wealthy daughter of the hotel owner Tsutsui Shiori (Watanabe Natsuna) who selfishly decides she wants Tsuge all to herself.

Gah. Well…I guess the one thing this movie had going for it was that Takei Emi actually acted very naturally. The character was definitely more in her comfort range than some of the others she’s played and I felt that she had a bit more of a connection than she’s had in other roles. Okura…did a good job in playing the straight-faced Tsuge and he could show emotions when they were necessary. But…overall, this movie was a huge failure.

How exactly are we supposed to believe that this man who shows no interest or emotion when he suddenly drops his interest in Suzuki’s lap? And given what we’ve seen of Sazuki at this time, it really doesn’t make sense from a logical standpoint that he’d choose such a person as a possible fit for him. Sorry, just didn’t think there was enough of a buildup or signs to point us in the direction that Tsuge could possibly be interested in Suzuki. And then there is no dating or romance. Oh…there is a date or two. But they have drinks together and then don’t have really anything to do with each other for a long time. Sure, Suzuki thinks they are supposed to be dating but you get no hint from Tsuge that they are a real couple. And then there is their bookstore date where it technically is their first official date and they are already sleeping together. Again, not enough buildup or believability and it seems kind of out of character for the innocent Suzuki to jump into a man’s bad so quickly.

Also, we cannot forget Nagayama Kento’s Hino. You kind of get the feeling that he’s probably not over her and is just hiding it, but is there really any reason for him to do so? And how come he’s always comforting Suzuki with all of her problems, but she never reciprocates even when she knows he’s got his own issues? No offense, but he felt superfluous. And that whole hotel siblings part of the story was just ridiculous. Forcing Tsuge to marry to further his career because the sister fell for him and his cold ways? Meh.

Ao Haru Ride posterAo Haru Ride follows the story of two high schoolers reuniting after an unexpected separation before their first love could ever be actualized in the first year of middle school. Honda Tsubasa plays Yoshioka Futaba. Her fear of being alone like in middle school has her becoming completely unfeminine in hopes of having  a lasting friendship with girls. The only guy she ever liked was Mabuchi Kou (Higashide Masahiro) and he’s now become someone totally different thanks to his parents divorce and subsequent death of his mother. The story really follows the story between Kou and Futaba and the big, true friendship that is supposed to be brewing among them and three others is very much in the background and isn’t delved into too deeply.

Despite that this movie is your fairly typical high school romance in many ways, the acting was well done and the story wasn’t too bad. Although the presence of the tiny Narumi Yui (Takahata Mitsuki) could have been cut out. Sure, she was an obstacle, but especially with how it’s all played out at the end, her existence in the move seems to be an unneeded addition, although I’m sure she’s an important and annoying character in the manga, too. Chiba Yudai as a love obstruction also fell flat as there just wasn’t enough there to really build on even though you know he’s got a crush on Futaba.

I guess the biggest problem is that this is based on a manga and thus there’s a lot missing to the plot because of this as there is just no way to really do a manga justice in a live action movie without cutting out lots of events and moving certain people farther into the background than they might have originally been. Despite this drawback, it was still a nice little movie. Out of the three I watched, this is probably the best.

AoT Live Action posterI haven’t read Attack on Titan nor watched the anime. This movie literally made me sick to my stomach. I’m not a huge fan of horror or gore and they loved doing gore in this movie. Buckets of blood, people getting eaten and dismembered. Shivers.

So the plot of the movie has humans struggling to survive against a race of giant beings known as Titans. Two years ago a giant titan breached the outer wall of the three walls built to keep titans away and now the inner reaches of the humans are determined to plug the hole to reclaim their farmland since resources are being stretched too thin.

The movie starts with a trio of friends played by Miura Haruma, Mizuhara Kiko, and Hongo Kanata going to the wall. Eren wants to climb and see the other side, but they are caught before that can happen. At this time the titans attack the wall and come on in. It’s a free for all and the majority of all the outer wall denizens get eaten. At this time, Eren and Armin are separated from Mikasa and believe she was eaten. The two then join essentially the last team that will be going out to try to repair the wall.

There is tons of conflicts and tons of things that aren’t known, but somehow this ragtag group set off. They reach the first stop in their trip and meat up with Shikishima who is a hero captain of some sorts who is very good at killing titans. By his side his right hand…Mikasa.

I won’t lie, this movie really seems to not have much progression. It’s the attack by the titans and then it’s the soldiers setting out on their mission and…getting attacked by more titans. There really isn’t a whole lot other than that. There is a bit about the relationships between the team members, but it really is too confusing how it jumps so much. And then there’s that ending. Just when things I guess were heating up, the movie ends and you have to wait for the sequel.

Oddly enough when Eren fuses with that one tubby titan, I had this thought of Bleach where Ichigo struggles to overcome the Hollow part of himself. I don’t know why but that kept popping into my head. I think I’ll watch the second movie to see how they end it all, but again, not really a fan of this. Eren’s pretty tough but then he’s more like a baby at times and Shikishima…it’s hard to tell if he’s giving well meaning advice or of there’s something much more sinister about his words. Mikasa is just annoying. Oh, sure, she’s been out on the front lines killing titans and seems to have a very odd relationship with Shikishima, but she’s just…expressionless and then at the end her emotions finally kick into gear. I’m not quite certain why she believes Eren’s condition is all her fault at that time. Just too weird. Too many questions not enough answers.

5 comments

  • Clover is a manga adaption as well, though I don’t think it’s well known in the West. I think Ao Haru Ride was a decent adaption though it didn’t capture everything from the manga, it had the right feel. I like Takahata Mitsuki, who played Narumi, but her relationship to Kou felt too vaguely explained and failed to expand his character.

    I’ve held off on watching Attack on Titan, I think I’ll wait to go see it in theaters, though judging by your thoughts I’ll keep my expectations low. It sounds very different from the anime, that’s for sure.

    • I should have known Clover was based on a manga. I really did like Ao Haru Ride and its overall feel. I just felt sad that things were pushed into the background or weren’t given enough significance to add to the story like it should have, but overall, it’s a nice story about friendship and love and capturing that moment in time and how things change.

      Another blogger friend was complaining about how different AoT was from the original series and they weren’t very impressed with it. I think it could have been better if the focus just didn’t really center more on the gore aspect with the Titans ripping apart and eating every human in site whenever they were on screen…which was for most of the film really.

  • Where did you watch Ao Haru Ride?

    • I got a copy from avistaz.to

      • thank you^^

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