The Kirishima Thing
Romaji: Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo
Japanese Title: 桐島、 部活 やめるってよ
Release Date: August 11th, 2012 (Japan)
Running Time: 103 mins.
Director: Daihachi Yoshida
Writer: Ryo Asai (Original Novel), Kohei Kiyasu, Daihachi Yoshida (Screenplay)
Starring: Ai Hashimoto, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Suzuka Ohgo, Mayu Matsuoka, Motoki Ochiai, Masahiro Higashide, Kurui Shimizu, Mizuki Yamamoto,
High school is a universal experience for a lot of people and a very popular setting for film and anime. Japan is especially good at creating high school, especially when one considers the dominance of clubs in high school life¹. Many stories look deep into the nature of relationships and the way people socialise and deconstruct various aspects to capture high school life and all of the ephemeral emotions adolescents have as this treasure of a film demonstrates.
The story starts on a Friday when news that the popular high school volleyball star player Kirishima has quit the team is broken to various people.
Shockwaves are sent through the school’s social world with Kirishima’s handsome and equally popular best friend Hiroki Kikuchi (Higashide) left bewildered by the few facts that emerge, Kirishima’s socially popular girlfriend Risa (Yamamoto) angry, and the volleyball team in a panic ahead of a big game with the less capable Koizumi Fuusuke (Taiga) taking Kirishima’s pivotal libero position and getting scared by the pressure to live up to Kirishima’s performance leel.
Also affected, but indirectly, are the rest of the students who see the results of the revelation of Kirishima’s disappearance like badminton players Kasumi Higashihara (Hashimoto) and Mika Miyabe (Kurumi Shimizu), the less popular kids in the culture clubs like Aya Sawashima (Ohgo) a brass band musician with an impossibly earnest crush on Hiroki, and the president of the film club Ryoya Maeda (Kamiki) and his assistant director Takefumi (Maeno).
The story ends on a Tuesday when some of the students find themselves having crossed social boundaries and redefined themselves while others remain steadfastly in their mind-set.
The Kirishima Thing was the big winner at the 36th Japan Academy Prize Awards taking Picture of the Year, Most Popular Film and Director of the Year awards. It is based on a similarly named high school novel written by Ryo Asai who worked on adapting the book’s omnibus story framework into a film which has resulted in a non-linear narrative that covers all sorts of people who witness different things from different perspectives.
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