It looks like my in-flight entertainment adventures are becoming a bit of a series. (Does 2 posts in a row – written on 2 flights in a row – count as a series?)
Today, once again, I picked a movie on a whim (the food was a teensy bit better this flight than the last – emphasis on teensy), and liked it enough to write it a review right away while still in the air.
Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an understatement.
It’s more like I innocently signed up for what I thought would be a sweet, slice-of-life romance with a possible time-traveling twist, and ended up feeling like I was sucker-punched into serving up my heart to these characters on a plate. In a good way.
Here’s what I knew about the movie before I clicked on “Play Movie.”
“Takatoshi (Sota) falls in love with Emi (Komatsu), a girl with an extraordinary ability.”
That’s.. not a lot to go on, for sure. The trailer was unsubbed and therefore I didn’t have a clue what was going on in it, but I decided to watch it because the characters looked likable, and the breezy music suggested that this movie would be light and cute.
Which it was. I mean, until it wasn’t.
THE REVEAL [MAJOR SPOILERS]
Essentially, Emi doesn’t have an extraordinary ability. It’s more like she appears to have the extraordinary ability to know about things before they happen, but that’s only because she comes from a parallel universe where time flows in the opposite direction of this universe.
On top of that, the lovers are only able to meet for 30 days every 5 years, because that’s where the loophole in their time cycles is (I’m paraphrasing, but essentially that’s what we need to know).
After this is revealed to us, the enormity of the implications on our lovers unfolded itself upon my mind in waves, and as I progressed with my watch, I found my heart pinching more and more, with each ripple of realization.
Here are the realizations that hit me the most, along with my general heart reactions:
1. Takatoshi and Emi have no shared context, except for what they purposefully create for themselves.
The Emi that Takatoshi meets each day, has no memory of the days prior that they have spent together in his timeline, because she hasn’t experienced them yet. And vice versa, for the Takatoshi that Emi meets each day.
This means that literally, the only true shared experiences that they have, are the ones that they are creating together, on that very day.
The next day for him – and the next day for her – is shared with a different version of the other person because there are no actual shared memories. And yet, they continue to love each other and make it work.
My heart: Wow. That’s pretty deep, intentional, hardworking love, it feels like.
2. Based on the timelines, Takatoshi and Emi are the same age only once in the entire cycle, when they are twenty. When Takatoshi is 25, Emi is 15.
When Takatoshi is 35, Emi is 5. And vice versa. Which means that the only window of time in which they can actually be together as a couple, is right now, when they are twenty. This means their romance can only last for 30 days. No more, and no less.
My heart: Ow. Ow ow ow.
3. Taking that further, this also means that once Takatoshi progresses past age 40, there aren’t even any more opportunities for him to see Emi, because in her timeline, she wouldn’t have been born yet. And vice versa for Emi.
Our lovers wouldn’t even be able to visit each other anymore, because the other person wouldn’t exist yet.
My heart: Guh. *blubbers*
I’m pretty sure that if you took the time to dig a little deeper, that there would be other themes and ideas you’d be able to find in this movie; it just feels so thoughtfully conceived and written.
Personally, the ideas and themes that reverberated the strongest with me, were the ones that had to do with this show’s take on love. Specifically, I loved the way this movie made me think about empathy, selflessness, and quality time.
The idea of empathy is a very strong one, as Takatoshi learns to look beyond his own feelings and consider Emi’s feelings and her point of view.
In this movie, each of our lovers has to reach deep into themselves and consider the context and feelings of the other person.
Before, Takatoshi can only feel overwhelmed at how Emi is just following a play-book on their dates. But later, he realizes how painful it must be for her, when each of his firsts with her, are literally her lasts with him.
Closely linked to the idea of empathy is the idea of selflessness. We see Takatoshi and Emi consistently put the other person’s happiness above their own.
She holds back tears as she chooses to focus on creating happy memories for him, rather than her own sadness as she considers how his first everything with her, is her last everything with him.
We then see Takatoshi learn to do the same, as the 30 days draw to a close. He, too, holds back his own sadness at the impending goodbye, for the sake of Emi, who is just starting her 30 days with him.
You can literally see how much it kills each of them, but they forge on and do it anyway, out of love and consideration for the other person.
3. Quality Time
The set-up in this movie literally redefines the meaning of quality time, because our lovers only ever have these 30 days together.
I feel like this movie takes the idea that shared time is precious – which reasonably applies to all couples everywhere – and amplifies it to an almost painful degree, simply because our lovers’ time together has a predetermined limit.
It makes all the time they share extra precious, and I feel like I can literally see them cherish each second to its very last drop.
When Show takes these 3 things and magnifies them to such a startling degree, I feel that it makes it easier for us as an audience to more fully appreciate how to love others, and to be more thankful and more giving, in the way that we love.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
As the final credits rolled, I found myself staring at my screen in a daze, while my brain struggled to reconcile the fate of these lovers, and my heart tried to decide whether it was full, or broken, or both.
It’s a fantastical setup to be sure, but the heart of both Takatoshi and Emi, as they struggled through their personal pain to give as much happiness to the other person as they could in the moment, moved me deeply.
I dearly wish they could have had a more explicitly happy ending, but perhaps it is more touching to know that from start to finish, they each loved the other to the fullest of their abilities, and dedicated themselves to making the other person happy, while savoring every moment, because oftentimes, it was literally their last.
There is a line of dialogue that Takatoshi and Emi share a couple of times in the movie; essentially, that their lives are linked by the edges, and as they progress through the cycles of time, they are one, living one life.
Right after we see Takatoshi walk away from 5-year-old Emi after saving her, which basically is the last time he will see her, the scene cuts to 20-year-old Emi, approaching Takatoshi for the first time, to experience those 30 days all over again.
It breaks my heart to think that this pair of lovers share such a deep bond, and yet have such a limited amount of time to be together, in each of their lifetimes. But it also fills my heart to witness their love.
The length of time they have together doesn’t determine how deeply nor how enduringly they love each other.
They would rather face the odds and grasp tightly onto every opportunity they have to love each other, than not love each other at all.
And that in itself is a lesson in love indeed. <3
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Poignant, thought-provoking and bittersweet.
FINAL GRADE: A
This wasn’t the trailer I watched on the plane. The in-flight trailer was much breezier, whereas this one runs much closer to the actual tone of the movie.
You are a BRAVE soul for attempting this movie on a flight! I was prepared with the kleenex after reading the synopsis, but I could never wrap my head around the complications that could happen with a premise so simple. I was NOT prepared for the truckload of feels that hit me right in the gut, when Takaoshi realizes ‘every little first for me, is a last for her.‘ Ugh. So simple, so gut-wrenchingly painful! T_T
Thank heavens I found your review before pitching in a rec to you on the SD1D comment section, heh.
For a film so fantasy-like, they sure delivered takeaways that is so relevant even for the relationships we have. What profoundly moved me, was despite the sci-fi writing & ‘everything is fated‘ angle, the characters always had agency. At multiple points in their respective TLs, they could have called it quits & walked away from the seemingly-endless loop of eventual heartbreak and misery, but they choose not to. The power to make such a choice each time and yet not making it, was… profoundly moving.
*sobs into her pillow*
I am late to the party on this one. What a great little movie! Nice review on this Fangurl and your review prompted my watch. We really benefitted from all of your in flight movies! Thanks!
Hey Kfangurl, I’m excited to find your site and find people who love my favorite movie as much as I do! I especially wanted to commend the screenwriters as I keep finding little gems in this movie. To preface, I have likely seen this movie over 50 times. Tonight I was listening to Ueyama and Emi banter when moving Takatoshi into his new apartment. Emi is completely at ease with Ueyama, which should be no surprise, she has known him for the better part of a month at this point. But when Emi asks Ueyama to stay good friends with Takatoshi, Ueyama has the look of “holy cow, how did she know I am worried about losing my best friend”? It’s a little pearl that I have overlooked for the longest time, and a testament to the tight writing.
Wow, more than 50 times!! 😱😱 I have never watched a single show that many times, so kudos to you, Syncmacd!! And that’s so cool, that even 50 times in, you’re still discovering fresh nuggets in this movie. That’s something special indeed. Thanks for sharing your new insight, and I’m so glad you enjoyed this review too! 😀
I’m so annoyed, I watched this last night and was so moved that I wrote one of my epic-ly long posts and it seems to have disappeared 🙁 If you by some chance manage to find it, please delete this and post that instead! That contains all of what I felt about this show.
But if it’s gone forever (sobs) then I just wanted to say thank you for reviewing this show, if not for your A-grade and kind words I would’ve missed out on this wonderful gem. What a profound story written and directed and acted so lovingly and carefully and purposefully, it felt as if every scene was so intentionally placed and nothing was wasted, everything came back full circle. And the themes – I was more impacted by the ideas of love transcending time, the idea of following the script/fate vs free will/giving of themselves to each other, future/past and memory/future dichotomies that they experienced. But I loved what you wrote, it was just a different perspective.
thanks once again for this lovely lovely review for a wonderfully gut punching emotional movie!
Oh yay somehow it appeared! You can delete this comment! 🙂
Hey Kfangurl! before I get into my usual epic-ly long posts, I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for watching and reviewing this show. Context is, I was not in a drama watching/book reading mood and was randomly looking at your full lists of reviews thinking of watching some other movie but your A-grade caught my attention and so I went to watch it. And, now, 2 hours later, when I should be sleeping, I can’t sleep till I write out what I feel. All of the feellzzzzzzz *sobs* If you didn’t watch or review it I would’ve missed out and… what a special show, I feel so privileged to have watched it!
Anyway, I wanted to quote one of the lines that Emi says, when Takatoshi is still processing and was angry with her for acting like a robot following the script of their 30 days together – she says something like “even though I already know what will happen, what’s fun is still fun”. While I think the “what’s fun is fun” is a bad translation on the version I watched online, I felt so much for this sentence of hers – because it feels like such a meta line. More than the literal meaning in the context of the show (which I will dig into a little later), I wanted to first comment on why it’s a meta line for me.
Because I too had no idea what I was in for, I watched the trailer you linked in your post. Watching it, it kind of gave me a sense of what the movie is about – I could tell it would be melo-ish, the girl could predict the future, they had a short time together, she would disappear. (my own fault, I shouldn’t have spoilt myself! But I was so curious about this show based on your short review on top – I read the front and stopped at the part you marked as major spoilers so I wouldn’t be spoilt). I was a little disappointed that I already knew the plot and I wished I had gone in cold. When they had their sweet couply moments in the first 30mins or so I could already figure out why she was crying, why she thanked Takatoshi’s friend and asked him to be a good friend, etc. I was wondering if it was still worth my time since I kind of already knew what would happen?? Part of me wished I had gone in cold like you, but perhaps if I had, would I have been too shocked? Would I even have started it (I was not in a fluffy show mood)? Then when she said that line it kind of clicked for me, that even though I too knew what was going to happen (sort of, didn’t predict the parallel timeline bit), it was still so good to be a part of their journey and story. So I decided to stick with it and…AND, when all the themes started clicking for me, I still felt so many emotional punches in the gut! Over and over again. This show. I can’t. If I had gone in cold, I would be a blubbering ugly-crying mess.
Back to this show. It’s such a simple story. But throughout the film I just felt it was so lovingly and precisely written and directed and acted, every part of the show, every line, every scene – nothing was wasted, everything came back full circle in some way or another. And the actors were amazing too. Their grief of knowing that it was ending, that every new beginning was an ending for the other, the way Takatoshi’s face was trembling when his mom asked them to come back and eat with the parents again (and he was also probably realizing for the first time how hard it was for her not to cry in front of him!) All that was just – Heartbreakingly good. I also want to commend the director/writer for how they brought us through a perfect journey – first from his perspective, when he was angry with her just following the script, to him realising how it hurts her, to him wanting to have a good parting/first meeting for her, and his heartbreak when the train left and when she too disappeared. By then I was dying inside and wondered how they would end the movie, and how much more heartbreak I could take. But it was even more perfect than what I had imagined (and clearly we could all do with more heartbreak!) – seeing it from her perspective instead, all the times she had to say goodbye with a bright smile on her face, when she was dying inside. The last bit, at the end of her 30 days when she sank down in the train and started sobbing, just about killed me.
Themes-wise is where it really got to me and punched me over and over again (on top of the punches I got from the writing, acting and directing!) Interestingly you and I caught different aspects of the movie, I love that it impacts us all in different ways, and I dare say if we were to watch this 5 years ago, or 5 years later (keeping in the 5-year theme) we may be impacted by different things or by the same things in different ways as we grow older! I fully agreed with everything you said themes wise, it gives me a lot more food for thought since I didn’t reflect on them the same way as you did. The themes that really caught me was about the meaning of the past vs the future, how one’s past was the other’s future and how each person’s farewell and firsts was the other’s direct opposite. How would I be able to cope knowing that I could only love my love for 30 days? I thought his journey was so painful and difficult but hers was much worse, to me, to have to end off as strangers rather than lovers. But then again, it was just painful for both of them.
One thought that I wonder is – what if she had never told him? Somehow, she knew both his and her past and present, she could have chosen not to tell him. What if she didn’t? How would it have impacted their relationship? Also, how did she somehow know her future/his past? Maybe memory and time works differently in her universe, that somehow she is omniscient. And if I were Taktatoshi, how would I answer Emi’s question? Would I want to know my future? Would I have flipped that notebook? How would I have reacted? Would I still be as loving and giving? Thoughts to grapple with!
Do I wish for a different ending? The part of me that wants my beloved characters to be happy says yes, but I know that in this world that they live in, this is the only way possible. It breaks my heart but I’m glad they didn’t cheapen it by creating some giant deux-ex-machina to make a happy ending come true. It’s a simple but profound story about a love that truly went beyond time. What a beautiful journey I was brought on. My heart is both broken and full (I think both!) but so glad that I made that random decision to watch this show. Thank you for this review and introducing this story to me!
(on a side note, this is another plug for the movie Arrival, which I’m very sure you would enjoy now that you also like this!)
Hey there MC! 😀 I’m SO PLEASED that you gave this movie a try based on this review! That’s totally the kind of thing that makes me feel super useful! 😉 I’m SO GLAD you loved this one, and that you made time to check it out! <3
OH, what an insight to have, MC! "What's fun is still fun" – applied directly to your watch of this movie! That's deep, my friend. <3 And, yes, I'm learning that too, in my own drama-watching journey. Sometimes I can't help coming across spoilers for shows, especially since I'm usually behind the live-airing schedule. But I'm learning too, that what's fun is still fun. So I feel you on that. And I'm so glad that even though you were somewhat spoiled for certain aspects of our story, that you still manage to feel ALL of the feels. And this movie just has so much to offer, doesn't it? Thanks for sharing your insights of the themes.. Those are so true too, and so meaningful as well! I do think you're right; we all experience the movie differently, depending on our context and experiences, and even current mood and state of mind. How amazing, that this movie is meaty enough, that whichever way you happen to angle your lens, there's always something meaningful unearthed? 🤩
Yes! Your reviews really influence the shows I watch, because your tastes are quite similar to mine and I really like how you are able to capture the essence of a show and write it out. That’s a hard thing to do! <3 <3 <3
Yes, it's a beautiful movie and I'm really so so glad I watched it 🙂 <3 I love shows that are so thoughtful and give different people different takeaways depending on who you are, your lived experiences and your belief system. So much better than just a random action flick (though there's a time and place for that!) And on a shallower note, the female actress is so pretty. I was so taken in with her beauty HAHA.
Thanks again for all the reviews! And if ever you come across more thoughtfully written movies, do post reviews/ let me know, I'm always keen to watch more! 🙂
Aw, thanks dear MC! I’m honored to be your drama influence! <3 If you're in the mood for other movies that I loved, have you tried Miss Granny, My Brilliant Life, or anime movie Your Name? I loved all of those for various reasons, but the thing they have in common is that I found them thoughtfully written, and I got sucked in during my watch. 🙂
I too watched this on a plane to Hong Kong. It’s crazy that you had almost the exact experience as I did lol. I seriously ugly cried on a plane. It was super embarrassing! Your review was great and it made me go through all the emotions again. I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much in my entire life before.
Hi there Jonathan! Welcome to the blog! 😀 Also, crazy fact? I watched this movie on a plane to Hong Kong as well. 🤯 That’s even crazier! Are you in a parallel universe to me..? 😆 Jokes aside, I’m so glad you loved this movie, it really is so special. I didn’t even care that I ugly-cried on a plane in full view of everyone else. This one was absolutely worth it. <3
Woah, that’s crazy! Small world lol! My flight was kind of recent so it’s kind of amazing it was still in the in-flight movie library. I’m glad it was! I loved this movie so much I literally choke up talking about it to my friends. It hurt me deeply 😛
Small world indeed! But I’m glad that this movie is staying in inflight libraries – I think I wouldn’t have discovered it otherwise, and it’s such a poignant and beautiful movie that I’d be sorry to have missed it! <3
This was a really good review thank you! As I read your review I realized more and more things in the movie! For e.g. when Takatoshi shares that when he was 5 years old he almost drowned and he remembered a woman who saved him hugged him tightly. Now I’ve realized that it was the last time Emi was meeting Takatoshi..! **sob sob** Also the time when Emi is introduced to Ueyama for the first time (in Takatoshi’s timeline) she tells him to continue to be a great friend to Takatoshi. I found that odd, like she just met him and either she’s pretending like she knows Takatoshi better than Ueyama (which seems like a bitch move) OR she’s parting ways with him (which is again very odd). But the fact that she had a good goodbye with important character like Ueyama too was heartwarming (not just with Takatoshi)..
I absolutely loved the direction of the movie. A concept like this, that too so beautifully portrayed..! Great work by the Director! The actors did a great job too! It was a bit difficult to understand, just like Takatoshi who was confused, but the movie did a great job to show the perspective of both the leads!
P.S. my name is Emi too. Long story short it’s rare for me to hear my name being pronounced correctly so it was so good hearing my name being said again and again so lovingly by such a good actor >.< **blush blush**
Aw, thanks for enjoying the review, Emi! <3 I'm so glad that this review helped you develop more thoughts about the movie too, that's great to hear! 😀 Indeed, this was such a special movie.. it lingered with me long after the credits ended, like my heart had just been suckerpunched – but in a good way. Also, how nice, to hear your name said correctly in the movie! 😀
woaah.. thx for the recommend it’s kinda hard tho to search about sota’s best movie.. i’m glad to watch this ! ~
Glad you managed to find this one, and that you enjoyed it, Sarah! 🙂
it’s a sad ending movie… :'(((
Yes, but I found it meaningful and deep, in spite of the bittersweet tone of the ending.. That counts for something? 🙂
My lovely Gurrrlllll, So glad you enjoyed this movie!
You know it’s my mission to pull you into my J-world….:)
Great review, as usual.
A GOOD, wholesome love stories such as these are a reason why I want to keep watching romantic movies over and over again.
This one is a GEM among a sea of cruelly bad love flicks that one gets to see more often than not.
Always a sucker for a good love story, this one stole my heart for:
1) Two souls who share their love to one another in a pristine & pure fashion…
2) a fate that denies them to be together.
Done well, with a decent amount of explanation of the fantasy genre, it was such a wonderfully innovative movie for me, and though it delivered a generous amount of heartache, it left me uplifted (?!?) in a strange happy way.
May I suggest:
2) My 100th love for you
Both lovely J-movies…
Hi Nups!! 😀 Yes, I do know your love for J-shows! And I really did love this one, it grabbed my heart so. <3 As you said, truly a gem of a movie.
Thanks for the other recommendations – I've added them to my list! 😘
I discovered this film through its main soundtrack (on youtube of course!). I fell in love with it. I have it even on my mobile phone! I saw the film just after coming back from my trip to Japan. This movie was food to my Japanese blues … I fell in love a second time. The keyword here is indeed “poignant”. Thank you for the article which is spot on!
Ah! I’m glad you found your way to this movie, Ocha! 😀 It really is such a solid, moving, thought-provoking watch. So glad you enjoyed the movie, and this review too! PS: how fab, that you were just in Japan! 😍
Yep for 6 weeks … (I hope) I will be back next year … 😉
Wow! 6 weeks! That sounds amazing! 😀 Hope you get to go back next year too!
I love your review on this movie! Watched it because because of this post, thanks!
This movie actually reminds me of a Japanese movie that came out last year, The 100th Love with You. I wonder if you’ve watched it? I would like to link the trailer here, but it’s a bit too spoilery.
Anyways, if you haven’t, you’ll probably enjoy it, as you like this one, since the two movies kinda have the same vibes. If you did find time to watch 100th Love with You, you might be put off at first by the main female’s acting (I know I was), that’s because she’s a singer-song writer and she was probably chosen for the role because of that. I sticked out till the end for the main actor, and I’m glad I did. The movie isn’t perfect, but it’s a smooth watch for me.
Whenever you get a chance to watch it, do tell me if you liked it or not! 🙂
That’s so cool, awwsome, that this review persuaded you to check out the movie! 😀 I feel like my work here is done *takes bow* 😉 Thanks for the recommendation on The 100th Love With You, I hadn’t come across it until you mentioned it! I’ve just managed to track it down, and will add it to my list, for the next time a movie mood strikes 🙂
Oh Gawwwwwd YES!
Thats the thought that went in my mind too. Thats one lovely movie…
The 100th love with you has a similar emotions, only I completely fell hook-line-sinker for Kentaro Sakaguchi.
What a treat for heart & soul, and wait, eyes too…;)
Any idea where the movie can be purchased online? I also watched most of the movie during a flight but the flight was not long enough so I did not see the ending😟
I just watched this and stumbled upon your review. I whole-heartedly agree. The movie tricks you and begins with run of the mill romantic plot. It lost me at some points, but I was in tears by the time I realized what was really happening. It made me want to hug my hubby tight just in case!
Hi. Your thoughts about the movie is really great! This is the first time i am reacting to a kind of review on the movie. It really is bittersweet ending. I was not able to move on in a movie Goblin but now this one? Ugh give me a break -Takoshi said. LOL Anyways love how you were so on point. Thank you for these details. I have learned something!!
I literally just finished watching it on the plane and had to buy wifi to look up reviews for this.
Thanks for this, I have some form of way to share my feelings haha. Shame there are not that many reviews out there
Ok I’m excited now. I love both actors and can’t wait to catch it on… guess what? On my flight lol – as usual 😏
Lol. I’m not surprised you’ll be watching it on the plane, with the amount of traveling you tend to do! Enjoy your watch, m’dear! <3
I am not reading your article yet … but let me ask you a question: where did you see this movie (if it is already stated in your text … Sorry!!! I do not want to read any spoilers 😉 )? I am desperately trying to find and view it ! Thx for the feedback … you will make my day!
Hey there OchaNokcha! I watched this on a flight, but you could try watching it here. I hope you enjoy the movie as much as I did! 🙂
YES!!! Thanks you sooooo much!
You’re very welcome! 🙂 Yay that it works for ya!
So I saw it … a really lovely & deep film. The 3rd actor of this film was Time … time to love, laugh, look at each other. I was touched! Love your article! I am totally in phase with it!
As usual you are on point. While reading your review, I felt everything again as if I was watching the movie.
Aw, thank you boink! I can’t stop thinking about this one.. it really is quite special, in all of its heartrending, poignant, bittersweet glory. <3 No regrets serving up my heart on a plate.
I’ve watched it twice and I cried twice.
Reading this review reminds me back to the feelings I had when I cried for the ending…
You wrote the points really well. I still find it cruel that they made this as their last meeting sobs TT.TT but it is indeed one beautiful story.
You’re so right.. this is a beautiful story, and it definitely brings the feels! <3 Super glad you enjoyed this review, swevenode! 🙂 And you’re right.. it does feel cruel.. and yet, somehow, it’s still beautiful. That’s quite an accomplishment, in my books.
Thank you! It sounds amazing! …though if your review chokes me up, what’s the actual movie going to do? (quietly blubbers)
I really think you’d appreciate this one, Mary! I didn’t shed actual tears on the plane,but my heart was blubbering on the inside, and this movie is still lingering with me now, hours later. ❤