I’m writing this review out of my stream of consciousness before forgetfulness sets in and blows my first impressions away.
Koizora (Sky of Love) WAS a smash hit when it first came out as a cell phone novel. I have no idea how that works, but apparently word of mouth caught on and soon the story wound its way into being published as a book, and I suppose producers sniffed the hot stuff and made it into a movie. I must say, it’s quite amazing what technology can do nowadays. Sorry I digress.
The story follows the life of Mika (Yui Aragaki) a high school teenage girl who rides on the roller coaster of love – and finding that the experience isn’t always as exciting as she thought. She loses her cell phone one day and finds it in the library, only to receive a call from a secret admirer Hiro (Miura Haruma). She found herself drawn to the boy as they talk about all sorts of things all day and night, sometimes even finding themselves not realizing that it’s already morning. Even with an awkward first meeting, they become close friends which eventually led to something deeper. I’m not going to spill all the details. Let’s just say the story also tackled serious issues such as rape, pregnancy and death.
Sounds like just another melodramatic high school drama?
Well, the answer is both a yes and no.
The story did attempt to give a touch of originality by incorporating the heavy obstacles that a young, naive teen love might experience. However, instead of achieving the goal of presenting something different, its very premise only achieved the opposite.
Despite its weak plot, the movie had an almost excellent cast. Model-turned-actress Yui Aragaki (yes, sweetface did sexy gravure too) suited her role as a nice, innocent girl who would do anything for love. I must say she’s one of those actresses who can capture everyone’s hearts because, well, she’s cute. If Korea had a Moon Geun Young, Japan had Aragaki. She’s everyone’s pretty little sister and every girl’s best friend. I usually don’t like these type of actresses because you can only take too much of them, otherwise they’d get too annoying. *Shout out to Masami Nagasawa, Kyoko Fukada and Haruka Ayase.* Surprisingly, Yui’s quite endearing. Although there were moments when she wasn’t quite convincing, like when she acted surprised or angry, but in the end she pulled it off well. Her awkwardness and naturalness makes the camera love her.
As for Miura “Mr. Cool guy” Haruma, the silvery blond hair looks good on him. Okay, I did have doubts as to why the school would allow that, but I think people would be more than happy to overlook it. His acting was not the best, but the guy has potential. I’m not just saying this as a consolation, but he really does. His character Hiro is someone all the high school girls would definitely have a crush on, all the teachers would send to detention, and all the parents would hate. Haruma carried this role well not just because of how he looked. Kinda makes me wonder if this is the reason why he’s in Gokusen 3 right now?
The excellent cinematography and attention to the beautiful scenery added to the rustic, nostalgic feel of the movie. The colors were lovely, and the direction of the scenes was slow and gentle. Just like the unsteady steps of a hesitant first love.
The bad part. As I’ve mentioned, the plot just wove in too many issues without tying it up into one coherent whole. *SPOILER ALERT*
Especially during the part when Hiro’s ex-girlfriend Saki ordered her gang of unruly boys (I swear this girl is wacko) to kidnap, rape Mika and threaten her. Mika recovers too quickly as though it was something that “just happened,” and after a doctor’s check up “every thing’s gonna be okay” – which might leave one quite unconvinced. It’s one cliche after another. By the end I thought I was watching a collection of Kdramas and hearing overused pick up lines.
There were also a lot of unbelievable parts, like when Hiro ran back to Mika jumping for joy after receiving news of her pregnancy. I mean, come on. They were barely 17. Most guys would run bolting through the door. And if I get bullied by a psycho ex-girlfriend and get raped by her minions, I’d dump the guy, question his bad taste in women AND sue her ass off to jail. Oh, and the doormat second love interest was just too good to be true! But then again, that’s just the cynic in me talking.
Before this gets too long, if you’re looking for a lesser version of One Litre of Tears (which overdid the crying a tad too close to the title) with a combination of 14 Sai no Haha/ 14 year old Mother (which ironically Miura also starred in AND is also a story of teen pregnancy) – this movie’s for you. It’s easy to get too caught up with the cast’s fresh faces, the touching Mr. Children OST and the promise of a bittersweet love story. For all it’s worth, watch it for the sweet beginning when they were first getting to know each other.
TRIVIA: It’s been said that the story happened in real life, as it was written by Mika herself. We don’t REALLY know for sure. It sounds very manga-ish, IMHO. It’s also confirmed that a drama adaptation will air soon. Great. Just what we need. A prolonged version of agony.
And if you’re wondering whether the saying “FIRST LOVE NEVER DIES” is really true, this movie answers it for you. In this case, it did. Quite literally.
WATCH THE WHOLE THING IN CRUNCHYROLL BEFORE IT GETS LICENSED.