2011 / 90m - Japan
Milocrorze: A Love Story poster

Better brace yourself, because Japan is unleashing another bat crazy comedy upon the unsuspecting masses. Milocrorze fits right in with the likes of Donju or Survive Style 5+ and is sure to appeal to the same crowd that took a liking to these extremely colorful, overly weird and almost random comedies. It may not be up there with the very best the genre has to offer, but it sure is a great way to spend 90 minutes of your time.

screen capture of Milocrorze

Milocrorze equals chaos. The film consists of three almost unrelated stories, but Ishibashi never really bothers to explain the film's structure to the audience. These three stories are basically stand-alone parts within the film, though they have no clear boundary to set them apart. The individual stories are also pretty fragmented, making it even harder to keep track of what the hell is going on. Then again, this film isn't really about dramatic arcs or plot lines, playing more like a collection of themed sketches (think Yaji And Kita).

The first story follows the romantic adventures of Ovreneli Vreneligare (who's name is repeated constantly throughout his segment), a little boy leading a pretty dull and uneventful life. Until one day, when he runs into Milocrorze and immediately falls in love with her. They hook up (even though Milocrorze is an adult) but their relationship isn't made to last. When they part ways again, this segment of the film is put on ice until the very end.

We switch to the tale of Besson Kumagai, a rather rude and pushy hotline clerk who likes to help nerdy boys get the woman they desire. There's some dancing and three individual sketches to keep us amused, until one day Kumagai runs over a group of weirdos trying to kill a samurai. This samurai is Tamon, a timid guy eying a local girl (Yuri) who runs a small flower shop. When Yuri is kidnapped by an evil gang Tamon transforms into a one-eyed samurai and starts his epic trip in order to save her from a famous brothel. Like I said, forget all hopes of a coherent storyline because you'll be left behind empty-handed.

screen capture of Milocrorze

Even though Ishibashi can't entirely hide the film's low-budget roots he goes through great lengths to keep it visually interesting. The result is a film that isn't technically perfect, but shows terrific potential. From the extremely colorful opening scenes to the poppy interludes and some animation-driven effects, there's always something of interest happening on-screen. The piece the resistance is definitely the 300-esque fighting scene inside the brothel taking up a dazzling 6 minutes.

The music is just as eclectic but fails to really engage. While the soundtrack definitely has its moments, it never really cooperates with the images to give the film that little extra. You can't fault Ishibashi for not trying, he really picked an upbeat, fresh and original selection of tracks, but the overall result is simply a bit disappointing. Maybe tighter coupling with the visuals could've helped the soundtrack to flourish, but as it stands now Ishibashi needs to hone his skills in the sound department.

The acting is quite tongue-in-cheek and over-the-top, as you'd expect for a film of this tone and setting. Takayuki Yamada's comic role was somewhat of a surprise but he handles the part with convincing charm. The rest of the cast is similarly amusing and they fit their parts, but it's clearly no award material. Make sure you don't miss the cameo of Seijun Suzuki though, somehow I always cheer up when I see him on screen, no matter how small his role may be.

screen capture of Milocrorze

If anything, Milocrorze is Ishibashi's way to show the world he's a talented man who deserves to work on a bigger budget. Milocrorze is not just some wacky comedy, it's a showreel of Ishibashi's talent disguised as a feature-length film. In Ishibashi's defense, the result is tons of fun and the variety of elements make it stand out from the rest. As long as you don't expect something that makes a whole lot of sense, Milocrorze is one hell of roller coaster.

Milocrorze may not be as polished or technically proficient as Survive Style 5+, Ishibashi's film is way more ambitious than any of its peers. The different visual styles, the attention to detail and the quick succession of gags is sure to entertain if you can let go of the need to watch a coherent film. There simply aren't enough films like this and Ishibashi could very well becomes one of the strongholds of the genre. I'm already looking forward to his next project.