Kinkyori Renai (Close Range Love) Movie Recap
Frankly, I decided to give this movie a try only because of the “forbidden love” plot. Perhaps I was just expecting too much or because it had a weak story line, I don’t know, but one thing is clear… I was disappointed with the film. It just fell below par for me. Sorry.
Anyways, this recap is dedicated to all Yamapi fans out there. :) Credits to minipipami for the stills.
The movie starts off with a barking dog. A poor girl is frightened by it and runs for dear life. During PE time, this same girl endures doing exercises alone because no one wants to be partnered with her. In chemistry class, an accident happened and while the teacher worries for the safety of the student involved, he didn’t notice the girl was also injured. These incidents upset the girl but nobody bothers as they assume she’s well and good on her own.
The girl, Yuni Kururugi (Nana Komatsu) is popular for being smart. She wears blank expressions all day long and is, technically, an introvert by heart. She tops exams and wins prestigious awards in Math. Her only weakness is English.
The new English teacher, Haruka Sakurai (Tomohisa Yamashita) isn’t going to leave it at that as his ability as a teacher is being brought into question. And so he demands that Yuni undergo extra lessons in the hopes of redeeming her failing grades. Haruka is charming, yes, but undeniably rude. He even accuses her of purposely failing English to get his attention. Yuni is hurt but feigns nonchalance. She clutches her skirt to suppress hide her emotions. This gesture, however, don’t go unnoticed under Haruka’s observant eyes.
On the first day of extra lessons, Yuni comes on time, like literally on the dot. The extra lessons prove useless as Yuni still can’t understand a thing and asks for simple rules to follow instead. Haruka bluntly tells her that there won’t be any because unlike Math, English is basically just expressing one’s self. Yuni finds the idea absurd. She tells him not to concern himself with her anymore and walks off but he blocks her exit. In a blank tone, she tells him to move because she doesn’t want his strong cologne to stick on her. Burn!
Yuni’s cousin and guardian, Achachi (Hirofumi Arai), also a teacher at her school, asks about her review. She dismisses the topic with a passive “okay”. Achachi encourages her to give her best as this may be her stepping stone towards her dream of studying in California. But sadly, Yuni has already given up on that dream a long a time ago.
The next day, Haruka prepares a special reviewer just for Yuni. She remains adamant. Without the rules, she won’t learn a thing. Haruka already figured that out and instructs her to copy the sentences five times while saying it aloud. After that, they seem to reach an understanding.
Yuni is being too obedient and so Haruka can’t help but comment on this sudden change. She counters that at this point, it would be pointless not to do what she’s told and touches her ear. This subconscious action may not be a big deal to some but to Haruka it’s enough to reckon that Yuni has grown a crush on him. He reproves her feelings and tells her not to misunderstand. Yuni denies this and clutches her skirt, again. And he reads her action as her way of suppressing anger. Of course, she’s angry. Duh!
Some of Yuni’s female classmates are getting envious of her, for the obvious reason that she is the only student who gets quality alone time with Haruka. One day, they ganged up on her. Even though she refutes flirting with Haruka, her classmates remain unconvinced and locks her up. She hurts her foot during the confrontation and so her plan of climbing over the small window is an impossible task. Thankfully, Haruka comes to save her. Yuni wonders why he knew she’s trapped in there. He casually answers that he knows her (implying that she’s too predictable), that and also he had a run in with her classmates. Tehehe!
Haruka asks if she’s okay and she assures him she is. She then walks away with an evident sprain. After realizing her bluff, he picks her up in a bridal carry. Insert girly squeals here. Eeeeeeett! Haruka tends to her sprain and tells her to be more expressive in the future.
Yuni buys a gift for Haruka. However, he’s being a jerk and says that he doesn’t take gifts from students or people will misunderstand. She reasons that it’s just a thank you gift for helping her the other day. No hidden messages or malice whatsoever. But he further insults that she has turned boring and dull. Things were more interesting when she hated him. His cruel words hit a sensitive spot and she cries in front of him. He tries to amend but she runs off without a word.
Yuni starts to behave erratically after that and it worries Achachi. He talks with the Principal and wishes to cancel the extra lessons since everything rooted from there. The Principal eventually approves.
Things are back to normal, but somehow Yuni’s feelings have changed. She reminisce the good old times while listening to the voice recording Haruka made for her. Haruka happens to pass by. Seeing her lonely state, he rudely takes her earphones and listens to what she’s listening. He’s surprised to hear his own voice. Yuni feels embarrassed and again, runs off.
Yuni is lost in her emotions. She finds comfort in the presence of her only friend Nami (Mizuki Yamamoto). She relays then that she’s harboring love-hate feelings for someone. She hates him but she’s sad when he’s being cold. She doesn’t want to see him but not seeing him makes her feel lonely. Nami understands and concludes that there’s only one explanation to that. It’s love.
Armed with the full understanding of what’s going on, Yuni resolves that the only way to ease her current situation is to declare her love to Haruka. She tries to confess in front of everyone but fails. She tries to confess privately but fails. And as for the final attempt, she writes her love confession on a notebook which says, “I hate you but like you at the same time. What should I do?” Like they say, third time’s a charm, and so on the third try, while hiding under the teacher’s table, Yuni successfully convey her love. And in a spur, Haruka kisses her.
A new teacher, Meiri (Asami Mizukawa) passes by just in time to see what happened. Meiri happens to be Haruka’s childhood friend and ex-girlfriend. She admits knowledge of the kiss and warns Haruka of the dangers in having a relationship with a teenager. Haruka defends that it was just an accident. Meiri sheds tears as she remembers their past. She was always the one who initiated the kiss and maybe, just maybe, he loves that student more than he knows.
Yuni is jealous of Meiri and decides to confront her feelings head on. She’s more vocal now as she boldly tells Haruka she loves him. But then, he’s being cautious since there’s a lot to consider: morals, social acceptance, age difference, so on and so forth. He can’t possibly take on a relationship with a student. She’s young and her feelings are just temporary. Once again, Yuni is offended. For a man who claims to know her, he doesn’t understand her at all.
Yuni’s emotionally wrecked state is having a toll on her health and so she faints after defending a classmate, Matoba (Nozomu Kotaki) from bullies. Haruka hears the student’s distress and carries Yuni to the infirmary. He then tells Matoba to keep this a secret.
Matoba, eventually develops feelings for Yuni. Until one day, he grows some spine and professes his love. But she honestly tells him that she loves someone else. Suddenly, a man wearing a hoody breeze in to grab Yuni by the hand. Of course, the mysterious man is none other than Haruka. At last, he realizes that he loves her. But this time, Yuni won’t give in easily. His words backfire when she used the same lame excuses he had and unless he proves his feelings are real, she won’t believe him.
Haruka goes to her house and signals her to go out. They go to a secluded beach and there Haruka shares a piece of his past. His dad was a sales agent. Dad was always busy at work but when he’s home, he’ll tell silly lies. One of which is seeing a blue sunset. When Haruka was 12, his dad committed suicide. Basically, that’s the main reason he hates lies. Anyways, he didn’t bring her there for his sob stories but to propose marriage. Since she’s asking him to prove his love, a marriage proposal is the only solution. He doesn’t mind quitting his job but is more concerned of Yuni’s situation. If the school finds out, she may be expelled. So until she graduates, they remain student and teacher. Though caught in off guard, Yuni says yes. Everything is clear and the boundary between the teacher and his student is razed.
Yuni clears things up with Matoba. She says sorry for running away. But he is already clear cut on backing down the competition. He thinks of chasing them but changed his mind. After all, it’s Sensei Haruka he’s up against.Yes, he knew. Haruka’s strong cologne scent gave him away.
Amidst the secret texts and knowing looks, Yuni still longs for a “normal” relationship. Haruka feels her agony and gives her a comforting back hug. Meiri sees this and takes a picture of the oblivious couple.
Achachi observes the changes in Yuni’s behavior. He asks Meiri about it and she shows him the intimate picture of Haruka and Yuni. Achachi puts two and two together and confronts Haruka. However, Haruka stays firm in marrying her after she graduates. Achachi differs as his cousin is too young. Achachi thinks of telling the principal about the relationship but changes his mind.
Achachi tries to convince Yuni to enrol at California University but she’s already set on marrying Haruka. So, Achachi turns to Haruka for help. But then, Haruka refuses because he knows that the only way he can convince her to study abroad is if they broke up. And he just can’t do that. However, seeing Yuni’s suffering and sacrifices, Haruka concedes. He ends their brief relationship with a simple “I don’t like you anymore”.
Torn and brokenhearted, Yuni finds comfort in Nami. In a calm voice, Yuni tells her that Haruka broke up with her just like a snap. She’s hurt but the most painful part is she still loves him despite that. Ever the good friend, Nami starts to cry for Yuni’s sake. And they both cry.
Matoba learns of the break up and punches Haruka in the face. He’s rather disappointed at Haruka. He gave up because he believed Haruka can make her happy but he turns out to be a disappointment.
Merei expresses her regrets to Haruka. She thought that if Haruka broke up with Yuni, he will return to her. But in the end, it didn’t happen. Haruka isn’t a bit concerned. He’s even thankful she was the one who told Achachi. If somebody would have taken the picture, it could have been over the top.
Because of what has happened, Yuni decides to go to California. At the airport, Nami waits for Haruka but it’s clear he won’t come. Nami feels sorry for her but Yuni ain’t giving up. It doesn’t matter. Her feelings won’t change. She’ll study hard and come back a rightful person for him.
Few months after, Nami comes back. She invites Haruka to the beach where he proposed and shows him a picture of a blue sunset. His dad wasn’t lying when he said he saw one. The phenomenon is called blue flash. She knew all along that just like his dad, Haruka lied for her sake. He wants her to fulfill her dreams. Well, his sacrifice is not in vain because she’s trying her best to be his fitting match. He’ll just have to wait until then. But Haruka has other things in mind. He’s tired of lying and won’t wait for her anymore…because he’ll be marrying her now. She doesn’t need to prove herself. She’s perfect just as she is. And just like other cliche movies, they end it with a kiss.