Based on the first arc of the manga series Kamisama no Iu Toori by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Akeji Fujimura, the action begins when a teacher’s head explodes in the middle of the class and a talking Daruma doll appears to force the students into a deadly game of Daruma-san ga koronda. As expected from Takashi Miike, 10 minutes into the movie and there’s already a pile of corpses (literally!). Kamisama no Iutoori (As the Gods Will) looks like it’s going to be a gorefest right from the start.
I’m not a fan of watching human beings being ripped apart on screen so I’m actually quite thankful that the film used CG for its the cartoonish toy villains and unrealistic blood. The main reason why I’m watching this is not because of the genre but because of Kamiki Ryunosuke. And of course he did not disappoint. I’ve probably said this many times but I’ll say it again, Kamiki’s just amazing when it comes to playing psycho characters! I saw the images of Amaya Takeru in the manga and except for the messy hairdo, he looks nothing like Kamiki.
This is exactly what makes Kamiki Ryunosuke such a great actor for his age – his effortless ability to portray a character opposite his appearance. He plays it so darn well, he makes it look like he’s the protagonist and that his psycho character is actually sexy.
The real protagonist, however, is Shun Takahata played by Sota Fukushi. Shun is a typical student who keeps on complaining about how bored he is with his life but just because the character is bored, that doesn’t mean that the actor should limit his expressions and bore the audience, too. He may have survived all those lethal games but his eyes look pretty dead to me.
It would have been better if Shota Sometani played the role of Shun instead. I’ve been dreaming of a movie where Shota’s acting skills would finally go head-to-head with Kamiki’s. Imagine Kiseiju’s Shinichi Izumi vs. Rurouni Kenshin’s Seta Soujiro. That would’ve been epic!
It’s funny how Shota Sometani’s name is one of those who are on top billing even when he didn’t even survive long enough to make it to the next game. Regardless of the short screen time, the talented actor gave an impressive performance and his character’s demise is definitely a memorable one worthy of a thumbs up.
Most online comments and even critics’ reviews mentioned the similarity of Kamisama no Iutoori with Battle Royale and The Hunger Games where teenagers are suddenly thrown into an arena of death. I would’ve accepted such comparisons if Kamisama was able to provide a strong backstory and consistent character development. Am I really supposed to root for Takahata, an ordinary guy I know nothing about and is just constantly complaining about the lack of excitement in his life? Or Akimoto, the female lead who obviously just survived for the purpose of having a subtle romance in the plot? Although I totally repulse the thirst for carnage, at least I could see that Amaya takes pride in being one of “God’s children” and has the motivation in building a new world.
It should’ve been a good thing for someone who hasn’t read the source material to judge the movie as it is but I’m actually having quite a hard time doing so since I have no idea about what is going on and why it is happening. More questions arise instead of answers. Who is that old otaku/hikiko mori? Why are the elders just standing around watching the students on a giant screen instead of trying to rescue them? It’s also unnatural that the teenage survivors had time to celebrate being able to get past another stage but didn’t stop for a second to mourn for all the classmates and friends they’ve lost along the way. I know the manga will clarify all these but the purpose of adapting it into a movie is to tell its story and failure to do so would cause this film to fall apart despite having a famous director and a charismatic antagonist.
Through Takashi Miike’s direction, Kamisama no Iutoori gives childish games a deadly twist. However, it’s a bit of a letdown for its inability to convey the psychological effect and emotional grip it’s supposed to give since the characters are nothing but pieces of meat waiting to get crushed and splattered.