Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge (2007)

Rating: C

Dir: Takuji Kitamura
Star: Hayato Ichihara, Megumi Seki, Yosuke Asari, Itsuji Itao

On the way back to his dorm, student Yosuke Yamamoto (Ichihara) sees a schoolgirl, waiting by a fountain, only to be attacked by a huge, cloaked figure wielding a chainsaw. Rushing to her aid, he gets his ass kicked, but discovers that Eri (Seki) has been doing battle with her nemesis every night since her parents and brother were killed in a car-crash. Yosuke can kinda relate to this, as his life has been feeling particularly pointless too, since the death of his friend in a motorcycle accident. He meets Eri every night to cheer her on, which is about the limit of the assistance he can offer, along with giving her a ride on his bicycle to the venue for the evening’s battle – which might be a fairground, a swimming pool or a deserted village.

But Yosuke’s parents are looking to move to Sapporo; given his support is the only thing allowing Eri to survive, what’s a disconsolate teenage boy to do? I just have no clue here, right from the gobbledygook title, which no-one has been able to explain. This is hardly an action movie – half the time, the battles between Eri and her opponent aren’t even shown – or, if so, it’s an extraordinarily mopey one, which would appeal largely to those who sulk in their bedrooms listening to indie rock. It’s really much more a romantic drama about differing mechanisms for coping with post-death depression, even if they don’t make sense, neither Eri’s fighting, nor Yosuke’s approach, which involves stealing beef.

Yeah. I don’t have much time for this kind of introverted hipsterness, and the urge to grab both leads and yell that they need to pull themselves together is often overpowering. If you’re expecting any kind of explanation for events, you’ll be sadly disappointed. Despite some pretty cinematography, which sometimes is downright gorgeous, and occasional moments of action-y goodness, if you’re anything like us, you’ll reach the end with nothing more lasting than sense of vague, unfulfilled irritation and a desire to smack any Japanese emo boys from here to Osaka.