Yesterday Review

I remember seeing the trailer for Yesterday way back in the day. It’s got a solid premise to it and reminds me of a writing prompt challenge on Reddit. You basically take a scenario and then see how far you can run with it. That’s basically what the film is doing here and so it’s not trying to let you know how this scenario came to be or anything like that. It just takes the premise and goes forward. I don’t think the movie did as much as it could have with the concept though and the ending isn’t super satisfying but I thought it was a fun ride overall.

The movie starts with Jack not doing so well at yet another musical performance. He is trying to write a lot of hit songs but the problem is that people just aren’t very interested. He tells his manager Ellie that he is finally giving up for good. His plans are put on pause though when he is run over by a bus. The world loses electricity for a moment and then a bunch of things are erased from history. All of a sudden nobody knows who the Beetles are, Coke a Cola doesn’t exist, and a number of other things are gone. The world just changed overnight and Jack is seemingly the only one who remembers the old universe. Nobody knew who he was before but with the power of the Beetles perhaps he can change that! Will he finally be a household name or is it possible that he just doesn’t have the voice for this?

So it’s a fun setup and I actually like that it wasn’t just the Beetles who are gone. By also removing soda and other things, it shows that this world is different in quite a number of ways and we’re just focusing on the change that Jack cares about. It gives the writers complete control to come up with a lot of interesting dynamics in here. Jack can try to get famous now but he will always have that fear in the back of his mind that history can reset and then suddenly he will be doomed. Is it worth it to get famous like this? Also, is he doing a disservice by using the music as his own?

Now to the moral question there, if the Beetles completely don’t exist then I don’t see anything wrong with using the music as your own. Put it this way, if Jack doesn’t sing the songs then they will never exist in the world and nobody can enjoy them. Yes he should be ethical enough not to try to really wring every penny out of the people but I don’t think it’s a problem to get rich off of this. So he can go and play as normal and it should be fine. My problem with Jack is more basic. The man does absolutely 0 research. He is on several interviews where people ask him why he chose the name of the song and he just has a baffled look on his face every time. You’re telling me he never thought that someone would even ask that question? It just makes him look so bad to be caught unaware each time. That’s not a good look for him and this happens way too often.

My problem with Jack is he doesn’t adapt to the situation and approaches everything half heartedly. This leads into the main problem in the film which is the romance. This part gets way overly dramatic and takes away from the fun little story that we’ve got here. So Ellie likes Jack and basically that’s why she’s always been driving him around for the last 20 years and is his manager. She just wants to help him out as much as possible and hopes he will notice her someday. So she has to take some blame here but I’ll get to her in a minute. For Jack, well he didn’t notice all those years and that’s fine. He may have just assumed she was being a good friend and that’s actually a very reasonable position. When you’re dropping hints they have to be legitimate hints because otherwise it may have just been the person being kind. If I was Jack I wouldn’t assume that Ellie liked him like that because at least as the viewer we see no indication of that.

Where Jack goes wrong is she actually does confess in the middle of a party. Jack was in a hurry but you absolutely have to respond and instead he just dashed off. Yeah that’s a full rejection if I’ve ever heard of one so later on when he tries to explain it just comes off as forced. He made his choice and now he has to live with it. It’s just way too late for him and so later on when he’s confessing and trying to win her back you can’t root for him. Particularly since she has already gotten a rebound boyfriend by this point. That should have been the end of the romance earlier and the film ends on that sad note where he is super rich and has everything in the world but lost Ellie in the process. Sure it’s not the super happy ending a viewer may want to see but it makes a whole lot of sense.

Then for Ellie well she should have confessed sooner. It’s traditional that the guy confesses to the girl but that’s not how this works. You’re not living in a movie and so you could lose your opportunity if you don’t go for it. If you like someone then you have to make the move. So Ellie had 20 years where she could have asked him out or at least been more direct about the whole thing. Then she got another boyfriend rather quickly even though she admitted that she still liked Jack. That’s really the biggest problem here because then she’s just using poor Gavin and as soon as Jack was ready for her she ditched him in an instant. That’s not a good romance and it reflects badly on her for that quick rebound.

I can’t say that Gavin had a lot of self respect either since he admits that he knew he was the rebound. Look if you know that you’re the rebound then you shouldn’t say yes. I don’t care how big your crush is, it’s not worth being the second choice because at any point you may be pushed back into that spot. You just need to get over your feelings and find someone else. So the romance was definitely the weak point of the film and will have you groaning the whole time. Don’t even get me started on the ending. I won’t go into specifics here but a lot of times there seems to be a black and white choice about being happy or being rich and I always feel that you can do both. So I didn’t agree with a certain decision by Jack.

On the whole the film was fun though and part of what makes it succeed is the fast pacing. The character cast is strong for the most part too. I liked Ed’s boss Debra as a solid villain the whole time. Every minute she was on screen she was insulting somebody and that was fun. She is not someone who will talk behind a person’s back, she’s just direct with her insults and I can appreciate that. It would have been nice if Jack could have talked back at least sometimes though instead of just taking it every time. It’s part of what makes him look bad here since he should have been saying something to his defense instead of just taking it each time. Cmon Jack you’ve gotta have more confidence than that.

Speaking of low confidence though, I thought Ed didn’t look good at all. Early on he challenges Jack to a contest and then when he loses the guy sulks immediately and goes to bed. Cmon you can’t act like that just because you thought that you would win. It makes you look like a sore loser. There’s also Jack’s friend but that guy is annoying since he squanders every opportunity. You’re supposed to feel bad for him but all of his issues are his own fault so how could you feel bad for him?

Towards the end of the film we ratchet up the tension a bit as two new characters come in that threaten to shake everything up but it’s more of a red herring. I thought that the idea of these characters was interesting but also brings up more questions about the premise. That’s why I would not have included them. Again I don’t think it’s bad that the film chose not to explore why these things were removed from history. We just have a scenario and you roll with it but adding a new element makes you think about the origin which is the problem. I feel like they were just there to make the scene rather tense but should have been cut out completely.

After all this is more of a comedic film first and foremost so it’s not like you needed a lot of danger. The film is at its best when it’s just having fun and the humor does land rather well most of the time. I thought the writing and script were solid as well. I’d even give the soundtrack a thumbs up since the little jingle that would play when he noticed something was off was pretty fun. Even just having one theme that stands out put this one way above most movies.

Overall, Yesterday is a good movie. I do feel like it left a whole lot of meat on the bone though and could have been better with a stronger pair of leads. Re-organize the romance a bit and remove the extra characters from the equation. Do all of that and this movie gets exponentially better in an instant. It’s still a movie I would recommend checking out though and I’d be down with more films like this where something happens and we see how the main character handles it. In a way this is like an Isekai even if the main character hasn’t left because he has knowledge that everyone else does not. It’s part of why the genre has gotten so big because it’s fun to imagine what you would do in that person’s place.

Overall 6/10

Horimiya Review

I finished Horimiya up quite a while ago but now it’s time to really dive into this one. The romantic comedy manga lasted quite a long while and it’s always impressive to see since you just tend to associate long running titles with the classic Shonen Jump action. Well this one had a fairly big cast so they got to set up a lot of romances here. Mainly what holds the series back a bit compared to other romance series is that the main two are rather weak next to other Shojo heroines/heroes and their dynamic might just be the weakest out of any pairing within its own series. Well we’ll have time to tackle all of that in a minute.

Hori is a very popular girl at school. She’s outgoing and doesn’t back down from any challenge but the big secret she hides from her classmates is that she has to watch after her little brother Souta after school. She transforms into a completely different person once she’s home since she can relax and it’s almost like a disguise so nobody recognizes her. One day she is caught though, by the really quiet, timid guy known as Miyamura. Nobody really approaches that guy because he keeps to himself but in private he actually enjoys tattoos and piercings. The guy looks completely different and rather fierce outside of school but it turns out he’s actually a real softie but doesn’t want to hurt his image. So the two agree not to say anything and now they can actually be good friends who are relaxed with each other. This will also make it easier if Hori needs to sneak out since Miyamura can cover for her. That said…can they really remain friends??

Yes! Not a chance! This is a romance series after all but that would have been a nice change of pace. That said, the series does have a lot of actual boy/girl friendships that don’t transform into something more so I give the series props there. For example Hori’s best friend Yoshikawa is very outgoing and gets along with Miyamura pretty well once he’s a part of the friendship circle and the two have a fun dynamic that never has to become anything more than that. I would include Hori and Ishikawa but he actually did like her and just ended up losing out so not sure that counts. At least they stayed on good terms though.

So lets jump into two of my main issues with the series before we go into the positives. The first one is the art which I think can be really hit or miss. Sometimes the pages will really pop out with a great double spread or a really detailed shot of the characters. The artist can clearly do a great job when needed but it’s the average panel where things get tricky. I constantly would mix up Sengoku and Ishikawa because their designs are so similar. Then once the cast expanded to include other students it got really confusing. All of the girls are distinct but the guys feel like they all have the same look and only the hair can help you tell them apart. Even that isn’t easy since the series is in black and white after all. Having distinct designs for all of your characters is a must for any series and this just felt like a big weakness as a result. You should never be in a position where you are regularly mixing up characters or I always have to say that goes squarely on the artist.

Then my other issue is as I mentioned before of the dynamic between Hori and Miyamura. The problem is that it’s never all that funny and they seem like better characters when they’re apart. So Hori has this whole thing where she gets real excited when Miyamura is upset and constantly encourages him to hit her. Because he is a pacifist and also a decent person he never wants to do this so she’ll end up sulking for a while. It’s a rather bizarre dynamic and of course part of the point is that Hori is a bit strange when she’s not putting on her school mask but even for her it’s a bit much. I’m thinking the attempt is to be like a reverse tsundere where you have the guy constantly blowing up at the girl but it just doesn’t work.

It also makes their relationship a bit one note since that gag is a constant. Ironically Souta helps out since at least when he’s causing trouble you have Miyamura defending him while Hori gets upset and that can always be more entertaining. The series absolutely has good humor throughout but it just lands better when they’re apart. Whether it’s Hori threatening the rest of the student body or Miyamura having to try and choose the option that causes the least amount of trouble when debating with friends, there’s a lot to enjoy there. The romance is just a weak link which is a bit rough considering that this is a big romance series at heart. You have shipping being done constantly throughout the series after all.

Where I will give the series some points is that it does have the characters talk about a lot of normal everyday stuff without always having to throw some drama in there. This could be boring for some but I think it makes sense to emphasize that this is a fairly small city where not much happens. So Hori and Miyamura will sometimes just hang out at home doing nothing except talking about nonsense or watching a movie. In that way they’ve already been together long enough where it’s not like every day has to be some kind of big event. Just being in each other’s company is calming enough and it’s a fairly mature take on how the relationship would be like.

Additionally, because they get together fairly early on in the manga, that gives more time for the relationship to develop. They go from being good friends to dating and keeping that same vibe. So while their dynamic may not be my favorite, I can’t say that the author rushed it. For some positive things about the dynamic, I like that Hori is a super direct person so there’s never any beating around the bush in their conversations. There’s no arc about her getting jealous and tailing him across the city to see if he’s cheating or trying to see if he’s interested in going out by asking a series of Jeopardy style questions. When she wants to do something she just blurts it out and if she wants to eat something she just does. Miyamura works at a family bakery so he’ll just bring along some good snacks and she’ll eat them. Being direct like that is definitely a plus.

Now the series is 16 volumes long so with the main romance out of the way, what else really happens here? Well, you have two other main pairings with Ishikawa and Yoshikawa as well as Remi and Sengoku. These were sort of set up early as well, maybe less so for Yoshikawa but the end game pairings are clear from the jump. This just gives them more of a chance to set things up and think about their next steps. For the most part is works well enough. You should be suitably engaged in what’s going on. You may not be on the edge of your seat like with Nisekoi or Kaguya Sama but you won’t be bored and that’s the important thing.

So I’ve already talked about Hori quite a bit. She’s a really fun main heroine although with how outgoing and direct she is, I do wonder in hindsight why it was really a big deal about the others seeing her with Souta. Honestly I get the feeling that they really wouldn’t care at all. Her best friend certainly wouldn’t and her childhood friend used to hang out with her all the time so he wouldn’t have a problem. Outside of the inner circle the rest probably wouldn’t bother her much. It’s the kind of thing that you question a bit more in hindsight but hey school reps are really important for people so it could just be that simple. Could just be a quirk of hers like how she can get real possessive of Miyamura even though she completely trusts him. She’d still just rather he not be hanging out with anyone else too often although in this case the gag is that she doesn’t care when he hangs out with other girls but other guys for too long is a no no.

The series does have a lot of annoying “guy talk” at times though so they probably aren’t the best influence around him anyway. The characters can be rather desperate at times and that’s why Miyamura needs to keep them at arm’s length. In a way he already does which some of the characters don’t like but you gotta do what you gotta do. Miyamura’s a good main hero. I do think that he goes a bit over the top with the tatoos and piercings though. He drops that entirely as the series goes on which I’d say was a good thing since his character design is much better without them. Ultimately of course fashion is up to the wearer so if he prefers that look then he should go for it but it just felt like something more out of a horror manga when he would pop in at times.

I was always glad that he held firm to his ideals and wouldn’t relent to Hori when she wanted him to get upset at her. I like how chill the guy is. It’s hard to get under his skin but if he is upset then he would let you know . He can be firm with the other friends when needed like if they took things too far at any point. It’s also cool that he works at the cake shop. It had to be so convenient to be able to bring home a cake whenever you want. Would be easy to start gaining weight of course but that would just be so convenient.

Then we have Souta who in a way does a lot of matchmaking since he is one of the main reasons why the two get together. He’s just young enough to still be oblivious about all of this though which is nice since a kid trying to interfere is always annoying. Soura’s too young to do much of anything really but he’s okay. As far as kids in these titles go I didn’t find him super annoying or anything like that.

Next up is Yoshikawa and she’s another quality character. She’s always got a brave face on even when things aren’t going her way and that’s commendable. She’s someone that Hori can lean on and vice versa when things are going tough. Her romance gets a little less time to really develop here though and she was on good terms with everyone so just ending p as a good friend would have been a solid end for her character arc. Either way she added a lot to the school dynamic and her character arc about being more confident was one of the most serious ones in the series.

Then there is Ishikawa who is a bit of a punching bag for a while. The guy isn’t super talented and definitely has confidence issues with how Hori had him in the friend zone for so long. The guy liked her for a while but she barely even sees him as a guy which is rather sad for him. Of course that’s why his next romance would be an automatic rebound since he only moves on because she made it clear that he would never have a chance. That’s pretty tough to handle when you think about it. I’m glad that things go up for him though because otherwise it was just a sad adventure for him.

Remi is a lot of fun and almost feels out of place among the other students because she’s a lot more gimmicky than the other characters. She talks about herself in the third person all the time and definitely cries a lot. Remi really gets super emotional at times which makes her really contrast with the very serious Sengoku. Naturally you can probably guess who gets paired here. Ultimately I did like Remi though. She was fun to have around but even though she was a main supporting character, I felt like she didn’t interact with Hori quite as much as you’d expect. I guess it’s a case of their both being in the same room a lot but never really having much to do at the same time.

Finally Sengoku is your classic by the books kind of guy who is really strict and has no fun. Naturally I don’t have him anywhere all that close to the other characters. I prefer characters who just have fun and go wild. I suppose you need a by the books guy sometimes but very rarely and Sengoku usually was more of a hassle to everyone than an actual help. That’s why he ends up lagging behind the others.

Honoka shows up later on as a fun little side character. She’s a bit younger than the rest of the characters so Hori and Miyamura tend to treat her like a kid which annoys her. She doesn’t mind when this ends up resulting in free food though so she’ll be a kid when it’s convenient to her. She adds some extra energy int the series so I appreciated having her around. Then you have Shindo who was Miyamura’s only friend back in the day and he’s one of those characters where you feel like the series is mean spirited against him for some reason. The guy is always just trying to be nice and helping out but gets treated like dirt most of the time.

Miyamura never wants to acknowledge that they were friends and is the only person that he bullies. Miyamura is typically super nice all the time but Shindo seems to bring out the worst in him. The worst part is that it rarely even starts off because of Shindo doing something wrong. In fact Shindo is usually just being a nice guy when Miyamura attacks him for no reason. This is another one of those comedic plots that just didn’t land for me since I would feel bad for Shindo in the end.

Yanagi was more on the forgettable aside. Apart from constantly breaking his glasses I’d have a tough time telling you much about his personality. He was around and nice enough but yeah he definitely got overshadowed. Then you have Hori’s parents. Her father gets more of a role and he always takes Miyamura’s side. In that sense the good part is that Hori doesn’t have to worry about her parents not liking him. That’s probably a huge relief when you think about it, but of course it does also mean that Hori will always be outnumbered in debates. It evens out since Hori is easily the toughest person in the room though as her father will usually shrink in the corner when challenged.

In some ways the manga is best when it’s just letting the two main characters just be cute for a while. A solid hug goes a long way compared to any shenanigans and one thing the manga shows a lot of is that Hori is a very clingy person. Once she is together with Miyamura she will end up grabbing him all the time for no real reason except to feel contact. It’s the little things like that which are fun and they both get a lot of inner monologues about how much better their lives are now that they have met each other. It also helps the comedic moments by extension since you know the characters more. Like Hori asking for Miyamura’s phone to do an inspection.

In another series that may feel like a bit of a jaded move. She doesn’t trust him or something but instead you know it’s just because she’s curious on what she’ll find and to mess with him a bit. They both trust each other but Hori being the aggressive heroine she is always likes to push things to the max. Then Miyamura is always calm enough where he will say yes to any of her demands/requests. No matter how inconvenient he would say yes to anything she asked him to do and so that makes for a good bond between them.

Overall, Horimiya is a good manga. I’d say what really keeps it from being a very good/great one is the character cast is a bit weaker than the other big Shojos and it’s just not as funny. For a long series like this of course there will be plenty of good jokes that land as well but there are also some more dull kind of lines that don’t really work. The manga has a bit more dead time than other similar titles and of course my mixing up characters from time to time doesn’t really help matters either. These aren’t the kinds of things that will feel too bad while binging though and ultimately the test of a manga is if you had fun and I’m confident that you will here. It’s still a very wholesome series throughout so if your local library or bookstore has the series then you should pick it up and give it a read.

Overall 6/10

The Luck of the Irish Review

It’s time for a fairly unique movie. See, I wouldn’t call this a comedy film but I wouldn’t call it particularly dramatic. Slice of life doesn’t really feel quite right here either. Apparently this should be called a comedy film but it’s not that funny…which sounds like a big shot against the film. Still, the writing was good and the pacing is on point, it just felt like the movie needed something to give it an extra boost. Some kind of plot element or big event that would push things forward a little more so in the end there aren’t really any ways in which the movie stands out so it won’t survive the test of time.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Stephen who is a reporter. The guy is pretty good at what he does but at the same time he doesn’t feel too fulfilled. His fiancé is rich and her father owns the company so he has a stable environment but in a way it’s like he hasn’t earned the job. Additionally there is a bit of a power dynamic here that he can’t ignore. One day he heads to Ireland on a business trip and meets a nice lady named Nora. He also wrestles a leprechaun to the ground. His life is a little more exciting now and once he goes home, both of them mysteriously appear there. The tricky thing is that he already has a fiancé so can he really get together with Nora?

The weakest part of the film in many respects is the main character. Stephen spends way too long being rather indecisive and not choosing whether he wants to be with Nora or Frances. He lets this decision hang in the air for a very long time and so he comes across as decisive. I also thought he could be rather rude at times like when he attacked Horace the leprechaun. Seriously he does this twice and you’d think that he would be nicer about the whole thing. Stephen comes across as greedy and not all that heroic. So you’re not really rooting for him and it feels like his problems are only rather big because of the mistakes he made. If he could just handle things a little better then he wouldn’t be in this predicament.

Meanwhile Nora is nice enough even if she should probably also be putting some distance from Stephen. She did sort of get the best of him by forcing him to eat a ton of food while she just watched though. Now that is what I’d call a true power play! The food looked okay although with stews I find them risky because of course it all depends on what is in them. Mix in the wrong vegetables or other items and we’re going to have a problem. Nora is kind throughout the movie though so you’re hoping that things go well for her.

Meanwhile Horace is a good character but at times he can be a bit oblivious. He also tends to get in trouble like drinking too much and not really knowing how to be a proper assistant. Sometimes he becomes a bother on purpose to mess with the fiancé Frances though. At the end of the day it’s always good to have a magical being on your side and he helps Stephen out quite a bit even if the lead doesn’t know it. You feel like the whole thing is rather unfair to Frances though. Of course she is portrayed as more of an antagonist here but the whole thing really isn’t even her fault. We never see her be all that rude or mean at all.

In fact she is trying to help Stephen’s career every step of the way and he doesn’t seem all that grateful. If he didn’t want to work for her father then he could have just chosen another career or handled things differently. So again I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for the guy. Also her father David seemed fairly decent. I mean he was a bit on the corrupt side and the kind of guy who would ask you to write any kind of paper for him but again Stephen could just leave. David never used his position as leverage against him.

Where the film succeeds is in being a very peaceful film with good vibes. It’s the kind of title you can absolutely have a good time with as you just watch the characters walk around. The scenery in Iceland is fun and I do appreciate the accents. While there is always something going on, since there aren’t too many big dramatic events happening, it still keeps that calm atmosphere. It doesn’t feel dragged out at any point either so even if it seems like the plot is very light, it’s not played out.

Again I would say that it could have used a little extra something to push it over the top but I would still call it a good film either way. It’s definitely not a bad film either way and I would actually recommend it if you are looking for something fun. Sometimes you just want a calming experience and if the main character was better then I would have given it another star too. It works in spite of him and not because of him.

Overall, The Luck of the Irish is a film you can have a good time with. Nothing much happens but I dare say that’s the intent as this is a very laidback film and thrives in that kind of atmosphere. Stephen is lucky that this isn’t one of those Leprechauns who is out for blood though. Attacking one of them in the way that the lead did would usually get you into trouble, especially when you are after his gold. Hopefully Stephen has mellowed out and won’t be trying any more stunts like this going forward. You like to think that he will be doing things the right way going forward.

Overall 6/10

Chances Are Review

Oh nooooooo! Sometimes you know before a film even starts that the premise is already going to be a swing and a miss. Well this one doesn’t disappoint and it’s one of those things where the premise is so bouncey that you’re not sure if it really could have been saved. There are definitely a lot of ideas you’ll have immediately to make it a bit better but ultimately this story just needed to not happen. Pick just about any other circumstance instead and you’ve got a shot.

Well, the movie starts with Louie about to get married to Corinne when his best friend Philip confides that he is currently in love with Corinne. Instead of knocking the stuffing out of Philip or running him over with the car, Louie confirms that he already knew this with a cocky smirk. Louie is promptly murdered after getting run over a car shortly afterwards but in the afterworld he has decided that he won’t pass on quite yet. He doesn’t get his memory erasure shot and runs back to Earth where he is reincarnated. 23 years pass and he happens to meet Corinne again and gets his memories back. She’s never rebounded so he figures he has a shot but now there is around a 26 year gap between them and he will have to defeat Philip for her affections. Additionally his daughter Miranda likes him since prior to restoring his memories he had started making passes at her. What can he do?

You can already see how messed up the plot is in a lot of ways. First off though, the way they handle Philip makes no sense. If Louie knows that the guy is in love with his wife then it’s time to kick him out completely. Sorry man but once everything is out in the open like that then it’s time to go. It’s never wise to ever even breathe a word about your feelings to anyone if you’ve fallen for someone who’s already taken. What you need to do is cry yourself to sleep and get over her right away. If you can’t then it’s time to move away or put some distance. Thing is, it should be easy to get over someone once they’re off the market.

It’s romance 101. Why do you think the first thing most people ask if if the girl/boy has a boyfriend/girlfriend? It’s because one you know that this is the case, you can move on immediately. It works basically every time. It’s like putting on a filter over your eyes like a pair of glasses. You may still acknowledge their beauty but you don’t see that girl as a potential lover anymore. It’s just such a basic thing and Philip still messed it up. Now the filter does fade away once she breaks up with the guy or he dies but it should work in the short term as a psychological block. Philip telling Louie this straight up is unforgivable especially since they’re supposed to be friends. It was a really selfish thing to do and it’s why you can’t root for him for the rest of the film.

After Louie dies you have to remember that the bro code is still in effect in perpetuity. It never runs out and that means you can’t go after your best friend’s girl. It’s just not something that would ever fly morally so Philip needs to buck up and keep it moving. It was good of him to look after her daughter Miranda and help out for 20 years. Sure that’s a good thing but unfortunately he did it with the intentions of getting together with her. He had nebulous intentions from the jump so I take away all of the credit immediately. This guy just needed to go away.

Now another issue with the film beyond the premise is that the romance is awful. Basically this film is going with the Chad approach that you can win anyone over with a kiss. For example Corinne says she wants nothing to do with Louie when he comes back as a 23 year old and keeps telling him to go away. So basically he just forces her to kiss him and the worst part is you see the exact moment where her mind just snaps and suddenly she wants to be with him. It was the power of the kiss and you roll your eyes when this happens. Then it happens again! Philip makes his move and of course she does the whole “We can’t be together” so he forces her into a kiss and the exact same thing happens. Suddenly she doesn’t want to be with Louie anymore and will stay with Philip.

It’s such a drastic change each and every time. You can’t possibly tell me that a romance built off of a stolen kiss can ever be successful. It will also just make you jaded. I’m convinced that half the reason why a lot of people don’t think guys and girls can ever be friends are films like this. I can picture people watching this film and jumping up and down, fist bumping, and high fiving when Philip goes after Corinne. “Called it!!!” and things like that will be yelled because he couldn’t have possibly been helping her out all these years out of the goodness of his heart.

Man the romance here is abysmal guaranteed. Then there is the whole plot with Miranda that’s pretty awful. Yeah Louie does stay away from her after he has his memories and of course, he better! It’s still just such a weird plot to throw in here and even by the end when the angel shows up with the memory drug it doesn’t make this much better. Corinne still remembers what happened after all as well as Philip and that’s going to make for a very weird family dynamic here. Also as a sidenote, Corinne just looks way too gullible here. If someone showed up saying that they were a reincarnation of anybody I would just laugh it away and keep moving. I’m not buying that story no matter what kinds of secrets they start spouting.

Why? Because I’d sooner believe in mind reading technology than reincarnation so I’d assume it was that. Any possible action this person can do I would have a better explanation for it than the person coming back to life but Corinne bought into this quickly. Well, the kiss is what pushed her over the edge which is actually much worse. I think somewhere deep within the film there is a good comedy film but it is trapped beneath the surface of the plot so it is absolutely doomed.

For example, we could have continued with the whole corrupt judge plot. There was a lot that you could have done with that but in the end it’s barely here at all. It never really ends up being very relevant at all to the point where you may even forget that there is a plot about a corrupt judge here. It has no bearing to anything. At best you can say that the car which ran Louie over was sent by the Judge but that’s never even implied. So yeah this plot was basically completely filler.

Worst part? The film ends with a massive plot hole. Basically the reason Louie got into all this trouble was because he left back to Earth before getting his memory shot and the afterworld has no defenses here. So in the final scenes the angel shows up and gives him the shot so he loses his memory. Problem is…if he could have done that then he should have done it 23 years ago while Louie was a baby. There was no reason to wait this long except for the plot to happen which means that this was bad writing. If your entire story relies on a plot hole then it’s not really a complete story at all. They should have just had Louie hit his head and forget his memories which is what I was expecting for a while there. It would have made wayyyyyy more sense and not introduced this issue at the very end. Or at least throw in a line that it takes 23 years to make a new serum. This could have been fixed so easily not that it would help the score much though.

Overall, This film was going for a weird/uncomfortable vibe with its style of comedy and it definitely succeeded. This is a plot that never needed to happen. Pretty much all of the scenes here get tainted as a result but even outside of the family dynamics the scenes outside of them are very underwhelming as well. You have an old lady falling for Louie so that he can get 2 million dollars for Corinne and it is just the most random thing possible. I know that this guy is supposed to be one of the most charming people in existence but it’s a bit much. I’d also say that the film forgets to be funny half the time as it’s more about everyone getting their feelings hurt and trampled on until the end. By the end nobody is a winner here. Philip was Corinne’s second choice. Louie had his whole identity obliterated in the end. Miranda is with someone who was just messing around with her mother and Corinne is with her second choice since Louie isn’t around anymore. Nobody within the film wins so the viewer loses out as well.

Overall 1/10

A Room With A View Review

A Room With A View is one of those romance films that has so much drama you can only shake your head. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong and it’s mainly issues that the main characters bring about themselves. The romance here is definitely terrible all the way through and there is so much cheating going on that you forget who the protagonists are supposed to be. It really checks off all the wrong boxes all the way through.

So the movie starts with Lucy and her overprotective sister Charlotte trying to enjoy their hotel stay. Unfortunately they don’t have a room with a window and that causes a whole big fuss even though it really shouldn’t. A man named Mr. Emerson offers his room but Charlotte makes a big show of being rude to the guy because she figures that this is improper for some reason. Ultimately the heroines do get the room though and it turns out that Emerson’s son George likes Lucy. He makes a move on her in the fields which wasn’t very gentlemanly of him and Lucy puts some distance between them. There is a time skip and Lucy is now engaged to a disrespectful, condescending guy named Cecil but George figures he still has a chance. How will this play out?

There are a lot of issues here but first of all, George making a pass at Lucy while in the fields was definitely over the line. That was supposed to just be a chance for a normal conversation to get to know each other but he immediately went for the kiss. This is always one of the most annoying tropes. Yeah you probably want to show some initiative when you like someone but that means asking her out or throwing in some complements. Not immediately going for the kiss because 9 times out of 10 that’s going to end badly and even if it didn’t, it’s not the proper thing to do. There is no class involved with that.

It then gets worse when George pulls this stunt again while Lucy is engaged. At this point that is completely cheating and the problem is that George knows it. Basically George says that Cecil is wrong for her and so he is trying to break them up but that’s really not his place to say. You really have to stay your hand at this point because once someone is engaged then you have to respect that and George clearly doesn’t. This impacts the whole film because he is in a sense rewarded for this by winning in the end as you knew he would from the second the film started. That’s not a great moral and he is such a bad character that this is annoying.

Of course the film isn’t trying to be subtle here so Cecil is introduced as a really bad character too. For starters he is constantly insulting Lucy’s family and has total disdain for all of their family traditions and activities. He basically sneers at them all the time and you have to wonder how he and Lucy possibly got together. It would seem like she is only with him out of obligation and that’s not a good relationship either. So Cecil is awful and the film shows no attempts at hiding this but Lucy should have broken up with him first rather than cheating on the side.

So Lucy takes a lot of the blame here too for being too indecisive and letting others make decisions for her. Throughout the film one of the issues is that her sister Charlotte likes to make all of the decisions to “protect” Lucy but then she ends up betraying the heroine anyway. She tells Lucy’s darkest secrets to her writer friend to publish for the world and that’s not something that you can take back. It’s also why secrets are never worth it because if you tell one person then you may have just told everyone. You either hold it with you forever or it’s going to spill out and at that point it’s game over.

You couldn’t root for Lucy because she is a pushover the whole time. Then Charlotte is super unlikable the whole time too and just like that we’ve gone through virtually every character. I guess Mr. Emerson was okay but mainly because he was out of the loop the whole time and didn’t get to appear much. Otherwise he is trying to play matchmaker and it’s not for a great relationship pairing so that would have been really annoying otherwise.

The film loves its drama as the characters go across whole cities and states and somehow keep bumping into each other anyway. There is just no escape from this “destiny” or at least that’s what they would have you believe. That said, you cannot succeed if none of the characters are likable. Straight up it’s just going to be impossible to pull that off no matter how good or engaging the writing may try to be. At the end of the day you need a solid cast if you want to go far. Especially for a romance film since there is no fun soundtrack or dialogue to distract you.

I think a lot of movies also just miss the point of romance in general. A good romance should be one where it’s a relationship where both characters are happier than when they are alone. So if there’s always more drama, tension, and bickering then what’s really the point? There is not a single scene to show why Lucy even remotely liked Cecil. She can’t stand him and he just seems standoffish from the jump. You can tell he was created purely to get knocked down a peg by George and to lose the war so he’s just a waste of time.

Overall, A Room With A View is a film to avoid. The title along reminds me of how crazy it was to make a fuss about not having a window. Come on that’s not nearly as important as the characters were suggesting. I think Charlotte was just complaining to complain at that point or to get attention since she quickly tried to say no when the gentleman offered his room. It’s like there was just no winning at that point. Definitely a swing and a miss here.

Overall 3/10

Summer and Smoke Review

Summer and Smoke is about an old school romance that doesn’t go so well this time. See, you’d usually expect the classic trope of the innocent girl who falls for the bad boy to play out in a certain way. She gets him to be a little less wild and he gets her to live it up a little and it’s happily ever after. This takes a more serious look at how this would typically play out and while it does end up being a lot more realistic, it’s definitely not what I would call a feel good movie. It drags on a lot and since none of the characters are particularly likable that puts you in a rough spot right out of the gate.

The movie introduces us to Alma as a child who didn’t get along great with the other kids. She was always off on her own but she did like John who was fairly popular. John was definitely a tough kid already by that point and didn’t have time for the kind of serious romance that she was looking for. Many years have passed by and things haven’t changed. John lives a very problematic lifestyle and is always leaving town on adventures while Alma has been the dutiful daughter who takes care of her sick mother and keeps living on the straight and narrow. With John back in town Alma had been hoping they could finally get together but that isn’t working. Will she have to descend to his level for them to get together or is there a better way?

Of course the answer to this should clearly be that if you have to lower your level to be with someone then that’s not worth it. A true relationship can only blossom when you are being yourself and are with someone where you are comfortable doing that. If you feel like you need to change yourself then that’s already a massive red flag. Additionally John isn’t someone who could possibly be trusted to have a stable relationship with. Throughout the film he is involved in lots of different affairs and it is clear that he likes to play the field. He always goes for the most attractive girl in the group and then moves on when someone even more beautiful arrives. It’s a very clear pattern even if Alma tries to deny this.

Now you absolutely can feel bad for Alma. She has had a rough go of it as her mother has lost a significant portion of her mind so she acts rather crazy on a day to day basis and her father can be quite strict. So she has grown up in a way where she had to be very mature from a young age which didn’t help her when it came to mingling with the rest of town. Even her high education ends up getting in the way a bit as others think she is looking down on them. Ultimately it can be hard to make friends but if she was less obsessed with John then perhaps she could have found someone. She does have a few friends including one guy who likes her but she only really has eyes for John in the end.

Ultimately by the time she is ready to make a move like that it is just too late and it’s still probably for the best. The way her character ends in the film is not very satisfying though. I would instead argue that the ending is pretty bad since she is basically settling for someone else as she is desperate to have any man and she’s not thinking straight. An affair born out of desperation just isn’t going to end up working out. Ironically John probably has a more stable future ahead of him. Hey it’s great that it worked out but it can also be a bit annoying to see considering how much trouble he had caused beforehand. It’s just hard to forget that.

He’s also what brings the film down quite a lot here. See this is a very dramatic romance film. It’s not part comedy so you are going to have a lot of serious plots here like John’s decisions causing his father to get shot and a lot of feelings are hurt all the time. So by the time he has his offscreen redemption after a long timeskip you’re just tired of this guy already. You just don’t even want to see him because you know just seeing the guy is going to get you really annoyed. That’s just the kind of character he is. It’s like watching someone destroy a town and then show up a few years later to build a house. It’s great that he got his life back together but you just would rather he do it somewhere else.

The only really solid character in the whole film has to be the young lady who shows up at the end to deliver one last blow to Alma. Technically this girl doesn’t know any of the backstory so at no point does she have any malicious intentions. It does feel like there is a bit of an age gap there but ultimately she seems like the only character to be very nice with no ulterior motives so it’s easy to root for her. Everyone else can just be annoying.

I feel like the movie didn’t even need the plot about Alma’s mother. All it served to do was make the film a little more dreary and downcast with how Alma couldn’t even rest at home. The film already had enough of that so this was just throwing things over the edge. There’s also not a whole lot of fun to be had in the movie. You will barely find any real happy moments at all. I don’t count the crazy drunk parties John would have because that’s not the kind of happy moment I’m thinking about. You always see the negative connotations there. I’m talking about an actual lighthearted upbeat moment and those are rare. The closest may be when Alma and John go to the carnival and even then you know something bad is about to happen.

Overall, This is definitely a film that I highly recommend skipping. For starters it is a very long film. It drags on and on and on as the relationships keep going back and forth. The cast is weak and the story is annoying at best. The romances here are all awful so you’re not rooting for anyone to get together and the ending is really the big arrow to the heart. It ends things off on such a sour note and whether the relationship works or not, it feels like a pure desperation rebound which is never what you want to see here. There’s just nothing wholesome about that. Maybe the film should have taken place in the winter instead so as to work as a metaphor about how hard all of their hearts became by the end.

Overall 2/10

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Review

It is finally time to review the Kaguya manga! I finished this one back in 2022 but of course it is a pretty big title so reviews like this take a while. It was a title that really surpassed any ideas or predictions I would have had about it. I certainly wouldn’t have assumed it would have reached my top 15 of all time the way that it did but here we are. While the series may have limped its way to the ending with the final arc, the rest was all amazing and it’s a series with tons of replay value. It’s all super emotional with lots of great character development and writing all the way through. I don’t think we’ll see another series that’s part romance like this ever be quite as good. Kaguya just nailed the comedic romance bit.

The basic premise of the series quite directly follows the title. Kaguya is extremely wealthy and belongs to the Shinomiya family which owns a good chunk of the world. She is a member of the student council and has some of the best grades at school. Everyone knows her as the most popular girl that everyone respects but she has one secret which is that she is in love with Shirogane, the student council president. Meanwhile Shirogane’s family isn’t wealthy at all but he managed to study hard enough to go to this prestigious academy and even become the president. What he lacks in family reputation and status he makes up for in hard work and dedication. He hopes to eventually win Kaguya’s heart as well.

The thing is, neither one can admit to this because the first one to confess their feelings would lose the war. Love is a power struggle and so admitting your love first would cause you to be at a massive disadvantage. So they have to each scheme to get the other one to confess first but that is easier said than done. Can they pull this off or will they only end up getting into trouble? Snooze and you lose after all as someone else might show up so time is ticking. Additionally there are two more council members in the comedic Chika and the depressed Ishigami. Together this student council is going to have a lot of fun!

Right off the bat I have to say that I really enjoy the premise. See, you are automatically avoiding the “sudden” romance that destroys most romantic plots. The main two have liked each other for a long time now, in fact well over a year passes by with nothing happening in chapter 1 since they are too afraid to make any moves and that’s not even counting that they liked each other prior to the series starting. So this is a slow burn romance and there are no rebounds to think of. They’ve liked each other from the start and that’s just how it is. So already we’ve got several wins here. Now of course this is only focusing on their romance as not every romance here is great but the main one is important.

The contest also adds a nice spin on things since as the reader you know that both characters like each other but of course they don’t realize that. So that’s a fresh dynamic as well and you get to see their inner thoughts as they work on the mind games. That is the best success of the series which is that it also works as a very psychological series. The characters talk about what love really is and how the mind works as they all try to play each other like a fiddle. I always figure the one weakness of being too detailed is if someone isn’t a genius then the plan won’t work because it overestimates what the response will be. That risk is lessened since the characters are in such a distinguished school though.

Both Kaguya and Shirogane are at the top of their class too so they know what they are doing. Shirogane may have the slight edge in grades but they are really neck and neck. I also like the overthinking in the manga because it is fun to do that in real life as well. Like if a girl hands you a ticket to a baseball game. Is that a subtle date, just a friendly gesture, is it a test? You have to ask yourself a million questions in an instant and come up with the right answer all in a split instance. There isn’t time for hesitation or doubts since both would also work against you. The manga will freeze this moment as you see the everyday possibilities floating in Shirogane and Kaguya’s minds. A lot of the thought trails are very realistic as well.

Everyone does this to an extent because your mind is always active even when time is frozen. It’s why there are all kinds of time displacement techniques you can find online which are super interesting. Like trying to see how long you can keep your eyes closed and count up before you end up falling asleep or losing count. Losing yourself playing sports or video games and then trying to match that time doing something less fun. Your mind can easily trick you into thinking that one hour is quick in one moment and then long in another. It’s all pretty fascinating but I digress. Needless to say that the psychological elements here are fantastic without a doubt.

The artwork is also very solid. I will say that it is a series where you will notice the artist reusing character expressions and poses with different characters a lot, particularly if you binge the series. It is probably hard to avoid in a slice of life title like this though because there are only so many things you can do and ways of having the characters talk before it all starts to blend together. It’s always very clear what is happening at any given time though and the simple style works very well for the series. Even when there are long blocks of text and essays you are able to read them all without any issue. That’s the sign of a great title after all.

The writing is great and a lot happens here. The series initially starts off very upbeat with some drama but it’s mostly either in a parody kind of way or not meant to be taken too seriously. Gradually this begins to change as we get some origin stories that are legitimately emotional like Ishigami’s. Then this leads up to a climax that is very serious with high stakes in the last arc. I would say that the series is much better at the light arcs than the serious ones and that makes sense because it’s the kind of series that this was crafted to be. It got to be a really famous title because of all the witty banter and fun gags/writing. I can see why the author wanted to end on a serious note but the problem is just that it was hard to take things too seriously.

What I would have done is make the final arc less action packed. Yeah you heard me right, for once I would remove the action because it just didn’t feel right and gets a bit cheesy when you see the kids doing so well. Instead I would change this to be more of a mind game thriller. Have the heroes trying to find a loophole in the will or they have to go through a bunch of games in order to defeat the villains. The high stakes could be signing a contract that they will work for the villains if they lose or something. I feel like this would be much more in line with the rest of the series and would have worked really well. It would still have a serious tone and be something more like Liar Game than Indiana Jones.

For the comedy side, I won’t say every joke lands of course since that’s not possible but the reason this series is elite is because most of them do. The series has higher peaks in terms of humor than most titles could even dream of. The main cast is also very solid which leads to a whole lot of great banter and dialogue moments. The series would not be nearly as good if the characters weren’t solid so the series had the right priorities here. You get a strong core of characters and move from there. I liked all members of the student council quite a bit. Put Ino, Chika, and Ishigami in any similar setting and they likely outpace the main characters there. I’d then go a step further to say that Shirogane and Kaguya would shine in any setting, even one that is not similar. The characters are just really well crafted at the school and this includes the classmates. Only the villains aren’t very interesting which takes us back to the final arc again.

The series has its share of story arcs as well like with vacations or dealing with a romance but like an action series where each arc is clearly defined and I break them down, I’ll likely just incorporate those events while I talk about the character that it’s relevant too. So lets jump into this cast now and I’ll also talk about their respective romance plot and any important developments that came into play for them. This is a fairly long series so you can bet that a whole lot did happen over time.

Naturally we have to start with Kaguya herself here. After all the series was named after her so you could say that she is the main character. While you could say that, I would argue that Shirogane is still the true main character here. It’s pretty close to 50/50 but I just feel like we see his perspective just a tad bit more and he tends to jump start the biggest moments in the series. The dynamics between the two characters are what really causes the series to shine and I liked that Kaguya has a cold edge to her. Later on in the series we get to see her in her original icy persona and that worked really well.

I’d really be up for a prequel going into more details on that part of the saga. In a way there may not be many more details to show so I’m not sure how feasible it would be to make a long series but I’m sure they could at least do a mini series on it. We briefly see the dynamic after Kaguya retreats into herself but that’s it. Kaguya has several personalities within herself all fighting for control and I enjoyed the court scenes there. At the end of the day Kaguya is always someone who is ready to give good advice and really help out. She has really solid friendships and dynamics with all of the council members. It’s another strong part of the series since it can be easy in a series like this to miss one or two combinations but the series goes out of its way to make sure that each character interacts with each other and gets their own dynamic going.

The ending of the series involves Kaguya’s family a great deal so as you can imagine they really get to step in as well and we see how they had a real impact on her life and values. The school really helped her to become a lot more normal over time. The series also plays up how she can be naïve in some things well without overdoing it and making this an annoying trait. It also never forgets that she is a genius so she picks up on things really quickly.

Then we have Shirogane who really worked hard to try and stand out for Kaguya. It wasn’t easy but by getting the best grades and leading the council he put himself in a very good position there. I like his confidence which serves him well in battling Kaguya during their debates. Kaguya is better at planning and setting up intricate traps while Shirogane’s strength is in his quick reactions and thinking off the cuff. That ends up working well in challenges where she catches him on the back foot like with the umbrella trick. He has less family drama to worry about although throughout the series we know that something happened involving his mother but surprisingly that plot barely gets much of a payoff. She shows up at the very end but super briefly. This allows Shirogane to focus more on the main school adventures which works well enough though.

He also does take his job as president very seriously and is always trying to help the other students succeed. You can always count on him to do the right thing even if it means that he might lose some sleep. Managing to perform all his duties while leading the school in grades was really impressive. This guy really put in the work and never had any doubts of waivered in his path. He was just a really strong character through and through.

Chika is the main comedic character here although to an extent you can say they all are so that might be abbreviating her character personality a bit too much. She is meant to be a full foil to the other characters because she doesn’t overthink anything. She is quite intelligent but mainly just does whatever she wants and is always hard to predict. As a result she ends up being a great wildcard in their constant battles which works great to really expand the dynamics. Often times she will crush both of their plans and they have to scramble to set something up.

She doesn’t have a romance plot going on so she is able to just focus on being the comic relief. There is also a subplot where she fights the ramen kings and that was always entertaining. I am always up for a good ramen even if it’s not one of my favorite foods. I would end up eating it more like her as in I would just dive in while all the kings have very elaborate and intricate ways of doing this. Chika keeps the crew grounded and is always good for a lot of laughs. She knows how to manipulate people as needed given her family history of politicians and works in well among the group. Even her backstory is suitably humorous even while being a bit more serious.

Then we have Ino who joins in a bit later than the rest of the group. Her thing is that she is really big on following the rules. While it may sound like that would be easy for her to be integrated among the group you have to remember that while they are good at their jobs, they do mess around a bit. So what Ino brings to the table is that she often gets disillusioned with the group or misreads a situation causing her to panic. It takes her a little while to really get used to the group and stop panicking at the antics. She probably has the saddest backstory next to Ishigami’s as well so she had to go through a whole lot. Ultimately she did get through it all though and fit into the cast well.

I would say that she is a lot of fun either way and she does add a lot to the dynamic which is the important thing here. She interacts with Ishigami the most and given the composition of the group you would probably figure they will have a romance right? Well yes that is a big part of their plot but this romance is one that I can’t get behind quite as much. For one, I liked their banter as friends and rivals which would really be lost if they went that route. Additionally Ishigami already liked Tsubami a lot o it would feel a bit too soon for him to be changing sides like that. So this romance I could only possibly support if it didn’t happen until well after the end of the series like with a sequel title or something. Even then I would like them to delay it for as long as possible so we get more banter.

Of course this carries over to Ishigami’s side where I can confirm I wasn’t big on the romance there. His first one with Tsubame works reasonably well as him not really realizing his feelings of gratitude for what they were and falling for her. At least that’s the way I interpret it since she effectively saved his life along with the rest of the group and so that ended up turning into affection. I don’t think he would have really been ready for the relationship there and of course it would have also taken time away from him hanging out with the crew and just having fun.

As it is I really enjoyed the early Ishigami with how paranoid and depressed he was the whole time. He had a nice deadpan kind of humor that worked really well here. Still I did appreciate that he had one of the biggest character arcs in the series. I would even go as far as to say that it was the biggest because he almost completely changed character personalities by the end. He really became a new person after the whole cast helped him out and it was nice to see. The series has really good inspirational beats like that scattered throughout. You know that he’ll be fine going forward and gone are the days where he wasn’t sure of himself and basically got bullied into submission.

Hayasaka may not be a member of the council but I would say she’s the next biggest character here. She advises Kaguya on all romantic matters and is also just a great butler. She takes care of everything around the manner and serves all kinds of roles as needed. At school she even has her happy persona so that she can still guard Kaguya there. Ultimately this even leads to her getting a real character arc of her own as well as a bit of a tragic romance since she also likes Shirogane but you know there is no hope there. Some things just aren’t meant to be after all.

Her personality really stands out due to how serious she is. Even when she is putting on a mask, you can see the real her the whole time. She brings a whole lot to the table and I also liked the friendship she had with Shirogane by the end. In some ways they knew each other better than their best friends since they didn’t have to wear any masks or pretenses while around each other. At least not after Shirogane figured her out anyway. Hayasaka is a character who is easy to root for because she had already sacrificed so much in order to help Kaguya. She’s just a very selfless kind of character.

I wasn’t a big fan of Nagisa. Half the time it’s hard to know how genuine her romance plot even is because it feels like she just enjoys messing with everyone. Her boyfriend is no better. It’s hard to even know his name so because of that he’s always referred to as “Nagisa’s Boyfriend”. That’s not a very good look for the guy now is it? Both of them are mainly around just to be annoying or to break Maki’s heart since she liked the guy first. Well, snooze and you lose so I wouldn’t blame Nagisa for that one. I just felt like these two didn’t add a lot to the series and their gags were fairly expendable.

Now Maki is a character that I actually found to be very sympathetic. She just ended up liking the wrong guy. Basically he was taken so now she has to get over him but that’s a lot harder than it sounds if this is the person you really wanted to be with. The reason you think of the term rebound when someone moves on quickly is because it seems like that person wasn’t as important as you made it out to be. For Maki it hurts a lot because she was just a tad too slow and very nearly could have had him. Additionally he was the only boy she wanted and nobody else will do. Perhaps in time she will be okay but it’ll take a long time.

Unrequited feelings where one person just never confesses always ends up being really emotional and I find those romances to be really interesting. Maki took the high road in not actually confessing afterwards and that’s the right move because you do need to back off when someone is off the market. Usually this also comes with an unconscious filter where you stop being so attracted to that person but other times it can take a minute so you just have to calm down and keep your distance in the meantime. Maki does stay strong throughout and only breaks down among close friends. She’s a great character to look to on how to act when the going gets tough.

Then you have Kei who gets a decent role as Shirogane’s kid sister. Her role never gets huge or anything but she’s a fun enough character. She actually makes you feel bad for him since by all accounts he has done a great job of being her big brother but she tends to be in a rebellious phase when he’s around. I wouldn’t even say he’s being overprotective at any point but jut tries to be supportive. Fortunately she really looks up to Kaguya so that sort of helps balance things out. I would also say they do get along even if they banter from time to time.

Shirogane’s father is a guy who really got to be a lot of fun by the end of the series. He is always ready with something crazy to say and put everyone on the spot. The guy is also great at multitasking as we find out that he has managed to be a great gamer on the side. This guy has many talents and is just hilarious whenever he shows up so he ends up being one of the more likable characters. He also appeared just enough where you got to see him doing a lot but none of his gags or gimmicks ever got overplayed.

Osaragi is easily one of my least favorite characters in the series. She is a girl who doesn’t really know what she wants to do and ends up taking it out on everyone else. She doesn’t accept responsibilities for her own mistakes and has an excuse for everything. She gets a backstory but all it did was remind me how bad she was of a character. If anything I felt like she looked worse and worse as I went through the series even though you’re supposed to at least feel bad for her later on. It just felt like she caused all of her problems on her own and they kept on snowballing and snowballing the whole time. Turning her back on Ino was definitely the worst offense of all though.

Tsubami gets a big role near the middle of the series/end of the beginning. Ishigami liked her and she was a really big focus in his whole road to recovery. She definitely has a hard time making up her mind though and in a way she did a number on the guy even though she wasn’t a bad person. She just made some mistakes along the way. Ultimately I didn’t mind her, I thought she was good overall and a solid reflection of someone trying to do the right thing but just not knowing what to do. For example she did reach out to Ishigami initially to help him get out of his shell and enjoy life more. The problem is that the kindness meant so much to Ishigami that he fell for her afterwards and she wasn’t able to deal with it.

It’s hard to know what to do when someone likes you and you just can’t return the feeling. You feel a bit responsible if you were really friendly the whole time because even if that wasn’t the intention you start to wonder if maybe you were flirting a bit accidentally. So she didn’t end up handling this well for sure and ultimately just ran into one of the risks of being nice.

Mikado is a character who didn’t do a whole lot but he did have some potential. He is a tragic character in the sense that he has always liked Kaguya but you knew that he was doomed from the jump. I give him props for doing his best to watch out for her and help out in the final saga even though I was naturally hoping that they wouldn’t get together. The romance just wouldn’t have been a good idea there but he took it well and stayed gracious so that’s good. I had a soft spot for the character.

The Shinomiya villains are mostly all pretty similar. I can’t say that I cared much for any of them to be honest. Sure some were nicer than others or at least didn’t appear to be cruel for no reason but for the most part they were all just not very interesting. You really didn’t care about these guys in the slightest and it’s another reason why the final arc was weaker. You needed to give them some purpose and a reason to exist if you wanted them to enhance the arc. Maybe if they had been introduced earlier that would have ended up helping a lot.

Overall, There you have it. That’s Kaguya in a nutshell. It’s a top tier title with great characters and just a lot of fun overall. You will be investing a lot of time into the series and it is worth every second. It’s not every day you see a series like this and so I was sad to see it go. I’d highly recommend checking it out right now. Who knows, maybe some day we’ll get a sequel series although it doesn’t feel like one is needed. I would hope they could all go on some kind of big retreat for a month in the mountains or something so we could get a lot of fun banter there even though they are grown up. In a lot of ways having them in the school setting is part of the magic though so you do need that.

Overall 9/10

Shadow of a Woman Review

This film is definitely more annoying than it is suspenseful. Mainly a film like this revolves around the lead being completely incapable of taking any definitive actions in order to keep going. That just means that the plot is really weak if you ask me. The movie has quality writing and there’s a lot going on but the story just doesn’t hold up because any reasonable character would have done some things way differently and that would have been the end of it. Over half of this film would have just been thrown out the window and you could even argue that 99% of it would end if the main character didn’t just jump into things at the start.

So this film starts with Brooke deciding to marry a guy named Eric that she barely knows. She knows that he’s a doctor but that’s about it. She allows herself to get swept up in the moment and marries him but why all the rush? That in itself should have been a red flag and then things only continue to get worse. First off, he’s not quite as well off financially as he had led her to believe. Someone tries to murder him by crushing him with a boulder initially and then someone else shoots at him later on. In each instance he tells Brooke that she’s imagining things or that it was someone hunting buffalo and she just takes this. What should have been the last straw is that he then says they have to live at his family’s place even though she has a perfectly acceptable home that they could have been in. Now she is an unwanted guest here and the tensions continue to rise. Is there something shady about this Eric fella?

The amount of suspension you have to put your belief through here is absolutely crazy. Why is Brooke willing to sacrifice so much of her life for someone that she barely knows? It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever and that’s my main problem here. He continues to stack the deck against her and gets upset at her awful quick but Brooke just doesn’t put the pieces together. I’m not sure which moment is more drastic, Eric being shot at or his insisting they live at a place where nobody likes her. Either one should have been enough for her to keep her distance or at least stay in her home and insist he goes to her. Instead Brooke keeps trying to stick with it.

Now if they were married for ages and things had been going great then I could appreciate the loyalty here but instead it just feels like she is letting him walk all over her with no real resistance. Instead of being admirable it just makes her look weak if you ask me. Especially when his excuses are so weak. He spends the whole film constantly telling her that she’s crazy and seeing things and she just accepts this. It isn’t until the very end of the film where she starts to stick up for herself and by then it’s very nearly too late. So yeah I didn’t like Brooke. She may not be an antagonist the way that Eric is but she makes the job way too easy on him the whole time. If she had done just about anything then things wouldn’t have turned out the way that they did.

For example one thing Eric is doing here is starving a child as he hopes that the kid will die off and then he can claim the insurance money. I feel like you have to call the cops or child custody services immediately but Brooke sits on her hands for a while here and just doesn’t do anything. I suppose she feeds him her breakfast once but that’s more of a passive resistance. I want to see her actually doing something bold. She finds out he had another wife, that he’s using her to win a court case, etc. The twists and bad news just keeps coming in over and over again and she still doesn’t do much. Eric even tells her to stop seeing her doctor friend since he’s the only doctor she could ever need. Ah man.

Yeah this was an annoying one and it gets more annoying the more I think about it. Eric isn’t even a mastermind or anything because this plan should never have worked. The fact that it got this far is more of a strike against Brooke than it is a complement to his strength. His family is also afraid of him to the point where they keep his secrets and act as antagonists. I mean they even drug Brooke although the heroine forgives them rather quickly. They were just so spineless that they also end up being really bad characters here. They let Eric manipulate them for quite a long while and that’s another problem. Everyone just lets him do what he wants and they make the worst decisions possible.

One client of Eric’s seems to start to realize that he’s a scammer but she only works things out halfway. So she accuses him of all kinds of stuff and says she will wreck his career…but then she gets drunk and asks him to take her home. Lets just say she didn’t survive this ordeal and the whole thing makes you roll your eyes. How can you threaten someone and then trust him with your life? Throughout the film Eric actually bumps off quite a few characters and it’s not like he’s a super tough fighter or anything. Everyone just comes across as massive suckers the whole time so there’s not a whole lot that he needs to do.

Apparently it is well known that he is a scammer too but unfortunately there are enough people who don’t realize this that makes it tricky. There are always more people for him to trick after all and that’s always unfortunate. He gets away with a whole lot for a very long period of time and nobody could touch him. At least with the court case eventually the lawyer was going to defeat him but it was just taking way too long. I still think a quick call to the cops would have saved a great deal of time. The lawyer also got really lucky that Brooke talks a lot. Yes by the end there was a conscious effort to help him out but for part of the film Brooke was wrecking Eric’s plans accidentally with her outbursts which wasn’t as cool as it could have been. I wanted to see her as an intentional saboteur, not someone accidentally stumbling into success.

Overall, This film can be rather suspenseful but the characters really hold it back. It doesn’t come across as a very smartly written film and is instead one where everything just happens to turn out well for the villain because nobody can think ahead. If they actually made the right decisions then Eric wouldn’t have gotten nearly as far as he did. Ultimately you have to be able to stick up for yourself when the going gets tough and you also have to trust yourself. If someone tells you that you’re crazy then you have to believe your mind over that person. Things could have been so different here if Brooke was just a tough character. It’s not a bad movie but I would recommend most other suspense type films over this one. You’ll just be rolling your eyes too hard half the time at all the mistakes that are being made and it goes without saying that the romance is quite weak as well.

Overall 5/10

Too Late for Tears Review

The poster for this film definitely seems really misleading even if it is an event that does happen in the movie. This is a fun Noir film that takes a bit of a twist on the usual order of things. There are a lot of moving pieces in this film and the story is on point. You really can’t trust anyone here and the overall moral is definitely not to play with fire. Even if you figure you won’t get burned it will catch up to you eventually so you have to do the right thing without delay. if you delay for too long then that will be game over in an instant.

The movie introduces us to Jane and Alan who are a married couple that are decently happy. They were driving to a party but Jane didn’t want to go at the last second so as they turn around someone throws a case filled with a lot of money in it into their car. Now they’re rich and Jane can have the high end lifestyle that she’s always wanted. There is just one problem though, Alan doesn’t think this is a good idea. He’s against it since it’s not their money and figures that it’s like stealing and threatens to turn it over to the cops. Jane knows that he needs this money though and she will obliterate anyone who stands in her way…even if that ends up being Alan himself! Additionally a guy named Danny shows up and claims the money was for him so she better hand it over or else. She will have to stay really tough in the pocket if she is going to survive this.

One thing you have to say for Jane is that she is definitely quite tough. No matter what threats are sent her way she keeps on going. She is very confident and determined in herself. Nobody is about to intimidate her while she has something to say about it. In fact the various characters are all surprised at just how ruthless she can be and she begins to let the illusion of her being a nice person fade more and more as time goes on. Even Danny who is a hardened criminal begins to fear her to an extent. Sure he could physically stop her but she is just so ruthless that if he lets his guard down for an instant then she will take him down.

Initially you figure that the money may have had her go off the deep end but as the film goes on we begin to see more and more how she has always been like this. We even learn a bit more about her past which adds to this. Jane just wants to be rich no matter what to the point where she figures it is basically her destiny. Sure she sometimes has some doubts about this but never for very long as she gets back to scheming. It was just very interesting to have the main heroine be the main villain like this and it worked out really well. Anytime she plays for sympathy or tries to start a romance you realize it’s just all part of the act as she manipulates everyone.

Now I could do without even the false pretense of a romance because she doesn’t need that in order to win here. She is plenty strong enough regardless and has enough wits about her to keep on winning on her terms. I guess this helps to confuse poor Danny erven more but you have to remember the whole time that there isn’t much sympathy to be had for him. The guy is still a crook even if he isn’t quite able to keep up with her for very long. He starts talking tough about how murder is too much for him and he wants out but at the end of the day I still wouldn’t put it past him. I think he was really just uncomfortable because he was usually in the driver’s seat and not the sidekick so it was a real change of pace for him.

I’d even say some of his scenes are even played for laughs as a result. The guy just seems so out of his depth that it can be really funny at times even when he does have his share of dangerous moments. The guy just goes out like a chump so at the end of the day that’s the only thing you’re going to remember about him. It’s always how a character ends that’s important after all. Alan also looks really bad here because he’s so oblivious the whole time. Jane wasn’t exactly subtle with how much she wanted the money and yet Alan didn’t connect the dots until it was way too late. Ultimately that meant he was absolutely doomed here but he just felt like a chump. Like when he asks Jane out on a date and she gives the most emotionless response you can imagine.

Kathy was at least reasonable for the most part although she was well out of her depth against Jane. Jane was able to manipulate her as well as the other characters even though it took more effort on her part. Kathy at least suspected some things with how heavy handed Jane was in discrediting Alan’s memory but Kathy should have done more. Ultimately she steps back and lets Don do all of the work. Things wouldn’t have really changed if it was just Kathy even if she was getting a little closer to solving the puzzle. I don’t think she would have learned enough quickly enough to make a difference.

Don was a fun character. He shows up rather randomly but is really suspicious the whole time so he is like a wild card thrown into the deck. He does a good job of immediately seeing through Jane’s flirting as well and doesn’t fold the way Danny did. Don is the kind of guy you want to be doing research on your behalf since you know he’ll be thorough. Granted even he was on the back foot here compared to Jane but nobody could really keep up with her. Ultimately only self inflicted errors were enough for the other characters to start keeping up. Otherwise they would have been pretty much doomed.

I’ve already talked about Jane quite a bit so suffice to say she is a fun villain. I liked just how clever and crafty she was. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a mastermind quite like this. The writing is on point and the film has quick pacing throughout. Just when you think Jane may finally be hesitating she pulls off another crazy stunt. Ultimately money is the most important thing to her and it’s been a little while since I saw a villain whose only motivation was money like this. The movie will also have a good amount of replay value as a result.

Overall, Too Late for Tears is a very appropriate title for this movie. There is definitely no more time left as Jane made her decision and has to stick through it. From early on in the movie there is just no time to look back. She would have really made for a good detective if she ever had the passion for that. In the end it probably wouldn’t pay enough to really meet her needs though. Maybe being an investment banker or something like that would have been more up her alley.

Overall 7/10

I Married a Witch Review

With a title like this you can expect some fun and shenanigans. It’s a reasonable comedic romance film but at the same time it also could have been better in some respects. At the end of the day part of the fun in marrying a witch is having fun with the magic and trying to lead a normal life at the same time but the film doesn’t get to go into that much because it’s pursuing a different angle.

So the movie starts off with a rather serious scene as Jennifer and Daniel are taken down for the count for being witches. They get sealed in a tree for countless years but also curse the Wallace family so always marry someone that won’t be very nice. As the years go by this spell is still intact and then one day a bolt of lightning destroys the tree. Jennifer and Daniel are free to do whatever they want. Jennifer decides that she wants to ruin Wallace’s life herself by getting him to cheat on his fiancé with her. I’m not totally sure what the end goal here is after the humiliation period is over but maybe that’s enough. She is immortal right now so she could keep on messing with all of his descendants for the rest of time.

The main guy here is a man named Wallace and his life was pretty much figured out. He would marry his fiancé Estelle and live happily ever after. It’s hard to know what he really sees in her since she is portrayed as being rather mean and standoffish from the start. Perhaps there was just nobody else and he didn’t want to stay single forever? If so that’s definitely a shame because settling will often times be worse than going the journey alone. Settling is just the worst possible path there and leaves you in a very unsatisfying place in life. Still, that’s when there is a big fire and he “saves” Jennifer.

Jennifer isn’t used to having a human body after being away for so long and also seems to have lost some common sense initially as she barely even notices the flames and acts like it’s normal to be in a burning building. Still, now is the time to try and ensnare Daniel. To Daniel’s slight credit he resists a bit but I don’t give him a whole lot beyond that. He really should have just told Estelle the score from the start and gone from there. The more distance he puts between himself and Jennifer the safer he is. You can’t worry about rumors as long as you’re doing the right thing and if Estelle is soon to be his wife then she should be able to believe him when he says that Jennifer is following him around.

Where Wallace falters here is when Jennifer talks to him at night and he stays up just talking about life. Keep in mind that she is never able to give him the love formula so he is just falling for her here while he is still engaged. It’s not a good look for the guy at all so even though her feelings were genuine by the end, you can’t root for them to be together. This was all way too fast and feels like a huge rebound. You also have to account for how desperate she was to get him the whole time. He just looks really flaky because of this. The guy is trying to run for governor, he doesn’t have time for any of this.

Meanwhile Jennifer isn’t the best character here as her goal to start with was really petty. Is she really going to spend all of eternity going after the same family? You also have to consider the fact that the descendants have nothing to do with the original crime so it’s not good to punish innocents like that. She’s a full villain from the start even if she isn’t quite as strict as her father. She doesn’t really have a full redemption arc in the sense that I don’t know if she really learned that what she did was wrong. She just likes Wallace now so she won’t be messing with him anymore and is trying for him for real. The crazy thing is from his point of view he can’t see any difference, she is trying for him in the same ways all film, it’s just that in the first half it was to sabotage him while in the second she likes him. Not that it matter much to him though.

Her magic is also pretty good like with the mass hypnosis she has. Then Daniel is able to burn any building to the ground in an instant. Not too shabby, with abilities like that it’s hard to see the witches being stopped by the humans anytime soon. If anything I’m surprised that they were stopped the first time too. You’d think that they could easily dodge any kind of trap and counter right away. For now I’ll say that they just lowered their guard at the wrong time similar to how Daniel was taken down because of that. When you have great powers then you really have to be careful.

Estelle isn’t likable from the start. You still feel bad that Wallace would jump away so quickly when they were just about to get married though. You assume that he already knew about those qualities of her and still wanted to marry her after all. He just ended up going to the rebound and that’s all there was to it. The romance is just not good as a result but the film holds its own thanks to the fun humor here. It is a movie that goes by very quickly and in a way it is nice to see Wallace talking tough at first even though you know that he’s doomed. Initially he thought she was sent by the political rival which actually tracks but of course he ended up being wrong on that one.

Overall, I Married a Witch is the kind of retro, charming film you would expect it to be. The characters aren’t the most likable but they do have good banter the whole time. You may not appreciate the romance but at least the tough talk and posturing before that is good as Wallace is determined not to fall into this. You may know that he will inevitably fail but the journey is still a fun one. I would say a longer period of time of Jennifer trying to convince Wallace that she is a witch would have been fun though. There is so much you can do with those abilities!

Overall 7/10