August 2013 saw the premiere of a live-action “Yuri” movie. Called Schoolgirl Complex – Hosoubuhen (スクールガール・コンプレックス~放送部篇), my first and last thought about it was “Well that looks like a Story A.” I have now had a chance to watch it. Here is a transcript of my live-tweeting the first half:
– The movie Schoolgirl Complex has the same cameraman as Sakura Trick. Makes me want to punch someone.
– The problem with this otaku gaze is that it robs the story of any sincerity, turning it into the lamest porn ever bcs there’s no sex.
– So you have girls pulling up socks sllooooowwwwly, not just yanking them up like actual people do.
– It’s so insincere and immature, the live-action film version of chortling over National Geographics 80 years ago.
– One can be an otaku or a fujyoshi without being an immature creep. But the media does not reflect that.
– Buchou is such a wet rag, how did she become the club president?
– Now we’re having a clip episode of the last 23 minutes of the movie! No *wonder* this thing is 95 minutes long!
– Oh, oh, oh! I know what this movie reminds me of! The Live-action Blue: Only not *quite* as bereft and more pervy.
– Every scene is about 90 seconds long, like they are filming an eternal set of trailers.
Then, a scene happened that had me laughing so hard, I forgot to keep tweeting. So let me back up and synopsize.
Chiyuki is a new member of the Broadcasting Club at a girls’ school and during one summer, her and the club president’s feelings for each other threaten to tear the club up. A club member, Kazumi, sees Chiyuki as a problem and tries to throw her out, but Manami, the club president is captivated by her. Another member, Ai has feelings for Manami. During the school festival, Chiyuki goes off with a guy she does not feel she can leave and the Broadcasting Club does its audio play without her. In the middle of the broadcast, Ai breaks down and confesses to Manami, and sort of cutely, the audience is on her side, but she rejects their help. It was an interesting exploration of not adhering to Aristotelian principles of dramatic unity.
Ultimately, with Chiuyki gone, the Broadcasting club continues on.
The scene which had me hysterical comes about 2/3 of the way through. Chiyuki and Manami are being filmed and Ai oozes out a window in the creepiest and funniest manner possible. The look on Chiyuki’s and Manami’s faces were priceless. “What are you doing Ai…?” Manami asks…. It was very The Ring-esque, but also out of nowhere in a movie that had, until that moment, shown no humor whatsoever. As a result it was jarring, if funny.
Other than this one scene, there was nothing honest about the entire movie. We’re thrown into the middle of the sexual tension between Chiyuki and Manami, forced to stare with the creepiest of creepy male gaze at girls who would not be staring at each other that way and generally cast in the role of pervy voyeur, instead of watching a story of a girls’ school version of Summer Vacation 1999. I was deeply disappointed in the first half of the film, which was a waste of a good opportunity to tell a basic story with any sincerity. It’s not until Ai becomes the focus that it has any heart at all.
The extra is a lengthy combined “making of” and messages from the actresses. They all did their best, with what could have been a much better movie with even a little effort.
Overall – 5