Nisekoi Live Action: Movie Review

nisekoi-full-posterI didn’t read the manga or watch Nisekoi anime but after watching Nisekoi Live Action, I feel that I have a pretty firm grasp of the original material’s general feel. I must say though that this live action movie adaptation will make you go crazy with a wide array of emotions and I for, one didn’t mind the roller coaster ride at all.

Synopsis: Raku Ichijo (Kento Nakajima) is the only son of a Yakuza boss and is expected to lead the organization after his father. Chitoge Kirisaki (Ayami Nakajo) is the only daughter of the Beehive Gang from New York. In order to prevent bloodshed between the two gangs, Raku and Chitoge’s fathers come up with a plan to fake a relationship between their children to keep the bloodlust at bay. But Raku has a secret crush on his classmate Kosaki Onodera (Natsumi Ikema) and basically falls in hate at first sight with Chitoge. Will the ruse work, given the circumstances?

If you’re a fan of Japanese live adaptations of anime hits, you will not be surprised at how Nisekoi is presented. You will feel like you are watching an anime with the exaggerated expressions, the constant yelling, the regular state of panic and the general sense of going overboard — with everything. Its part of the charm of live action version. If its to your taste, its super funny, especially the scenes that feature the rival gangs when they spy on their masters or the over the top daydream scenes that center around Raku and Onodera. I particularly liked Claude, played by Japanese rock star Daigo and his overprotectiveness of Beehive’s princess Chitoge. I never thought that a rock star would so casually agree to sport a wig and do the ridiculous things that Claude ended up doing, even though these were done with an underlying serious tone.

While the general plot was unrealistic, it does touch on something real. The movie’s depiction of Chitoge and Raku’s sense of isolation as their family background looms over their heads, and the sense of wanting to be normal and to belong. It really connects with the audience on a certain level. Because of this shared experience between the two characters, their chemistry simply builds from there until their relationship is fully explored.

I liked Onodera a lot but it was obvious from the beginning that the character development was more centered on the two main characters and for good reason. Raku and Chitoge, played by Jpop idol Kento Nakajima from Sexy Zone and model/actress Ayami Nakajo looked great together with their contrasting aesthetics. And even when she was wearing blond wig and contacts, Ayami Nakajo managed to convey heartbreak and joy with her expressive acting.

Overall, I was wondering how Nisekoi managed to deliver over the top comedy in the beginning and shift to an emotional and heartfelt wrap up for an ending with a simple transition of mood but it did. This is why I said that Nisekoi makes audiences feel like a crazy person after watching the movie.

On the technical side, Nisekoi  delivered on great aesthetics with scenes framed perfectly like the Romeo and Juliet scene or the final airport scene. The soundtrack was also very youthful and energetic, something that one would expect with young idols in the lead.

All in all, Nisekoi Live Action did a great job in compressing all the materials from the manga and the anime in just 118 minutes of  fun, laughter and even tears. The storytelling was fluid and simple and the chemistry among the cast members was also very solid. This is why Japanese high school movies are the best. So cute. So earnest. So over the top. I loved it.