Eastside stories: Love Strikes

Where: ICA London/ Belfast/Bristol/Dundee/Edinburgh/Newcastle upon Tyne/Nottingham/Sheffield
When: 31 January to 27 March 2014

Set one year after the drama series ‘Moteki’. Hitoshi Ohne’s romantic comedy, based on a hugely popular manga and TV series, became a massive hit in Japan and was selected for the Top Films of 2011 by The Japan Times, Kinema Jumpo and Eiga Geijutsu. The Japan Foundation chose this film to be part of their East side stories: Youth culture touring film festival.

Set one year after the conclusion of the Japanese drama series ‘Moteki’, the film Love Strikes! continues to follow 31-year-old Yukiyo Fujimoto. Following Yukiyo’s feelings remaining somewhat unresolved after the mini series. Love Strikes! retains the elements of comedy and honesty that were present in both the manga and drama series, all the while delving deeper into the emotional obstacles faced by the protagonist Yukiyo.

Yukiyo, a man with no aim in life starts a new chapter in his life by working as a writer for a news site. Suddenly, Yukiyo experiences ‘moteki’ – a period when a man becomes suddenly popular with woman. Magazine editor Miyuki, who he talks to on twitter, one day initaites a meet up. Miyuki turn’s out to a be woman rather than a geeky bloke. Then Miyuki’s friend Rumiko, beautiful shop assistant Ai and beautiful, but tough co-worker named Motoko all become interested in Yukiyo. He tries to calm down, but is shaken by the interests of these women.  So many women but who is the one for Yukiyo?

The idea of one man simply attempting to lose his virginity is hilarious. Director Hitoshi Ohne brings the same charm as he did from the series. Using elements of musical sequences, slapstick moments, and some tense scenes of Yukiyo’s interaction with women. The film pokes fun at Yukiyo’s circumstances as well as showing his gradual growth as an individual, with each womanly encounter he begins to understand people better.

Mirai Moriyama holds the film together, without his exceptional acting as well as flamboyant dancing to rival or better that of guest star’s Perfume. he encompasses the sexually frustrated Yukiyo perfectly. His execution of internal dialogues really make the film brilliant. Considering the length of the film you get a glimpse into the love affairs he has. Nagasawa’s character of Miyuki is cute, and mysterious giving Yukiyo mixed signals constantly. Whereas Aso’s character of Rumiko is shy and confident at the same time.

Love Strikes! presents a hysterical look into one man’s journey to find that special someone whilst dabbling in moteki. The Japan Foundation did a great job with the selection and getting q&a’s with the directors and actors.

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