Monday, 14 September 2009
Dir: Nobuo Mizuta
Starring: Abe Sadao
Just take a look at that title and the cover. You know what to expect. It's glitzy, musical, vivacious and a little bit stupid. Which makes it both fun to watch and, ultimately, lacking in substance. Narry B felt some of the plot twists were in there for the sake of it.
Ignoring that, though, you have an excellent cast working their way through a magical visual feast. Abe Sadao is perfect as the maiko-obsessed Onizuka, a man who seems endlessly creative, industrious and powerful when it comes to anything even vaguely connected to the world of geisha.
Countering his every move, however, is someone who seems to know more and be better-connected than him in every way (Shinichi Tsutsumi). This guy outdoes him consistently. Maiko Haaan!!! is as much about their rivalry as it is about the traditional ways of the Gion and Yumekawa districts of Kyoto.
Abe is a good comedian, and carries off the over-the-top manga-esque mannerisms very well. Director Mizuta also pulls off the imaginative side of things without being pretentious. The rather spectacular (if a little camp) musical number, for example, that suddenly breaks into the film doesn't intrude at all.
Another mention to Kou Shibasaki for being tres cute (see Drive). I'm not sure whether to give this a 'good', or a 'top work'. I'll go with top work as it's nice, clean entertainment.