After watching a romantic comedy Japanese drama series, Summer Nude, with my favorite Japanese actor Yamashita Tomohisa as one of the main cast, I was hoping he would play again a character in a romantic series. It’s been a while since I last watch him on screen. Did he really change? Physically, he still is undeniably gorgeous!
I was looking forward to this live adaptation movie of Kinkyori Renai, literally translated as Close Range Love, a shoujo manga written by Rin Mikimoto. To simply define what the series is all about, it’s a romance between a 27-year-old teacher and an 18-year-old student. Are you in favor of their affair? How will the couple go on with their relationship?
Yuni Kururugi (played by Nana Komatsu) is an 18-year-old student who dreams to study in the University of California. Although she excels in all subjects, she doesn’t make a high grade in English. As a result, she is then approached by this good-looking teacher in the name of Haruka Sakurai (played by Yamashita Tomohisa) to convince her to attend one-on-one tutoring in English subject. While she receives lectures from him in a daily basis, she ultimately develops romantic feelings for him.
I find it hard to predict Yuni’s character due to the fact that she lacks any interpretable expression, or nothing at all, and doesn’t seem to show interest in her environment like a cyborg girl, so I thought I would find the romance part as totally boring, but as I go on further, I got to enjoy the cliche part of a shoujo. I must be superficial to say this but I particularly like how Haruka-sensei handles their situation especially when he offers himself to Yuni, and when he obviously shows how she likes the girl. However, as a teacher, he should keep his romantic feelings as a secret for the sake of his profession because students might misinterpret his actions, how he treats Yuni as favoritism has a negative impact among teachers, and can hinder one’s profession. For me, there’s nothing wrong if they like each other, it’s just a matter of limitation, and waiting for the very right time to come their way. Yuni is just too young, I mean, maybe, it’s just an ordinary love felt by youngster, and I think it’s her first time to take a romantic event. Looking at their relationship, I still can’t deny the fact they look so good together I’d want them to get married for real.
Plot wise, Kinkyori Renai does not hold a strong story of romance as it merely shows a typical development of teacher-student relationship from having a formal and professional conversation to the point they begin to understand each other in a more intimate manner. Conflicts are easily resolved, that is, when Yuni finally decides to enter the University of California, and I couldn’t further feel the most interesting point in the series. It suddenly falls to the conclusion when they finally see each other again and ends like kissing in front of the bluish sunset.
Yamashita Tomohisa, widely known as Yamapi, is way too good. Of course, he’s already a prodigy. Whenever I encounter a cast as the name “Yamapi”, I wouldn’t hesitate to watch him because he plays a big factor for me. You’ve already seen him many times on various drama series and movies, and I don’t think you had enough. As an outstanding actor, you wouldn’t want to skip any of his appearance on screen. He is suitable enough for the character as a teacher. His cold demeanor, his closed attachment to girls, his soft side and all that defines his character in the movie makes you fall in love with him more and more. I couldn’t see any flaws with regards to his acting because he portrays the character naturally.
Nana Komatsu is a young looking actress. It’s my first time to watch this cutesy teen, plus, I’ve never seen her in the entertainment industry, so I thought, she is quite underrated. Nevertheless, her expressionless character is finely portrayed as a newbie actress.
Overall, Kinkyori Renai live action movie is your average story of romance. What makes the movie special is that, it shows that everything can make into a reality. You will simply fall in love with this movie more than how you have read the manga.