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Hatsukoi (DVD) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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Hatsukoi (DVD) (Japan Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

On December 10, 1968, a Nihon Shintaku Bank car transporting almost 300 million yen was stopped by someone posing as a police officer. While supposedly checking for a bomb under the car, this person set off a smoke flare, and the bank employees ran from the site, thinking a bomb was about to explode. The culprit then got into the car, and drove away with the money. Dubbed the "300 Million Yen Robbery", this was the biggest heist in Japanese history, followed by the biggest police investigation in Japanese history, and the perpetrator remains a mystery to this day. Over the years, this legendary heist has taken on romantic proportions for being so simple, successful, and supposedly victimless. It has been reimagined in various novels and films, most recently First Love, which puts NANA idol Miyazaki Aoi at the center of the crime.

Directed by Hanawa Yukinari, First Love, a.k.a. Hatsukoi, is based on Nakahara Misuzu's fictional autobiography in which she claims responsibility for the robbery. As much a meditation about coming of age in the chaotic 1960s as it is an account of the heist, the film features Miyazaki Aoi as a conflicted teenager. Co-starring for the third time as her brother (previously in Eureka and Riyu) is Miyazaki Aoi's real-life older brother, Miyazaki Masaru.

Amidst the sweeping social unrest of the 1960s, troubled high school student Misuzu (Miyazaki Aoi) finds company with her rebellious brother Ryo (Miyazaki Masaru) and his friends. Their meandering days are spent around bars, finding happiness through drugs, alcohol, and casual sex. Misuzu becomes particularly close with Kishi (Koide Keisuke, Pacchigi), who hatches a plan to rob a bank car. The plan goes remarkably well, but as their relationships and the world around them change, what they find is not success, but sorrow.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Hatsukoi (DVD) (Japan Version) 初戀 (DVD) (日本版) 初恋 (DVD) (日本版) 初恋 Hatsukoi (DVD) (Japan Version)
Also known as: First Love 三億圓懸案之初戀 三亿圆悬案之初恋 First Love First Love
Artist Name(s): Miyazaki Aoi | Coil | Miyazaki Masaru | Koide Keisuke 宮崎葵 | COIL | 宮崎將 | 小出惠介 宫崎葵 | COIL | 宫崎将 | Koide Keisuke 宮崎あおい | COIL | 宮崎将 | 小出恵介 | 中原みすず Miyazaki Aoi | Coil | Miyazaki Masaru | Koide Keisuke
Director: Hanawa Yukinari 塙幸成 塙幸成 塙幸成 Hanawa Yukinari
Release Date: 2016-02-02
Publisher Product Code: GADSX-1218
Language: Japanese
Place of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Other Information: DVD
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1046623897

Product Information

[アーティスト/ キャスト]
宮?あおい / 小出恵介 / 宮?将 / 塙幸成 (監督、脚本) / 中原みすず (原作) / COIL (音楽)

[特典情報]
映像特典収録

[テクニカル・インフォメーション]
廉価版/本編114分
製作国 : 日本 (Japan)

[ストーリー]
1968年12月10日、高校生のみすずは警察官の衣装に身を包み、白バイを走らせていた。目の前には現金輸送車。「止まりなさい!この車にはダイナマイトが仕掛けられている—。」この日から遡ること数年。みすずは家にも学校にも居場所はなく、誰にも心を開かない毎日。そんなある日、喫茶Bで謎めいた東大生の岸とその仲間たちに出会う。生まれて初めて味わう“仲間”という感覚。みすずの中に生まれた初めての恋心。その恋が歴史に残る大事件を生むとも知らずに…。

[解説]
府中三億円強奪事件。日本犯罪史上最大のミステリーが、淡い想いと共に今、語られる。

Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Hatsukoi (DVD) (Japan Version)"

June 29, 2007

This professional review refers to First Love (AKA: Hatsukoi) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
To be sure, Yukinari Hanawa's First Love is a heist film like no other. The title of the movie itself is perhaps the first hint that the big robbery is less important than the resolution of the love plot. Really, when a movie begins with a teenage girl asking, "What's the time limit on a wounded heart?" you know you're not in Ocean's 11 territory anymore. And yet even though budding teenage romance ends up trumping the thrills of cinematic grand larceny, the film's heist isn't a throwaway plot device. It's actually based on a real-life crime famously known in Japan as "Sanoku-en jiken" ("The 300 Million Yen Affair").

On December 10, 1968, three-hundred million yen was stolen from bank employees transporting the money in an unmarked car. The robbery occurred in only a matter of seconds and not a single person was hurt. The crime was the biggest heist in Japanese history, leading to the largest manhunt ever undertaken in the country. The statute of limitations on prosecuting the crime has since expired, and even until this day, no one knows for sure who pulled off this legendary crime. First Love, however, speculates as to the identity of the real criminal.

Based on Misuzu Nakahara's autobiography, First Love stars Aoi Miyazaki (Nana, Su-ki-da) as Misuzu, a quiet, alienated teenager who seeks out the company of local heartthrob Ryo (Masaru Miyazaki) and his band of misfit friends. This tight-knit group spends most of their days hanging around a jazz bar called "B," and the introspective Misuzu slowly, although not completely, starts to come out of her shell. As the film develops, we begin to understand Misuzku's true connection to Ryo as well as her reasons for seeking his company. Eventually, she begins to fall for his friend, Kishi (Koide Keisuke), who in many ways seems like an anomalous figure in the group. When tragedy strikes this once-merry band of friends, Kishi hatches a plot to strike back at the government with a huge, unprecedented robbery, but he needs Misuzu's help to see it through to the end. The two begin practicing for the heist, and through the multiple rehearsals, they begin to fall even more deeply in love. Of course, history would suggest that the heist was a success, but was it really? What happened to these two alleged accomplices? That is the story that First Love seeks to trace in its final moments.

First Love is a bit of an odd duck. The romance is palpable, but it's awkward and buried just under the surface. It's all about what isn't said between the two leads, rather than the depiction of any huge declarations of love or fits of passion between the main protagonists. In a sense, that makes the film a variation on the "Pure Love" subgenre, although First Love spools out in a decidedly non-formulaic manner. In some ways, such restraint is commendable and it was nice to see a romance shown in a more awkward, realistic way. But in other ways, that is perhaps the most frustrating part of the movie. One may end up hoping for a payoff that the film never quite delivers.

Still, without the benefit of much dialogue, Aoi Miyazaki turns in another fine performance as Misuzu, able to convey in facial expressions what few actors could with pages of dialogue. Standout scenes include an unconventional, yet entirely welcome and joyous motorcycle lesson from Kishi's elderly mechanic friend (Shunji Fujimura, from Death Note) and her character's last act discovery of a crucial piece of information involving Kishi. Overall, Koide Kesuke is fine, but is unremarkable as the object of Misuzu's affection. It's Miyazaki's real-life brother, Masaru Miyazaki who turns in the more charismatic performance as Ryo, the consummate rebel without a cause.

The heist aspect of the film becomes increasingly important in the film's later portions, and the rehearsals are definitely fun to watch. Naturally, they don't come across in the slick, professional manner that typifies most heist movies, but that's part of the charm. History says that they'll pull it off, but somehow, the filmmakers are able to make us doubt even a foregone conclusion such as that. For a while there, the depiction of the consequences of the heist came across as a bit too protracted and narratively frustrating, but it's eventually resolved (kind of) by the aforementioned last act discovery. Ultimately, First Love is part-romance, part-heist movie, and part-snapshot of an era. It's not exactly an overwhelming success in any of these three different categories, but somehow, the parts add up to a fairly satisfying whole.

By Calvin McMillin

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Hatsukoi (DVD) (Japan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


March 22, 2010

This customer review refers to First Love (AKA: Hatsukoi) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
2 people found this review helpful

Miyazaki Aoi deserved an award! Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
It would be misleading to characterize "First Love" as a heist movie, although it contains an amazing heist, or as a romance, although its central characters fall in love. No, "First Love" is better described as a coming-of-age movie, a film in which we see an emotionally wounded teenage girl grow as she finds a sort of family, experiences a sort of love, and emerges a stronger person. Miyazaki Aoi stars as Misuzu, a high school girl abandoned by her mother and left to live more as an unwanted boarder than as a family member in her aunt and uncle's home. Seeking some sort of emotional connection, she begins hanging out with her long-lost brother Ryo (played by Miyazaki Masaru, Aoi's actual brother) and his friends in a seedy jazz club. The time is the latter 1960s, and this is a group of directionless youngsters undecided whether they should join the antigovernment demonstrations or rebel against the rebellers.

Slowly an unspoken affection grows between Misuzu and her brother's best friend Kishi (Koide Keisuke). Their relationship, however, takes an unexpected turn when Kishi asks Misuzu to assist him in a planned heist of payroll money. Misuzu's reaction reflects her broken life; she is thrilled to be needed by someone. What follows is both exciting (in a very understated way), intriguing, and emotionally gripping.

"First Love" creates a lasting impression for one primary reason: Miyazaki Aoi simply is marvelous. I had no idea that she was capable of mining such hidden depths of her character. Moreover, its quirky story and evocation of an aimless era create perfectly complement Miyazaki's remarkable performance. Arthouse film buffs should embrace this minor masterpiece. I won't soon forget it.
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