Does the phrase “School Daze” ring any bells? If so, that may be because there are some seven films with this title. But fear not, the new independent Japanese film, “School Daze,” is nothing like the sketchy Spike Lee musical of the eighties.
In fact, if asked to describe “School Daze” in two words, it would have to be “original” and “odd.” Featuring characters with fetishes ranging from tofu eating to nose hair shaving, and including scenes that add a whole new, sweaty meaning to the term “flash dance,” such a description seems somewhat inevitable.
The storyline itself is rather strange. Actor Aizawa Haruo (Moriyama Mirai), establishes his career at the age of zero, but retires when he is eight in an attempt to save his parents’ marriage. Later, Haruo regrets his retirement and auditions for a role in a popular TV drama series. He earns the role of the school weakling, which perfectly parallels his real-life position in school as the bullied geek. But this coincidence falls a little too close for comfort and Haruo starts to confuse fiction with reality.
“School Daze” is a deliciously refreshing melting pot of many film genres. At times, the offbeat satirical comedy will have the audience doubled over with laughter, yet at other moments, the raw violence makes covering your eyes nearly compulsory. Add to this cinematic mix some arty, thought-provoking scenes and you have a unique, interesting film that is more than worthy of cult classic status.
For a film shot within a mere 19 days, “School Daze” is perfectly executed and signifies a bright future for the young, award-winning director, Kentaro Moriya. Simply because it is unlike anything else you will ever see, “School Daze” is a definite must-see.