In it’s own world – Machida-kun no Sekai

Have you ever met someone whose a little… off? I don’t means in a dangerous or other negative connotations. Just someone who you think is completely average until either they open their mouth or start doing something? Like, you think someone will speak a standard dialect of your area only for them to start speaking a completely different language then you anticipated?

Thats what watching “Machida-kun no Sekai” was like. Not just Machida-kun himself, but literally each and every cast member. I certainly found myself more then once staring at the screen thinking well that wasn’t what I was expecting from this film at all. For some, that could be a huge selling point but for me was both helpful and harmful.

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Before I get too much further I should give some plot or premise for this film. The film, you guessed it, is a manga to film adaptation. The story follows Hajime Machida (Hosoda Kanata), a somewhat below average high school boy. He doesn’t have a lot of friends, he’s not athletic and by a large margin isn’t considered traditionally attractive either. The thing about him is that he’s strange. Like very positive and happy strange claiming at various times how much he loves humans. He is incredibly compassionate not only to his peers, and family but strangers as well especially given how cold the world can be at times.

One day, while hyper focusing on what his pregnant mother and siblings want for dinner (hamburger steak by the way) he injures his hand. He goes off to the nurse’s office where he meets Inohara Nana (Sekimizu Nagisa), a female student who isn’t social and tends to cut class. While Nana attempts to ignore him while hiding in the nurses office, she eventually begrudgingly dresses Machida’s wound and that’s where the story begins.

This really isn’t a typical love-story despite its tags. Machida, due to circumstances from a childhood incident really doesn’t understand the difference between friendship and love. This leads to several characters beyond just Nana misinterpreting his feelings towards them, leading to some rather awkward encounters. Inohara Nana is not the ditzy female protagonist lead. In fact she’s largely unlikeable for awhile. She often comes off as cold, and detached having been raised to know there’s more to the world then the high school she’s currently at! She even has goals and aspirations to go abroad.

However, due to how altruistic Machida tends to be, he continues to draw people back into his life. This leads to a lot of somewhat surreal circumstances, and things that left me staring at the screen thinking “did that really happen or not?”.

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Not having read the source material, I got the vibe it was suppose to be more surreal in nature then it was. Don’t get me wrong Machida picks up more slack in that department from the way he presents himself to others, talks, even down to how he rides a bike or runs. However, choices were made to make every character minus Machida completely average and normal. Even Nana is completely ordinary in their delivery and appearance. So where Machida should come off as just slightly odd, he seems almost comical a majority of the time. Even in serious scenes, he would act or do something that would kill whatever mood had been built up.

The series follows a lot of shojo troupes, from angles, rain scenes and more. Given how off Machida-kun was, I was expecting more consistent use of surreal elements, rather then the shock value interruptions that often plagued the story with. I appreciate the effort to try and shake things up, but its very obvious that the source material was probably better at these elements or least less comically off-putting then the film.

I won’t say I was unsatisfied with the film. The supporting cast, especially towards the end really pulls together and shows the force behind Machida-kun and how he’s shaped his small part of the world. And yes, I absolutely baited myself with the promise of Iwata Takanori as a sort of foil character. Seeing him get more diverse roles is nice, but he was not the main point of the film.

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Iwata Takanori’s character wasn’t that relevant to be honest but… I digress.

Honestly, towards the end once Machida-kun begins to change, its very touching. The impact that Machida-kun has on his school is very realistic given how its naturally built into his character and the story. That’s one of the stronger points of the film actually. However, this is nearly immediately lost in the last 10 or so minutes of the film. The surreal and what I will call manga elements, get lost and stray into near absurdism to the point where I was seriously trying to piece together how we got to the ending.

It was weird moment walking out of the theatre and trying to put it all together. The story made me think and reflect about my own life and experiences, the characters brought it to life, and overall it wasn’t a bad experience. It’s not a film I would pick beyond it had Iwata Takanori in it so thats why I watched, but it has it’s moments. If you want something familiar but not, this is worth checking out if you have the chance.


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