Sometani Shota: Top 10 Project: #9 Tokyo Koen

Tokyo Kouen-p2.jpg

Relationships can be fleeting but seen through a camera lens they can last forever.

The storyline

Koji Shida (Miura Haruma) is a college student who hopes of becoming a photographer and each day spends his afternoons in the park snapping photos of passersby, then one day he is approached by Takashi Hatsushima (Takahashi Yo) and offered money to follow his wife and daughter around because he believes she is being unfaithful. As Koji embarks on his assignment soon his relationships with the women around him start to change.

Sometani’s role….

If you’re familiar with director Aoyama Shinji’s other works (most recently Backwater | Tomogui (2013)) then its custom for him to have a small cast. Sometani was one of four male actors in Tokyo Koen, and played the hermit-like game obsessed friend and roommate of Koji,  named Hiro Takai.

Tokyo Kouen

We first see Hiro playing video games as Koji talks about the events of the day. Everything looks normal, but as this movie shows us people surprise us. And as the narrative unfolds certain developments are revealed. And we soon learn that Hiro is [Spoiler] he is a ghost. Hence the same clothes in every scene and pale complexion.

"You don't cry...."
"Maybe today I will"

He is the former roommate and best friend that still haunts the flatshare, as well as being the previous boyfriend of the perky cinephile Miyu (Eikura Nana) that passed away suddenly. In the movie he is only seen by Koji, constantly hanging around to offer advice or wallow in his own unfortunate demise. But he still retains a sense of humour, still watches DVD’s and is obsessed with video games.

Opinion

Now I’m not the biggest fan of Miura Haruma, but here his act is just wooden and has little chemistry with any of the women, who are supposedly meant to be objects of his affection; Miyu a childhood friend, ex-girlfriend of his best friend, and somewhat love interest; his stepsister; and the women who reminds of him of his mother (can you say “mother complex”) One critic had this is to say about Miura:

“while pop-star-turned-actor Miura is easy on the eye [he is] incapable of fully fleshing out the emotional development of his two-dimensional character.” – Neil Young (The Hollywood Reporter)

And for this being Aoyama Shinji’s (who has been described as a Japanese art house version of Quentin Tarantino) big comeback film after four years  it’s a big disappointment (understatement).

It’s somewhat as if Tarantino broke a long silence to make an homage to Terrence “The Tree of Life” Malick….And [for] Aoyama [he] is at a stage of life when parks, not crime scenes, start to look attractive indeed. -Mark Schilling (The Japan Times

Sometani and Eikura’s scenes the only saving grace for me. And its this reason alone that I recommend the film.Trust me I wouldn’t have sat through his mind numbing boring, puckishly surreal, narratively diffuse and limpidly transcendent movie otherwise. However if you’re a fan of Sometani just watch for his impish attitude.

rating

The countdown continues…..

#8 Strawberry Night/ and Lesson of Evil 
#9 Tokyo Koen
#10 Love Sickness
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