Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac Movie Recap

Like I’ve promised (though it’s rather late), here’s the recap for Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac. This write-up has been “hibernating” in my PC for quite a long time already, and I’m glad I was able to publish this before the year ends!

Note: This is my very first entry for Movie Recap category. Hope this won’t be the last.

Movie Recap:

Naomi (voice-over): Let me tell you first up that this tale is a love story. And like most love stories, there are coincidences, lost loves and slight head injuries. It all began with a coin toss. It turned out tails, but I’d bet on heads. If I hadn’t bet that, this tale probably wouldn’t have been created. Girls ought to cry…

Sukuse Naomi (Horikita Maki)- A typical university student, co-editor of the yearbook committee, pretty, intelligent, normal… until one day, she fell head-first in a staircase and swoosh… forgets 4 years of her life.

Miwa Yuji (Kenichi Matsuyama)- A transfer student and all-around mysterious guy.

After the fall, Noami wakes up in a hospital, surrounded by doctors, nurses and a guy who introduced himself as Miwa Yuji, her boyfriend. Later on, the boyfriend confesses that he isn’t really her boyfriend. He isn’t even her friend. Besides, she already has a boyfriend, named Ace. But then, he’s been hoping he’ll be able to kiss her someday. Yuji: “If we kiss, I want it to be something we both accept”.

Their conversation is rudely interrupted by Naomi’s dad. And that ends her brief encounter with Yuji.

Hasegawa Mirai (Yuya Tegoshi)- The best friend, classmate, fellow co-editor and more.

Ace Zuckerman (Anton Yelchin)-  The real, insensitive, selfish boyfriend.

Amnesia is both a blessing and a curse. It introduces Naomi to a  confusing, unfamiliar world. It’s like rediscovering everyone and everything. But at the same time, her condition brought her closer to Mysterious Guy Yuji. When she’s with him, she’s seeing things in new light. She’s embracing a love that she may never have dreamed of before.

Amidst the uncertainty and confusion, her best friend Mirai is always there to help out. He’s putting the pieces of her life together, explaining how she was and how she is. Like for instance, why she joined the yearbook committee.

Mirai: You may think editing the yearbook is boring, but at the very least, we’re doing it with conviction… The yearbook has tales of that year for each student that was there. It’s because of our precious pasts that we can soar in the future. That’s why the front cover is plain white. The yearbook isn’t just a collection of photos. It’s different from a graduation album. I believe a good yearbook can create a good school. It could even create good students, a good world and a good planet! Hey, it wraps up a year in our lives. Don’t you think that’s a huge responsibility?

Naomi wants to know the past, but she’s more interested to know more about Yuji. The more Mirai warns that she stay away from him, the more attracted she becomes.

She attended a party one night and got completely wasted. She tries to call Ace and Mirai for rescue but both are unavailable, and so she’s forced to call Dad. And in her tanked-up state, she meets Arisa Risa, a tango dancer, Dad’s special friend and her future stepmother.

She may have forgotten those precious 4 years, but she can’t ignore the budding hostility she feels toward her “future step-mom.” Looking at her picture she says to herself, “Hey, what kind of girl were you? Were you happy? Or were you just smiling because you were told to?”

Everything is becoming more and more complicated, her feelings in disarray, her relationships falling apart. And like what every perplexed teenagers do when their life’s in such a mess, she cuts her hair short.

Naomi’s short hair makes her the perfect student to play Hamlet in their school play.

For some stroke of luck, Yuji is the drama club’s “official” photographer, providing him and Naomi lots and lots of chances to get closer yet again. As they part, he invites her to watch a movie someday.

Homecoming Dance. Naomi goes with Ace. And immediately old habit creeps in and  she ends up taking documentary pictures instead. Ace then takes her home, which basically means making out. What’s with homecoming and raging teenage hormones, anyways?! Ace makes his move, but Naomi is undeniably uncomfortable. Why? Well, I dunno. Maybe bcoz SHE DOESN’T KNOW HIM AT ALL! She has amnesia remember. She needs answers.

It seems, she ain’t the only one confused. Ace too wants his old Naomi back. The intelligent, confident and fun girl he loves. But she’s not that girl anymore. All of a sudden, she joins stage plays and cuts her hair short.

So, it was all about the hair? Dude, that’s lame!

Naomi: I think we should take some time off. Give my hair time to grow.

The play was a success. At the victory party, Yuji appears and reminds Naomi to watch movies with him. And yes, she agrees.

Naomi: You said you wanted to kiss me only after I accepted it.
Yuji: Mm, I remember that.
Naomi: Even though I wouldn’t have minded… back then. Or now either.
Yuji: Even now?

Then the epic kiss.

Dad is clearly not liking Yuji. Well I dunno. Maybe bcoz HE’S FREAKIN’ WEIRD!

But Naomi is determined to live her life the way she wants. The days pass by,  Naomi and Yuji grew more intimate with each other. She then learns that Yuji is emotionally sick. After his brother died, he went through depression. He became aggressive and got into trouble most of the times. Even so, Naomi loves him even more.

Balancing both studies and her “suicidal boyfriend” proves to be too much to handle.  Plus, there’s the yearbook. With Yuji’s advice, Naomi quits being an editor, which of course, made Mirai very, very upset.

Mirai: You really like him? So it wasn’t just your memory you lost in that accident.
Naomi: What do you want to say?
Mirai: You seem like a complete idiot now. The Naomi I know would see something through to the end.
Naomi: Then remember this! I’m not the Naomi you used to know. That Naomi doesn’t exist anymore!
Mirai: Cut it out! When did you become so selfish?

This put a gap between the two. Now, Naomi must deal with her studies, suicidal boyfriend and broken friendship.

Yuji: If I start heading the wrong way, I want you to break up with me straight away. I’ll accept that quietly. I promise.
Naomi: I can’t do that.
Yuji: If you can’t, then I can’t be with you! If I go crazy again, I don’t want you to try to see me.  I want you to stop thinking about me too. I want you to forget that we even met.

Though Naomi detests Dad’s plan to remarry, at least she’s beginning to be open-minded.

Naomi and Yuji were having fun “reenacting” her fateful accident for a project when Mirai worriedly butts in and scolds Yuji for not letting her wear a helmet. He walks off  disappointed, knowing fully well that he has no right to overreact. And looking at his retreating back, swoosh… she remembers everything.

Mirai forgot to bring the camera. Both of them doesn’t want to go back and so, they tossed coin just to settle the matter. She chose heads, but then it turned out tails.

Naomi (voice-over): It wasn’t that I slipped or that I fell. It was just an accident. I consciously chose to take the dive. Diving is a way to miraculously cheat gravity. I’d chosen to do that myself. I was heading toward something. Or maybe I was trying to escape from something. I decided not to tell anyone that I’d remembered it. In a way it didn’t matter. Because nothing had changed anyway. Yes… that’s what I told myself.

Mirai and Naomi strays farther and farther away. Mirai gets a girlfriend named Winnie and Naomi went out steadily with Yuji. Until one day, an acceptance letter from University of Southern California (USC) came. It was for Yuji. Naomi is very proud and happy for her boyfriend’s accomplishment, but then Yuji reacts quite the opposite way.

For old-time sakes, Ace invites Naomi for a tennis match. Yuji sees them talking and angrily lands solid punches at Ace and the two end up brawling. Naomi tries to pacify  but accidentally got hit instead. Mirai comes in and settles everything.

Yuji was suspended and so her Mom forced him to go to LA and enroll at USC.

However, he gets too depressed there. He calls Naomi to fly over and she willingly concedes. Yuji suddenly wants to board surfing and leaves Naomi alone at some beach. The sun is already setting, but still Yuji didn’t return. Just when she starts to panic, Yuji shows up on the verge of emotional breakdown. He really is sick!

Realizing that she can’t help Yuji in any way, she went back to Tokyo. On her way home, she watches Mirai’s birthday gift (a video compilation of her); The Naomi that Naomi has forgotten, The Naomi that Naomi remembers. Every girl’s heart would melt when someone gives her a special gift like that, neh? Naomi isn’t an exception.

After the plane lands, the first thing she did is call Mirai. But then, he isn’t too excited like her. Too sad. 😦

Dad is very angry that Naomi went off without saying a word. She’s grounded, of course. She tells Dad that she remembers everything. Dad sighs in disbelief. Why didn’t she just everybody earlier? Naomi: “Because… I finally found out who I was. I couldn’t even consider doing everything all over again or going back to who I was”.

She’s afraid of losing Yuji. The only thing they in common is that they have no past. That’s probably the only reason why Yuji likes her.

And then, Naomi learns that Yuji was confined in a mental ward. She has no one to turn to and so, she asks Mirai to come with her and visit Yuji. Thankfully, Mirai remains the ideal best friend. He even gave her another CD compilation of songs that might help her remember her “past” life. This will be his 3rd gift after the amnesia incident.

And the trio meets up. There, Naomi confessed that she already remembered everything 2 months ago. Mirai is hurt. Yuji is baffled.

Yuji: Sometimes I was so envious of your amnesia, Sukuse. I’d kept wanting to forget my past. I’d been so busy thinking of that, so I couldn’t move forward.

He wants to use this chance to stand and face everything. If only they’ve met on a different time, when he was more mature and can process various things, they could have been perfect for each other. And Naomi promises to wait until he’s ready.

Alone, Mirai asks if she really did remember everything. If she really did, then she could have remembered that their relationship had changed. He knew that they were more than just friends before, but he doesn’t want to pressure her too much.

Mirai: I thought I should’ve said something on those stairs. But when that chance came, you forgot everything. Even my existence. Everything. Then you met Yuji. And you quit the yearbook. I was too slow with everything. But the worst part was after you’d broken up with Zuckerman. Even thought that should’ve been my chance, I didn’t say anything to you. But I don’t love you, Naomi. Even now. I don’t love you… Not that much.

And then the next morning, a funny thing happened. Winnie confronts Naomi and angrily tells her that Mirai loves her. She’s just too insensitive to see it. If she can’t at least acknowledge it, then she better leave Mirai alone. Ha! That’s the complete opposite of Mirai’s declaration the other day!

In the end, Naomi and Yuji broke up.  And who else would comfort her? Yup, Mirai

And the world turned upside-down when Naomi received a call, informing her that Mirai was rushed to the hospital. She was frantically anxious. Thankfully, he’s not dying or anything, just suffering from a complicated case of pneumonia.

With Mirai ill in bed, he can’t fulfill his yearbook duties. This time, it’s Naomi’s turn to help out. She will be his hands-on editor!

Mission accomplished. The yearbook is published! Naomi brings a copy of the yearbook to Mirai and they happily scan the pages. Ahh, the closeness is beyond friendship already!

Mirai confesses that he was dumped. Winnie accuses him of being in love with somebody else. Truth be told, he never was a very good boyfriend at all. And to lighten up the mood, Naomi  changes the topic and asks why he always reserves a space in her yearbook ever year.

Mirai: There’s so much I want to say, but I could never find the right words. So I just chose the perfect songs to express that instead.

Yeah, he really is in love with someone else…

Wedding bells for Dad and Arisa. Too bad, Mirai can’t be there…

Dad checks on things and asks about Yuji. Naomi honestly answers that they are not keeping in touch. Dad comforts that things like that happen all the time.

Dad: And slowly, very slowly, you also forget the tastes of things and things that really hurt. Even things I thought I would never ever forget slowly faded into lost memories. Guys from the past, guys that were awkward, girls who were cute, girls who were smart, who went to what university, whose parties were great, you end up forgetting all of that stuff People you said you loved… People you truly loved… Even the people who you think you’ll remember till the very end. Mm, but that’s why the waves of memories get thinner. It’s because it’s possible to forget those things that it makes it possible for us to love someone else in the future.

Graduation Day. Yuji was released on time for Graduation. Now, they’re just friends.

Mirai waits for Naomi near the stairs where she fell. He offers to take her hand, afraid that she’ll trips (or dive as she wants to call it) again.

Mirai: I don’t think I could cope with you forgetting me again.

Naomi: I can’t remember which of us said it first anymore. But at the end one of us said this: We did a coin toss several months ago. It was just because we didn’t want to have to go up these stairs again. And then the other one of us answered: It would be fine it if was even longer than it is. As long as we can walk these stairs like we are now
Mirai: After then neither of us said anything for a long time.
Naomi: I wasn’t used to Mirai’s silence, but it didn’t worry me. I know everything about Mirai and he knows everything about me. That’s why the silence between us sounded like a melody.
Mirai: Without even knowing what song it was or who sang it, it seemed like a song we could hum along to.
Naomi: It was like a song that we’d known for years with a nostalgic melody.

Loving this photo.

Posted on November 30, 2010, in Japanese Drama/ Movies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. There’s just something about this movie I loved. Maybe it was the Japanese-American collaboration. Or maybe it’s because the novel it’s based on is something I really would read if I had it. Anyway, thanks for reviewing it and bringing back great memories.

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