ReviewFilm review – Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High sees the funny side of Japanese politics
Director Akira Nagai’s adaptation from a best-selling manga series is a wacky political satire using slapstick and campy overacting to offer comedy gold – and some food for thought on democratic ideals
The extreme measures by which Japanese politicians and bureaucrats rise through the ranks and cement their power are ruthlessly satirised in this hilariously over-the-top high-school electoral drama, adapted by director Akira Nagai ( If Cats Disappeared from the World ) from Usamaru Furuya’s bestselling manga series.
The son of a former concert pianist and a high-ranking government official (Kotaro Yoshida, the hellish boss in To Each His Own ) who is nonetheless frustrated with his career, the young Teiichi Akaba (Masaki Suda, Gintama ) was so traumatised as a kid by his father he abandoned his passion for the piano to pursue irrational political ambitions.
With an androgynous aide (Jun Shison) by his side and a supportive girlfriend (Mei Nagano) behind him, Akaba engages in a vicious battle with lifelong nemesis Kikuma Togo (Shuhei Nomura) as they pick sides between two main candidates, the bleached blonde jock Roland Himuro (Shotaro Mamiya) and gentle chess master Okuto Morizo (Yudai Chiba).
Amid the wiretapping, bribery and vows of ritual suicide, the wacky film presents its characters’ ultra-competitive streak in such a tongue-in-cheek way that the gags – for all the campy overacting by the excellent cast – essentially write themselves. Nagai is so confident in his directing, he even turns the film’s homoerotic undercurrent into frequent comedy gold.
Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High opens on October 12
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