Chika AnzaiYuichiro UmeharaAzusa TadokoroYume Miyamoto
Medium: film
Year: 2019
Writer/director: Takuya Sato
Actor: Ayane Sakura, Azusa Tadokoro, Chika Anzai, Miho Hayashi, Miku Ito, Minami Takahashi, Miyuri Shimabukuro, Yuichiro Umehara, Yume Miyamoto
Keywords: anime, SF
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 60 minutes
Website category: Anime 2019
Review date: 10 January 2023
frag time
It's a yuri (i.e. lesbian) film, based on a two-volume manga from 2013-14. It's also an SF coming-of-age story in which of the two main schoolgirls has a weird superpower, but apart from that it's a gentle little story about two girls who are both a bit messed up.
My main complaint about it is that the too-similar names. Moritani and Murakami. It's as if the author wanted to make a point about the characters reflecting each other or something. (Even the kanji in their names are loosely related, with the "mori" and "mura" both being tree-based, as is the "hayashi" in the surname of the third named schoolgirl, Kobayashi.) It took me a while even to realise that I'd been muddling two names.
MORITANI MISUZU is a shy wallflower who's bad at talking to people and tends to run away from conversations, perhaps wondering why this particular girl keeps trying to talk to her. She does this by freezing time. She can do this for three minutes at once. She does this at the start of the film and looks up Murakami's skirt, only for Murakami to start talking. For some reason, time-freezing doesn't work on her. (Personally, I think it's pretty clear that Moritani's powers reflects her emotional problems and her desire to avoid people, so this special case presumably came from her desire to get closer to Murakami. She hadn't consciously realised this, admittedly, but the skirt-flipping could also be taken as an indication of something not unrelated.)
MURAKAMI HARUKA is beautiful, popular and surrounded by friends. She's in control of her life. That's what everyone sees, anyway. In fact, though, she's a girl of contradictions, working hard at being popular while occasionally doing things with Moritani that would destroy her image if people weren't time-frozen and could see them. Sometimes this is a bit scary. Don't undress in class, Murakami. You've only got three minutes. No no no no no, bad idea.
It's a gentle story and a nice little what-if with a superpower that I think we could all imagine having fun with, but also a bit fucked-up. Both girls have issues. The only difference is that Moritani's are out in the open for all to see, while Murakami suppresses hers. What does she want? Is she aware of what she wants, or indeed of wanting anything in the first place?
It's a bit uncomfortable and a study of two schoolgirls who haven't even figured out themselves yet, let alone their relationships with other people. But it's nice and quite likeable.