Praised be Tokyo Girls’ Style and that includes their management and sponsor (Avex). I am sure there are some of you that are getting sick of me just worshipping this group but their fan service is almost godly! This is strange considering that they are less dependent on fans than any other Idol groups a fact is stranger now since they are no longer Idols. Yeah, I mentioned it a while back but TGS have taken that first step to their dreams by graduating from a mere Idol group to full artists. ‘Stay With Me’ being the first evidence of this reality as the lyrics for that single were written by Yamabe Miyu the previous leader (Shyoji Mei is the current leader of TGS). Speaking of Miyu, her little sister just joined AKB as a Draftee member for Team B. And speaking of those three Draftees, they have already performed their first song (Miniskirt fairy) which happened before Hikari’s graduation performance.
Going back to TGS, when I heard that they would be graduating from being an Idol group, I was really worried! To me graduating means much more than what it does to the others. If a member graduates from a group even if they are going to still be in the entertainment industry like movies of TV dramas, they are different! For example Acchan, sorry, Assan is different to me now! I still miss Akarin (Momoiro Clover) terribly and would be all over Momoclo once again like I was were she to return but even as she is still in movies and TV, it is not the same. I won’t be going out of my way to look out for all the projects she in. This will probably be true with Yukirin when she leaves AKB. Things are just never the same! And so I was worried about TGS!
But it seems there was no need for worry because TGS has not changed! They are still doing exactly what they were doing before. They are still holding LIVE performances – at a frequency that would put any other group except the 48G to shame! They still do their lovely streams and still release singles Idol style. Then again maybe the momentum just hasn’t picked up yet. I don’t think that is the case though.
What is this post about exactly? Well dear Readers, I am sure you remember last year when I was posting about these preview videos they put together for their special live. The title for that five month project was ‘Hard Boiled Night’ and they would release a special video for each month’s performance. Those previews were so good I was crying for a full TV show based on those short videos or even a movie. A good few months later and guess what happens?
Those awesome Devils go and release a full 2 hour movie of said project!
Like, how happier can a TGS fan be after this fact! Now sure we internal fans got fucked over with that 5tsu premium box incident when they only released them at a handshake event and thus impossible for us to get out hands on them but other than that, TGS and their management have had a perfect record since day one! I even forgive them for that fiasco with the release of Hard Boiled Night. They did not have an obligation to release those special LIVEs! In fact they just included the thing as an extra in their 1st major album instead of releasing a boxset of those lives on their own like they would have had they intended on releasing them in the first place. Could it be that they were actually making up for the 5tsu miscall?
Now Hard Boiled Night is not a feature length goldmine like any other movie. Like we might have deduced from months, actually a year now, this was episodic. There were five episodes in total but instead of just putting these episodes together seamlessly like say how Innocent Lilies did it with their BD release, here with Hard Boiled night, they included cuts of the LIVE performances right in between scenes in the movie parts. While you might think that this would be a distraction from the story, it is actually not. In fact the songs they choose to include complement the story perfectly. Sure it was different watching a movie like that; to go from a serious scene to a stage performance but it was done well!
Just like their first single ‘Kirari’ and their first intro into the acting department in their two movies 5tsu and Noroi no Kotodama, the girls surprised me once again with Hard Boiled Night, which is kind of like their first real Drama, after all, it was episodic! I believe I have mentioned it but I was really surprised by the story in Noroi no Kotodama and more so by the acting of the girls who had like, a month of experience (they shot the two movies 5tsu and NnK almost at the same time). The twist in NnK was just too brilliant! I remember the sound in that movie getting so much on my nerves that I thought I had gotten a faulty disc but it turned out that was all part of the plot!
Actually since chances are that I will not be blogging about that movie I don’t see why I can’t talk about it with spoilers here. The movie was so well put together that there was no way you could have figured out what was happening without watching it through to the end being hit with that twist! At the surface it looked like another haunted movie – A group of students who get stuck in school and start to experience supernatural events. That is what you get to think until the ending! I think the concept has been done before but executed differently and that is that the whole class, apart from Hitomi’s character and her friends who had come to this haunted school, the students that were in uniform at school were all ghosts but did not know that they were dead! When you are watching the movie from their perspective, the sound is really off and distracting. You only learn the reason for this when you find out that it was like that because they were in a different dimension, forgotten by time as they died without knowing it and thus thought they were still alive. That was until strange things begin to happen.
Yeah, strange things happening to ghosts, believe me spent the night upon watching that movie without sleeping! It is such a great movie and reminds me a lot of Stephen King’s Langoliers! That movie is three hours long and yet every time I start to watch it I could never stop. It was just so intriguing and one of a kind.
Will I ever never be distracted?
Hard Boiled Night was just another surprise from TGS and co. The actual thing was way more serious than I actually thought it would be. That ending man, that ending was so not what I was expecting. But then again, the route the story took was nothing like I was expecting! I figured it would be just fun! They wouldn’t be such serious characters and I thought I would have to write a fic to take tackle the dark side of the story but the joke was on me! The story was as serious as you would think one would be with characters like Yakuza and Bouncers!
And since I am getting into spoiler territory here, might as well start the actual post…
Now then, how to approach this! The thing is that the movie part of Hard Boiled Night is really short. Without the LIVE performances I believe it works out at about an hour. The story was followed to the letter so there were no gaps. Still, if they wished to expand it out they still could do it. There are five episodes and we have five characters. Each character could get an episode dedicated to them to go deeper into their backgrounds and maybe throw in a six episode to focus on the climax without distractions of flashbacks. Apart from the surface we do not know anything about the characters. Hitomi is simply the private detective hired by the gang Lord Miyu to find a rich man’s daughter (no pun intended) Angela (Mei) who is being sheltered the Bar owner Mistress Ayano and the bar bouncer Yuri. The only extra info we know about Ayano and Mei is needed for the plot which is why they were the only ones that got expanded on.
There is a lot that could be added in to give 6 full feature length episodes or a real movie! I hope Avex and co. keep up their awesomeness and realize this. I am pretty sure it would be a hit! But we got something and I am satisfied. If they go ahead and give us more, I will drink it all up but I am not going to be expecting it.
So, this is a short movie, lets say and I am thinking that maybe I should focus on the couples (some canon and some not) and then I will weave the plot into that? Yes, let’s do that! But now the question becomes – who to start with? I guess I should follow the story which means starting with Private Eye Hitomi and the diva Angela. Hitomi and Angela (Mei) can also be considered the main couple and while I say couple I don’t mean in the sense that they are together, dating and kissing and all that silver platter goodness.
It was very hard to tell with these two where exactly they stood. Hitomi’s antics in the beginning might have come off as just fun flirting and may have been just his way of (I am going to go with the sexes they have in the this media) getting closer to Angela for more information but as the story progressed, her feelings became real. She began to care for Angela to the point of…
One of these days I swear I will stop getting side-tracked and ahead of myself.
If you are into TGS and are thus familiar with the canon couples (as far as the fandom is concerned) the ships in HBN (Hence forth how I will refer to this movie) will seem really weird, well, except for one! Actually I am not surprised by that. This ship is like the ship of TGS. The others can be shuffled around but this one and of course I am talking about HitoMiyu.
Now HitoMiyu was not an actual ship here and unless you are willing to dig deep, you will not see it but you all know who I am! This ship in HBN is like Cameron and Sarah from the Sarah Connor Chronicles. So hidden and subjective that you would be more successful cutting off your arms than convincing someone who doesn’t see it that it is there. That is what HitoMiyu are in HBN!
Meanwhile Hitomi is all hearts for Mei (Angela) which is quite ironic because it is Miyu Yakuza Boss Miyu that hires Private Eye Hitomi to go looking for Angela (Mei). Meanwhile Mei seems more interested in Madam Ayano who, while she has a troubling attraction/obsessiveness to Mei, there is something between her and her bodyguard Bouncer Yuri. To beak it down we have;
Mei x Hitomi
Mei x Ayano
Mei x Miyu
Miyu x Hitomi
Ayano x Yuri
Yes, there was a thing later on that brought up the Mei x Miyu shipper in you and we all know how Management loves those two together (‘LIAR’ and ‘Unmei’ anyone?) I know most would not have seen this and hopefully my take will help you notice.
So, upon being hired by the Yakuza (Miyu), private detective Hitomi goes on a hunt for a missing girl that went missing a year ago on July 13th. All she has of the girl is the name Angela and the date of disappearance. With only such limited information, Hitomi is lead to the Borrows because rumor there is that the singer (Narrow’s Angel) had only started to sing there a year ago.
At the bar we meet the three girls – the owner Madam Ayano, Yuri the bouncer and Mei. Just as Mei takes a break from the singing to go and grab a drink from Ayano (the two smiling at each other in that secret way that just tells you there is something….) Hitomi shows up and starts hitting on Mei. Ayano is not pleased with the way Hitomi is getting close to Mei and tells him to get his hands off of her. Hitomi says that he won’t do anything reckless. He doesn’t want to get in trouble with the bouncer giving him the eye across the room. Mei tells Ayano that it is okay. He wasn’t seriously trying to hit on her. If he was then he was doing it wrong. He needs to bring flowers with him if he is serious about stealing a girl’s heart.
Ayano asks him then what he wanted in the first place. Hitomi says that he is looking for an Angel who went missing a year ago. Mei says that she is not this Angel Hitomi is looking for. She says that she has been at the bar for two years (Angela went missing a year ago).
We get a short flashback to when Mafia Miyu was giving Private Eye Hitomi the job of looking for Angela. There is no photo or a sketch of this Angela. The only available information is the name and the date she went missing.
Later on Hitomi confronts Yuri to ask her a few questions but Yuri says that she has nothing to talk to the Detective about. She says all they care about are the results without thinking of the consequences. She says that they don’t care how the secrets they dig up can affect the people involved nor the real truth and warns Hitomi to stay away or else the ‘Angel’ will die. This confrontation looked like Yuri was protecting Angela but on deeper thought it wasn’t about her. It was never about Mei but rather about Ayano. Yeah, strange I know but there was no MeiYuri in this.
We cut back to Miyu and Hitomi’s meeting where Hitomi asks Miyu what he will do with Angel when he finds her. Miyu tells Hitomi that it is none of his business. Hitomi wonders if the dead mafia a year ago had something to do with why Miyu was looking for Angela but Miyu just tells him to forget it. He says looking into it is useless and should not even try.
At this point in time we’ve only seen HitoMei and even they aren’t concrete yet because Hitomi might have been just playing with Mei to get answers out of her. This thought gets blurry because later when Hitomi bumps into Mei, the conversation they have leaves behind a sense that Hitomi might have actually fallen for Mei. As Hitomi turns to leave without having tried to hit on Mei this time, Mei mentions it and says that Hitomi really wasn’t serious about her.
But what Hitomi says is that he forgot something important. Mei asks what that is and Hitomi says that he forgot the essential thing one needs to hit on a girl – a bouquet of roses. He says he is going to go get some for her. It was interesting to see that Mei brought this up. This showed that she might have been taken in with Hitomi despite the lack of roses because otherwise, why would she be so interested that she had to ask about it?
Was that really because she was genuinely interested though? It is doubtful given the happenings of the later episodes but we shall get to that when the time comes. For now what puts a shadow on things in that there is this scene in the bar. I think they are not yet open and Ayano is humming to herself as she cleans glasses when Mei walks in on her. She immediately stops the singing.
Mei seems very sad that Ayano stopped and begs her not to stop. She walks behind the counter to join Ayano and she embraces her from behind. She says a line that reeks of foreshadowing about how Ayano is the better singer of the two. Mei begs her to sing with her, just the two of them. Outside the door, Yuri is listening in and we see her smile to herself meaning that Ayano might have started singing again and that Mei joined her. We don’t see this but rather, the movie transitions to the LIVE performance (‘Killing me Softly’ of all songs) which is A-mello’d by Mei!
I told you that it was done very well!
So, now we have two couples hinted at and after the LIVE we get not one but two other possible ships, sort of. The first one takes a while to click but might as well mention it because, hello? Miyu all but saved Hitomi’s life, being all badass as hell in the process!
While wandering, some armed Dudes begin to attack Hitomi. As he runs around a corner Miyu snatches him to hide. Makes you wonder how Miyu happened to be in the exact place at the right time! Anyway he asks Hitomi if he has any idea who those Dude might be. Hitomi says that he had an idea but it was dismissed as soon as she saw Miyu. Miyu seems disappointed in him for insinuating that his family would be after him when it was Miyu that hired Hitomi in the first place.
Miyu says he will take care of the Dudes and that Hitomi can leave. Hitomi is surprised by Miyu and wonders who the hell Miyu is! But Miyu is all secrets and not telling. When Hitomi runs off, his steps alert the Dudes who come into a confrontation with Miyu. Miyu hold his hands up in the air to buy herself time. She puts fear in them calling them brave to think of taking out a member of the mafia. The wise guys that they are, they turn tail and run but Miyu was mafia and thus had a heart made of stone! She cripples the guys by shooting them in non-fatal areas then proceeds to use their dropped guns to waste them stating that she will not hand Angel over to them. Too Boss!
The other happen in the Narrows Bar at the same time! Ayano is anxious because she had just heard the gunshots (I guess it happen close by) and Mei was out. She is worried for Mei but Yuri tells her that Mei will be fine. Ayano doesn’t settle though and Yuri offers to go take a look if it will make her feel better. Interestingly Ayano tells Yuri to stay with her because she just won’t settle if she is alone and Yuri goes over to Ayano and is about to hold her but the damn director had to transition out at that exact moment!!! Oh well, there goes another couple! They falling like fruits from trees!
The first episode ‘The Narrows‘ ends with that Mei and Hitomi scene where Hitomi says he is going to get her roses. Mei said that she only told secrets to her man so I guess Hitomi is serious about making Mei hers.
So, what have we gotten away from this first episode? We know there is a secret between Ayano, Mei and Yuri. Does Hitomi really like Mei or is he just playing her to get information about Angela? What is the deal with Miyu and what does the Yakuza want with Angela?
For now I am aboard the SS HitoMei, AyaYuri and HitoMiyu. I am pretty sure Hitomi and Miyu are male characters meaning that shipping them might be yaoi but I am not complaining. Yuri cannot be mistaken for a guy unless they mean to say that he is a transsexual because man, those boobs are even bigger than they usually are on her! If they wanted to pass her off as a guy they did the worst job in history!
Anyway, if anyone wants eng subs, they are on Hello!Online.