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Cyborg She 2008

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Japanese romantic comedy with a sci-fi twist. Keisuke Koide stars as Jiro Kitamura, a lonely university student who cannot believe his luck when he meets a stunningly beautiful woman (Haruka Ayase) on his 20th birthday. The few hours they spend together blow Jiro's mind, and he is devastated when she makes her excuses and mysteriously leaves. To his amazement she reappears a year later on his 21st birthday - but it doesn't take Jiro long to figure out that something is not quite right...

Starring:
Fumiyo Kohinata, Masat˘ Ibu
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 0 minutes
Starring Fumiyo Kohinata, Masat˘ Ibu, Kenta Kiritani, Risa Ai, Kenichi Endo, Haruka Ayase, Yoshikazu Ebisu, Kaito Kond˘, Sakura Mizuno, Rokur˘ Naya, Naoko Niya, Keisuke Koide, Rio Matsumoto, Masato Ibu
Director Jae-young Kwak
Genres Comedy, Romance
Studio 4DIGITAL MEDIA ASIA
Rental release 26 October 2009
Main languages Japanese
Subtitles English

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
SCREENED AT THE 2009 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: I'm more than a bit curious how "Cyborg She" was marketed in Japan. The festival plugged it as the new film by Kwak Jaw-young, and of a piece with his with his other whimsical romantic comedies with a touch of the fantastic. Which it is, and although it never loses sight of being romance first and sci-fi second, it makes sure not to short-change anybody.

22 November, 2008: As the film starts, Jiro Kitamura (Keisuke Koide) is buying himself a birthday present. A college student in Tokyo, he's got no family or close friends (his home village was destroyed in an earthquake, and the new town that has been built on its remains isn't home), and celebrates his birthday the same way every year. Except last year - that year, a beautiful girl (Haruka Ayase) showed up in a bodysuit out of sci-fi anime, shoplifted herself a new outfit, and sat herself down at Jiro's table, leading him on an adventure before announcing she was from the future and disappearing. This year, she shows up again, in even more dramatic fashion, taking superhuman action when a crazed gunman shows up in the restaurant. Afterward, she explains that Jiro created her sixty years in the future and sent her back in time to prevent his crippling. She's a blank slate now, but maybe living with him will help her develop a soul.

The trick to this movie is to get us to see Haruka Ayase's character as more than a mere machine, or else what's meant to be a romantic comedy can get creepy and pathetic, very quickly. The opening flashback (or, given the time-traveling nature of the film, flash-forward) helps; strongly implying that the cyborg will develop into something more.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Cyborg She, well where does one start? Yet another purchase made on the back of overwhelmingly positive reviews. Thankfully, this one hit the mark for me. After reading the blurb (I mean, it's about some fella falling in love with a robot) I wasn't sure if i'd watch it with the wife; after all, i've seen enough Manga to know where this type of thing can lead...

In any event, it's actually a wonderfully meandering and gentle love story between one man and his cyborg girlfriend sent from the future to protect him from a yet unknown fate. Yer typical Brit rom-com really.

Our man Jiro is a harmless and pleasant loner whom spends his birthday alone each year, dining in the same restaurant; buying himself the same present; and eating the same meal. That is until the kooky lady from the future appears from nowhere and inveigles herself into his birthday celebrations and spices up his life for the evening. After that night they don't meet again for another year though this time she's a little more, er, kick-ass.

Cyborg She doesn't really fall into any particular genre as it blends together sci-fi, romance, comedy, college-drama, and action flick all in one. Though a lot is squeezed into the film, I found the most compelling element was the shifting dynamics between the pair's relationship as his feelings towards her grow with each day however the course of true love never runs smooth...

You could easily take the 100 minutes as a stand alone film in its own right but just when you think it's going to come to a predictable coda the director pulls it in an entirely new direction which really made me sit up. From there it's a psychadelic futuristic soma-induced tapestry which eventually ties-up the end with the start in an almost mobius manner.

Oh, and Haruka Ayase truly is a beautiful woman; worth the admission fee alone. That and the complex and rivetting plot of course. I mean, that would just be shallow wouldn't it.
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For me this is a perfect science fiction movie; IE: it's a well crafted sci-fi story and it gloriously does not feature US marines in space, doesn't have a soundtrack and sound effects which are 4 times the volume of the actors' voices - I don't have to turn the volume up due to actors mumblings and then zoom it back down again as soundtrack music throbs up to let the viewer know something dramatic is happening - IE: it's not fracking Hollywood! There are some funny moments, plus nice twists - very slightly Philip K. Dick type - and the casting is perfect. It's real sci-fi, very cleverly constructed, and it's a shame that more movies aren't this imaginative and solidly constructed.
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Format: DVD
As there are other excellent reviews of this film already on Amazon, I'll just add a few comments.

First, this is a classic Science Fiction film, with ideas a-plenty and enough of a changing story to keep you on your toes. OK, so there isn't a spaceship in sight, or aliens, but instead what we have is a nicely-plotted story with excellent performances from the two leads. Maybe, to be a bit critical, the story drags in the middle, but then things happen (I'll say no more) and off we go again - with some excellent make-up/special effects (understated but very nicely done and convincing as well). A bit cruel to Raoul, though.

Second, I think it would be most unlikely that a Hollywood remake would have the charm of this - maybe an independent film maker could have a go instead, and would probably (hopefully) give it the heart a corporate film company might lack. Maybe I've seen too many disappointing Hollywood films, especially remakes (War Of The Worlds, The Day The Earth Stood Still, etc), and am suitably cynical, but once you can get used to watching a film with subtitles the story just carries you along. Maybe you need to watch it a couple of times (or more) to get all the nuances, but it's not a chore, it's a pleasure. So, hands off Hollywood, don't do a Ring on this film. Stick to teenage chase/sex comedies with little plot/intelligence and lots of car chases and explosions, and we'll all be happy knowing exactly what we're going to get - and thus what to avoid!

Anyway, rant over. Cyborg She is a welcome addition to the list of quality time-travel films.
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