Favorite Japanese Film of 2010: Bandage

Let me say truly that I spend less time watching Japanese films and most of my time watching Japanese dramas, so I want to be up front and say this decision is based on a limited viewing of the many many films released this year. Nevertheless I feel Bandage, a film that came out early in the year, deserves this title. While contenders certainly appeared, Bandage held its own to come out as my favorite Japanese film for 2010.

Bandage is as much a character based film as it is a time capsule into Japan in the 90’s. Following the rise of X-Japan, Luna Sea, and many other Visual Kei acts in the late 80’s, many young Japanese hopefuls began to learn music instruments and form their own rock bands. Bandage is a tale of such hopefuls, as the audience follows along with the fictional indie group LANDS, the lead singer Natsu (Akanishi Jin), and Asuka (Kii Kitano), a complicated friend of the band.

Bandage balanced the sensibilities of a coming of age story with the heavy emotions of an underdog tale. While set in the 90’s, this tale could easily have taken place in 2010. While Akanishi Jin grew on the drama circuit, he truly comes to life with both his music and his acting in Bandage. Kii Kitano, quite a young actress herself, also proves herself to be an actress to watch out for in the future. Together with fine characters, delightful acting, awesome music, and a compelling story Bandage represents the best for me in Japanese film making for 2010.

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