Japanese: バブルへGO!! タイムマシンはドラム式 (2007)
English: Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust
Sometimes there are actors/actresses whose roles are just so ‘sticky’ you would refer to them by the name of the characters they played rather than their real names. Of course, you have the main protagonists, but I guess it’s more impressive when you remember minor characters. Take for instance, “Kikuchi” in GTO, “Morita” in Honey and Clover, and “Qing He” in Meteor Garden. And then there’s the tomboyish girl who likes Sharan Q in Long Vacation. For some reason, the simple yet poignant scene when Sena (played by Kimura Takuya) gave her a lift on the bike is forever engraved in my memory. So, what a surprised it is to find “Sharan Q” (Hirosue Ryouko in real life) all grown up, sexy and time-travelling back to the past to save Japan from its 800 trillion yen debt.
Bubble Go has all the elements of a top-class comedy. It has very strong casting and acting: Abe Hiroshi and “Sharan Q” are perfect for their roles as Shimokawaji Isao and Tanaka Mayumi, respectively. Any other actor/actress would have doomed the washing/time machine scene extremely cheesy.
(SPOILER ALERT:) Before it was revealed that they were actually father and daughter, you can actually feel the hormone exchange between them and somehow Isao’s charm and advances or ‘nampa’ on Mayumi might really developed into something. So, can you just imagine the ick factor when she finally loosens up to him and allows him to kiss her? Time machine factor aside, it’s kinda gross. So I guess, that’s what transformed Isao from being a gigolo who sleeps around to a super serious, gloomy, and Japanese politician-type 17 years after.
Another nice thing about the movie are the fashion, music, gadgets, language and overall Tokyo atmosphere in year 1990. Japanese people lived frivolous lifestyle, spends cash like madmen and the arrogant hubris on banks and the economy. It seems like such a huge task for Mayumi, a hostess at a kabakura (bar) to convince people of the impending bubble collapse in the future. Which is where Shimokawaji comes into play to save Japan’s future, yup geisha-style! (dat team!)
A must-see film for everyone who wants a real comedic treat. Just don’t over-analyse the mechanics of time-travel, the engineering of the washing machine, the chemicals of the detergent (apparently it was needed for the machine to work) and the Japanese economy. Sit back and enjoy the movie just the way it was meant to be.