Negatibu happî chênsô ejji (2007) - News Poster

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Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge

Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge
Tokyo International Film Festival

TOKYO -- Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge by Takuji Kitamura, a teenage ninja vs. mutant flick, is coherently scripted, genre-savvy and visually stimulating, it features a kickass female lead, and even psychological insight into adolescent blues. Premiered at TIFF, Chainsaw was one of the few films in the Japanese Eyes section that received warm applause. Meant mainly for teenagers in Japan, the film will win over more mature genre fans in overseas fantastic film festivals and DVD markets.

Megumi Seki (Honey and Clover, Arch Angels) is Eri, a high school student who believes it's her destiny to fight a chainsaw-wielding monster who descends from the moon in a shower of snowflakes. Enter Yosuke (Hayato Ichihara), wuss-extraordinaire, who gets in Eri's way while dodging cops after a shoplift attempt. It's "love at first sight" for him, and "out of my sight!" from her, but somehow, Yosuke sticks around to become Eri's chaperone and beverage-server during her duels with the mysterious monster. In time, the two realize they share similar identity crises and tragic memories, and learn the meaning of interdependence.

At first glance, Eri appears to be cut from the same cloth as Lolita warriors of Japanese manga and action-fantasies like Azumi and Princess Blade. Looking undaunted and delectable in a yellow school blazer, she levitates and dives, throwing Ninja darts like a ballerina. However, it gradually transpires that her relationship with the Chainsaw Man has darker psychological roots that recall the Freudian undertones of Candy Man and Nightmare on Elm Street.

The film boasts some fabulous sets for the fighting scenes, such as an Edo period theme park, an aquarium and an indoor swimming pool. HD cinematography is technically robust, adequately showcasing the inventively-combined CGI and Japanese style action choreography -- which are used in moderation. Editing is clean and streamlined.

The narrative sags a bit when it settles on comically chronicling the school life of Yosuke and his equally deadbeat classmates. Yosuke's dream of challenging his dead friend Noto -- a rebel who fought for what he believed -- somehow seems too manga-like to ring true. However, the film draws attention to the apathy and spinelessness of contemporary youth. Indeed a teacher is disappointed with his students for NOT talking back, and just caving in to the system.

NEGATIVE HAPPY CHAINSAW EDGE

Digital Frontier Inc/Nikkatsu Studio/Nikkatsu Corporation

Credits:

Director: Takuji Kitamura

Writer: Hirotoshi Kobayashi

Based on the novel by: Tatsuhiko Takimoto

Producers: Suguru Matsumura, Kazuhiro Hirose, Akira Yamamoto

Director of photography: Gen Kobayashi

Production designer: Yasuyo Kawamura

Costume designer: Yukiko Kosato

Cast:

Eri Yukizaki: Megumi Seki

Yosuke Yamamoto: Hayato Ichihara

Watanabe: Yosuke Asari

Noto: Haruma Miura

Running time -- 109 minutes

No MPAA rating

See also

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