New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) – Based on the manga Kyo kara ore wa, From Today, It’s My Turn: The Movie is a film sequel to a television series that is accessible enough to watch (this reviewer has never seen the television series or read the manga), but is very much aimed at fans of the genre and the specific series. I caution HorrorBuzz readers – this is not a horror film by any stretch of the imagination with nothing scary to see here. Even the violence is cartoonish, if very well-choreographed and hinting at true danger and injury (and kudos to the performers and the fight choreographer – the comedy in this film is good, the fights are excellent).
From Today, It’s My Turn: The Movie very much embodies the archetype of high school action manga, with everything that entails: good guys, bad guys, fights in high school, fights after high school, clueless, incompetent, ignorant parents and teachers, romance, a three-act structure in which the heroic good guys, after a temporary defeat fight back and win, and, of course, more fights in high school, all with tongue firmly in cheek. The acting is over-the-top and absurd. So in short, if you enjoy absurd action comedy based on manga, welcome home, friend.
In the original story, two high school losers, Ito (Ito Kentaro) and Mitsuhashi (Kaku Kento), meet at a salon, realize they are transferring to the same tough gang-filled high school, and decide to transform themselves into the toughest delinquents ever. In the series they manage to defeat the thugs who run Akehisa High School. The film, set a year later, involves the thugs of Hokunei High School, who burned their school down, being transferred to Akehisa and taking over the school. In particular, the Hokunei leaders, giant Otake (Eishin) and psychopathic, knife-wielding Yanagi (Yagira Yûya) launch a protection scheme in which the students of Akehisa must pay the Hokunei gang or be beaten up daily.
All attempts to fight back or stop them are anticipated and impeded by the gang, with certain students being severely beaten, and one in particular then groomed to take the fall for a knife fight. Even Ito and Mitsuhashi are defeated and terrified by the thugs. Eventually, the two toughest thugs from the previous Akehisa regime, Sagara (Isomura Hayato) and Satoshii (Suzuki Nobuyuki), are brought back to defend the honor of the school. Together, the four previous adversaries are able to join together and defeat Hokunei High School in a climactic gang fight.
The plot, let us be honest, is pretty formulaic. But that is indeed why one watches films such as From Today, It’s My Turn: The Movie – we know exactly what we’re getting. The story unfolds like a guide to writing teenage action comedy. Scary bad guys will win at first. Friends will argue and stop being friends until they realize they are both wrong and are better friends because of it. Teachers and parents will know what is going on but be powerless to stop it. And through the power of friendship, belief in one’s self, and lots of kicking, the heroes will save the day.
The film is not meant to be realistic at all, and every single performer leans into the style. Kudos to Akasaka (Satô Jirô), who plays a father who runs an aikido dojo and has the best bit in the film in which he tells his daughter he will go stop the big gang fight with his martial arts, gets to the door and then turns and complains that she is not stopping him. “I’m not stopping you because I know you weren’t really going to go,” Riko (Seino Nana) tells him. He then spends four minutes demonstrating a move he thinks would have worked had he been brave enough to go. Comedy gold.)
But not a horror movie.
The film will screen as part of the New York Asian Film Festival, happening August 6-22.
9 out of 10