Love & Pop
|Love & Pop|
|Directed by||Hideaki Anno|
Tsuyoshi Sugino (Assistant)
|Produced by||Toshimichi Otsuki|
|Written by||Akio Satsukawa|
|Starring||Asumi Miwa |
|Music by||Shinkichi Mitsumune|
|Edited by||Hiroshi Okuda|
|Distributed by||Toei Company|
|January 9, 1998|
Love & Pop (ラブ&ポップ Rabu & Poppu) is director Hideaki Anno's first live action film, an adaptation of Ryū Murakami's novel, Topaz II. Released in 1998, it somewhat follows the film Tokyo Decadence, an adaptation of Topaz I filmed by Murakami himself. Love & Pop was filmed almost entirely on hand-held digital cameras, and contains some very unusual camera work, including many different mounted camera positions, such as on a model train riding on tracks. The film also flips from widescreen to 4:3 aspect, distorts (with effects such as a fisheye lens), confuses, and makes use of overlays stacked in layers to convey the character's emotions.
The film follows four Japanese high school girls who engage in enjo kōsai, or compensated dating. This is a practice in Japan where older businessmen pay teenage girls more commonly to simply spend time with them, or for prostitution. The movie is also a coming-of-age story. The main character, Hiromi, does not have the direction in life that her friends already have. Hiromi's friends were going to buy Hiromi a ring, but Hiromi refuses to take all the money because she does not want her friends to be jealous. Hiromi goes on dates by herself to get money for the ring. Soon, she gets in over her head. Hiromi falls too far into the world of enjo-kosai as she tries to hold on to a "friends forever" vision of the past.
- Asumi Miwa - Hiromi Yoshii (吉井 裕美 Yoshii Hiromi)
- Kirari - Chisa Noda (野田 知佐 Noda Chisa)
- Hirono Kudō - Nao Yokoi (横井 奈緒 Yokoi Nao)
- Yukie Nakama - Chieko Takahashi (高橋 千恵子 Takahashi Chieko)
- Mitsuru Hirata - Kagegawa
- Mitsuru Fukikoshi - Yoshimura
- Moro Morooka - Yazaki
- Tooru Tezuka - Uehara
- Ikkei Watanabe - Kobayashi
- Tadanobu Asano - Captain EO
- Kotono Mitsuishi - Radio DJ (voice)
- Akira Ishida - Yoshio (voice)
- Megumi Hayashibara - Telephone Dialing Voice
- Nana Okada - Hiromi's Mother
- Leo Morimoto - Hiromi's Father
An SR-Ban version was released in Japan on 24 July 2003. Apparently, it is the director's cut, has two minutes of extra footage and has been transferred directly from the original tape, whilst the American and Japanese DVDs appear to come from a different source. The American version appears to be the original interlaced version, whilst the Japanese, non-director's cut, appears to have been de-interlaced and given the impression of a pseudo-progressive style. Both non-director's cuts have more subdued colours, whilst the director's cut is more vivid and the motion is fluid.
iSugoi.com gave the film an overall positive review, and commented, "Such issues as self value, respect and friendship are brought up numerous times within the film, and it's through these attributes that the film delivers a hauntingly poignant statement concerning a societal problem that exists within modern day Japan. It's a problem that can’t easily be fixed, but films like Love & Pop courageously attempt to address it and more importantly provide an outlet in which to discuss it."