Title: Love*Com the Movie
Starring: Ema Fujisawa, Teppei Koike, Shosuke Tanihara, Nami Tamaki, Yuske Yamazaki, Hiro Mizushima, Risa Kudo, Nankai Candies, All Hanshin Kyojin, Masanori Hata
Directed by: Kitaji Ishikawa
Based on the series by Aya Nakahara
Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
Studio: VIZ Pictures
May Contain Spoilers
Risa Koizumi is the tallest girl in her class, and Atsushi Otani is the shortest guy. Having been cruelly rejected by shorter guys because of her height, Risa has vowed to only fall for a taller guy. Otani has also been turned down by girls because of his diminutive height. The two discover that they share similar interests, and their friendship grows as they are constantly thrown in each other’s company. Risa slowly falls in love with Otani, but does she have to courage to confess her feelings? Will the school’s most unlikely couple ever get together?
I enjoyed this colorful, frantic version of Lovely Complex, and thought the cast was great. Ema Fujisawa was particularly good as Risa, and Teppei Koike portrayed the incredibly dense Otani convincingly. Nami Tamaki was wonderful as Nobu, providing some biting advice for Risa, while Risa Kudo and Hiro Mizushima made a cute, slightly dorky couple as Chiharu and Suzuki. I absolutely loved Shosuke Tanihara as Kuniumi Maitake, and wished just one of my teachers had been as cool as he. The dialog snapped back and forth between the leads, and was painfully obvious to everyone but Risa and Otani that they are perfectly suited for each other.
The sets were bright and colorful, especially Risa’s room. The festival scenes were visually appealing, as Risa agonizes about whether or not to tell Otani that she’s fallen in love with him. Scooping goldfish, stuffing their faces with junk food, and posing for pictures in front of a massive wall of pinwheels, the cheerful backdrop was at odds with Risa’s indecisiveness. As fireworks blossom above them, she finally musters the courage to bare her feelings to Otani, only to have them brushed aside as a joke. Yes, Risa certainly isn’t attracted to his high IQ.
The movie follows the basic framework of the manga, at least as far as I have read (Vol 4), meandering here and there to provide a story better suited to the screen. My favorite parts of the manga were included, including the Christmas Umibozu concert, the less than successful declaration of love, and the rickshaw ride during the school trip. Added was Risa’s older sister, an incredibly bizarre character who is constantly invading her room and taking over her TV to watch her favorite show, “Hello, Girlfriend,” while munching away at a bag of chips.
Things got a little bogged down near the end of the movie. After the introduction of the new assistant homeroom teacher, the dreamy Maitake, Otani has some unexpected competition for Risa’s affections. Tall and handsome, Maitake bears a striking resemblance to Kane, a character from Risa’s favorite visual novel. He soon as a swarm of fan girls drooling over him and cheering him on as the new coach of the basketball team. Otani’s jealousies are finally kicked into overdrive as he watches Risa’s adoration of Maitake. In an effort to win back her attention, he challenges the much taller Maitake, a national basketball champion, to a 3 on 3 match, hoping to humiliate him in front of Risa. I thought the basketball segment dragged on for far too long and it really slowed the momentum of the movie.
Review copy provided by VIZ Pictures