Based on the manga and anime series that appeared in Japan during the mid to late 70’s, Haikara-san is a fun and touching romance that has been around for quite a while and continues to be a hit in the country. So much so, they’ve taken it upon themselves to revamp the story into two new movies, with us reviewing the second one titled Haikara-san: Here Comes Miss Modern Part 2. If you enjoy old-school anime romance titles, you’ll want to catch up with this modern tale that’s as fun as it is deep.
Taking place in 1920’s Japan where loads of social restructuring is taking place, Benio Hanamura isn’t your average young lady, as she doesn’t conform to the stereotype of being the woman who cooks, cleans, and raises children. She’s all about living her life and going wherever it takes her, but that comes to a halt when she learns she’s engaged to marry a young soldier named Shinobu Ijuin. She doesn’t like this at first, but slowly begins to fall in love with him after learning he shares her love for independence and cares for her deeply.
Sadly it isn’t long before he’s sent off to a war in Russia and goes missing in action, which leaves Benio in a mess. Just as she’s about to get her life back on track, she sees Shinobu at a train station and realizes he’s lost all of his memories. Determined to help him remember their love, she does all she can with the help of her friend to rekindle their relationship. But with Benio’s father trying to marry her off to another man, it’s a race against time to win Shinobu back, or risk losing him forever.
I didn’t think I’d enjoy this movie as much as I did, but I am a sucker for a good romance story and this one was just as fun as it was touching. Benio’s tomboy attitude against the typical well-mannered ladies of that era was always a treat to behold, and throw in the fact that her best friend is also in love with her just cranks the romance to new and interesting levels.
I also enjoyed how everything in this film is well crafted, from the story to the characters and their actions, to the pacing which was spot on. I haven’t seen anything like this in a while, and it’s always refreshing to watch something with little to no filler/padding as most shows and movies tend to do. The artwork and animation is also well done too, which is a given seeing this is a movie with a nice budget (most likely thanks to Warner Bros. producing it along with other anime films nowadays), and the voice actors fit their characters perfectly, from Benio’s spunky attitude to Shinobu’s kind but strong voice.
If you’re looking for a touching romance that’s also fun and funny, you’ll want to catch a train to 1920’s Japan in Haikara-san: Here Comes Miss Modern Part 2. If you missed out on the first part, you can always pick up a copy on Blu-ray, or check out the convenient recap video (thank you Eleven Arts) before seeing this one and having a modern good time with an old-school classic.