Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, adaptation of the novel by Gabrielle Zevin of the same name, or Dareka ga Watashi ni KISU o Shita (literally translated to I Kissed Someone) is the Japanese adaptation of said American book starring popular Japanese actors/idols Horikita Maki as the lead Naomi Sukuse (in the book Naomi Porter) who falls down the stairs, hits her head and loses the memories she’s recollected for the past 4 years, including her best friend Mirai Hasegawa (in the book Will) played by idol Yuya Tegoshi from boy band NEWS, and her American boyfriend Ace Zuckerman played by Anton Yelchin.
Gasp! Say what? Americans and Japanese young actors together in a Japanese film of an American book? Yes, that’s right. Because Teenage Amnesiac also includes actor Kenichi Matsuyama (recently seen in Norwegian Wood), and none other than the young Emma Roberts. So yeah, the roles have inverted. And how do American fans of the book feel about their beloved book being made in Japanese? Well, a lot of them aren’t happy about it… or at least, they weren’t happy about it. Talks about how “pointless” it is to change the setting, or how not “into Japanese” they could be. Even though the one involved in the making of this was the book’s author herself, and it was probably done because the book was such a hit in the country.
Sure, it’s just internet talk. However, it reflects the sentiment of *insert nationality* whose film/books of their home country get remade/adapted in America/etc. not-a-language it’s supposed to be. So we do understand your sentiments, and here’s to hoping you guys understand when it happens the other way round again and again… and again.
As for the film… well, suffice to say that I feel too old to be watching this. Kenichi Matsuyama should feel too old for this too. Maybe if I were 10 years younger – OMG, I’m that old – I could have maybe connected more. No scratch that, I felt like the characters were Mary Sue’s or Marty Stus… or whatever the male form of a Mary Sue is. Surprisingly, in a bad way, Anton Yelchin is a bit of a jerk in here. He’s literally your typical American jock… only he plays tennis. LOL Poor Naomi’s lost her memory, and all he can think of is getting laid for Prom?
Naomi’s other suitors are the Martys Stus, one playing the best friend from the yearbook commission. Mirai is dorky, well-natured, cares for Naomi… and well, that’s just telling you straight in your face that he’s the one. Then there’s the dark brooding opponent Yuji (Matsuyama) who rides a motorbike, works at a projection house where he watches foreign art house films, photographs Naomi for a play, and actively pursues her as she ends her relationship with Yelchin’s character. Yuji is what you know it’s bad but you still want to see what’s going on with him. In a dark indie film, Naomi would have pursued Yuji and ended up badly. In a fairly mainstream drama, she’d pursued Yuji and ended up fixing him. This is a romantic drama for teenagers, so you’d do the math.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Horikita Maki in anything else, but she seems like an average lead in here. And Emma Roberts is terribly underused in this.
Also can you believe Yelchin is the youngest in the cast? Gosh these Asians genes. Wait till we turn 60~