Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chonmage Purin aka Cross-Temporal Cultural Exchange

Chonmage Purin
Totally unrelated opening statement: Because I am inordinately irritated by bloggers blogging about how to blog, I've decided to blog about how to blog as a blogger blogging a blog. Hmm. I'm sure it'll be a hit, given the inexplicable popularity of the subject that's managed to draw my ire. Look forward to it! Now, on to the movie review:

Despite my oft-declared aversion to so-called 'family films', I found Chonmage Purin (Literally Topknot Pudding) quite enjoyable- and good enough for me to gladly recommend to anyone in search of something to consume 108 minutes of their lives with.

Chonmage Purin tells the story of a samurai (Yasube) from the Edo period (Probably- you wouldn't know what I was talking about if I said Jomon instead, no?) who is magically transported to modern day Japan. Interestingly, he's played by Nishikido Ryo, formerly of boy-band NEWS- no worries though, his acting was surprisingly solid, unlike other singers who make the jump to different mediums.

If you've read any sci-fi book with time travel as a major theme, you know what to expect. Yasube has a hard time adjusting to Japanese society, especially with wrapping his head around the concept of pants-wearing women.... well, someone scream universal suffrage, if you prefer the common term.
Tricky negotiations.
Not long after, Yasube forms a bond with his hosts Hiroko and Tomoya, the former possibly developing romantic feelings for him, not to mention becoming dependent on his services (Which I shall not describe here), and the latter looking up to Yasube as a father figure. For the record, Hiroko is the little boy and Tomoya is his mother. Haha. Screwed with your mind there, didn't I? It's the other way around, if you still feel like trusting me.

Yasube soon discovers that he has a talent for a decidedly modern-day calling- that of creating from base innocuous ingredients such as flour and cheese that decidedly delectable manna from heaven generally known by it's collective name of desserts. He starts with (What else) a pudding, and from there, the sky's the limit... he even gets a chance to test his skill, leading to a dramatic tear-inducing demonstration worthy of a Michael Bay movie... wait, wrong example, that one just induces headaches. Ah well...

In the second half of the movie things become more serious- or if your visual receptors perceive emotions in the form of different shades of colors, Springtime Pink turns to Autumnal Blue. Yasube, intoxicated by his success, uses his phenomenal baking prowess to overthrow the government of Tokyo, sentences it's Mayor Ishihara Shintaro to a lifetime of community service in Akihabara, and names himself Shogun, deposing the Emperor, who happily retires with the promise of a lifetime of free cakes. However not all is well in the Shogun's abode, as personal relationships are neglected in the relentless charge for success...

Alright, I made all that up. Most of it. Leaving all talk about a restored Shogunate and a humiliated Ishihara aside, the movie does act out more or less in the manner in which I, ah... well I can't say 'described', can I? Fabricated? Concocted? In any case, despite being a family film the ending was, though expected,  surprisingly bittersweet, instead of being a great big fairy tale where everyone lives happily ever after, the end, credits to Walt Disney and co...

Great job, Yasube. Next time you find yourself transported through time, add space to the mix and drop by where I live- I'm dying for a good patisserie.

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