Live Action: Summer Vacation 1999

July 6th, 2005

Based loosely on Hagio Moto’s Boys’ Love classic, Touma no Shinzo (Heart of Thomas), Summer Vacation has just about something for everyone, except perhaps the hard-core action fan.

The story takes place at an all-boy’s private school during summer vacation. Almost everyone has gone for the summer, with the exception of three boys who are friends and are now living together. Not to long ago a fourth friend of theirs committed suicide, leaving behind a letter to his roommate. In this stereotypical “hothouse” setting several things are driving the boys apart. For one thing, there is more than a little sexual tension between them, as there was between their dead friend and at least one of them.

Into this tense mix comes a new boy, who looks unsettingly like their dead friend. He seems to know all about the likes and dislikes of the dead boy – and to share them – but insists that he knows nothing about him or his history.

Tempers flare, as does sexual attraction and violence, in this unusual and pretty creepy movie.

All the roles in this movie are played by girls. So you get kind of a double-whammy gender bendy thing going, as girls dressed like boys, start to find themselves attracted to each other. They really aren’t good as boys, but they really don’t look like girls either – which *really* works for this movie, let me tell you. The entire story balanced on the edge of life and death, vacation and school, community and isolation, madness and health, and sexual identity and gender. There’s at least one kiss I can remember, maybe more. Nothing explicit, which would have killed the whole story.

I highly recommend this movie for the zOMGWTFBBQ factor – because you really have no idea what’s going to happen through most of it. The end was a little weak, but I have to give it a little credit for not *at all* going where I expected.

Ratings:
Cinematography – 7
Story – 6 (Slow, but creepy and sexy enough to work)
Characters – 8
Yuri – 0 or 8, depending on how you look at it.

Overall – 7

A unique movie and one well worth watching for fans of this classic manga.

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