Matsumoto Jun and Ueno Juri Star in Romance J-movie with a Mysterious Fantasy Twist

Whenever I take a break from dramas and check out the Asian movie offerings, there is always bound to be a surprising treat I never knew about until now. This past weekend a romance movie premiered in Japan called Hidamari no Kanojo (陽だまりの彼女, translated to Girl in the Sunny Place) starring two leads I like but never thought about pairing up as an onscreen couple. Adapted from the popular novel of the same name by Osamu Koshigaya, the movie features Arashi‘s Matsumoto Jun and Ueno Juri in a love story that spans over a decade from the characters’ teen years until adulthood. Jun plays Okuda Kosuke, who is junior high classmates with Juri’s Watarai Mao – back then he was a popular kid and she was the transfer student weirdo outcast (Kitamura Takumi and Aoi Wakana play the teen counterparts to Jun and Juri). They were tentatively becoming friends when one day Mao disappeared, only to reappear in Kosuke’s life ten years later having transformed into a beautiful, successful, and outgoing woman. Kosuke, who is now a salesperson for a large company, meets Mao again and this time their romance blossoms. But, and there is always a but in these stories, Mao has a secret that will potentially put a kibosh on their relationship. The story is described as a pure romance with a tinge of mystery and fantasy. I haven’t read the novel but I do know what Mao’s secret is. I’ll put it in after the jump so read at your own discretion. It’s a major doozy of a secret, that much I can say. I did run through the litany of possibilities when I first read “secret” including incurable disease, already married, had child out of wedlock, the turn out to be siblings, she’s really a man, etc. I always think it amusing when two big name J-actors pair up after I’ve long associated them with famous manga characters each played in either a dorama or movie, and in the cast of Jun and Juri, it doesn’t get much bigger than him being the quintessential Domyouji Tsukasa in Hana Yori Dango and she being Noda Megumi (aka Nodame) in Nodame Cantabile. Everyone always wants to see Juri do more projects with Tamaki Hiroshi and Jun keep pairing up with Inoue Mao, but I’m so ready for them to keep trying out new stuff and this movie looks really lovely and romantic and they have palpable chemistry in the stills and trailer. I just wonder if the entire story will collapse on the weight of the “secret” once it comes out?

Trailer for Hidamari no Kanojo:

Theme Song MV for Hidamari no Kanojo:

So the major secret is……Mao turns out to be Kosuke’s cat when he was growing up, and she gained the ability to transform into a human. But she only has 12 years as a human so when they meet again, her time is almost up. I’m not sure where the happy ending comes from in this situation, but then again, the synopsis never did promise any happily forever afters. Sigh. Maybe he’ll gain the ability to turn into a cat so they have live in cat heaven together.

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Matsumoto Jun and Ueno Juri Star in Romance J-movie with a Mysterious Fantasy Twist — 29 Comments

  1. That is really a twist…..by the way, I was wondering Koala…you always post spoilers and warn us about it….but doesn’t the spoiler kills your enjoyment when you read it beforehand???
    I only read it if I’m not watching that drama or movie…

    • My daughter asks me the same question. I am one of those people who have been burned so many times from endings (killing people off in the last 30 seconds of a 20 episode drama, for example) that I find that I cannot enjoy dramas with that level of angst. I also like to know which guy the girl ends up with as well because I often root for the wrong person (*cough* shining inheritance *cough*) and then I cannot enjoy the rest of the drama because I am too busy stewing in my own bitterness.
      Most people I know, my daughter included, get their enjoyment of trying figure out what comes next. My enjoyment comes from observing the details of how they get from point A to point B. I also like being forewarned; in other words, I like to know how many boxes of tissues I will need ahead of time:)

      • You are just like my mom…..she even reads the ending of a mystery novel….haha…

        But I agree with you completely when it comes to who ends up with whom…have been burned once when I rooted for the wrong person in Coffee House (one of the rare dramas where it is impossible to determine the OTP)….

      • @snow_white Oh, your mom and I sound like kindred spirits; I, too, look at the end of mysteries! I had to rea a historical novel aboutthe battle of Gettysburg for a leaderships retreat and I looked at the end to see which people died and which people lived. I felt like I just couldn’t invest emotionally in some of these characters/real people from history if they were just going to die on me:)!!

        I was not always like this, but now I feel like life has too many surprises that I don’t need my entertainment to be surprising.

  2. thanks for sharing Captain.

    i love both of them.. will definitely watch it once there’s sub. i bet i’ll cry buckets (sad+happy tears) at the end of it. J version always have the weirdest twist ever…

    • agree. they always come up with weird alternate world or weird scenarios. but the great thing is about Jdorams is that how ever ridiculous the story is i get pulled in by the narrative and somehow believe that the story is quite possible.

  3. Wow another unique story. I think I’ve read about this novel somewhere and I thought that it’s a weird novel but when I saw the pictures above it looks beautiful and I like Matsumoto jun.

  4. At first I didn’t believe it, but someone who had read the book told me the ending. I was honestly quite confused.
    The movie looks cute though, Juri should stay doing modern doramas and movies, she wasn’t really suitable for the taiga parts.
    Matsumoto Jun will always be Tsukasa for me, he and Mao had the best chemistry together. I haven’t been a fan of everything Matsujun does, I watched Lucky 7 for Eita and hated it when they suddenly made Matsujun the star. (but I get that Eita was busy with a play at the same time)

  5. LOVE THEM TOGETHER! They look so adorable and easy on the eyes. I’ve been following the progress of this movie & gosh the wait till I can get to watch this is so painful ;-; I’ve heard quite good reviews about the movie, some say there’s very slight steps into cliche territory but it’s all good! Can’t wait!

  6. Wow. Interesting spoiler, to say the least.

    / SPOILER WARNING AGAIN FOR THOSE AVOIDING SPOILERS IN COMMENTS /
    I just find it unbelievable that a cat would do this. I mean, have you owned a cat? LOL they couldn’t care less about us. Except as a walking food dispenser!

    • really ? My cat can’t sleep if not with us, he wants our attention all the time even if he just ate, and he always sleeps on my lap… he also likes to watch tv with us, lol (it is true!)

      Maybe because I got him from streets and it has Abandonment Issues… lol

  7. I’ll definitely see this when it makes it’s way to the internet with english subs. I love Jun so I’ll watch anything he does, I hope he’ll do another drama soon. The movie was #1 this weekend in box office receipts.

    Just hate the ugly sweaters Jun’s stylist keeps putting him in to promote this.

  8. Wow. I haven’t been paying much attention to jdoramas in the past few years, except to dutifully watch the latest Kimura Takuya vehicle (except for the moon one – even I have my limits) so it has been a few years since I watched Hana Yori Dango and Bambino and Kimi wa Petto. And – I didn’t even recognize him in the first still, and I had to search for signs of the old MatsuJun in the other, and it’s too bad, because he used to have (or still has, without so much makeup and Photoshop?) a very distinctive look and now he’s like just about every other idol boy out there. He’s still got the overbite, at least, but what’s with the ironing-out of all his interesting angles?

  9. That’s just… Really really creepy. J-dramas have all these sorts of weird plot developments that appeal to many people because they’re just different. I, on the other hand, am just creeped out with the cat deal…

  10. Yeah, I was never going to guess that secret!

    Anyway, I haven’t watched more than a few of Matsumoto Jun’s dramas, but I loved him starting from Kimi wa Petto. And Ueno Juri is excellent in Nodame Cantabile, plus I love playing the piano, so that drama was just all kinds of good. I hope I eventually get to watch this movie!

  11. OMG, MY MJ!!! 😀

    I LOVE MATSUMOTO JUN THE MOST among all of my favorite artist in the world! He is my man in my un-real life 😀

    Oh, super glad when the first time I see this post, tough you told the secret, it even make me more excited to watch it! LOL, i dont mind if he turn to be a cat, he’ll be really so cute just like in Kimi Wa Petto, hahaha

  12. thanks for sharing the spoiler! I was undecided in catching this movie because I was worried it would turn out to be horribly cliche, but the spoiler changed my mind!! it’s such a manga plot ^_^ can’t wait to watch it!

    Plus the two most adorable people in the world!

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