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  • This hilarious movie catapults two youngsters hitting puberty into the opposite sex after a fall from which they recover in each other's bodies. The timid sensitive girl becomes the effeminate insecure boy, and the unredeeming prankster becomes the loud clumsy girl with a chip on her shoulder. Both lead actors do tremendous jobs portraying the opposite sex, and often do so delivering more than a laugh. It ends in a bittersweet tone, but it is a really cute movie with hilarious moments.
  • mattskibashot24 May 2008
    Because I watched this raw, I had to look up words and phrases every now and then, but because of the somewhat cliché storyline (two high school students switch bodies) and surplus of physical humor, I never found myself confused. Although, I'm sure it would have been funnier with English subtitles.

    Kobayashi Satomi is absolutely hilarious as she pretends to be the opposite sex. She perfectly changes her voice, posture, speech, and body movements to match that of a teenage boy, but she does it in such an honest way that, at some points, I believe she is an actual boy. The male lead, Omi Toshinori, is equally as successful in his portrayal of a school girl trapped in a boy's body. His insecurity, the way he held his bag, covering his chest while wearing a swimsuit, his high-pitched voice--all the little things came together to create a performance that could not be more perfect.

    Obviously, the film is predictable and occasionally lacks depth, but there are few filmmakers in the world who would be able to produce a quality film with a similar plot. This is a wonderful example of simplistic Japanese cinema and a classic in my book.
  • Most international viewers are familiar with director Obayashi Nobuhiko primarily through his 1977 cult classic "Hausu". His often surreal touches are visible in the narrative of "Tenkôsei" (I Are You, You Am Me / Transfer Student, 1982) as well, though they aren't used as abundantly. In this film, the director is not simply trying to confuse his audience, but to also use his narrative choices to form a meaningful tale about two people coming to understand one another better. The film, adapted from a novel by Yamanaka Hisashi, was obviously an important project for Obayashi, since he chose to return to this subject again in 2007.

    Set in a small town, this film is the tale of a boy and a girl, teenagers Kazuo (Omi Toshinori) and Kazumi (Kobayashi Satomi). Through an accident, they switch bodies and have to continue their lives in the other's shoes. It is never explained why this happens, you just have to go with it. Initially, the two don't like each other much, but through time they gain perspective, and a more compassionate understanding of gender roles and equality.

    The film is mostly a comedy, and a fun one too. The concept is original and entertaining, and the narrative very loose, giving way for comedic situations instead of plot devices. The best thing about this film is Kobayashi Satomi's fantastic performance, one of the best I have ever seen by a teenager. She genuinely feels like a boy trapped into a body of a girl. Her mannerisms were fantastic. Omi Toshinori is good too, though because he plays the reversed role of a girl in a boy's body, the screenplay has him sobbing a bit too much.

    The film has several good points about the upbringing of boys and girls, and the double standards that these attitudes contain. The film also campaigns for higher individualism, and often views gender norms as a prison, or as an obstacle for the characters to overcome. It is quite funny to see the two of them trying to fit in, and getting to see all the everyday absurdities that go with being a boy/a girl.

    It's not perfect, and personally I felt the film overstayed its welcome. The film would have benefited from a little editing, though the relaxed tempo also supports the narrative. The remake that Obayashi made 25 years later is actually the longer of the two. All in all, an enjoyable ride.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I fundamentally agree with the other reviewers here (two so far): this is a hilarious and cute movie. Also it would not do anything just for a laugh and there are some more serious moods in the last third. (One of the characters even contemplates suicide.) And the best part is Kobayashi Satomi's flawless imitation of the male gestures, something that has proved to be too hard for lots of fine actresses.

    But there is a point where the other reviewers seem to have seen another film: they say that Kazumi was timid, sensitive or insecure at the beginning. On the contrary! In my version she is loud, obnoxious, her behavior almost scandalous. Kazuo even reminds her that "New students are supposed to be shy." But strangely, the transformed Kazuo behaves just like described: feminine, but seems to host another, timid girl's soul, not that of the Kazumi we knew. This is why I would not say that Omi Toshinori's acting is as good as that of the female lead.

    During the film I expected the changed children to change their parents, too. (At least the mothers as the fathers are hard-working types, rarely seen at home.) Kazuo's mother who has abandoned herself during the years could have acquired some sophistication while Kazumi's mother could have turned out to be less stiff in the end. (Putting these believable characters to good use.) Well, this never happens and maybe my expectations were too Western. Thinking of it, it is rather rare in Japanese films that somebody of lower rank as a child (employee, private) would change the life of somebody more important (parent, boss or officer).

    Another thing that might be a missed opportunity: it is absolutely funny when Kazumi seems to think that Miss Kawahara has just made a Lesbian move on her (1:04), she makes a priceless facial expression. Regretfully this thread is cut short too soon and her concern turns out to be of a pure friendly nature.