Plot: What happens when an all-boy school has to cooperate with an all-girl school for their annual school culture festival? Tadakuni and his friends have to survive the sudden intrusion, all while trying to come to terms with their feelings for these new invaders.
As you might have guessed, this is based on the Daily Lives of High School Boys anime and manga (which I have reviewed here!). But, I have got to admit, I am always pretty skeptical of live-action remakes of anime/manga. However I did my best to go into this movie with an open mind, though the movie ended up letting me down in the end.
Fans of the original anime and/or manga will be pleased to know most of our favorite characters make a return for this adaptation, like the main trio of Tadakuni, Hidenori, and Yoshitake, as well as Literature Girl, Karasawa (the hat wearing student council member), and Yanagin (one of the “Funky High School Girls”). Fans would also be happy to note that a few of the classic scenes from the anime make a return, such as Tadakuni and friends trying on his sister’s skirt.
Despite all of this, the movie executes most of these very poorly. While there are a few funny gags brought back from the past, they are far too scarce. And completely irrelevant to the plot.
For example, one of my biggest complaints was Literature Girl, and how she was handled. She was introduced exactly as she was in the anime, which I thought was did well in establishing them as potential love interests for each other. Then it went all downhill from there. Her second interaction with Hidenori could hardly be called an interaction at all, as it lasted maybe 45 seconds. And it also completely killed said love interest, not even 10 minutes later. After this, Literature Girl, who is arguably one of the more iconic characters of the anime, has about 1 more line, and a whopping 30 more seconds of screen time. For anyone who hasn’t seen the show, the introduction of such an incredibly meaningless character just feels unnecessary. I kept wondering when she was going to become more than just an odd background character, but I was left utterly disappointed.
It seems that the director tried to set up a love interest for each member of the trio, which I was okay with, but did not know how to resolve any of it.
Yoshitake’s was my favorite, but again his potential companion was in three scenes at most. Yoshitake falls for a convenience store employee, and subtly invites her to his school’s culture festival through use of clever means. This was probably the only plot-line I looked forward to seeing the resolution of throughout the entire movie.
Tadakuni’s romance is probably the main point of the story, but honestly felt useless and just completely random. He falls for one of the girls working on the culture festival with the boys. To make things better, he picks up her handkerchief that she dropped, thus giving him an in to talk to her again. Good so far right? That’s what I thought too. Sadly it seems no male in this movie has ever spoken to someone of the opposite sex, and has no idea how to make words come out of his mouth. This draws out the romance to its incredibly anticlimactic climax, in which the handkerchief turns out to belong to a different girl. Tadakuni somehow feels as if this was the killing blow to any chance he had, despite the girl seeming to show genuine interest in him, and gives up immediately. What kind of writing is that? I get that the boys aren’t supposed to end up with the girls, but at least make it for a plausible reason! I couldn’t even believe that that was the end of the movie. It’d be like watching Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and the movie just ends as soon as Obi-wan gives Luke his lightsaber. Maybe I was expecting too much? But even in the anime, there are at least some well executed conclusions to plot-lines. So I don’t think I was wrong to expect anything.
If there is anything I enjoyed about the movie, it would be the acting. I personally felt that the actors did a pretty good job at representing how “real” high school boys and girls talk amongst each other. I could see myself in many of the “guy talk” scenes, and the “girl talk” scenes were reminiscent of me seeing high school girls talk to each other when I was in Japan. The actors also sincerely looked like they were enjoying themselves in some of the sillier scenes, which was really nice to see. This also made the movie slightly more enjoyable to watch. Though this is not a compliment to the actual script, which I thought was pretty corny most of the time. I just felt that the actors did a good job at taking a pretty poor script, and making it seem as natural as they could.
I would also like to point out two small points that I enjoyed as well, that way it doesn’t seem like I am completely bashing this movie. First is the way their teacher talks. It is not the same teacher from the anime, but rather an older man who has the obnoxious habit to end almost every word with a hard, nasily “hnn” sound. I hated this at first, until it was mocked by our main characters. While initially I thought the actor was taking some awful creative liberties with his character, after I realized it was meant to be a joke, it was pretty funny. Lastly, I also enjoyed soundtrack to the movie. While out of place at times, the background music was pretty great. The fictional idol group’s music at the end of the film was also pretty nice. Though these things did not save the movie for me, unfortunately.
While not a complete bust, this is definitely not a movie for people who haven’t seen or read the source material. The movie expects the viewer to be a fan, and rehashes old jokes and scenes from the anime, with no real purpose other than for nostalgia and cheap laughs. And it fails at even that. However, I would recommend it for a die-hard fan looking for something to watch and kill time with. I would also recommend it for someone who wants to practice listening to high school students’ native Japanese pronunciation and slang.
I would rate this live action adaptation of Daily Lives of High School Boys a mediocre 5.5/10. Which might be a bit generous. While not terrible, definitely not great. But I did laugh a bit. Which is all I can really ask for! If you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought. Thanks for reading!