Live Action: Hana no Asuka-gumi Movie

December 12th, 2005

Hana no Asuka-gumi is a very bad live-action movie based on manga I like.

When faced with an extremely complex story, with many characters and a multi-tiered socio-political set-up, some directors simplify and some rewrite. And some throw the whole story out and create something completely different from the original so that what’s left is something so awful that the original creator would probably not want to be associated it. The original Casino Royale springs immediately to mind…and so does the live-action Hana no Asuka-gumi. This movie is *so* bad, it’s good.

The manga of Hana no Asuka-gumi takes place in modern Tokyo, among the many and varied members of the Zenchuu Ura, the umbrella organization that runs all the female gangs of Tokyo (among other things) and the people who are involved with the principles of this organization. Kuraku Asuka was once a high-ranking member, but is no longer.

I’ve mentioned the original manga on and off across Okazu, reviewed the first OVA and second OVA, and done an overview of the new manga series. All of these are, in one way or another, excellent.

Not so this movie. ^_^

In the live-action version of this wonderful girl-gang story, we are transported to a dystopian future, in which all gangs look like stereotpyes of gangs, from big Happy Days 1950’s gang hair to double-breasted yakuza gang suits, to Mad Max ripoff faux-punk gang leather armor. All of the Omoteban look like Michael Jackson music video runaways, and they tend to yell alot and fight not nearly so much. Asuka’s (in the red jacket on the cover above – click the picture to get a bigger version) and Miko’s relationship is pretty much exactly the same as it is in the manga, and so is both of their relationships to Yohko (chick on the left side of the cover with big hair, which is a bloody shame). Other than that, nearly everything is different.

The worst change is what they did to Hibari-sama. Instead of being a proto-GothLoli freak with a doll and uniform fetish, she’s made into a middle-aged woman who cannot speak and needs misting periodically. This causes the movie to crawl to a stop every time she comes on screen – it sucks any energy the movie has away, just like the horrible mono-tonal Sister Jill did for the Cutey Honey Live-action movie.

But none of these is really enough to kill this movie completely – nor is the fact that the soundtrack consists entirely of the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction repeated over and over endlessly until you want to rip your ears off.

Despite all this, there are *still* scenes worth watching.

Chief among these is the scene where Asuka manages to grab Yohko, ties her to a bed and yell at her for a while, with a little light kicking to the ribs. Asuka has what is a genuinely unresolved-sexual-tension filled scene with the woman she loves. This relationship isn’t going to go anywhere…and neither does this movie. It ends in an anticlimactic free-for-all that resolves exactly nothing.

Ratings:
Cinematography – 2
Characters – 6
Story – 4
Yuri – 1
Service – 0

Overall – 2

Like the live action movie based on Blue, one should only bother watching this if one is a total hardcore Hana no Asuka-gumi fan. I am a hardcore fan, and have *two* copies of it. ^_^

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4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think when I watched this, I was concentrating too much on trying to figure out what was going on to appreciate the humorous wackiness of it– it just seemed bad. Really, really bad.

    Also, the “tie Yohko to the bed and kick her” scene got me in trouble for the rest of the night. lol I’m still worried Ashara is going to attempt it when she comes to visit… ;)

    -Erin

  2. AndersH says:

    Erin is out of her mind. It was awesome. Super-awesome, in fact. I didn’t know the story at all, so I didn’t really care that the conversations consist of people talking like they have severe brain damage and starting every sentence with Yoooohkoooo, it doesn’t really matter.
    Maybe it was really dramatic if you understood Japanese.

    And that one person Asuka shoots in the ceiling of the warehouse seals the deal.

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