Love; Short-Lived, but Long-Lasting
These days, things about Korean groups invading Japan are no longer surprising news. For that’s like a part of entertainment nature, a should-happen. Among them all, there’s Choshinsei (超新星/ 초신성 [Choshinsung] / Supernova). As a boyband, Choshinsei got what it takes; the vocal, the dance skill, the looks, and the heights, for they are called “the group with model-like appearance”. Even though they only get a meh response from their own home country, they get the right gaga amount of welcome from Japanese fan girls, and since then, they’re basically putting almost 100% of their career there. As for me, I’m also a Milky Way (name of their fan club), a cheap (again) Milky Way to be more precise (gosh, me so shameless, lol). I often follow their updates, dramas and music, from their first J-pop single, キミだけをずっと (Kimi dake wo Zutto), till the latest, WINNER, and I must say most of them are great songs. But I sorta become sour when it comes to their acting side, especially since I watched the leader, Yoonhak’s tanpatsu drama with Kanjiya Shihori, 恋するキムチ (Love Kimchi), which I can’t even manage to finish, cos it’s so dull and boring. And I’m dropping their movie with Oomasa Aya, 僕たちのアフタースクール (Our after School) like it’s a damn hot pochachoes. But not all apples in the tree are sour, for there must be one that’s sweet. And that sweetness titled Kimi ni Love Song wo (A Love Song for You). At first I was skeptical that this type of movie (about idol boyband being themselves to boost real-life popularity) will struck me with an ‘awwww’ feeling. But turns out I was wrong. And boy, I’m really glad I did.
Kimi ni Love Song wo (KLS) is a romance melodrama movie that tells a story about a Korean boyband, Choshinsei (CSS) early career days in Japan and how they’re adapting to overcome the language barrier. Well, most of them are coping just fine, except for one, the main vocalist, Sungje, as he keeps repeating the same pronunciation error in the recording session. It finally makes the producer lost his patient and postponing the recording until he can speaks Japanese better. When he hears how good Yoonhak’s Japanese is, he becomes more inferior and decided to go outside for some fresh air. As Sungje walks around in depression, he starts to hum another CSS song, LAST KISS and it makes one girl—named Yamaguchi Saori–who coincidentally standing near, to sing along with him. He quite surprise by that, but then Saori says that she’s a CSS fan. And turns out she’s blind and can’t see that the person she’s been talking to right at that moment is her ichiban in the group (aww! bummer!!) But before she leaves due to being snatched away by her sister, Sungje (who uses a fake identity as “Jae”, a Korean exchange student) asks her if she could teach him to speak Japanese more fluently. Saori says yes despite the disagreement from her sister. And since then, their short-lived sad love story starts to blossom.KLS is a quiet movie, for the released is so limited and under the radar, not everyone knows about it. You almost can say that this movie is an underdog compared to other romance or idol films that came out on the same year like Hanamizuki or Beck. But that’s why there’s a term called “hidden gem”, and that words describe this movie best, cos it takes you by surprise of how sweet, cute, and calm this movie can be, but at the same time it’s effectively fast-paced without being too rushed. I was immediately hooked by the same factor that got me when I watched
my ultimate ichiban beloved favorite dorama Tatta Hitotsu no Koi right from the very beginning; the narration. In the opening, Sungje narrates about what his life and career’s purpose all this time, and how he got to fall in love with one girl in the middle of it all. And as the movie starts, things just flowing nicely after that. Even though the duration is quite short for a common film should be, for it’s only around 60mins, every scene has its own role and merit in order to build the whole story and none of it goes to waste for it falls into place naturally, just like the right puzzle pieces arrangement. The other things that I like from this movie is how they able to merge real life CSS activity to move the plot, like in the photo shoot session, the showcase, etc. I must say it’s very smart and cost-saving; cos there’s a fine line between being stingy-low budget and being effective-opportunist to safe the cost, and this movie is definitely the second option. And also, the soundtrack itself, まごころ (Magokoro/Sincerity) is really spot on with the movie theme, lyrics-wise and melody-wise. Before I watched this, I always felt that Magokoro is such a boring song–despite the good choreography–for it’s so ballady and not in my taste. But after watched KLS, I totally change my opinion towards the song for the lyrics and melody fit like gloves and socks. It’s still not my favorite tune, but at least I come to appreciate it more.Now, we’re gonna talk about the main leads a bit. There’s not much to say about Sungje, since he act as himself here. But I must say that he delivers every Japanese line very nicely and match it with necessary expression, even though he absolutely unable to speak Japanese at the time this movie was made. And I like his innocent stare with those puppy-eyes towards Saori that somehow so expression-ful and feels genuine at the same time. As for Saori, I must say Minamisawa Nao did a good believable job in acting as a blind person, and she can convey the makjang feeling nicely. The love story between Sungje and Saori is just plain-plain-plaaaiiiinnnn platonic, but it has a bittersweet vibe along with it. Cos we know that Saori is blind, and until the very last minute of her life, she never knew what Sungje looks like, which is sad, but at the same time, her sincere feeling towards him comes more believable cos it doesn’t overshadowed by her fangirl love towards Choshinsei. Although the chemistry between them isn’t something that we can call romantic or squee-worthy, but it’s very light, sweet, and genuinely-naïve. It makes you believe that they actually have feelings and love towards each other.Like I said before, every scene in this movie is a solid plot mover, but when it comes to favorite, there’s one particular scene that I feel delivers a lot of mix emotion. It’s the Radio Station scene. It happened after Saori told Sungje that she can’t meet him anymore, but she didn’t want to tell him why. It leaved Sungje in despair and confusion, but he has to push himself to keep doing the group activities along with the rest members.
One day they’re invited for talk in the radio show and were asked about memorable love confession, when each member answers it lightly and a bit joking here and there, Sungje answers in a very sad-serious tone, “I’ll always be waiting” as if he really said it to Saori and not to the DJ who’s asking the question, and that moment he looks so heart-broken, and I just…*sigh*
But even though this movie is good and all, it still has its flaw, that is leaving thing with a big question mark of “why this has to be in the movie?”, which is about Geonil issue of quitting the group. What is Geonil REAL reason to wanna quit CSS anyway? Is it bcos he had some fight with the other members? Cos I think the reason that he just wants to study dance in NY is not solid enough, I mean he could just say to the leader that he wants to take sabbatical like Bakanishi with KAT-TUN (even though in the end he did quitting the band, lol). What’s worse is that the other members not even knowing about this problem, except Yoonhak the leader and Sungje. And when it comes to the climax argumentation scene between the members, the main topic that they talk about and put pressure on is…Sungje and his lies towards Saori, the ONE of Choshinsei fans. W.T.F.
And they not even this squibbly close to have a heated confrontation about Geonil’s issue who’s in fact have more serious impact towards CSS career. Buuuuuuut then, later near the end, Geonil SUDDENLY changes his mind and decided not to quit the group.
Okay, Geonil, you clearly toying out, and that is so unprofessional y’know, nuh-uh-uh!! *waving index finger* Thus Geonil’s conflict is just a sprinkle of insipid salt. If the conclusion of the problem is gonna be that easy and un-affecting, it’s better not to add it from the very beginning after all, right?! *rolling eyes*
All in all, Kimi ni Love Song wo is a little hidden treasure; a beautiful movie wrapped up in a very simple package. It may not look tempting enough to be picked to watch, but when you give it a try, you clearly won’t have any regret. This movie have the sweetness and peaceful-feeling with all the scenes and spot-on soundtrack, it will just sweep you away till the credits roll.
Final Score: 85/100