My Love Story!! (yes, there are two exclamation marks in the English name) is a manga that was adapted into an anime. Then last year, it was adapted into a live action movie. Although it was popularly known as My Love Story!!, a more accurate translation of the Japanese name Ore Monogatari!! is My Story.
I’ve watched some episodes of anime and loved it. So when I found out that the live action movie was showing in Singapore, I quickly went and watched it. This is a GV exclusive movie and only the GV at Vivocity and Plaza Singapura was showing it. The timing was very limited and there was only one slot a day. Guess GV didn’t think that there would be a big audience for this movie.
The movie opens with Takeo Gōda (played by Ryohei Suzuki) graduating from middle school. Takeo rushes off to confess his feelings to his crush but instead, he finds her confessing her feelings to his best friend, Makoto Sunakawa (played by Kentaro Sakaguchi). Although saddened, Takeo nonetheless gives Suna a jacket button (it seems to be a tradition to rip buttons off the jacket of graduating guys) so that Suna can fulfill the girl’s request to have Suna’s button as a keepsake.
That’s the kind of guy Takeo is.
Despite his big size and intimidating presence, Takeo is a nice guy who does not hesitate to help other people or put their happiness before him, even if it would put him at a disadvantage. His personality makes him very popular among the other boys in his school, but most other people viewed him with fear or suspicion and called him names like “gorilla” or “middle-aged man” behind his back.
Suna is the opposite of Takeo. Due to his good looks, Suna is very popular with the girls at school. Over the years, every girl that Takeo likes will always end up falling for Suna. After so many times, Takeo accepts that as his fate just as he accepts that others will always call him names.
One day while walking home from school, Suna spots a girl in trouble. Takeo immediately goes to the rescue and saves Rinko Yamato (played by Mei Nagano) from a man harassing her. Rinko bakes a cheesecake to thank Takeo for saving her but Takeo mistakenly believes that once again history repeats itself and Rinko is actually interested in Suna. Although Takeo has fallen for Rinko, he decides to help Rinko and Suna get together.
After some time and with Suna’s help, Takeo finally realizes that Rinko likes him. He rushes off to find Rinko and both of them confess their feelings for each other. The movie ends with Takeo and Rinko happily in a relationship.
The movie changes a quite few things from the anime but I felt that the movie remained true to the original material. While a large part was on the love between Takeo and Rinko, the friendship between Takeo and Suna was also equally important and this could be seen in the childhood stories that Takeo and Suna shared with Rinko.
The movie was lighthearted and super funny. The whole theater kept laughing every 5 mins. If you are watching the movie, remember to stay until after the credits. One most hilarious scenes in the movie was shown after the credits and it made the whole theater roared with laughter.
Originally in the anime, Takeo and Rinko got together quite early (after three episodes) while in the movie, they didn’t get together until the end. So this meant that some events which happened after Takeo and Rinko were a couple in the anime, now happened before. This gave the events a different feel. I don’t think it’s a bad change or a good change. It’s just different. Events were also simplified or combined as a result of the time constraint. I felt that there were a lot of little details in the anime which the movie missed out. However, you have to take into account that the anime had a whole episode for one event. In the movie, an event probably took up at most 20 mins so there’s a limit to how detailed the story can go.
Takeo is my favorite character in the anime so I was most fussy about his portrayal in the movie. I think Ryohei Suzuki did a really good job. He captured Takeo’s personality very well, even though he is much better looking than the anime version. He is very expressive and part of the fun is seeing him making all sorts of dramatic expressions. I think Ryohei worked the hardest among the three leads as he had to keep making dramatic expressions in almost every scene. The only complaint was that the anime Takeo towered over everybody like a hulk but the movie Takeo was only half a head taller than Suna. So the movie Takeo didn’t felt as physically intimidating as the anime Takeo.
As for the other two characters, I was glad that they are alright and I didn’t dislike them.
I didn’t find the movie Suna very handsome but Kentaro Sakaguchi managed to captured the coldness and deadpan-ness of the anime version. Perhaps it was due to Kentaro’s acting that made the movie Suna felt more human to me. The anime Suna always felt perfect, like he could do no wrong. However the movie Suna had just that little bit of vulnerability and awkwardness that showed he was just a normal human being.
The movie Rinko was more cute than pretty, but she had a likable and endearing personality. By the end of the movie, I did end up rooting for her in her quest to get close to Takeo.