With no diagnosis for her mother's illness, Yuki knows its time to face her demons before her mother is lost forever.

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Yuki
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Mr. Ishizaki
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Storyline

Yuki's mother is very ill and the doctors have given up hope. While her mother lies ill in a Northern Irish hospital, Yuki drifts off into fantasy where she talks with her mother in traditional Japanese dress and finds that the illness has taken on a demonic form which surely will cure her mother if Yuki can defeat it? Written by bob the moo

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Short | Drama

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9 April 2011 (UK)  »

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Nice idea but falls short in too many aspects to really work
3 April 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In a plot device reminiscent of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Yuki's mother is very ill and the doctors have given up hope. While her mother lies ill in a Northern Irish hospital, Yuki drifts off into fantasy where she talks with her mother in traditional Japanese dress and finds that the illness has taken on a demonic form which surely will cure her mother if Yuki can defeat it?

This short film interested me due to being a Northern Irish production but appearing to have more in common with Japanese culture than it does with Norn Iron. To be kind to the film there is a lot to be interested in here and it is just a shame that it doesn't seem to fully deliver on any of it. It is a story ultimately built around one young girl's fear of losing her mother (a battle for courage which takes a physical form) and this aspect should be the emotional heart of the film; in this area it doesn't really work as the emotion is stiff and the characters are too – reducing the realism of this relationship. The script has a big part to play in this but also it must be said that I didn't think Yamanaka was particularly emotive or expressive – maybe she was directed to play it this way, but it limited my involvement. On top of this we do not have enough of Yuki's real life struggle for us to appreciate her pain – I needed to get this more but the film didn't put it out well enough.

The demon device is a nice one but you really have to forgive how much the idea and even the design of the demon owes to Dragon. Forgiving it this, the action sequence is OK but not amazing – I do not know if the actors playing the demon and Yuki are trained, but, while they tried, they didn't quite have the fluidity needed and nor did the camera really capture it in the way the viewer would be used to. I liked the origami theme though – in particular the final shot using it. The performance from Yamanaka didn't do much for me, while Kajioka (from short film Fish) didn't have much to do; this puts the film mostly on Abe. She is good to a point – but only the point the material lets her be; I would have liked more to be done with the heart of the character and in fairness Abe could have delivered on that, but sadly wasn't. Technically the film generally has a look and feel of "almost"; so shots are good but not as professional or sharp as you would have hoped for – again giving that feeling of "almost".

This "almost" feeling is the one I took away. The emotional heart of the film is there in theory but not fully developed to draw the viewer in; the demon idea and design is good but never stops feeling lifted from Dragon – and not a lift to enhance but just a straight lift. The performance from Abe is good but again "almost" because the material is not there for her to do more. Yuki is frustrating because I wanted to like it and I wanted it to be simple and impacting as an emotional tale and a dramatic one, but it didn't do it and ultimately "almost" wasn't good enough.


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