• After the dark world of _All About Lily Chou Chou_ in which junior high kids are involved in prostitution, extortion, and murder, Iwai returns with _Hana and Alice_, a film that brings the audience to the tried and true theme of the love triangle. This time involving the young trio of Hana, Alice, and Masashi.

    The story begins with the friends Hana, acted by Suzuki Anne, _Returner_, _9 Souls_, and Alice, Aoi Yu, _All About Lily Chou Chou_, _Harmful Insect_, crossing frozen fields to a distant train station. There, Alice shows Hana the object of her affection: a tall Japanese-American. The two girls ride the the train many times. Even taking secret photographs of biracial young man and a younger student who they assume is his half-brother.

    However, eventually, Alice's crush is gone and only the younger man, whose nose is always in a book, rides the train. Alice is heartbroken, But Hana continues riding the train, affection for the young man growing in her heart.

    When high school begins, Hana joins the Rakugo club because her crush, Miyamoto Masashi, is also a member of the club. One day, while following her crush, Hana witnesses Masashi hits his head hard on a garage door knocking him to the ground. Hana rushes up to him and asks him if he is okay. Masashi begins reciting some of his rakugo lines and is convinced that he is okay, but Hana asks him if he remembers her. On this he is not so clear, Hana then states that she is his girlfriend. This of course shocks Masashi and so begins the process of Masashi trying to recover from an amnesia created by the lovesick Hana.

    I was worried by the premise of this film at first, because it has been done a number of times before. However, I should have had more faith in Iwai Shunji. This is truly a good film and it really tugs on the heart strings. Those of us who have had our love for someone else non-reciprocated while definitely be touched. The acting is well done. Especially that of Aoi Yu who played Tsuda Shiori, the young girl forced to be a prostitute in _Lily Chou Chou_. The music, as always, is very nice, and this time it was actually composed by Iwai Shunji.