6 user 2 critic

Ikinai (1998)

A young girl named Mitsuki receives a ticket for a bus tour from his uncle. The tour appears to be normal (expect that everyone appears to be quite somber) but Mitsuki learns it's true ... See full summary »



(as Dankan)
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Duncan ...
Aragaki (as Dankan)
Nanako Ôkôchi ...
Toshinori Omi ...
Ippei Souda ...
Yôichi Nukumizu ...
The Great Gidayû ...
Nose (as Gurêto Gidayû)
Hiroyuki Kishi ...
Takashi Mitsuhashi ...
Mitsuo Togioka ...
Misayo Haruki ...
Ichirô Ogura ...
Tarô Ishida ...
Takenori Murano ...


A young girl named Mitsuki receives a ticket for a bus tour from his uncle. The tour appears to be normal (expect that everyone appears to be quite somber) but Mitsuki learns it's true purpose. All passengers and the tour manager have a suicide pact to send the bus over a cliff so the families can collect the insurance money. Written by Sampo Haarlaa <Simpi@eurofin.pp.fi>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


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Release Date:

28 June 2001 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Suicide Bus  »

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User Reviews

The Sunshine Club - to live or not to live
11 November 2005 | by See all my reviews

I don't know how this film managed to slip under my radar for so long, it being the Office Kitano production without Beat on board as a director or an actor. Surely it had a lot to demonstrate upon its debut.

Immediately we get introduced to a mystifying character Aragaki (Dankan), who in his state of anti-manic depression manages to present a scheme involving a bus accident on a road where such an occurrence would be ruled as legit, due to the history of past fatalities, which in return would leave the families of the victims (or volunteers) with loads of insurance money to pay-off their debts. Aragaki manages to find a handful of such people, most of them in their 50's and 60's but also a few younger men. And what bus tour would be complete without a duet of a sturdy driver and a female tour guide that can karaoke on the go.

With the story being centered on the suicide journey of a group of people, the results can seem quite wrongful and comically unappealing at a first glance, but I've learned to leave the prejudice at the door when it comes to Oriental cinema and I strongly believe that truly good films don't get overshadowed by the sensitive subject matters nor do they get lost in translation.

The otherwise well scheduled trip faces a slight change of plans when a young girl shows up with the ticket for the tour, which she got from her uncle who couldn't make it but didn't want the ticket to expire. Surprisingly she gets allowed to come along and her character just seems very likable, while not being overly campy or a typically low spirited youth.

Next 55 or so minutes of the film indulge us with simple yet beautiful Okinawan scenery and get us acquainted with the rest of the gang. The cast is filled with amusing and distinctive characters, from an arrogant, big-shot businessman, to an old prankster who doesn't know when to stop with the jokes. A little mystery that's Mr. Kimura who tries to end his life whenever he sees a chance, only to get smacked on the head by Aragaki. All of this is glossed with pleasant folkie tunes which help to deflate the otherwise heavy undertone of the film.

Towards the end of the film the humor lessens, obviously it couldn't have been all fun and games but the film still managed to hold my interest. These characters had to face certain consequences and ponder whether going through with it was the right choice, which really no one could measure better than they could themselves.

An extraordinary film which wouldn't have managed to be so strangely uplifting and poignant if it wasn't for the humaneness of these relatable characters and what they had to say throughout this prolific journey. A distinctive product of Japan despite its touchy topic, a worthy offering from Office Kitano.

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