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Original Title:
Chonmage purin

Japan 2010

Comedy, Drama

Yoshihiro Nakamura

Ryo Nishikido
Rie Tomosaka
Fuku Suzuki
Hiroki Konno
Keisuke Horibe
Hitomi Sato
Jun Inoue

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A Boy and his Samurai

aka Chonmage Purin

Story: Kajima (Ryo Nishikido) is a samurai of the Edo period and suddenly finds himself 180 years in the future. There he meets the single mother Yusa (Rie Tomosaka) who just comes home from work. He approaches her and wants to know right away what's going on and for Yusa the man's samurai sword is a good reason to invite him to her place. While she believes that the man is crazy the samurai desperately tries to make some sense of the things happening around him. Eventually, Yusa doesn't have the heart to kick him out and so he lives at her home. Since Kajima slowly adopts to his new living conditions he starts to do the household chores for Yusa and looks after her son Tomoya (Fuku Suzuki) who he soon makes friends with. Since Kajima hasn't got a lot to do he learns how to cook, especially baking becomes a hobby of his. Within a short amount of time he gets so good in it that Yusa and Tomoya even force him to participate in a contest. It seems as if Kajima has finally found his place in life.

Review: What might sound like an unoriginal comedy here in fact proves to be a funny drama with a lot of heart. A samurai who is transported into the present easily could have been misused for some cheap jokes but Kojima doesn't just simply behave doltish, instead he learns to blend into his new surroundings and therefore also accepts the role of woman in modern society. For a man of his time it would have been unthinkable for a woman to go to work while the man is taking care of the household chores, but that's just what he is doing in order to feel as a useful part of society and to show Yusa his gratitude. Of course his new life also includes an interesting relationship with the woman of that unfamiliar surroundings.

A Boy and his Samurai - Film Screenshot 11

Although Yusa is eight years older than the samurai this doesn't pose a problem for anyone and a romantic relationship between the two is constantly lying in the air. But it is presented with sensitiveness and reservation so that it never becomes annoying. After a certain amount of time Kajima simply is part of the family. His tasks at home he fulfills with the precision of a samurai who is exercising his swordfighting and for the little Tomoya he takes on the father role while also being someone with whom the little guy can play. Even though Kajima at first doesn't really understand how that Pokémon card game is working... Therefore he gradually works his way into the family's heart and that of the viewer as well.

A Boy and his Samurai - Film Screenshot 12

At first things are especially difficult for the samurai of course, finding his place and all, but his honest and sometimes stern words for Tomoya create a sort of discipline and also respect that Yusa could never really teach the boy. Kajima deserves some pity it seems as he has been pulled out of his life and now has to find his way in a completely different world, but eventually you even get the impression that he has a far better life here than he had at home. After all he discovers baking and whips up some cakes and sweets that you never would have expected from him. Not just that he even proves to be a master with his skills. Apparently there is a reason for the strange path destiny had in store for him.

Those who have a liking for sweets will find themselves with their mouths watering. There is even a contest so that you get the feeling to watch a cooking film now. "A Boy and his Samurai" doesn't stick to normal viewing habits. What usually would serve as the movie's finale is put just in the middle of this comedy drama. Towards the end there is a small argument between a few thugs and Kajima who defends himself with a kitchen knife, apparently for the sole reason of putting some kind of showdown into the film after all. In fact this fight feels a bit too forced and could have been left out without any problems.

A Boy and his Samurai - Film Screenshot 13

"A Boy and his Samurai" works so well thanks to the subtle acting of Ryo Nishikido and the enchanting natural charisma of Rie Tomosaka as the single mother. Director Yoshihiro Nakamura ("Fish Story") is well known for his quiet dramas but this time he brings a more commercial movie to the screen. Those who are looking for sword fighting because of the word "samurai" being part of the title should look somewhere else, though. Anyway, the movie always proves to have his heart in the right spot and apart from some funny scenes it's especially the drama, and more than anything else the ending, that is truely heartwarming. A movie that leaves you with a tear in your eye and a smile on your face.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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