Thursday, September 04, 2008

Cyborg She (Boku No Kanojo Wa Saibôgu)

You Sure Eat a Lot!

Sometimes the greatest love stories aren't the ones that end happily ever after, but the realization that it's all a matter of the quality moments spent between the lovers. You can call me a sentimental sap, but Cyborg She does meet every single one of my expectation of what makes a palatable romantic movie, never mind sometimes dwelling on the cliched moments, especially when the leads share great chemistry, and this being a science-fiction piece to boot too!

Jiro Kitamura (Keisuke Koide) is a loner who celebrates his birthday with nobody except himself, going to the mall and picking out his own gift, before ending up at the same old restaurant for a plate of spaghetti. It's a routine year after year, but in 2007, he chanced upon a girl (Haruka Ayase) whom he witnessed to have shoplifted from the departmental store, and from then they spend the most amazing evening together. Yes, it's reminiscence of Serendipity, done in the style of Kwak Jae-young, whom we know better as the writer-director of the Korean hit My Sassy Girl.

Fast forward to a year later, Jiro meets the girl again, but this time discovers she's a cyborg sent from the future. I guess to most guys, this seemed like a dream come true when a girl, no matter if she's a fully functional cyborg, happened to just drop into your lap again. It's R2D2 with boobs, sent to him in Terminator fashion (Sorry, with clothes on too), which means of course that she has a higher calling and purpose to be with him, for reasons best I not reveal here, but for you to find out for yourself.

Being an advance being, in between getting to learn how to be a human, protecting Jiro from harm and being romanced, she's also like a superhero, and Cyborg She never looked a minute out of place if positioned side by side with this year's Hollywood superhero blockbusters. Boasting excellent special effects, I thought this movie gave another Japanese Film (don't click on this link if you choose not to know) a run for its money with its rendition of the event being a more realistic one.

It has plenty of charming moments within that makes it a perfect date movie, and the great chemistry between the leads is what made this work. Keisuke Koide looked like the helpless puppy that he is, flitting from moment to moment trying to figure out what his cyborg's true calling is, while succumbing unsuccessfully to temptation of trying to get fresh with her. Haruka Ayase on the other hand had her work cut out for her in being an emotionless robot programmed to smile, and had moments which mirrored Uma Thurman from My Super Ex-Girlfriend. Together they share some light hearted moments in a fine balance with the dramatic ones. And as we all know, we usually appreciate things a lot more the minute we lost them, and for a romantic movie, this usually is the case to reinforce certain emotions the characters have for each other.

Running slightly more than 2 hours, it never for a minute felt longer than its welcome on screen, though I had to admit that amongst its multiple endings, I thought that it could have ended at any point, and still would have made it a bittersweet movie to have experienced. I've no qualms about the ending it decided upon too, but meanwhile for those whose hearts would feel heavy at the slightest touch of sentimentalism, you'd better pack your tissues with you.

I'll admit it, this is a movie which I enjoyed thoroughly, even though as you know with any movie dealing with time travel, that'll be that bit of a paradox involved, and here it came in large doses. I'll advise you to accept the timeline presented for what it is, because that's the only way, linearly, in order to enjoy any movie that has this element. Highly recommended stuff since it's been some time I saw a romantic movie (and a science fiction one!) that just worked. I'll stick my neck out to say it'll likely be featured in my top 10 list of films for this year and I'll put money aside for the DVD as well.

For those who want to watch it on the big screen, well it's been playing at the cinemas for some time now, so you'd better quickly make some time for it.

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