Love Strikes! (2011)
Director: Hitoshi One ; Screenplay: Hitoshi One, Mitsuro Kubo
Cast: Mirai Moriyama, Masami Nagasawa, Kumiko Aso, Riisa Naka, Yoko Maki
When love strikes it can be the greatest feeling in the world but it can also lead to the greatest pain in the world. It can also be insanely funny for the rest of us who get to watch Yukiyo stumble and mumble his way through his various interactions with interested women (three out of the four women in the poster). His triumphs and setbacks are often followed by aptly chosen Karaoke songs or dance numbers. Their utter randomness is completely hilarious.
The over-thinking, obsession and anxiety that Yukiyo feels when he meets the playful and outgoing Miyuki and actually seems to be making progress is well portrayed in the film. Whether it’s through the previously mentioned songs or with Yukiyo’s own mad rambling thoughts being revealed to the audience, we are very much privy to his raging and seemingly uncontrollable emotions, those which come with perhaps being in love? Although other females do appear the only other rival, if briefly for Yukiyo’s affections is the shy Rumiko (Miyuki’s older sister). The sisters are not just eye candy though and their personalities are fleshed out. It would’ve been nice if Rumiko was portrayed as a more legitimate potential girlfriend however her situation does parallel Yukiyo’s in an ironic way. A third women who works at a bar is also introduced that leads to some laughs but despite a shared kiss, she is pretty much never seen again unfortunately.
The comedy does subside with the second half being more drama. While the ups and downs of dating are portrayed with honesty, the whole idea of moteki (when one is at the peak of their attractiveness to the opposite sex) in relation to Yukiyo’s nerdy character is a pipe dream which you either accept or you don’t. It’s easy to relate to his sexual frustrations but Yukiyo is often quite selfish which makes it a challenge to sympathize with the actual character. What are his good qualities that are suddenly attracting these women towards him? I couldn’t really say based on this film which is apparently a sort of conclusion to the TV drama series which was based on a manga. Despite this, the film is highly entertaining and very funny but you do have to suspend your disbelief.