Welcome to PsychoDrama! This site contains movie and drama reviews, casting news, trailers, movie posters and information about the latest Japanese productions, including profiles of established and aspiring young actors and actresses. We also feature the hitlist - rankings of the hottest Japanese talents and actors' bias articles - where we discuss prominent talents including Satoshi Tsumabuki, Ryuhei Matsuda, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima, Mao Inoue, Yu Aoi, Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Fumi Nikaido, Sosuke Ikematsu, Masaki Suda, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Ai Hashimoto, Mayu Matsuoka and many others. Join in our discussion and let us know what you think! Started in March 2012, you can find out more about us here. By the way, we don't do gossip - we don't know who is dating who nor feature anyone who went to this or that motel. We could not care less. While we may appear to be movies fans, we feature more than news, but also opinion. We are also not a database since we feature selectively.
Viewed at Namba Parks Cinema in Osaka, Japan.
I was vacationing in Japan and decided to take in a movie. Since I don't speak Japanese, I based my selection off of the poster art alone. "Hana No Ato" (aka "After the Flowers") was the film that looked most worthy of consideration, so I gave it a shot and it turned out to be a thrilling period piece.
The storyline, from what I gather, concerns a woman (named Ito) who trains in swordfighting with her father. Ito at one point challenges a samurai acquaintance to a friendly, competitive duel involving bamboo sticks which ignites an attraction between the two. Subsequent to this event, a few conflicts involving honor and justice are introduced that drive the rest of the proceedings.
The most apparent observation regarding "Hana No Ato" is that it feels very similar to Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy – "Twilight Samurai" (2002), "The Hidden Blade" (2004), and "Love and Honor" (2006). So much so, in fact, that I was actually surprised to find out that Yamada did not direct this. The similarities, however, are no coincidence. The screenplay was adapted by a short story written by the late Shuhei Fujisawa, whose writings were the basis for Yamada's trilogy. "Hana No Ato" has a comparable focus on character/conflict development to effectively build anticipation for a final confrontation.
The storyline is a familiar premise, but the execution is so strong that it will almost surely impress fans of this genre. There is one training duel and one swordfight, both of which are excellent as they employ realism and proficient choreography. Acting is restrained with emotion expressed through slight mannerisms, and Keiko Kitagawa is entirely convincing as the lead. The cinematography and capturing of natural environments are also fantastic.
It's important to note that I was definitely not in the mood for this type of film when I sat down to watch it, yet it captivated me nonetheless. I plan to purchase it on DVD as soon as it's available.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Have you watched this movie? Are you a fan of Keiko Kitagawa? Let us know what you think!
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