Adapted from the manga of the same name by Mika Yamamori containing 13 volumes, the movie adaptation of Hirunaka no Ryuusei (Daytime Shooting Star) runs on a ridiculously simple, over used plot and tries to turn into something refreshing. And it succeeds…partly.
Suzume Yosano – played by Mei Nagano – is a country girl whose parents have decided to move to Bangladesh. This decision is taken without any concern of her opinion (classic, to say the least – the shoujo manga saga of crappy parents continues…). She transfers to Tokyo to live with her Uncle played by Ryuta Sato. There in, she meets Uncle’s friend Satsuko Shishio, played by the now aging Shôhei Miura. The two form a bond and soon Suzume realises he is actually her homeroom teacher (Tokyo is such a small world, I swear).
Meanwhile, Suzume struggles to make friends, and finally manages to break the ice with her classmate Daiki Mamura. Mamura, she soon finds out is wary of talking to women and blushes incessantly if he so much as touches them (Clearly not the case with the actor Alan Shirahama, who even recently got caught up in yet another scandal. Click here for the tea.)
Suzume falls for her homeroom teacher, whereas Mamura falls for her and we wait two hours to find out whom she chooses. You could alternatively skip this and read the manga which is way better in depicting their emotions and also has some key points and scenes which the movie skips altogether, in favour of some “fan service” scenes.
The story is yet another love triangle, adding to the huge pile of already existing ones and it doesn’t do it any better than them. It does smash some shoujo expectations by creating a conflicted Suzume that lasts all of ten minutes. It also tries to take on a much mature take by allowing the female lead to make mistakes. Many people might complain about the quick reversal of decisions: Would she really be able to flit among the two leads as easily as she does, if she were really in love with one? However, it is perfectly possible for a high school girl to go through a range of emotions that confuses her temporarily. Mamura and Shishio-sensei represent two different sensibilities and it is entirely possible for one to overpower the other, until she realises her true place. So cheers to HnR for creating a good patch of teenage angst.
Nagano’s Suzume, overall, comes across as a refreshing female lead. She’s headstrong and forgiving, but not in a stupid way. She is also described as “plain” and “quirky” and is much more average and easier to relate to than other shoujo heroines.
Apart from Yuyuka played by Maika Yamomoto, none of the other side characters are given any personalities or lines. Yuyuka plays the classic enemy-turned-frenemy. She is also in love with Mamura, and Suzume’s closeness with him annoys her. She takes some really questionable steps and the fact that these are simply waived off when she does a few good deeds is a tad unrealistic to me.
Mamura’ fear of getting close to girls is finally revealed at the end – and it’s a bummer to say the least because it IS USED IN EVER MANGA EVER. I realise this is because the reason is quite common and many suffer from it, but I’ll be waiting for the day when someone a mangaka can come with better backstories as to why the male lead acts the way he does. Props to him for standing through it!
Mamura is originally developed as a second male lead, and does so exceedingly well. He is considerate of her feelings and knowing that Suzume is in love with Sensei, he chooses to remain friends and support her. He also isn’t hesistant to throw a punch when he believes Sensei to be mistreating her. However, the manga Mamura is much more well developed and gentle than on-screen. This is again due to missing of key-scenes but we can forgive a movie that is already 2 hours long. (He also isn’t funny AT ALL).
Sensei, on the other hand has a great sense of humour, but is literally the least developed character after the extra! What a waste of Miura on screen! While the ending turned out to be devastating for shippers of one particular couple (ahem ahem), looking back upon the actions of the two leads, it does seem like Suzume ended up with what’s best for her.
Other characters include Sensei’s ex-girlfriend Tsubomi (?), Yuyuka’s friends, and Suzume’s uncle. While they may have had key dialogues in plot development, they are not fleshed out characters and simply exist as fodder.
Alan Shirahama would altogether be a pleasure to watch on screen if not pitted against the much older Miura in comparison.
The movie misses out on so much, I would rather advise reading the manga. As a manga, Hirunaka no Ryuusei comes close to being the top 10 in shoujo mangas. It ranks close in plotline and popularity to Ao Haru Ride, Horimiya, Dengeki Daisy and other.
The cinematography is mediocre and too much of it is made up of close-ups of Nagano’s shocked, wide eyes. Even potential scenes such as the Christmas days or Suzume’s final confession were done in regular shots.
While fans of the manga will like the manga nonetheless, for those only watching the movie, do yourself a favour and pick something else. At 1 hour and 59 mins, the movie is a tad too long to justify such a linear and somple plot. Despite its ratings on IMDB and AsianWiki, I do feel like a huge part of its popularity is depending on the brand name HnR had created for itself.
The acting is mediocre and no one stands out as an exceptionally talented person. If this movie doesn’t tell Mei Nagano to break her boundaries and move out of movies like Peach Girl and Parks, nothing ever will.
Overall, the movie is quite enjoyable, if not a tad slow towards the end. If you’re a fan of the manga, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the movie. If not, you’ll find a movie that is somewhat refreshing after Nagano’s Parks (LOL).
Foxy Turnips gives it 6 sad turnips out of 10!
The music isn’t captivating or worth spending your bucks on, but it does get addictive after a few listens. You can listen to it here.
IMDB has rated it 6.9/10.
Asian Wiki gives it a rating of 92/100.
MyDramaList has rated it 8.2/10.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the trailer here:
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