Bokura Ga Ita was one of the 2012 movies I looked forward to. Thought I haven't watched the anime, I read a fourth of the manga. I know, I know. I practically read nothing but hey, that one-fourth was enough to make me like it. Though I'm not always the best judge of live-action adaptation of mangas, just let me go ahead and say that I enjoyed this movie. But before commenting on its adaptation, let me rave about the film itself.
It's the first year of high for Nanami (Yoshitaka Yuriko). While everyone's busy obsessing over Motoharu (Ikuta Toma), the popular boy in class, Nanami is busy crying over her bad exam results. But just like every other girl in class, she gets drawn towards Motoharu. But it's not just his looks or personality that draw her to him. She sees sadness in Motohari's nonchalant approach to life.
There's an underlying melancholia on the the cheery personas of our two main leads. It may be because the conflict has always been present, even before love blossoms between the two. But it's this conflict that serves as a challenge for Nana and Moto. It takes them quite some time before they can get over the past and focus on what they have at the present.
What I like about Bokura Ga Ita is how the characters seem to defy stereotypes. Nanami is the seemingly manic-pixie character in every romantic comedy, but she has a side to her that proves that she's not one-dimensional. She has a way of understanding people. And unlike most heroines, she's not a noble idiot. Yes, she takes the plunge and fall for Motoharu despite knowing that he still hasn't moved on. But she knows her limits and when she sees that she's being taken for granted. She knows how to let go. Over and over in the movie, they say that Nana is strong, and I agree. She's definitely a heroine I can root for.
Motoharu is not like any other protagonist in a RomCom in a way that he's straight-forward, something that you rarely see in male leads. Honesty may be an issue in their relationship, but Motoharu has always been clear on how she feels for Nana. I guess one of the reasons why I adore Bokura Ga Ita so much is that it has a gradual take on the relationship. It no was does it feel rushed or forced.
Now, let's talk about the adaptation. Argh. I love it. Maybe because I could barely remember the manga but I love the director's take ofnthe movie. At first, I didn't like Ikuta Toma as Moto since he looks a bit old for the role. But I got used to it because he manages to make it work with Yoshitaka Yuriko who played Nana-chan. And I must say she's incredibly okay. Like really, really cute. The cinematography of the movie is just breath-takingly beautiful. I just want to take a screencap of every scene because the framing and the tone is just perfect.
However, this movie is not one without flaws. For one, I don't think it can serve as a stand-alone film, not in a way that people who aren't familiar with the story won't understand. I think the essentials of the story are complete and even those who haven't read the manga or watched the anime would understand it perfectly well. But the movie is too much of a cliff-hanger. I know that there's a sequel already, but still.
For me, a movie should be able to stand on its own without needing to watch the prequel first or to wait for the sequel for the viewer to feel fulfilled. Maybe they made the ending like that to make the viewers crave to watch the sequel, but I believe there are other ways to do that. I wish they cut the movie in the train station, because it's enough to make the viewers know that more things can happen, and at the same time, give the impression that it's already a story with an appropriate ending. But no, they decided to end it in a way that seems like they cut off a sentence in the middle. That's how it feels like.
Other than that, I don't have much complaint. I'll patiently wait for the subs of the sequel to be released online. Because yes, the annoying cliffhanger of an ending worked on me.