Heavenly Forest

Directed by Takehiko Shinjo

Apparently, this is the film that Aoi Miyazaki skipped out on Nana 2 for. Hmmm? Perhaps that wasn’t the greatest decision she could have made. Not that this is a terrible film, but it is such a conventional romantic tearjerker that it seems rather a waste of her talents and though the film revolves around her character, her screen time is limited. The main character is Makoto (Hiroshi Tamaki) a sweet, shy young man who is just entering university to study but has aspirations to be a photographer. On his first day he runs into Shizuru (Aoi) a nerdy little creature who is as cute as pecan pie behind her eye glasses and oddball fashion sense. They become pals over time and he takes her into the nearby forest where he shares and imparts his love for photography to her. She clearly has a crush on him, but he only has eyes for the lovely and sophisticated Miyuki (Meisa Kuroki) who he also becomes friends with – but is too shy to try and take it further.

Time passes but nothing much happens even though Shizuru moves in with him – but still they remain only buddies though she tells him that she is still growing and will have enormous breasts someday and he will be sorry for not taking advantage of her while he has the chance. The audience of course all knows that she is the right girl for him – we have seen this same scenario many times – but just as he comes to this obvious realization she disappears on him with no explanation. Years later (but actually where the film starts), he receives a letter from her that she has a photo exhibition in New York City and invites him to come see it. It is a very genial film for the most part, but has the edge of a butter knife even when it takes a sudden dip into tearjerk territory. Whenever Aoi is on the screen it does take on a charming quality that can navigate you through this film with a certain amount of pleasure, but she disappears too often and for too long – but for her fans this is probably still worth a look.

My rating for this film: 6.0

Short trailer here on Youtube