I absolutely adored the anime series, so I was excited when they announced a live-action adaptation. Set design pictures began circulating around Tumblr and I just couldn’t wait. The movie aired last December 27, 2014, while the Blu-ray and DVD was released this past July 2, 2015.
Kuragehime is about Kurashita Tsukimi (Nounen Rena) along with fellow residents at Amamizukan, whose lives start to change when they met KoibuchiKuranosuke (Suda Masaki). Each of the residents are an otaku in their own way– our protagonist Tsukimi is obsessed with jellyfish, the manager Chieko with traditional Japanese clothes and dolls, Mayaya with Records of the Three Kingdoms, Jiji with older men, and Banba with trains. They have refrained from connecting with the real world, and dislike men and anything considered “fashionable.” However, Kurako, or rather Kuranosuke, managed to break-in those barriers. Of course, Tsukimi was the only who knew that he crossdresses as a woman.
Kuranosuke has this big personality that managed to take the ladies of Amamizukan out of their comfort zone. There comes a time in our lives that we get stuck in a pool of negativity coming from thinking little about ourselves combined with the desire to be socially accepted. These ladies just happened to like something a bit more than other people which led them to be outcasted. Kuranosuke leads them to the end of the tunnel through his love for fashion and Tsukimi’s jellyfish dress designs.
The live-adaptation might not be as successful if it hadn’t been for the cast. I believe they were able to capture the characters very well. Nounen Rena was really adorable as Tsukimi. Her performance was not very awkward although there are some scenes that looked very forced. I was surprised by Suda Masaki. Men typically have a hard time walking in heels, but boy did he do a good job at crossdressing. He’s quite lanky with not much obvious muscles if it hadn’t been his deep voice, he would’ve fooled a lot of people. My sister even commented at how he could really pass as a girl. In my opinion, it was his eye makeup that really made his face feminine. Kudos to the makeup artist!
Besides the cast’s performance, what impressed me the most was not only the direction, but definitely the design and cinematography. The set design was not poorly constructed rather the details they have put in Tsukimi and Kuranosuke’s room, and the Amamizuka living room was well-put together. I myself wish I owned that house. On the other hand, disregarding the signature special effects involved in Japanese films, the camera captured the right angle, focus, and framing. I absolutely know nothing technical about cinematography, but the way it was presented made all the more a great viewing. The soundtrack was very nice as well! Sekai no Owari‘s Mermaid Rhapsody is very fitting for the film. It gives off this nostalgic, fun, and light-hearted feeling, which was what the movie was.
This film can stand on its own without the need to know any information from the anime or manga. It’s a good watch for those needing that motivation to get out of their comfort zone and not be afraid of doing something you like even it’s tad bit more than the norm.
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