Kidzhima Yasube, the Samurai of the period Edo, is postponed to 180 years ahead to Japan of our days. There he meets the divorced woman Hiroko and her son Tomoyey. She invites Yasube to ...
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Kidzhima Yasube, the Samurai of the period Edo, is postponed to 180 years ahead to Japan of our days. There he meets the divorced woman Hiroko and her son Tomoyey. She invites Yasube to herself to live, and for food and a lodging for the night asks it to help about the house. The former Samurai begins to cook cakes for Toma and thanks to them becomes the famous confectioner. The relations between this Trinity become more and more warm, but day when they have to say goodbye with each other, already not far off .
Divorcée Hiroko (Rie Tomosaka) struggles with work-life balance issues as she tries to raise her son Tomoya (Fuku Suzuki) single-handedly while holding down a full-time job. It is a very Japanese divorce - Dad is completely out of the picture. Salvation arrives in the unlikely form of Edo-era samurai Yasubei (Ryo Nishikikido) mystically transported to the present day. In need of food and shelter, he discovers the culinary delights of puddings and desserts. A deal is hatched whereby he devotes himself to household chores in return for food and lodging, allowing Hiroko to forge ahead in her career. However, Yasubei's growing patisserie talents will bring tension to the deal.
Tomosaka and Nishikikido do decent work as the star-crossed (potential) lovers, Tomosaka in particular carrying the world weariness of a single mum worn down by the barbs from work colleagues. Some interesting thematic elements are hinted at here: the samurai finds the notion of a working woman and single mum incomprehensible, but adapts in a way that foreshadows the transformation of Meiji-era samurai. Tomosaka remarkably divorces her husband because he was an unreformed male - and yet finds a suitable replacement in a samurai, the embodiment of patriarchal ideals. This could all make for some insightful comment on contemporary Japan and gender roles, but these strands remain unmined as the film follows predictable lines by having Yasubei enter a cake-baking contest, with the ill-prepared Tomoya by his side. Despite one cute scene with white chocolate transformed to snow, the interpersonal relationships, notions of displacement, role, and work-life balance are all under-realised in the end. Quite simply, the film builds up nicely, but by the second half I was looking at my watch. Yasubei never stops to take stock of the Japan he has lost, and the new Japan he finds thrust upon him. Hiroko, similarly, never has to reflect on the fact that she has entrusted the parenting of her son to a sword-wielding bigot.
Perhaps such thoughts would have taken the film too far from the generic fare it strives to be. A pity, as Chonmage Purin gives up a few chuckles along the way, and the strong cast look like they could have handled more challenging fare.
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