I reviewed the manga Lychee Light Club/Litchi Hikari Club at the beginning of the week and in the post I mentioned that there would be a live-action adaptation of the manga created by Usamaru Furuya in 2005. He was inspired to create it when he was a stage adaptation in 1985 that was put on by Tokyo Grand Guignol Theatre. Here are the details:
Litchi Hikari Club / Lychee Hikari Club
Romaji: Raichi☆Hikari Kurabu
Release Date: Winter, 2015
Running Time: 114 mins.
Director: Eisuke Naito
Writer: Eisuke Naito, Keisuke Tominaga (Screenplay), Usamaru Furuya (Original Manga)
Starring: Shuhei Nomura (Tamiya), Yuki Furukawa (Zera), Shotaro Mamiya (Jaibou), Junya Ikeda (Niko), Amane Okayama (Yakobu), Ryo Matsuda (Raizou), Junki Tozuka (Dentaku), Kisetsu Fujiwara (Kaneda), Reiya Masaki (Dafu),
New Teaser trailer:
The story focusses on nine students at an all-boys school who, under the leadership of the charismatic and slightly unhinged aesthete Zera, create a powerful robot named Lychee who is powered by lychee… His mission is to capture the beautiful women of the world but when Lychee becomes self-aware he becomes attached to one of his victims all the while the boys squabble and fight amongst themselves for power and Zera’s attention…
I was on the fence when I first heard about this one. The content is extreme with boy-on-boy violence and lust (see how the stageplay does it with this youtube video – it’s pretty funny and not as explicit as the manga despite the strings of liquid and noises. Also, spoilers) but Nikkatsu are a pretty ballsy studio who don’t skimp on violence and nudity when they are being extreme. This is the studio with a long history in great genre flicks like the Stray Cat Rock series and Tokyo Drifter (1966) but I’m thinking about more modern titles like their Sushi Typhoon stuff (some of which I am reviewing as part of my Splatter Season) like Cold Fish (2010) Deadball (2011). They also released the taboo-breaking Watashi no Otoko and Killers (2014). I’m pretty confident they won’t back down from this challenge.
I think there’s more cause for optimism because the director is Eisuke Naito. He has created an oeuvre of nasty horror flicks like Let’s Make the Teacher Have a Miscarriage Club (2012) and he impressed me with one of his films, Puzzle (2014), a film about kidnappings and killings all played out to a seemingly childish game. I really, really dug that one and I wrote a review for it two months ago but I’m saving it for a special occasion. Admittedly, I hated one of his other films, The Crone (2013) which was pretty generic J-horror with an awful story and special effects. When Naito has money he makes some pretty over the top baroque horror films which utilise all sorts of editing and camera techniques to create an effect. Just looking at that PV one can see that he has captured the setting of the grimy industrial town. I love the rusted colours and the griminess of the setting we do see and the shots on the film’s website are also pretty evocative.
The casting is something I’m a little unsure of if only because I’m not too familiar with many of the actors.
For a film about young guys playing macabre games in a club, the actors lined up for the roles are appropriately fresh and handsome.
Although no roles have been announced some internet users in Japan have speculated who will play which character.
Although the characters in the manga are slimly written, they are visually distinct. This provides a certain degree of latitude for the actors to add embellishments if they are skilled enough but one of the main roles, Tamiya, may be played by Shuhei Nomura who is an actor to watch (not least because he’s in the upcoming live-action Chihayafuru) and proved his mettle in Puzzle. Junki Kaneda put in a pretty good performance in the film Remiges (2013) and Amane Okayama made a favourable impression in My Little Sweet Pea (2013) and I can just about remember him in the live-action adaptation of Another (2012).