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The Blue Bird (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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The Blue Bird (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

From G.T.O to Gokusen, Japan has no shortage of crowd-pleasers about eccentric, righteous teachers whipping troubled classes into shape, but The Blue Bird wraps its reforming teacher and misunderstood students storyline around the serious topic of school bullying. Based on award-winning author Shigematsu Kiyoshi's novel, The Blue Bird is set at a school in the aftermath of a school bullying tragedy, exploring the incident's lingering effects on the school and students. Playing teacher again after Dragon Zakura, popular actor Abe Hiroshi (Still Walking) cuts an unlikely hero as a stuttering teacher who is constantly ridiculed himself for his speech problems. Co-starring teen actor Hongo Kanata (Prince of Tennis, NANA 2), The Blue Bird is directed by Nakanishi Kenji, who was previously assistant director on A Hardest Night!!.

With the start of a new school term, there is no longer any sign of Noguchi, the bullied student who attempted suicide, and everything seems to have returned to normal. But stuttering substitute teacher Murauchi (Abe Hiroshi) gives a swift kick to this guise of normalcy by bringing Noguchi's desk back to the classroom and stammering "good morning" to his empty chair everyday. His gesture becomes a pointed and painful daily reminder to both the school staff and his troubled students, especially guilt-ridden Shinichi (Hongo Kanata) who participated in the torment of Noguchi.

Comes with making of, trailer, and interview with Abe Hiroshi.

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Technical Information

Product Title: The Blue Bird (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) 青之鳥 (DVD) (英文字幕) (日本版) 青之鸟 (DVD) (英文字幕) (日本版) 青い鳥 The Blue Bird (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
Also known as: Aoi Tori Aoi Tori Aoi Tori Aoi Tori Aoi Tori
Artist Name(s): Abe Hiroshi | Ito Ayumi | Hongo Kanata | Arai Moe | Araki Yuko | Takada Riho | Nakano Taiga 阿部寬 | 伊藤步 | 本鄉奏多 | 荒井萌 | 新木優子 | 高田里穗 | 仲野太賀 阿部宽 | 伊藤步 | 本乡奏多 | 荒井萌 | 新木优子 | 高田里穗 | 仲野太贺 阿部寛 | 伊藤歩 | 篠原愛実 | 本郷奏多 | 荒井萌 | 井上肇 | 山崎和也 | 岸博行 | 松重収 | 新木優子 | 高田里穂 | 仲野太賀 Abe Hiroshi | Ito Ayumi | Hongo Kanata | Arai Moe | Araki Yuko | Takada Riho | Nakano Taiga
Director: Nakanishi Kenji 中西健二 中西健二 中西健二 Nakanishi Kenji
Release Date: 2009-07-24
Publisher Product Code: BCBJ-3322
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English, 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.: 1014448262

Product Information


前学期、いじめられていた一人の男子生徒 野口が起こした自殺未遂で東ヶ丘中学校は大きく揺れていた。新学期初日、そんな2年1組に一人の臨時教師が着任してくる。村内という男性教師の挨拶に、生徒たちは驚く。彼は、吃音だったのだ。うまくしゃべれない村内は、その分“本気の言葉”で生徒たちと向かい合う。そんな彼が初めて生徒に命じたのは、倉庫にしまわれていた野口の机と椅子を、教室の元の位置に戻すことだった。そして毎朝、その席に向かって「野口君おはよう」と声をかけ続けた。




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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Editor's Pick of "The Blue Bird (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"

Picked By Sanwei
See all this editor's picks

August 27, 2009

School Blues
School bullying has been a topic of great concern for many years in Japan where reports of youth suicides linked to ijime periodically splash news headlines. Nakanishi Kenji's debut film The Blue Bird explores this sensitive issue through the experiences of a school recovering from a major bullying incident, wrapping its message-driven narrative in teen drama angst, eccentric teacher heroics, and school politics.

Based on Shigematsu Kiyoshi's novel, The Blue Bird is set at a typical junior high school with typical kids and the typical bullying problems that led to an atypical tragedy last semester. Oft-teased class clown Noguchi attempted to hang himself, leaving behind a note of despair that named classmates who had contributed to his suffering. The film opens in the aftermath, the start of a new school year, and the hope that the incident had been put behind for good. Noguchi has moved away, and it's time for the school and the students to move on - but stuttering Mr. Murauchi (Abe Hiroshi) thinks otherwise. As the substitute homeroom teacher of the affected class, Murauchi brings Noguchi's desk back to the classroom and pointedly greets the absent student every morning. His actions unsettle the students and the administration, causing unrest among the class and forcing some to face their role in an incident they would much rather forget. The Blue Bird focuses particularly on one student, Shinichi (Kongo Hanata), a smart and handsome teen - a good kid by any other measure - struggling with the guilt and shame of knowing he had almost contributed to the death of a classmate.

The type of bullying depicted in The Blue Bird is not physical but psychological, mean-spirited teasing and peer pressure seemingly laughed off as all in good fun. With no one speaking up to stop the hurtful situation, the victimizers become bolder, and the bullying escalates to a breakdown point for Noguchi. But at what point did joking become teasing, and teasing become torment? When did a bunch of normal kids turn into mean bullies?

The Blue Bird's greatest strength is that it subtly comes around to different sides and people in the incident, and voices the doubts of those who aren't convinced their actions qualify as bullying, or aren't even sure what constitutes as bullying. The film doesn't offer answers, but in its depiction of a too familiar school bullying scenario, the story casts some light on the roles and responsibilities of not just the overt victimizers, but also the eggers, the bystanders, the teachers, the parents, and the victim himself in creating and perpetuating a bullying situation. The Blue Bird also drives a stake in the mentality of seeking closure and disassociation, or offering token absolution through good-on-paper initiatives.

It helps, of course, that the film's do-good lessons are delivered by Abe Hiroshi, who takes a potentially cliched and caricaturish role and makes it compelling. Abe underacts his underwritten role with measured stoicism and sincerity. His peculiar motivational teacher with inner ghosts is a bit inscrutable, but he manages to run the whole gamut of amusing, awkward, stodgy, righteous, off-putting, and oddly inspiring between stutters. Though Mr. Murauchi isn't the most realistic character, his students are fairly realistic, and it's the classroom of mouthy, angsty, and overall normal teens that drive home the feeling that this bullying story and near tragedy could happen at any school. As a student struggling with guilt, teen star Hongo Kanata pretty much writes his acting on his face, but he is well suited for these brooding student roles (and he provides a good reason for teenage girls to watch the movie).

The Blue Bird's opaque storytelling and brooding air make the film perhaps not as engaging as it aspires to be, but it's more than good enough to warrant a watch. The themes and discussions put on screen are well meaning and well thought out, and the film stays admirably restrained throughout. If you had to show a movie about school bullying to a classroom of teens and teachers, The Blue Bird wouldn't be a bad choice. Plus, we could all use some inspiring from Abe Hiroshi.

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