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Monday, April 13, 2009

DVD Review: Maiko Haaaan!!!

Director: Nobuo Mizuta
Writer:Kankuro Kudo
Starring: Sadao Abe (as Kimihiko Onizuka), Shin'ichi Tsutsumi (as Kiichiro Naito), Kou Shibisaki (as Fujiko Osawa), and Saori Koide (as Komako)

Synopsis: An office worker for a noodle company has one great obsession in life: the Geishas of Kyoto. And he'll do anything to get a round of strip baseball with one of these painted beauties.

Maiko Haaaan!!! will be a like-it-or-hate-it prospect for most viewers with its broad comedy and decidedly unlikeable protagonist. The story follows its bowl-cut sporting lead Onizuka (Abe) as he gives up his life in bustling Tokyo for the sedate Kyoto, home to many a Geisha. Onizuka has spent the last decade obsessing over geishas since his first encounter with them as a frantic, lost schoolboy and now he seeks any means possible to spend his nights in their company.

To this end, Maiko Haaaan!!! follows a man able to do just about anything to reach his ambition and defeat his rival in the night-lit world of Kyoto after dark - the cocky pro baseball player Kiichiro Naito (Tsutsumi).

What follows is a primer in geisha etiquette, many a brightly-lit tableu, a couple of peppy musical numbers, and lots of mugging for the camera for just about everyone involved. The late-game addition of some melodrama to the proceedings softens the edges of some of the leads and gives the final narrative a little more shape than it started with, but the overall tone is that is garish, cartoonish abandon.

Again, it's not a movie for everyone - but in the final analysis I enjoyed what it had to offer with a weird, unlikeable, and utterly fun lead.

DVD Extras: Outside of some unsubtitled trailers for the film and a brief making of doc, not much.

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