Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Shinjuku and Movie Theaters!

On Wednesday I went to the movie theaters with my two friends, Undariya and Ga Kyou! We had a ton of fun together, even if it didn't go exactly as planned. I really enjoyed myself! (Click the link below to continue reading, it's kind of long...)

It all began when I saw a Bakuman poster on the subway, coming back from Mejiro High School. Bakuman is one of my favorite manga, and if there was a movie, I'd definitely want to see it. And as long as I'm in Japan, I should take advantage of it! Here's a trailer--You may not understand the Japanese, but basically, it's about two high school students trying their best to make a manga worthy of Shounen Jump (Japan's most famous manga publishing company) and the difficulties they face along the way. It's one of my favorites thanks to the interesting and lovable characters, and the heartwarming journey they take together! (That sounds cheesy, but hear me out.)

Anyway, so I got around to asking about Japanese movie theaters. They show a lot of English movies here--right now the two that seem to be everywhere are John Wick and Jurassic World (both of which have long gone in the US--at least, John Wick is long gone. Jurassic World's play got extended everywhere it seems.)

The one I wanted to see was Bakuman, and though it was difficult searching through different sites, I found that it was still showing, and that the closest one was in Shinjuku! I had actually seen the building many times--it sticks out, thanks to the giant Godzilla peeking out from one of its buildings.

Ga Kyou watched the Bakuman anime, and she was also a fan. Undariya came along even though she didn't know anything about Bakuman, but the movie is supposed to be a summary of the first part, so  it worked out.

We set out for a 6:30 pm showing, but when we got there, we found it was sold out already at 5 pm! We considered going back and giving up for the day since it was a school night, but in the end we decided to buy tickets for the 9:10 pm showing and do our best to stay awake. To kill time, we went and ate some food.

For dinner, we went and shared a hot pot. I've never had hot pot in a restaurant before--I think the only time I ate hotpot was when some college friends invited me over to share one. But it was really delicious! We worked as a team to finish it off. It was delicious and quite reasonably priced! (Sorry, I only remembered to take a picture after we were almost done. But at least you can see the atmosphere of the restaurant, which I also thought was cool.)

Afterward, we went out for a sweet treat at none other than Krispy Kreme, which is right next to the theater we went to! They had really cute Halloween-themed donuts, but not much else really. I didn't even see my favorite chocolate-covered creme-filled kind (but it's possible they were just out.)

I got the two at the bottom. They were really tasty! I've noticed that Japanese versions of stores I see back home are much fancier. Both the McDonalds and this Krispy Kreme had a little cafe-like sitting area upstairs. This also applies to the Burger King I went to earlier. This Krispy Kreme is soon going to feature Christmas-themed donuts! I can't wait to go back and try some.

And so finally, we spent enough time to go back to the movie theaters. I didn't take any pictures of the inside, but it's very fancy and very crowded! Now that I've been to a Japanese movie theater, I can say that this was the most jarring experience so far in my time abroad.

Let's start off here.

This is a medium combo. I'm pretty sure back at the theater back home's medium's popcorn is twice this size, and the drink possibly three times larger. Unfortunately for me, combos were only available in medium. Unless it's really expensive, I'll go for getting a large drink and a large popcorn next time. Though it was kind of nice not fighting the urge to go to the bathroom three quarters into the movie, like usual.

Like the movie theaters back home, they have funny cartoons and advertisements before the movie begins. However, the real difference happened when the movie started. As soon as "no talking" came onto the screen with all the usual "turn off your cellphones" and "no photography" warnings, I knew I was in trouble.

Bakuman is a movie with a lot of humorous points. Despite this, the movie theater was consistently dead quiet. There was one point where I couldn't stop laughing, but I had to do so quietly because literally no one else was making a sound. It made me wonder, is anyone really watching the movie or are they falling asleep?? And in the end, no one clapped and hardly even talked, they just walked out like business as usual. It was so odd, especially since the movie had such a triumphant end. After watching those kinds of movies, it's normal to clap, right? But literally no one made a sound.

It was the strangest and most uncomfortable experience I've ever had in Japan, and that is saying something.

Anyway, in terms of the movie itself, I enjoyed it a lot! The parts where they finally accomplished something and jumped around excitedly made me really happy, and they stuck to the story very well from what I could tell (it's been a while since I've read the series, and the movie was based on events that happened in the beginning). My favorite character was also portrayed very well, his moments in the movie were my favorite! They also illustrated time passing and the manga's creation really creatively--you can see it a bit in the trailer, with them using pens as swords and such. There were a lot of really cool effects I didn't expect!

Criticisms are that some of the characters were portrayed in a one-dimensional way, and as a result, weren't as admirable as they are in the original series. The two who suffered this the most were the love interest and the rival--both were reduced to exactly those roles, rather than letting their actual personalities show. They also cut out two of my favorite characters, but in movie adaptions, that's bound to happen. But I'm interested to see if they'll make a second one to finish the series! I heard that the movie has been doing really well, so it's possible they might.

Anyway, it was very late when we finished, so we headed back right away since we all had homework. I got back super late, but it was totally worth it! It was such a fun day, and I definitely want to see a movie there again (despite the strange atmosphere). I think the next movie I'll see is probably the last Hunger Games. I can't wait!


  1. So you are able to watch, understand and appreciate movies that are entirely spoken in Japanese without subtitles? That's awesome!

    1. Yeah, mostly! I mean I had an advantage since I already knew what was going to happen, but I was also surprised at how much I understood. I guess I /am/ getting better at Japanese!