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See You Tomorrow, Everyone - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Minasang, Sayonara

Japan 2013

Drama, Comedy

Yoshihiro Nakamura

Gaku Hamada
Kana Kurashina
Kento Nagayama
Nene Otsuka
Kei Tanaka
Tamae Ando

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See You Tomorrow, Everyone

Story: Satoru Watarai (Gaku Hamada) lives with his mother (Nene Otsuka) in a housing complex and has decided to never leave the neighborhood. There is everything he needs in "The Projects" and his friends live there, too. After he has finished grade school he doesn't attend school anymore, but instead educates himself through books at home. Furthermore, during his nightly tours he makes sure that his neighbors are all at home safe and sound. When he is old enough he starts working at a patisserie. His first sexual experience he has with his neighbor Yuri (Haru) and his first love is the girl Saki (Kana Kurashina), who doesn't want to leave "The Projects" either. Although more and more of Satoru's friends move away, the boy doesn't think of doing so himself. Instead he teaches himself karate through some books in order to be able to protect "The Projects". His best friend Sonoda (Kento Nagayama) has some mental problems, too, but what kind of trauma made Satoru a man who is unable to leave the small world of "The Projects"?

Review: "See You Tomorrow, Everyone" is a refreshing mix of comedic elements and a character-oriented drama. You are drawn into the events of the movie in a calm and serene way, even though you don't get to see anything but Satoru's daily routine at first. And yet this is enough to raise numerous questions which answers lie buried somewhere deep within the main character, waiting to be discovered. While similar works would shed some light on Satoru in a quiet and subtle art house-like manner, you get a glance at the unusual protagonist's psyche here in a way that isn't any less profound, yet is presented in a more entertaining way and less lengthy. A welcome change. Then again, you wouldn't expect anything less from director Yoshihiro Nakamura.

See You Tomorrow, Everyone - Film Screenshot 11

Director Yoshihiro has proven with his great "Fish Story", among other movies, that his name stands for innovation. As in many of his other works Gaku Hamada once again stands in front of his camera and the first thing we see from him is quite strange. Because Gaku depicts a 12-year old boy without any make-up or anything else. That's irritating since we at first think to look at a mentally retarded man, but through the future years that we accompany Satoru, Gaku turns out to be an outstanding actor who knows how to carry the maturing of the protagonist with his great acting skills. We accompany him as he makes his first experiences and missteps in love and watch him be confronted with his fears.

See You Tomorrow, Everyone - Film Screenshot 12

It is pretty obvious that something isn't right with Satoru. He can't leave his neighborhood and this even turns into something pathological. When the resolution is presented and the reasons for this are revealed this is done in a rather unspectacular manner. Satoru suffers from several tics, forcing him to make his tour every night, but most people accept him the way he is. Yet, it is the trauma he suffers from which forces him to deal with some serious setbacks. His mother, played by Nene Otsuka ("Piecing Me Back Together"), is always quietly staying in the background and supports his son in every way possible, but Nene is just one of many supporting actors who leave a strong impression, although there is no doubt that Gaku Hamada carries the film.

"See You Tomorrow, Everyone" clearly has something episode-like about it, but the transition between the several episodes are fluent and they are perfectly interleaved. Thus, even Satoru's idolizing of Oyama Masutatsu ("Fighter in the Wind" sketches the life of the Kyokushin Karate-founder very nicely) is of importance at the end. The change in the protagonist's life is constantly underlined by some text that informs us about how many of his friends are still in "The Projects". Naturally, the number decreases over the years and later there are more and more immigrants moving to the housing complex. But Gaku has a strong connection to the place and only facing his inner demons may free him of the burden he carries around with him since childhood days.

See You Tomorrow, Everyone - Film Screenshot 13

The movie is based on Takehiko Kubodera's novel and even tackles some socio-critical subjects along the way. However, in its core "See You Tomorrow, Everyone" is clearly a character-centered drama, which nonetheless also has many funny moments in store without them every seeming out of place. With his keen sense for subtle nuances director Yoshihiro Nakamura fills the screen with life and there always remains room for something unexpected. Emotionally the movie manages to strike the right chords as well and succeeds in creating sorrow as well as a warm and fuzzy feeling. Actually being a tragi-comedy "See You Tomorrow, Everyone" captivates with interesting and credible characters and accordingly misses a better rating only by inches. Yoshihiro Nakamura still seems to be on a roll, though.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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