Director: Hitoshi One
Cast: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Kiko Mizuhara, Suzuki Matsuo, Hirofumi Arai, Sakura Ando, Lily Franky, Yuki Amami
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Sexual References)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures & Encore Films
Opening Day: 26 October 2017
Synopsis: 33-year-old magazine editor Koroki (Satoshi Tsumabuki) just started working at chic lifestyle magazine Malet, where he is adjusting slowly to the trendy office culture and blending in with his fashionable colleagues. Koroki resolves to emulate his idol, the ultra- cool rockstar Tamio Okuda. One day he meets Akari Amami (Kiko Mizuhara), a renowned beauty in the fashion PR circle, through work, and immediately falls for her. This crush, however, hails the beginning of a nightmare for Koroki, as the free-spirited Akari soon has him twisted around her little finger...
Tornado Girl is a movie based on a short manga series that was published on a weekly manga magazine, SPA! The series lasted for a month in 2014, before the chapters were subsequently consolidated and released in a single volume, released in 2015. The creator of the series, Shibuya Chokaku, is a well-known manga columnist in Japan, and this series is known to be one of his legendary works for its entertainment value.
The story of the movie is about a late bloomer, Koroki, who recently became a magazine editor, after being inspired by his all-time idol, Okuda Tamio. By an opportunity at work, he meets Akari, who is a PR personnel of one of the partners they work with. He fell head over heels for her almost immediately, not knowing what he’s got himself into. The relationship quickly developed and they spend much passionate moments together, only to have him realise that she’s eccentric, and is more than meets the eye.
The movie is directed by Ohne Hitoshi, with one of his classic works being Moteki. In fact, it was revealed by the lead actress of the movie, Mizuhara Kiko, that she’s a fan of Moteki! Director Ohne has remained through to his style in this movie as well, making use of the music and quirkiness of the characters to bring entertainment.
However, as you would expect, the Singapore audiences are not well acquainted with the iconic personality that plays a subtle role in the movie – Okuda Tamio. After all, he is Koroki’s lifetime aspiration and his songs play a part in Koroki’s imaginations. A few of his iconic songs were used - Ai no Tame ni (lit. trans: for the sake of love), Mashimalo (lit. trans: marshmallow) and CUSTOM. These songs were especially selected to match Tamio’s feelings at those various moments. It’s a pity this part of the movie didn’t work that nicely with the local audience, because the lyrics and mood of the songs fit perfectly.
In terms of the cast, it’s quite refreshing to see veteran actor Satoshi Tsumabuki (he’s been active in the industry since 1997!) working with Mizuhara Kiko. Tsumabuki has earned himself various recognitions in acting for his breakthrough work, Waterboys and more recently bagging the title of the best supporting actor for Rage. He’s done a perfect rendition of Koroki, the helpless romantic. Kiko started off being a model, but also ventured into the territories of acting. In her own personal life, she’s already seen to be a person who puts up a quirky behavior. She eased into the role of Akari and worked her attitude to bring the character to life. The interactions between them and the stark contrasts of their characters was fun and enjoyable to watch.
For the manga series to turn into the movie, the narrative is not just a straight and boring one. As the title suggests, the Tornado Girl has drove Koriki’s heart crazy and turned his world upside down. And perhaps he’s not the only one? Just like a tornado, her true character is hard to see and violently shakes the world around her. Just how she did it? That’s for you to find out!
(Lots of fun and laughter in this unconventional rom-com!)
Review by Tho Shu Ling