Stardust Pictures collaborates with Dias Police director Tominaga Masanori for the live-action adaptation of Nananan Kiriko’s manga ‘Pumpkin and Mayonnaise‘ – 南瓜とマヨネーズ, about an unemployed and aspiring musician whose girlfriend works as a club hostess unbeknownst to him. Upon his discovery, he searches for work while his girlfriend met an ex-lover, complications ensue. Taiga and Asami Usuda play the couple, while Odagiri Joe is the ex.
What the Movie is all about: Miho and Sei are living together. She works at a boutique while he tries to make it as a songwriter and musician. Even though Miho still can’t forget about Hagio, her ex-lover, she is happy in her relationship with Sei. However, all is not well for the young couple. Struggling to make ends meet, Miho decides to take a second job as a bar hostess. As she becomes increasingly desperate for money, Miho eventually gives in to one of her client’s sexual advances. When Sei finds out about this he begins to distance himself from her. Things get even more complicated for Miho when Hagio suddenly reappears in her life.
Trailer Impressions: Too short, yet it offers glimpses into the lives of the three main characters. But the lead actress Usuda has a sensual appeal to her, yet she is more ‘dramatic’ than just a ‘tease’. I’d love to see a longer trailer to extend my opinion.
Thoughts: Browsing through the many comments about the manga itself, it seems this movie suddenly becomes one of my most anticipated…
“A drama has a progressive thought, an emotional climax and a resolution, but our lives aren’t like that. All we get day after day, are a bunch of vague anxieties that are never really resolved”. This is what Pumpkin & Mayonnaise is, a simple and realistic depiction of a relationship: the drama isn’t cheesy, the pacing is slow and mundane, the lives of the characters don’t feel like something out of reality, Pumpkin & Mayonnaise is realist, in the end the manga shows what it promises us: the everyday life of Sei, an idealistic songwriter, and Miho, the young woman who struggles to support the both of them. [source]
Taiga has established a reputation as an actor capable of making simple characters extraordinary, not by the use of hysterics, or what is commonly seen in Japanese drama – overacting. He has an innate confidence to portray characters and making them come alive. The reason why – this is just an opinion – he’s been cast in a number of indie films, is that he can deliver. In Fukada Koji’s Au revoir l’ ete, he turned an ordinary-looking student into a grief stricken, desperate and homeless boy who revealed his predicament (and those of his family) as victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster during a rally. Arguably, his scenes with Nikaido Fumi are the highlights of the film. The same high-caliber performance in Tokyo Sunrise follows and I’m almost certain he’ll turn the aspiring musician in Pumpkin and Mayonnaise into something utterly captivating and memorable.
Odagiri Joe as the ex-lover sounds like the perfect casting to me.
The lead actress, Asami Usuda, is an unknown talent to me, hence I reserve my judgment. Though I have seen a few movies with her name as part of the cast, no particular scenes are memorable or worth repeating.