Yuri TsunematsuRiki TakeuchiAyami Nakajo3D Kanojo
Real Girl (live-action movie)
Also known as: 3D Kanojo Real Girl (live-action movie)
Medium: film
Year: 2018
Director: Tsutomu Hanabusa
Original creator: Akira Shiga
Actor: Hayato Sano, Towa Araki, Yutaro Goto, Mari Hamada, Moka Kamishiraishi, Sayaka Kanda, Takahiro Miura, Ayami Nakajo, Hiroya Shimizu, Riki Takeuchi, Yuri Tsunematsu
Keywords: 3D Kanojo
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 115 minutes
Url: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8746914/
Website category: Japanese
Review date: 25 February 2020
3D Kanojo
There's some excellent comedy in here and it often made me laugh. It's funnier than the anime. I like the cast. However the tone's often a bit too broad for my tastes. (In other words, I'd sometimes be swearing at the screen and telling the film to piss right off.)
It's frustrating. Unlike, say, Nisekoi, a good film is being sabotaged. Nisekoi was garbage. This film is basically excellent and gets a lot of things right, with interesting casting choices and lots of cool moments. It's a great ensemble and everyone's solid, doing explosive work in scene after scene. Also the actors playing the nerds aren't beautiful, thank goodness. Hayato Sano (as Tsutsui) is full of interesting choices, finding kinds of absurdity that are funny and new, but still true to the character. Ayami Nakajo (as Ikarashi) lived up to my expectations of her, putting more emotional layers into her performance than anyone. Yutaro Goto (as Ito) is outrageous, but it works. Hiroya Shimizu (as Takanashi) is absolutely perfect, being such a walking turd that he can create reality in some of the film's dumbest moments and make them hilarious. Yuri Tsunematsu (as Ishino) can command scenes at the drop of a hat.
I'd even argue that the film's strengths are the flip side of its annoying scenes. It's overplaying the material. It's in Japanese TV comedy mode, pushing scenes beyond normal performance limits. Look at the scene where Tsutsui's trying to convince Takanashi to date Ishino, for instance. Look at Tsutsui's goofy expression. No ordinary actor would dare to do that. It's a pisstake... but it works. The film pulls it off. When it succeeds, bold choices like that give the comedy a unique energy.
Often, though, it doesn't. Tsutsui's family need shooting. Someone, please, dig a shallow grave. Their overdone facial expressions will make you want to kill... and the worst of it is that these are good actors. I'd been looking forward to seeing Mari Hamada again, while Tsutsui's father is Riki freaking Takeuchi.
Sometimes my objections were subtle. I'd struggle, slightly, to believe in the reality of a moment. The bit at the beginning where Tsutsui's facing a fallen granny and a box of kittens. The mildly cartoonish teacher who'd been expecting to see Takanashi, not Tsutsui. The film also has a regrettable tendency to do something delightful and funny... and then over-egg the pudding by immediately repeating it. (I'm thinking of Ayado falling over and the sychronised scene with Ishino and Takanashi.)
Other scenes, though, are eye-rolling. Ito's wiggling cat ears. Ikarashi beating up Takanashi looks so stupid that it destroys both the film and Takanashi's character. (Shimizu had been great in the role, but he sinks without trace in what comes next.)
So that's the first 1 hour 22 minutes.
After that comes the five-year time skip. In the anime, this was the end of the 24th episode. Here, it lasts over half an hour. They drop the goofiness (good) and get all serious with "Ikarashi's Going To Marry The Wrong Man" melodramatic cliches. There's no point in watching all that. Just turn the film off. You know what's going to happen and it's all so predictable that it's an insult to the characters and the story.
They've also changed what happened during the missing years. This fixes one logic problem ("why didn't she keep a diary?"), only to create a far bigger one ("if she wasn't in Los Angeles, why sever all contact with everyone who knew her?") The answer to the latter is presumably that her doctor's a dick, but didn't her family have anything to say about this? Does she not have a brother in this continuity? (Possibly not.) Or parents?
They've also watered down the plot. The anime's far harsher than this film, which has everyone being nicer to each other and Tsutsui not being an uncomfortably broken person who's capable of overreacting in a prickly, hurtful way. No one makes false accusations of child-snatching. There's no sex (at all, of any kind, between anyone). Anything challenging or difficult has been cut, for the sake of creating a happy, charming comedy that you could show to anyone. (In fairness, this was successful.)
I'm glad I saw this film. When it's good, it can be excellent. The scene where Ito "confesses" to Tsutsui is genuinely interesting and good. There are lots of funny scenes and moments. I could laugh even at something as small as Tsutsui saying "imo". This film was capable of making me laugh even in the middle of a scene that was otherwise so overplayed that I'd been snarling. There's a lot to admire here... which just makes the bad stuff all the more baffling. Why inflict those misjudgements on an otherwise good film? Why, why, why?
Sometimes this film's on the right side of the tightrope and sometimes it's not. I reacted strongly to both sides.