Ring of Curse (English Subtitled)
"four black death
grudge feather death
poet demon blood lyrics
stub death child
paper dream nest teeth
teacher comparison bad
heart pump blood
blood runs in body
you die when blood stops
artery and vein
breath stopping breath
think and breath
inhale exhale and inhale
and exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale
death death death death beat cut
gu fancy death
w eri death gogito death"
These are the words that open Ring of Curse following a short introduction by the members of Buono! Known as Gomennasai in its native country, Ring of Curse is a film adaptation of a cell phone novel. It stars the members of the three-person Hello! Project group Buono! as the characters of Yuka Hidaka, Hinako Kurohane, and Shiori Sonoda.
The story is split into three acts, told as a diary made by the protagonist, Yuka. Act 1 deals with Sonoda deciding to bully Kurohane following a test, disgusted by the fact that the weird, loner girl has been besting her grades. Since Kurohane had previously won a literary contest, Sonoda, as class president, decides to have her write a play for the cultural festival, with the intent to degrade her attempts. However, Kurohane soon turns the table on her tormentors through her writing.
Act 2 takes the form of Kurohane's diary, detailing her backstory and her reasons for what she did and Act 3 takes place a year after the events in Act 1 as Kurohane's curse rears its head again in Yuka's life.
I have to say, both Miyabi Natsuyaki and Momoko Tsugunaga did an excellent job portraying Kurohane and Sonoda. Miyabi does a perfect job capturing Kurohane's creepy and weird personality while Momoko nailed Sonoda's alpha bitch personality. If I didn't knew better, I would had thought Ms. Tsugunaga was one in real-life. Both women showed they can portray people that are complete opposites of their normal personalities and do it perfectly.
Airi Suzuki's portrayal of Yuka is just okay. Besides Ring of Curse/Gomennasai, I've seen Suzuki in Keitai Kanojo, Ousama Game, and Suugaku Joshi Gakuen (all three through fansubs since this film is the only one with an official English release). In the former two, it was the same as here. However, I quite enjoyed her appearance as one of the math girls of the week in Suugaku Joshi Gakuen and I think I know why. In Ring of Curse, Keitai Kanojo, and Ousama Game, her characters are mostly passive observers to the supernatural events, rarely actually taking an active role in the events. When the character does take an active role, as what happens here here and in Keitai Kanojo, she quickly becomes passive again, other characters taking the lead again. In fact, in Ousama Game, here character is completely a passive background character, occasionally delivering a line on the current situation and nothing else. In Suugaku, however, she actually takes an active role in her starring episode, being the antagonist of the week and showing a lot of personality. Really, the problem I find is that Ms. Suzuki just happens to get the misfortune of getting the weakest character and not really getting enough material to work with.
The translation for the subtitles are okay. Really, the only things that stick out to me is the fact that they translate -san, so you have situations where high schoolers are referring to each other as Mr./Ms. <insert family name>. It's just weird seeing students refer to each other in such a way. I feel they should had just omitted the honorifics in those situations. I also found they misspelled Yuka's name as Yuri neared the end and of course, there is the end of the opening text, which looks to have been left somewhat untranslated.
Now, throughout the film there are voice overs by Yuka, and some by Kurohane in Act 2. When it comes to Yuka's, they're mostly redundant. They mostly tell you what you are seeing on screen or are about to see. Kurohane's, on the other hand, actually helps to set the mood of Act 2 and works with the fact that we're supposed to be seeing what is in her diary as narrated by her words. It truly feels like a diary brought to life and brought substance to those scenes. Yuka's is just tedious and should had been dropped. Yeah, the whole movie is supposed to be Yuka's written recount of the events, but it just doesn't have the same feeling as Kurohane's.
Is Ring of Curse a bad film? No. Is it good? No. It is an average film of its kind. It's not really scary and the protagonist is overshadowed by her costars. The only part that really made me jumped was when Sonoda showed back up at the end of Act 1 and that was because of how sudden it was, not because of fright. *Nyan*
There was also a part before that that is just confusing. See, there is a scene where Yuka is at home where Sonoda calls her, asking if she was the one who sent the text with the weird message. Of course, it turns out to be Kurohane using Yuka's name. However, shouldn't Sonoda know from the get-go that it wasn't Yuka? She called Yuka's cell phone. She should have known that it wasn't from her by the fact the numbers wouldn't have matched. Plus, Yuka isn't someone who strikes me to forget to tell someone she changed numbers. It just feels like a plot hole.
I say only watch this if you're a fan of Buono! or one of the girls or are a fan of J-Horrors and want to experience all of them. Really, the best thing of the film is Miyabi and Momoko's acting. Other than that, the rest is just average.
As an aside, I find it funny that Arisa Komiya, who played Yoko Usami/Yellow Buster in Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, plays one of Sonoda's posse. You see, back when all we knew of the sentai was the name Go-Busters, people speculated that it was going to be dealing with ghosts or curses in some way. That later turned out to be wrong. However, with that knowledge, it is funny that Komiya was in this before Go-Busters. In fact, her character's given name here is Yoko, same as on the show. It's almost as though Ring of Curse was predicting the future a little bit.