It’s been three years since Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi but these two equally talented actors, Eita and Ryuhei Matsuda, haven’t lost their charms. Sadly, Mahoro Ekimae Kyousoukyoku’s plot gave them very little to work with.
The movie begins with the usual: Tada being a nag and Gyoten being Gyoten. The latter gets hit by a ball and hilariously pass out on the street. It is exactly the kind of subtle humor, along with Gyoten’s deadpan face, that made me laugh out loud in the series.
Things get a tad serious as the arrival of Gyoten’s super kawaii daughter put their friendship to test. The film tries to explore Tada and Gyoten’s scarred past which is both exciting and scary when Tada realizes that after all these years, he doesn’t really know what kind of person Gyoten really is.
As with every character he’s played, Eita shines in the melodramatic aspect when he mourns the loss of his child. Ryuhei Matsuda is just as compelling but the movie ,unfortunately, fails to take this huge opportunity to develop his character. We finally get to see more of Gyoten: how he became a father, how his mom was as a devotee of a dubious cult and how he grew up being treated violently which resulted to his current pessimism and apathy. Yet, the discovery simply stopped there as the movie suddenly goes to a bizarre twist with the inclusion of yakuzas (why hello there Kengo Kora!), pesticide investigation and a senior citizen bus hijack. I know being a benriya pretty much spells trouble but there were too many side stories and without coherence, the film ended up like a bunch of episodes forced together to make one lengthy movie. With too much stuff going on at the same time, I think the film suffered from lack of direction and dense conclusion.
Good thing there was at least a bit of progress in Tada and Kashiwagi’s relationship as the two went exclusively dating. Seeing Eita and Yoko Maki reminded me of how much I miss Saikou no Rikon. Gyoten has finally learned to get over his past and clear off his anxiety around children.
More importantly, the franchise has such capable actors who are equally stellar as individual characters and even more amazing when together. The bromance remains solid and they’re off to their next adventures in their shabby little truck.
UPDATE: JULY 13, 2015
As part of the annual Eiga Sai, Mahoro Ekimae Kyousoukyoku was shown at Shangri La Cineplex. I decided to rewatch it on the big screen since it was shown on the night of my birthday. I’m glad I watched because it somehow changed my earlier impressions about the film into a more positive one.
I was worried that the audience would criticize the movie as much as I did, but on the contrary, it seems that the viewers loved it. Hearing the audience’s reactions made me laugh at the scenes that I didn’t appreciate the first time. There really is a difference between watching a movie alone and watching with a friend in a jam-packed theater. I was too critical about the technical aspects that I sort of neglected the purpose of the movie and that is to entertain.
This doesn’t change the fact that Mahoro Ekimae Kyousoukyoku has some messy subplot, poor editing, and abrupt ending. The show, however, has always been so character-driven that in the end, you’d just love Tada and Gyoten (like I always do) and you just won’t care about the shortcomings at all.