Brash, loudmouthed and opportunistic, Kikujiro hardly seems the ideal companion for little Masao who is determined to travel long distances to see the mother he has never met. Their excursion to the cycle races is the first of a series of adventures for the unlikely pair which soon turns out to be a whimsical journey of laughter and tears with a wide array of surprises and odd ball characters to meet along the way. Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
If it wasn't for the perverted old man and the language, this would probably be a really good children's movie. Who knows, maybe it's intended to be...
Anyway, little Masao lives with his grandmother and has never met his parents: his father is dead and his mother ran away. He knows where his mother lives, however, and wants to go visit her over the Summer, so his kindly neighbor conscripts her profligate husband to take him. "Mister", as Masao calls him, doesn't make the ideal companion with his absurd behavior and his verbal abuse, but they go off to adventure anyways and learn to really connect with each other.
The power this film has lies mostly in its contemplative approach. It's very humorous and isn't really slow, but the camera does take the time to linger on locales, faces, and characters. For a few odd parts here and there, it's still really innocent and it seems to show that most people are kind-natured at heart, even when they project an aura of toughness and abusiveness. An interesting aside to analyze that theme would be the carnival scene, where people entrusted with family entertainment turn out to be violent cheaters, whereas even the heavy-metal biker folk are more than willing to go out of their way to help Masao.
The film itself is from Masao's perspective, as a childhood's slightly photographic memory comes into play, mixed a lot with colorful imagination. The humor is the best part, as it is at times really simple but holds itself up well. There's a lot to enjoy in this film.
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