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Last Quarter
  |     review    |     availability     |








Availability:

DVD (JAPAN)
Region 2 NTSC
Shochiku Home Video

16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Japanese Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Japanese subtitles

DVD (JAPAN)
Region 2 NTSC
Shochiku Home Video
Special 3-Disc Limited Edition
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Japanese Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Japanese subtitles
Director's Cut, various extras, VHS music video of "Evil Eye" by HYDE

 
AKA: Kagen no Tsuki - Last Quarter
Year: 2004
Director: Ken Nikai
Writer: Shinobu Yaguichi, Junko Yaguichi
Cast: Chiaki Kuriyama, Hiroki Narimiya, Tomoka Kurokawa, Motoki Ochiai, Ayumi Ito, Takanori Jinnai, Ken Ogata, Hyde (Hideto Takarai)
The Skinny: Competent for a shojo manga turned film, but also occasionally interminable, and even lifeless. Fans of Kill Bill's Chiaki Kuriyama will probably go ape over the star's massive close-ups, and fans of the comic could be charmed. Then again, some things are still better done in manga.
Review
by Kozo:

     Shojo manga comes alive - literally - with Kagen no Tsuki - Last Quarter, a 2004 manga-to-film adaptation. Based on the work of famed shojo manga-ka Ai Yazawa, Last Quarter is predictably loaded with beautiful men, beautiful girls, and beautiful emotions. It's also predictably overwrought, and full of narrative conceits that work great in manga, but are questionable in a live-action production.
    Kill Bill's Chiaki Kuriyama takes center stage as Mizuki, who gets fed up with philandering boyfriend Tomoki (Hiroki Narimiya) and calls it quits - again. The very same evening, she comes upon a ghostly house and meets the mysterious resident: Adam (rocker HYDE of band L'Arc en Ciel), a glam guy who's playing a tune that's eerily familiar to Mizuki. Apparently, the two share an as yet unexplained bond, but Mizuki is immediately enchanted. Her attachment to Adam leads to her decision to run away with him. Then...bad stuff happens. Doesn't it always?
     While Last Quarter has dark overtones, and even a slightly creepy edge, it sooner or later gives way to wholesome antics and an ardent outpouring of emotion that borders on nauseating. Mizuki's attraction towards Adam is bad karma, but the reasons why are tragic and manufactured - much like the stuff in any tragically romantic shojo manga. Emotions in these mangas are generally given to such flowery existential excess that it could make even the most saccharine-addicted swear off for good. The bonuses to manga: long-legged character designs, and the user option to either linger on each lush page or blaze through the tome like a speed freak. Basically, a manga can become an illustrated, immersive story or quick junk reading for those with time to kill on the train. That's one reason comics are so great: the payoff can match the investment.
     Sadly, a movie does not operate the same way. True, you can head into it for different reasons (the art vs. entertainment argument can get invoked here), but ultimately the experience forces you to sit still for two hours and just take it in. Unless you have an itchy fast-forward finger, you're at the mercy of the filmmakers, who can zip through it or slowly draw it out. Well, the filmmakers of Last Quarter draw it out. Hard. The film has a very deliberate, slow forward momentum, and its emotions are punctuated by all the same stuff: characters yelling despondently at others, or asking "why" this or "why" that. For a movie with a large visual aspect, nearly all the drama occurs with people talking. Again, this is also true in manga, but that doesn't mean it's the best way to do it.
     On the plus side, the set design and costumes are impressive for their obvious low budget, though the dark netherworld still looks like someone decided to toilet paper a forest. The actors inhabit the lush artifice with either effective emotion (both Chiaki Kuriyama and Hiroki Narimiya are affecting, if not a little overwrought), glam stiffness (rocker HYDE does little more than pose and act like a rock star), or fresh-faced, wide-eyed sincerity (younger actors Tomoka Kurokawa and Motoki Ochiai look damn cute in their manga-inspired school uniforms). All told, Last Quarter could be good enough for fans of the manga (Though I'm not one, so what the hell do I know?), and even those who enjoy the glossy over-the-top melodrama of shojo anime may be charmed. But the film doesn't really capitalize on its status as a live action film, and might as well have been an anime instead. The whole is a little too staged, a little too manufactured, and a little too "beautiful" to really affect. The actors may be alive, but Last Quarter is oddly lifeless. (Kozo 2005)

 
   
 
 
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