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Happily Ever After

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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(May 12, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Happily Ever After (VIZ Pictures)

Based on a smash hit comic strip series by Yoshiie Gouda, Happily Ever After is a visually striking, dark comedy that follows Yukie Morita, a devoted wife, and Isao Hayama, her boorish, unemployed ex-gangster husband. While Yukie works hard at a noodle shop and struggles to make ends meet, Isao hangs around all day gambling and getting into trouble. Isao's uncontrollable temper often results in the dinner table being overturned and their meal on the floor. Everyone advises Yukie to leave Isao, but her love for him is unconditional because he was the one who initially saved her from her misery. Directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi (Memories of Tomorrow), and starring Miki Nakatani (Memories of Matsuko) and Hiroshi Abe (Godzilla 2000).

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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: VIZ Pictures, Inc.
  • DVD Release Date: May 12, 2009
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001JTTJBC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,940 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 14, 2009
Format: DVD
Sometimes you just fall in love with someone, even though you know they are no good. Against the advice of friends and family, and even common sense, you just tumble head-over-heels for the biggest jerk in the room. You know that the smartest move would be to leave, but some how...you just can't help it.

"Happily Ever After" (Japanese title "Jigyaku no Uta" or "Song of the Masochist") is a rather extreme example of this kind of love. Sachie (played by the adorable Nakatani Miki from Train Man) is the sweetest, most patient girl you will ever meet. She is the kind of girl you can take home to mother, who can cook a meal and clean a house and warm a bed with a smile and a song. Her man, Isao (played by the amazing Abe Hiroshi, who should be a familiar face to any Japanese film fan) is just a lout. He is mean to Sachie, doesn't work and takes her money, and flips over the table every time she sets down a delicious homemade dinner in front of him. He offers nothing to the relationship, and just feeds off of her like a maggot. Their relationship is clearly the perfect recipe for a wacky comedy.

A live-action adaptation from the 1996 manga of the same name, "Happily Ever After" is a very funny and touching film. The early scenes with Sachie and Isao had me cracking up, especially with the table flipping scenes. This action, called "chabudai gaeshi" in Japanese, is a typical movie trope that indicates an old-fashioned, chauvinistic man; but here it is taken to extremes. Abe Hiroshi is an innately charming actor, who pulls off this sort of gruff unlikable character with signature flair. Nakatani Miki was also a perfect choice.
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Format: DVD
"I'm Poor & Miserable... but it's OK, as long as you're here..."

The popular manga "Jigyaku no Uta" (Happily Ever After) created by Yoshiie Gouda was featured in the weekly business leisure magazine "Shukan Houseki" (1985-1990) and has spawned a total of five books and a collection that has sold over 500,000 copies in Japan.

The popular black comedy was taken from the pages of the manga to the big screen in 2007 and was directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi ("20th Centruy Boys", "Trick: The Movie 2' and popular TV drama series "Black Jack" and "Ikebukuro West Gate Park") with cinematographer Satoru Karasawa and composer Hiroyuki Sawano. And would star the popular singer/actress Miki Nakatani ("Keizoku", "Manatsu no Merry Chrismas" and "Otousan") as the main character Yuki, Hiroshi Abe ("Trick", "HERO", "News no Onna", "Antique" and "At Home Dad") as Isao, her live-in boyfriend and former Yakuza member. Also, starring Toshiyuki Nishida who is well-known in Japan for his fishing comedy films "Tsuribaka Nisshi".

The film focuses on Yukie, as we get to see her difficult life as a teenager and a difficult life as an adult woman. Similar to Yoshiie Gouda's manga series, the story is full of laughter and humor in the beginning but in the second half of the film, the story becomes quite serious.

The first half focuses on Yukie, who is a waitress for a Japanese restaurant. She's tries to make do with her life, trying to make money and live a happy life with her boyfriend Isao. Unfortunately, Isao is a former yakuza member who is unable to find work and has a nasty temper that prevents him from having a stable job.

Isao pretty much spends his time with his thug friends, playing pachinko, taking money from his wife and her employer and getting drunk.
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Format: DVD
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the film okay. I just felt the missing piece here was that I didn't really care about the two main characters or their relationship. I was never really rooting for them, nor was I thinking that the were nasty and deserved each other.

The main female protagonist has had so many misfortunes in her life that one wonders if she had been cursed. There were some funny moments early on and I became interested. But then once we come to the present time, the situation seems rather a bit of a letdown. It's hard to appreciate the comedy when the female protagonist is trying so hard to be nice and be a good person and her man is being a thug. Though there are moments that are supposed to be funny, I couldn't help but feel irate when watching these scenes.

The second half takes on a much more serious note, but by this time I was disappointed and it was difficult for me to really latch back on. Some of the flashback scenes to her childhood were nice, but when we zoomed back to the present it was awkward again.

Comparing this film to other modern Japanese drama, it's a tough pill to swallow. I found Honey and Clover a much better and much deeper relationship drama, though it is very different in many ways.

Still, this one is worth a view if you are into modern Japanese cinema. Some people will enjoy it more than others. But I just felt it wasn't cohesive and the characters weren't very magnetic.
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