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"Aoi Tori" is a movie about bullying in Japan. A student transferred to another school after an attempted suicide caused by constant bullying from his classmates. The movie starts with a substitute teacher (Abe Hiroshi) arriving to the junior high school, and brings the transfer student's desk back into the classroom. This inevitably causes friction and conflicts between the teacher and students (and their parents).
As I expected, acting was superb. Abe Hiroshi was great as usual in quirky roles, this time a stuttering teacher. He successfully depicted the earnest teacher who was eager to teacher what is right and wrong to his students. He spoke very little, but his words had weighed heavily on me. Hongou Kanata, who I believe often fall victim to poor casting, was actually perfect for his role this time. Interactions between Abe and Hongou were wonderful.
Music for this movie, especially the theme song was just simply amazing. Really sets the mood for this movie.
I guess I was a bully in elementary school (I attended in Japan). Just like the kids in this movie, I didn't realize what I was doing was bullying and how little jokes were really causing pain to others until the guy stopped showing up to school. "Aoi Tori" explored what bullying really was, and that the current standard system in Japan, basically writing a "letter of repentance" is ineffective corrective action to bullying and other problems.
The message this movie conveyed in the very end really struck my heart. That we should never get over our sins, never forget it and take responsibility in our actions, and live with the burden for rest of our lives. Tears just wouldn't stop flowing out of my eyes as the theme song started playing in the end. Where "School Days with a Pig" had failed, this film taught an important lesson in life. Easy 10/10.
On a side note, this is my 100th review on IMDb, I'm a little surprised I've written so many reviews, mostly on Japanese movies, in just 2 years. Especially since I only comment on movies that left strong enough impression on me to write at least 10 lines (IMDb requirement). All my reviews are based on my personal opinions and often consist of my personal reflections, but I hope there are people out there who find my reviews helpful, and I hope I can continue to write hundreds more in the future.
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