7.7/10
1,175
7 user 22 critic

Yokomichi Yonosuke (2013)

Were people's lives changed by having known Yonosuke?

Director:

Shûichi Okita

Writers:

Shûichi Yoshida (based on the novel by), Shirô Maeda (screenplay)
Reviews
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jun Kunimura ... Shoko's father
Ayumi Itô ... Chiharu (the mysterious lady)
Sôsuke Ikematsu Sôsuke Ikematsu ... (as Sosuke Ikematsu)
Gô Ayano ... Kato
Kimiko Yo ... Yonosuke Yokomichi's mother
Yuriko Yoshitaka Yuriko Yoshitaka ... Shoko Yosano
Mei Kurokawa Mei Kurokawa ... Sakura
Kengo Kôra Kengo Kôra ... Yonosuke Yokomichi
Kitarô Kitarô ... Yonosuke Yokomichi's father
Yuriko Hirooka Yuriko Hirooka ... maid in Shoko's mansion
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Storyline

The year is 1987 and Japan is just reaching the peak of its economic success. Eighteen-year old Yonosuke Yokomichi arrives in Tokyo from Nagasaki. Ordinary in every way possible, he lives in a suburb far from the excitement of the big city and commutes to a university in the center of Tokyo. During his first days at school, Yonosuke befriends Ippei Kuramochi and Yui Akutsu. Soon after, he joins the Samba club and spends his leisure time learning to dance. In the Samba club, Yonosuke meets Kato, who turns out to be gay. Together, they take a driving class where Yoko, a rich girl, shows interest in Yonosuke. But he hardly notices her advances; he is infatuated with party girl Chiharu, an older woman he met by chance. Parallel to the depiction of this year of ordinary college life, the characters are shown sixteen years later in the year 2003. However, missing from these scenes is Yonosuke, who is said to have become a cameraman after college. After learning of Yonosuke's death, Yoko ... Written by Nikkatsu Corporation

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

23 February 2013 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

A Story of Yonosuke See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
lite tale of affable young man turns endurance test
8 January 2014 | by CountZero313See all my reviews

A young man, Yonosuke Yokomichi, leaves Nagaski for college in Tokyo, makes friends and has some low-level adventures. Over 20 years later, we see the impact his short life had on the people he encountered.

Shuichi Okita directs this tale with some flair. He has a penchant for the hard geometric framing that Japanese interiors lend themselves to, placing Yonosuke within a square doorway seen through a round opening in an adjoining wall. There are some joyous reaction shots, evidenced especially by a maid who watches tenderly, if slightly aghast, Yonosuke's courting of dippy rich girl Shoko. There is comedy in the cut, such as when Yonosuke is invited to "a pool" and turns up in trunks and snorkel to a formal dress poolside party. Kengo Kora plays the gawky but affectionate Yonosuke, never overdoing the charm or melodrama. Yuriko Yoshitaka manages to take a role that could easily become annoying and infuse it with tenderness and just the right amount of quirk. The comic timing in the dialogue is well-worked at times, such as an awkward acceptance then refusal of leftovers from a new neighbour. Yonosuke does samba, helps out his cameraman neighbour, backs up a gay friend when he comes out... The film consists of these episodic moments, low-key everyday life, vignettes loosely strung together that give a flavour of Yonosuke the college student, who from beginning to end is the same awkward if lovable geek.

The flaw in Okita's scheme is, unfortunately, a massive one - a lack of self-discipline. The running time of this film is flagrantly self-indulgent. There is a good 90-minute film in here, but Yonosuke just does not do enough, or have enough of a journey, or in any way encapsulate the period setting (the late eighties, which is never invoked in an ironic or satirical sense) to justify such ponderous attention. At 160 minutes the film is 20 minutes longer than 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.' This film could similarly be titled 'Yonosuke: Very Long Meander to, well, Nowhere Really.' There is a lot of dead screen time here that should have ended on the cutting room floor. For example, Yonosuke's neighbour is presumed dead. Yonosuke brings him chocolates. It leads to the neighbour holding a photography exhibition. Yonosuke attends and stares uncomprehendingly at the photos. The audience reaction to this is a shrug and mumbled 'So what?" Some play in the snow goes on and on, part of the romance between Yonosuke and Shoko that seems to be just a series of 'meet cutes.' As funny as some of the comedy is, as pretty as the frames Okita fashions are, the flab this narrative carries completely undercuts all that other good work and makes this film a slog to get through, never mind recommend.

It would be interesting to see what a hard-nosed editor with a brief to keep this film under 90 minutes would fashion from the footage. I suspect the answer is a far better film. If I were Okita, I would seek out such an editor as a matter of priority.


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