Daily Lives of High School Boys
Format: Cinema (Japanese Film Festival 2013)
Release Date: 18th November, 2013
Daily Lives of High School Boys is an adaptation of the popular anime and manga of the same name. The anime and manga are a wild and sometimes surreal look into the lives of high school boys, yet always underpinned with some grounding in reality. It is that very balance that made both the anime and manga so successful. The strange thing with the Daily Lives of High School Boys film is that for a live-action film it is baffling how that realism underpinning madness has completely disappeared here. If anything the live-action film is positively absurd and not in a good way. Despite its eccentricities, the film fails to capture the heart of the source material, instead what results in a dull film that makes little to no attempt of being anything more than an utter mess.
The general concept of Daily Lives of High School Boys is all in the name, the film follows the daily lives of three high school boys and their misguided attempts in chasing girls (if you would even call it that). What we see on show here in this film is essentially an hour and a half of awkward moments with these boys and the girls they wish to woo. This is problematic for a number of reasons, but none more so than the fact that it comes off as intensely repetitive, with one of the boys freezing when asked a question by a girl repeatedly occurring in exactly the same fashion over and over throughout the course of the film. A lot of the great humour from the anime is completely lost in this poorly executed adaptation.
The cast of characters are all poorly defined here, with their distinctive qualities from the source material completely drained in favour of a more bland standardization for the cast. There is seriously only two character types in this film (horny teenage boy who can’t talk to girls and bitchy girls creeped out by boys) and it is a damned shame. The writing is so painfully weak in Daily Lives of High School Boys and it is nothing short of a disappointment for fans of the original anime and manga.
The humour that fans come to expect from the originals is not to be found here. Whether it is just a case of things being lost in translation or just poor execution, Daily Lives of High School Boys falls flat and hard. It begs the question, should this have ever been made into a live-action film? One could easily be forgiven for thinking so. There is a real feeling to proceedings that it is not a necessary film in any way. It may just be one step too many for the franchise and it is ultimately an inessential adaptation of a pretty solid anime and manga.
As for the story of the film, it might as well be non-existent. It follows a school festival taking place between the all-boys school an all-girls school. Very little happens in this film free of any real incident. The conclusion comes with a whimper leaving a lot to be desired. There is no pay off for any characters or the little story they have – there is no full circle moment, no climax, no conclusion.
That is the real problem with Daily Lives of High School Boys, the film meanders about for an hour and a half never really reaching any point of resolution, proving to be nothing short of a failure of an adaptation. If you are looking for the real Daily Lives of High School Boys experience, this is not the place to be looking for it.
Visuals and Audio
The visual style for Daily Lives of High School Boys is not unlike the film’s plot, it is benign and lacking any flair or flavour. The film utilizes a primarily muted palette which is disappointing considering the bombastic and colourful nature of the anime series. The framing is off the mark throughout, nullifying any atmosphere that could be possible here. All around it is an easily forgettable aesthetic effort.
On top of the lackluster visuals, the film also features a mediocre soundtrack that feels almost non-existent at the best of times. It doesn’t do anything to add to the film or improve on its lesser parts and is ultimately a forgettable joke of a composition. The only noteworthy track comes from the pop group featured in the film’s conclusion performance. Other than that it was disappointing in every regard.
Love it or hate it, Daily Lives of High School Boys is nothing if not divisive. This film proves the be something that will divide audiences. Fans of the series may find something redeeming in the film, but it is best left forgotten for those who can’t.
Daily Lives of High School Boys is mediocre throughout with laughs few and far between. For a comedy film it is surprisingly devoid of any real comedy. This is a poor adaptation of a relatively good anime and manga comedy. While the anime and manga balance its ridiculous aspects with a basis in reality, this film loses that balance by not having any genuine realism beneath it. The heart of all comedy is a distortion or exaggeration of reality. Daily Lives of High School Boys fails at even the most basic of comedy.
If you are looking for a fun comedy film, Daily Lives of High School Boys is not something that would be worth your time. Some of the most die-hard fans may find some redeeming aspects here, others will find themselves averting there eyes in pain. It is a mess of a comedy film not unlike a gaggle of geese running through a swamp with their necks flapping in the wind. You either can’t help but look or you can’t help but look away.
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