Warau-Iemon(The Movie)

嗤う伊右衛門 [DVD]
嗤う伊右衛門 [DVD]

This is the poster from the movie “Warau-Iemon” by the director Ninagawa Yukio. 

People always complain about movies that are based on their favorite novels.

They always say “The bloody movie was so different from the novel!!” They say “That actor/actress didn’t fit the image of that character!” or “Why did they change the important words from the novel?”

They always think “If a good novel was made into a movie just like the original story, then it also would be a good movie.”

I used to think similar things but recently I found out that I was wrong.

The story in this movie is the same as in the novel. There isn’t anything that Ninagawa added or omitted. All of the episodes, the words that the characters speak and the setting of the story is the same as in the novel.

Also, the actors were good. Karasawa Toshiaki and Koyuki played Iemon and Iwa. Kagawa Teruyuki played Mataichi. They are very good actors and perfectly fit the characters. The other actors were also skilled.

However, this movie is very boring.

It’s probably due to the script and the directing . 

Making a movie be the same as a good novel will not necessarily make a good movie. It is because the techniques of making a good novel completely differ from the techniques of making a good movie.

A novel includes on enormous amount of information, and that a movie is not able to incorporate everything. In novels, writers can deeply describe the feelings of characters in word. They can write inner descriptions which are not expressed on the surface. This is impossible in a movie. A director of movie has to express things another way.

My friend whose job is translation said, “Our job is not limited to translating words into another language according to a dictionary. We need to understand what the writer meant and thought and use the best phrase we can, to expresses the original meaning, as much as possible. Word-for-word translation is just a poor duplicate.”

I think that what she said is also applicable to a drama based on a novel. This “Warau-Iemon” by Ninagawa is just a literal translation of the novel. It appears that Ninagawa just simply changed the episodes in the novel into a motion picture. I think it’s a poor copy.

Also, the music was bad. Not that the music itself is not so bad, but director’s use of it was awfully tasteless. However, It’s well known by many that Ninagawa Yukio has no sense of music.

There is one thing that Ninagawa added in the movie. He showed the scene in which Iwa died, which Kyougoku didn’t describe.

If I heard about the scene without watching the actual movie, I would think that it’s nice because it probably made the story easy to understand.

I was wrong again. When I watched the movie, I understood the reason why Kyougoku didn’t wrote the scene.

In the movie, Iwa appeared where Iemon was, and expressed her feeling for him. The two threw themselves into each other’s arms, then Iwa died while being held by Iemon. He then swore, “You won’t be alone for long.” 

The scene was too sentimental and totally made the movie into a cheap soap opera.

The movie’s subheading was “eternal love.” Of course, the sincere love between Iemon and Iwa was an important theme of the story, but emphasizing it   too much makes me disgusted.

Everything about this movie is deadly tacky.

 However, Kagawa, who played Mataichi, was excellent. He is a very talented actor. I’m a fan of his.

Although there are also other actors who played Mataichi in other movies or TV dramas, Kagawa is the best.

Kagawa can saylong and complicated lines very fluently. He also can express deep feeling with very few words.

 Moreover, Mataichi’s appearance in this movie is very dirty and he really looks like a beggar. I love this. One of the attractive points of this character is that Mataichi is “an ongyo(御行)” that was a beggar monk in the Edo period. He is on the lowest level of the society.

Kagawa’s Mataichi was perfect. I have to recognize Ninagawa’s sense of good acting  at least.


Antique review 2

Antique Bakery Volume 1Antique Bakery Volume 1
販売元:Digital Manga Publishing

A drama develops around these four men and the customers at Antique Bakery.

However, I won’t tell the story in detail.
If you had read this book, it’s meaningless to tell the story, and if you not, I want you to read the book yourself.
Humi Yoshinaga ‘s storytelling is very dexterous, and I’m absolutely certain that you will enjoy it.
(Regarding “Warau Iemon”, I wrote about the plot-line in detail story in order to practice my English writing, but when I upload this article to a website, I should write in a different way. It wille be a more streamlined version.)

In this article, I’d like to write about the “Antique” movie and compare it with the original manga.
The Antique movie was released on November 13, 2008. The movie drew more than 1 million moviegoers within its first two weeks of release, making it one of the most successful Korean movies ever made.
The difecter, Min Gyu Dong said in an interview that he was atracted to the story as soon as he read i. He had since been hoping to adapt it into a movie.
It took a long time to find actors who could play characters in the manga well. He appointed Joo Ji Hoon and Kim Jae Wok after all.


The movie was also released in Japan in April, 2009.
Of course, I went to watch it immediately.
Watching the movie, I thought that it was very faithfull to the original manga, and it was not a mere copy (like the “Warau Iemon” movie) but a well elaborated movie.
Of course, it is impossible to make a four volume manga series into a standard length film, without changing anything. Humi Yoshinaga’s mangas always have a large amount of information. In ghe original manga, there are many ebisodes. But, due to time constrains they were not included in the movie.
Therefore, the movie focused the story about the two main character, Tachibana and Ono. Most of the episodes about Chikage, Eiji and the costumers for Antique were cut. It that These episodes are so nice that it was little bit of a shame that they were cut, but it was unavoidable.
One of the charms of the manga is that the cakes in the story look very delicious. Why do the cakes look so delicious? I think it is because of Yoshinaga’s drawings and also the dialogs of the characters, especially Tachibana’s salestalk. Yoshinaga writes a lot of dialogs about the cakes and it make the readers imagine how nice they are.
However, if these dialogs had been taken into the scenario of the movie, the movie might have been very redundant and boring.
The directer showed a scene in which many cakes were made during a montage with many short cuts of beautiful cakes speedily. These techniques succeeded in expressing the tastiness of the cakes to the audience.

My favorite character in the manga is the patissier, Ono. In the movie, he was given a Korean name, Son Woo.
He is a character with a very complicated attractiveness. In his private life, he is demonically charming gay (and playboy). However, at the work, he is a talented patissier, stoically working professionall, andis a good teacher for Eiji.
Before watching it, I was worried about what character he became in the movie, but Kim Jae Wok, who played Son Woo., was perfect. He performed this complicated role splendidly.

However, Son Woo is not necessarily the same as Ono. He is younger and more sensitive than Ono.
The difference could be seen clearly in the headhunting episode with Jean Baptiste.
Jean Baptiste is chef and owner of a famous patisserie in France and Ono’s ex-boyfriend. He tried to headhunt Ono as chef patissier of a branch of his store, with a large salary.
Tachibana pretends to be calm as opposed to Eiji and Chikage who were not calm at all. In fact, Tachibana was panicing inside. He ran around trying to raise money, but he was no match for Jean. Although he tried to find a patissier who could replace Ono, he couldn’t find anybody as good as Ono. Moreover, Ono seemed like he was already getting back with Jean.
As a last resort, Tachibana asked Ono;
“If I said I’d sleep with you, would you stay at our store?”
This is an episode showing how important the store is for Tachibana. He was so desperate that he made such a offer in spite of homophobia.
The incidents in the manga and the movie are almost the same, however, the descriptions of emotions of Ono and Son Woo are delicately different.
In the original story, when Tachibana asked him, Ono laughed and said that he had never intended to leave the store from the beginning.
In the movie, Son Woo was wounded emotionally since Jin Hyuk(Tachibana’s name in the movie) made such a offer that he didn’t want to do. He seems to have a stronger feeling for Jin Hyuk than Ono to Tachibana.
This delicate difference was very interesting to me. Son Woo is my favorite too.

This movie is enjoyable for Yumi Yoshinaga fans and also those who are not a fan.
I recommend it strongly.

(Antique review end)

Antique review 1

アンティーク~西洋骨董洋菓子店~ [DVD]アンティーク~西洋骨董洋菓子店~ [DVD]

“Antique” is a Korean movie based on a Japanese manga “Seiyou-kottou-Yougashiten 西洋骨董洋菓子店” (the English title is “Antique Bakery”)by Humi Yoshinaga.
Humi Yoshinaga is a manga author in Japan, and has become popular in recent years. Her fan base had been mostly Otaku ladies when she debued, but her work gradually became popular among a more widespread audience.
I am also a big fan of her manga and have read almost all of her works.
“Seiyou-kottou-Yougashiten ” is one of her most important works. It was published in Japan by Shinshokan and published in English by Digital Manga Publishing. The series won the 2002 Kodansha Manga Award for “best girl’s manga.” The manga was adapted as a Japanese TV drama.
Firstly, I will write about the manga story.
The story depicts the lives of four men who work in a small bakery.
Keichiro Tachibana is the owner of the “Antique Bakery.” He opened the bakery in spite of his disliking sweets. His reason was that almost all of the customers for bakeries are women. (At least he insisted that that was his reason. His real secret reason was not revealed during the first half of the story. )
Tachibana was going to hire a top-class patissier for his shop, and when he interviewed, he knew that the patissier had been his high school classmate.
The patissier, Tachibana’s former classmate, Yusuke Ono was gay. In their high school days, Ono summoned up the courage and confessed his love for Tachibana, but Tachibana gave him a flat cruel refusal.
When the two met again, 14 years after their high school, Ono had became a “Demonically Charming gay” who attracts a man, whether they’re gay or straight.
So Ono had wound up fired again and again because of his many romantic troubles with his coworkers, in spite of his top skill as patissier.
Tachibana felt guilty about what he had done 14 yars ago, but Ono said that he had spent his gay life freely since that incident and he was rather thankful to him.
His “Demonic Charm” doesn’t work with Tachibana for some reason or an other, so there is no fear that he will be fired because of any love affair.
Both of them promised to run a good bakery together.

Eiji Kanda is Ono’s apprentice. He was a former pro boxer, and had retired due to a retinal detachment injury while still young. He has a huge sweet tooth. He was attracted by the sweets Ono made and became his apprentice. He holds Ono in very high regard, calling him his “Master.”

Chikage Kobayakawa is Tachibana’s childhood friend. His family works at the Tachibana house. He was sent by the Tachibana family to watch out for his friend. Chikage is trained to become a waiter by Tachibana. However, he is very klutzy and has a hard time.

(Continued to review 2)