Monday, July 7, 2008

Last Quarter

(Sorry, I couldn't find a trailer with subtitles)

Overall Rating: B+
Summary: Last Quarter, or Kagen no Tsuki, is a 2004 Japanese film directed by Ken Nikai, and is based on Ai Yazawa's manga (which to my knowledge has not been published in the US yet). The story follows Mizuki Mochizuki, a high school student with a dysfunctional family. Mizuki's mother committed suicide after finding out that Mizuki's father had cheated on her. Mizuki now lives with her father, his mistress (who he has now married, and her stepsister. The movie opens at her birthday party where one of her friends shows her a video of Mizuki's boyfriend, Tomoki Anzai, sleeping with her. Happy birthday!

She confronts Tomoki while his band is playing and throws her shoe at him, and then runs off. This proves to be a big mistake since she has to walk home with only one shoe. While walking home, she hears a song playing and wanders into an abandoned mansion to see who is playing it. There she finds a man named Adam, who claims to know her (which isn't creepy or anything), and that he's from London. When she gets ready to leave for the night (did I mention this all happens really late at night?), Adam asks her to stay, but she leaves.

Mizuki keeps going back to visit Adam and becomes closer and closer to him, while withdrawing from her old life more and more, eventually moving in with him. Everything is going well, until Adam disappears one day with no warning. Then, Mizuki's phone rings and its Adam (she has never given him her number) telling her he had to leave. She asks him to take her with him, and he tells her to meet him. She goes to the meeting place, and sees him across the street from her. Despite all the reasons not to go with him, she decides it's what she wants, and crosses the street. Tomoki witnesses all of this and tries to shout out to her, because it's a red light, but it's too late and a car hits her, putting her into a coma.

After the accident, Mizuki wakes up in front of an endless metal fence with no one around. A young girl shows up looking for her cat. Mizuki helps her find it, and then the girl and the cat disappear. The cat returns almost immediately though, and runs through the gate, where Mizuki sees Adam.

In a hospital, the young girl Mizuki had met, who we learn is named Hotaru, woke up from a coma. She had been hospitalized when she was hit by a car while searching for her lost cat. After leaving the hospital, she continued to look for her cat, and eventually finds one which looks exactly like hers. The cat hops through a fence surrounding an old and deserted mansion, which Hotaru obviously enters (I think the characters in this are really into old, deserted mansions since they keep going into them at the drop of a hat), and is surprised to find Mizuki inside. Apparently, it wasn't all a dream.

Unfortunately, Mizuki has become a ghost, and doesn't remember who she is, only that she loves Adam and needs to find him. Hotaru and her friend Sae try to help Mizuki find Adam and to figure out who she is.

Despite the fact that the main characters tended to make some pretty stupid decisions, I really enjoyed Last Quarter. It had a much more serious feel to it than most of Ai Yazawa's series, but the relationships were very reminiscent of her other work. If you like dark romance stories, and/or Ai Yazawa's work, then you'll probably enjoy "Last Quarter".

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