Jiro (Koide Keisuke) is just an ordinary college student who celebrates his 20th birthday alone…Unexpectedly, a sweet charming "She" (Ayase Haruka) shows up and walks into his lonely life and heart on his birthday, but disappears soon right after. A year later on the exact same day, 'She' appears once again in front of Jiro and reveals herself as A cyborg from the future, sent to protect present-day Jiro and the others with her super powers. Gradually, Jiro falls in love with 'She'...
A romance between a human and a cyborg may sound out of this world but trust "My Sassy Girl" director Kwak Jae-Yong to fashion a down-to-earth time travel love story that somehow manages to be unexpectedly touching.
In typical Kwak fashion, it is the girl that wears the pants in the movie- no matter that this time it’s actually a robot programmed to be a girl. Cyborg She is really an invention by an elderly scientist called Jiro that he sends back in time to accompany and protect his lonely former self. Yes, if you have to buy your own birthday cake and have dinner on your birthday alone, you’d probably understand why.
Lest you think this sounds a tad selfish, Jiro has in fact programmed Cyborg She to help others along the way as well, people who have been involved in one tragedy or another during his younger days- including a young kid run over from an oncoming truck near the fast food joint he used to work and eight schoolgirls held hostage by a mad man. If life is better lived with hindsight, then think of Cyborg She as that instrument that allows you to go back into your past and erase whatever regrets you may have.
But with time, the young Jiro finds himself falling in love with the cyborg despite her inability to reciprocate his feelings. And indeed, how can there be love when the other (being a robot) does not actually have a heart? Illogical as it may sound, director Kwak Jae-Yong pulls off the weird coupling quite admirably. You’ll feel Jiro’s growing attachment towards her, as well as his nagging doubts whether she can truly understand how he feels, or feel the same way towards him.
This being a chick flick, you can be sure that there are plenty of sweet and hilarious moments in the movie- especially when Jiro first gets to know her. What else can a lonely, geeky guy who has seldom been with a girl, let alone a pretty one, be but awkward and self-conscious when he meets someone as attractive as her? It is such human instances quite instantly relevant to many of us that make this movie surprisingly affecting.
As the more expressive half, Keisuke Koide captures the slightly gawky Jiro nicely without much overacting. There is a sincerity to his performance that makes it all the more endearing. But the standout here is truly Haruka Ayase. She gives a finely calibrated performance that makes you believe she’s a robot but also just enough emotion so you won’t think she’s just a complete machine.
Like all time-travel movies, Cyborg She also requires a leap of logic if you are to appreciate it. But to his credit, Kwak Jae-Yong has tried his best to iron out the chinks in the timeline. Indeed, to fault this based on logic would be too miserly. What Cyborg She brings out beautifully is the theme of companionship. Whether now or in the future, we are all still searching for that someone to walk with us along our journey of life.
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The one serious gripe I have about this Code 3 DVD is the standard of the English subtitles. It doesn’t take an English teacher to nitpick the copious spelling and grammatical errors. Yes, they are that distracting. Otherwise, the visuals are good enough and the Dolby 2.0 audio track quite adequate for the movie.
by Gabriel Chong