Blue Spring (film)
|Directed by||Toshiaki Toyoda|
|Produced by||Dai Miyazaki|
|Written by||Toshiaki Toyoda
|Based on||Blue Spring
by Taiyō Matsumoto
|Edited by||Mototaka Kusakabe|
|Distributed by||Arts Magic|
Blue Spring (青い春 Aoi haru) is a 2002 Japanese youth drama film, written and directed by Toshiaki Toyoda and based on Taiyō Matsumoto's manga of same title. It tells a tale of apathetic school students at a run-down Tokyo high school for boys. It was released on June 29, 2002.
The film title can be understood as "inexperienced years" or teenage years, but it also can be understood as "fresh start". According to manga artist Taiyō Matsumoto, the title is intended as a play on irony.
At Asashi High, a run-down senior high school for boys, Kujo (Ryuhei Matsuda), Aoki (Hirofumi Arai), Yukio (Sousuke Takaoka), Yoshimura (Shugo Oshinari) and Ota (Yuta Yamazaki) are a gang of school friends lost in apathy and dissatisfaction. They are aware their future offers limited options. Even most teachers have already written them off as a lost cause.
Kujo's gang is part of the school's illegal society, which is controlled through a rooftop game as a test of courage: the Clapping Game. Who wins the game gets to be the society's leader, and rules all gangs throughout Asashi High. No teacher can stand up to this society.
After a round of the Clapping Game, Kujo wins the leadership, which excites his best friend Aoki, who wants Kujo to dominate the school with punches of casual violence, but Kujo passively resists.
Aoki eventually realizes his best friend only took part in the Clapping Game to pass the time, and that Kujo never wanted to be the school's leader. Devastated, he challenges Kujo for his leadership, and loses.
As Aoki becomes disillusioned, alienated and hostile toward Kujo, friends around them slowly fall apart, bringing their school to a series of mini violent climaxes.
- Ryuhei Matsuda as Kujo
- Hirofumi Arai as Aoki
- Sousuke Takaoka as Yukio
- Yusuke Oshiba as Kimura
- Yuta Yamazaki as Ota
- Shugo Oshinari as Yoshimura
- Kiyohiko Shibukawa as Kee
- Onimaru as Suzuki
- Eita as Obake/Ghost
- Rei Yamanaka as Leo
- Mame Yamada as Hanada-sensei
- Erena as High School girl
- Genta Dairaku as Career counselor
- Kyôko Koizumi as Kiosk woman
- Takashi Tsukamoto as Freshman in Baseball Club
The Blue Spring original soundtrack rose to #24 on Oricon Albums Chart Top 30 shortly after the film release and Drop, a track from the soundtrack, rose to #13 on Oricon Singles Chart Top 30 in July 2002.
|"September Punk Children"||セプテンバー・パンク・チルドレン||Thee Michelle Gun Elephant|
|"Akage no Kelly"||Red-haired Kelly||Thee Michelle Gun Elephant||from the 2001 album Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter. The opening scene.|
|"Black Limousine"||The Blondie Plastic Wagon||later appears on the 2004 album, Bitches Blue|
|"Raspberry Dance"||The Blondie Plastic Wagon||later appears on the 2004 album, Bitches Blue|
|"Beautiful Dreamer"||Stephen Foster||Yukio (Sôsuke Takaoka) strums this piece on his guitar|
|"Beat Specter Garcia"||Thee Michelle Gun Elephant||from the 2001 album Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter.|
|"Boogie"||Thee Michelle Gun Elephant||during the sequence of baseball player Kimura (Oshiba Yusuke)'s departure.|
|"Benjo"||Toilet||analers||'Benjo' is slang for 'toilet'.|
|"Mona Lisa"||Thee Michelle Gun Elephant||from the 2001 album Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter.|
|"Beat Specter Buchanan"||Thee Michelle Gun Elephant||from the 2001 album Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter.|
|"My Name is Bob"||analers|
|"Drop"||Thee Michelle Gun Elephant||Aoki (Hirofumi Arai)'s rooftop scene.|
|"Drop" (live)||Thee Michelle Gun Elephant||During the closing credits.|
Released under Artsmagic in 2004, the DVD features extras including two interviews with Toyoda, biographies and filmographies of the main actors and a feature-length commentary by Tom Mes, who edits Midnight Eye, an online English-language magazine of Japanese cinema.
On Midnight Eye, Tom Mes said the film was "magnificent but much overlooked".