Poison Berry in My Brain 脳内ポイズンベリー (2015) – Japan
Reviewed by: Andrew Chan
Cast: Yoko Maki, Yuki Furakawa, Songha
Director: Yuichi Sato
Writer: Setona Mizushiro
Before we launch into any sort of “Inside Out” similarities debate, I would like to point out that “Poison Berry in My Brain” is based on a 2009’s Japanese manga of the same name. Putting this topic to bed, one can say that the Pixel cartoon borrow the idea from the original manga, while “Poison” draws inspiration from both. The good news is that “Poison” is largely a romantic comedy that talks about decisions and the consequences that we make in life will deter our fate and amongst other things. We as human beings can easily be overwhelm by emotions and sometimes, we make irrational decisions on a spontaneous moment that may or may not result in the best outcome for us. “Poison” explores this notion in a comedic routine through the mind of our protagonist Ichiko Sakurai (played the superb cute-faced Yoko Maki) and like “Inside Out”, there are many voices or “people” in our heads, constantly debating, analyzing, remembering our memories, drawing from our past experiences and ultimately deciding on our next move.
Yoko Maki (“Like Father, Like Son”) plays a 30 year single woman who is on the verve of finishing her first novel and in the process she meets a younger handsome suitor, Ryoichi Saotome (Yuki Furakawa) and instantly falls “heads over heals” for the lad. The manner in which the film explains how the five different “voices” / characters in her head argues about whether they should be together, provides the film with one of many comic moments. As an objective bystander, you can clearly tell that their relationship will not last and how the duo by being together exhausts, Yoko Maki’s creativity and inspiration for life. While Maki blindly supports Yuki Furakawa in his pursue of his dreams of becoming a successful artist, the same cannot be said vice versa. Songha, on the other hand plays the supportive friend and her publishing manager who simply adores her with unrequited love.
Like all things in life, regrets are part of our history and memories and it is these kind of experiences that we draw upon when we make seemingly “better” judgments in our next big life decision. However, as history have shown, human constantly repeats the same mistake over and over again. “Poison Berry in My Brain” excels in depicting the notion of how our emotions can something get the better of our and while it is important to have the “feel” to live, we need to be balanced when it comes to decision making, but when it comes to love, its simply irrational. All in all “Poison” is a fun and interesting romantic comedy that is presented in an innovative ways and goes behind our heads and minds as well as the difficult decision making process that are affect both our lives and others around us. There is no right answers to the decisions we make in our lives, but it is important to understand that we are responsible for it and ultimately it is our memories and experiences that makes up who we are today. It is through these kind of experiences that we grow and “Poison” depicts and embraces precisely that. (Neo 2015)
Recommended film and endorsed by HK Neo Reviews.
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