After watching a lot of Japanese romances, finally this one managed to touch me. All it takes is a simple script, beautiful acting and beautiful Hokkaido landscapes.
Sae lives in a small town in Hokkaido, she is hardworking and ambitious, trying to get into a university in Tokyo. She meets Kohei, a local boy who is training to be a fisherman. Even though their backgrounds are very different, they fall in love. The circumstances separate them and they have to struggle to keep their love alive.
For me, the best part of the movie was the beginning, when Sae and Kohei meet and gradually fall in love. It was innocent and sweet, a beautiful portrait of two teenagers in love. As the story continues, the plot either progresses too slowly, or has some far-fetched twists (like the almost-meeting in Canada), so the film is mostly kept together by the performances.
Tôma Ikuta gives a brilliant performance as Kohei. Sweet and lovable, hopelessly in love, a child facing adult decisions and responsibilities. He makes you smile and he makes you cry. Yui Aragaki was cute too, but definitely overshadowed by Ikuta.
I can't say it was flawless, but if you are a fan of Japanese romance, or even just romance actually, this is a must-see. And be ready for some tears and lots of "oh how cute..."!
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