Tag Archives: Romance

Kuzu no Honkai: A somber visit to love’s graveyard

A disease (or rather, trend) that most modern day romance (and romance-comedy) anime have these days is that they avoid the “darker” issues of infatuation. To them, infatuation is like that first crush in high school: bright, mellow, sometimes bittersweet. The male and female protagonist will end up together, their love made clear by their first kiss delivered amidst a resplendent background, often times with their comrades in the background, cheering “You look great together!”

But rarely do they attempt to trespass into the much darker, Freudian-esque territory, of raw dejected desire and unrequited love. The sheer taxing burden on one’s soul when one gets rejected or sees the love of their life being stolen away by a cunning vixen and being helpless to prevent it is almost never explored; and if it is, it is written off comically. This is where Kuzu no Honkai attempts to go; into the pit of despair, the graveyard where love goes to die and gets replaced by banal desire.

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Plastic Memories: Of Robots and Love


With all these advances in technology, why haven’t we been able to build a robot with an AI on the same level of a human? If we could, then could we build robots that can seamlessly integrate with society, feel emotions, and actually cry? And what would be the future of human-synthetic relationships? Those are the questions that you should be asking when watching Plastic Memories, a beautiful love story between a human and a synthetic.

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ANIME THEORY: A Dark Decoding of 5cm Per Second

Episode 1 Cherry Blossom [Oukashou]

Hey there people, welcome back to ANIME THEORY! After a long absence (you can blame my thesis for that), I’m finally back to interpreting anime, if only for a while. I still have a lot of stuff to do in college. To celebrate Ahotaku39’s second birthday, I’ve decided to re-watch a certain anime that brought me to tears every time I watch it. Yes, this time, I’m going to try to decode the anime sob-fest that is Makoto Shinkai’s 5cm Per Second.

But first of all, thanks to my good friend, Achilles, who told me his interpretation of the anime, which inspired me to do this.

The major issue with this anime movie is that it is an unfinished piece of work. Paradoxically, it being unfinished is what makes this anime so good. Why is it unfinished? Because it is. There is no ending. The anime is an almost perfect reiteration of life and its struggles, mostly love. Its realism is what gives it beauty.

It takes more than just once to truly understand this anime. I’ve watched it like five times (and have been left emotionally destroyed five times too) and I still don’t get a lot of the allegory the anime has to offer, like the rocket ship and that fucking train at the end. But, a sixth rerun (and another emotional breakdown because this movie’s fucking sad and relatable) and it hit me.

You ready?

Akari is dead. Both figuratively and literally.

She died, in Takaki’s point of view, just as they first third of the movie ended with that kiss under the sakura tree on a winter’s night. If you were to go to extremes, she started dying as soon as she moved and they got involved in a long-distance relationship. The second and third part of the anime shows us Sakaki’s healing process over the years as he comes to terms with the fact that Akari is fucking dead.

In the second part, Takaki is still in denial that he won’t ever meet Akari ever again. He gazes off into the distance all the time, sends emails to nobody, and has dreams about Akari. The obvious is that he misses Akari and is desperately trying to get over her.

In the third part, Akari’s spectre continues to haunt him, leading him to depression in his adult life. Then, we get a couple of shots showing Akari with another man, being happy. Akari has long ditched the idea of ever being together with Takaki and is now happy with someone else. At the end, we get to that — goddammit stop crying, man — that fucking train scene. Takaki swears that he saw Akari, but that train, that goddamn train, lingers around just long enough for her to get away. Knowing that Akari is still safe and sound, Takaki feels relieved and has the strength to finally move on and give up on Akari. To strengthen this, in the manga version, a loli version of Akari shows up and bids farewell to Takaki. That loli Akari is a symbol of Sakaki’s past and it bidding goodbye signals that Takaki had moved on from Akari.


Now, what if I told you a darker interpretation?

Akari was already dead in the second part. The dreams Takaki sees are just figments of his imagination, or if you would, Akari haunting him. Same goes with him staring off into the distance and sending emails to nobody. At this time, Takaki still thinks that Akari is alive somewhere, but too busy to indulge him.

It all comes together in the final act. Takaki must have, at some time, knew of Akari’s death. For the sake of drama, let’s just say she killed herself because she couldn’t be with Takaki. Her suicide caused him to fall into depression. Remember that he continues to work and work to get his minds off things. Oh, all of those scenes depicting Akari with another man? All figments of his imagination. He wanted to believe Akari was still alive out there. The real kicker is that goddamn train. All he saw was a random woman who happened to look like Akari. As the train passed, the woman was gone. I’ll assume that that was Akari in spirit form, saying her final goodbye to Takaki. Takaki, being the unlucky bastard he is, missed that all because of a motherfucking train.

If you still don’t believe me, try reading the lyrics to the song “One More Time, One More Chance”, or as I like to call it, “the Itsudemo song”. I’ll paste one verse here, if you’re that lazy (source):

itsudemo sagashiteiruyo dokka ni kimi no sugata wo
mukai no HOOMU rojiura no mado
konna toko ni iru hazu mo nai noni
negai wa moshimo kanau nara imasugu kimi no moto e
dekinai koto wa mou nani mo nai
subete kakete dakishimete miseru yo


I am always searching somewhere for you
Opposite of the house, the other side of the alley’s window
Even though I know you won’t be here
If my wish is to be granted, please bring me to you right now
Betting and embracing everything
To show you there’s nothing else I can do

Notice that the line “itsudemo sagashiteiru yo” is repeated six times throughout the entire song. The song basically tells us the plot of the story in a nutshell: the boy searches far and wide for something that he can’t get. So, Takaki is basically searching for something that he can’t get or meet, that is, Akari. Even though he looks through every nook and cranny, he can’t ever find Akari. Why? Because she is fucking dead.

And so this ends my interpretation of Makoto Shinkai’s sob-fest that is 5cm Per Second. But, it’s just a theory, though. An ANIME THEORY! Hope you enjoyed this post and hopefully when I’m done with this crapload of work, I’ll be back to writing more serious ANIME THEORIES like the philosophy of Tokyo Ghoul or Psycho-Pass. Until then, I’ll be retreating into my dark hole. Bye!


ANIME THEORY: Psychology of a Tsundere – Why They’re Attractive

First off, let me thank my girlfriend for helping me out with some of the information used in this THEORY. Much love to you! I would also like to thank my coworker for providing me access to the journal article written by Aronson and Linder. You’re the best, man! And this THEORY goes to my good friend, Tsujivo, because he suggested the idea. Also, it’s his birthday today!

Welcome to the fourth episode of ANIME THEORY! This time, rather than tackling a specific anime, I’m going to tackle an anime character type which all of you may have come to love or hate. Introducing… the Tsundere!

Ah, the tsundere. This over-used character type is existent in almost every anime, especially those harem romance comedies. In 2012, the most popular tsundere was Misaka Mikoto from Railgun. But, what is a tsundere?

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Calling (A Sequel to Partings)

This is another piece of short fiction I’ve written for my campus magazine. It is the direct sequel from my previous piece titled “Partings”. Hope you enjoy!


“Who is this? How did you get this number?”

A loud crackling sound was all I heard.


“zzhhh… *crackle*… Mi…ya”

My legs felt limp. Cold sweat trickled down my neck. As I felt my heart pounding, my brain focused on one question: Who was this person?


                Four years have passed since Taku’s death. I’ve been living my life in the United States as a college student.  I’ve finally achieved my bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from Stanford University. I have to admit though, even after four years, it hasn’t been easy letting go of Taku. His death left a rather large hole in my life. But, I didn’t let any of those feelings interfere with my studies. I managed to graduate with a GPA of 3.8 and I’m thinking of going back to Japan to put my skills to use. Taku’s uncle set me up in a research facility in Tokyo, which was a stone’s throw away from my house. I couldn’t wait to finally go home!


Chiba prefecture, Greater Tokyo, Japan

As I stepped out of the plane, I took a deep breath. The crisp winter air of Narita rekindled a lot of memories inside me. My mother and father, looking older than their photos on Facebook, were right there waiting for me. I couldn’t control the torrent of emotions dwelling inside me. My right hand started twitching. Before I knew it, tears started flowing down my cheeks and I ran towards them. With open arms they welcomed me, and the three of us rejoiced in a warm embrace.


Arisato Engineering Industries, BIOTECK Division, Minato Ward, Tokyo

“Could you hand me that sample of river water, Haruka?”

“I’ve checked three times already, there are no contaminants in it!”

“But we still have to be sure…”

With a grunt, the beaker changed hands.  As I examined the water, Haruka started talking.

“Have you heard the newest urban legend? It’s a buzz all over the Internet,” she asked.  As expected from Haruka, the girl who spends most of her free time on the Net. Trying to be polite, I responded.

“No… what is it?”

“Well, you know Kamezuka Park?”

When she mentioned that familiar name, I felt a tingle. I used to play in that park when I was still in primary school. I would climb the giant rock that looked like a turtle’s shell and sit on top of it with my friends. It was illegal to do so; we were shooed by the caretaker of the park, but we always came back. “Yeah I know that place, what of it?”

“It’s known as the ‘Midnight Calling’. The legend says that if you stand by the stone monument at midnight on a Friday, you can get a call from a dead person. And when you answer it, you get spirited away. But, they also say that you can actually talk to the person calling you. I heard it was always the person closest to you,” My ears went temporarily deaf when Haruka let out a high-pitch scream of mock terror.


Friday, 11.45 PM, Kamezuka Park

I must be an idiot for believing Haruka, but she had me at “the person closest to you”. Last week, I visited Taku’s grave and cried like a little baby. I needed some closure, and if a stupid urban legend would help me get that, so be it. My watch told me it was ten minutes to midnight. I cupped my hands and put them in front of my mouth. White vapor billowed as I blew into them. A sudden burst of chilling wind forced me to tighten my scarf. I regret not wearing a heavier jacket. As I shivered, the clock finally hit midnight and the moment of truth near. I took out my cellphone, its light blinding me for a second. Nothing. It was 12.00 AM.


1 minute…


2 minutes…


10 minutes passed… still nothing.


I felt stupid. I should have known better than to believe Haruka. Besides, I would freeze to death if I stood by any longer. Just as I turned, I felt my hands vibrating. An eerie monophonic tone started playing though my phone was on silent. I checked the screen. No caller ID on the screen. The clock showed 12:13 AM.  I stood there, frozen. Was this it? Was this the fabled “Midnight Calling”? I gulped. Should I answer it? Though my hands were shaking uncontrollably, my right thumb managed to press the ‘answer’ button. I held the phone to my ear.


Silence. Total silence.


I started speaking. “He-hello?”


A blast of noise pierced my eardrums. It sounded like screaming and static jumbled together. I jumped, almost losing grip of the phone. “What was that?” I panted. Cold sweat started trickling down the back of my neck.  “I don’t believe in ghosts, I don’t believe in ghosts…” I chanted under my breath. Hands trembling, I put the phone near my ear again.


I heard faint hissing and the sound of crackling static. The sounds went on for a few seconds. When the crackles subsided, I heard a faint voice beckoning me.




Upon hearing this particular voice, feelings of nostalgia and warmth started simmering inside me. I couldn’t believe my ears. Could it possibly be?

“Taku, is… this really you?”

“Yes… it’s me, Taku,” His voice started becoming clearer, though it was still echoing.

A single tear ran down my right cheek. I have finally heard the voice I yearned for years.

“You… idiot…” I said between sniffles. “You finally talk to me after 4 years…”


The first rays of dawn bathed my body with glistening warmth. My phone was still attached to my ear. The warmth tickled me, reminding me of the fatigue my body had to endure all night long. As though he could read my mind, Taku told me to hang up. “Miya… it’s been great talking to you, but you need to live on. Don’t ever think of joining me here. There’s no Wi-Fi in Hell,” I let out a burst of laughter. “No, really. I mean it. Don’t come and join me. You have a bright future in front of you. I was just your passing fancy. You’re bound to meet someone special real soon,” I knew he was smiling on the other side.

Half of me did not want to hang up. I wanted to talk to him more. But, I knew that we were both two beings on different planes. With a sniffle, I asked him, “Can I call you again?”

A brief silence ensued.

“No. You can’t. This is just a one-time deal,” Taku said heavily.

“I understand,”

“Goodbye forever, Miya,”

And with that, Taku left me standing in the middle of the park. I buried my head in my hands, letting my tears flow freely, kneeling on the fresh snow…


                One week later…

“Urgh, time to pay the bills…” I opened the mailbox, which was filled to the top with envelopes. I tossed out the junk mail and took in the bills.

“How did I manage to use up 7,000 yen in gas and electricity? Oh yeah, it’s winter…” I wrote down the expense in my ledger and continued on to the next bill. It was my cellphone bill. When I read the numbers on the bill, I felt a large weight smack me right in the face. My hands started quivering and I felt malicious rage bubbling inside me.

“DAMN IT, TAKU! You made me pay the phone bill!” I hollered at the top of my voice, shaking the entire second floor of my apartment.



This is a piece of fiction I submitted to my university magazine, and I feel it’s time to make it accessible to the whole world. This story is inspired by supercell’s “Sayonara Memories”, a song I used to play during the worst of my breakup period. Please enjoy!

UPDATE: Here is the link to the sequel, titled “Calling”.


“Clothes… check. Shoes… check. I guess everything’s in here,”

With her two small but sturdy arms, Miya forced the pile of clothes into her large, pink suitcase. With a loud zip, she fastened the zippers and closed the suitcase. Miya let out a long breath of exhaustion. She threw herself onto her fluffy bed and stared at the ceiling.

“I’m gonna miss this bed,” she whispered.

Miya had just graduated from high school and tomorrow, she will be departing for the United States to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Microbiology. She was making her final preparations before her flight tomorrow.

Twelve beeps rang throughout the large room, making Miya’s hairs stand on end. A tiny clock was vibrating on her desk, amidst the scattered loose-leaf and books.

“Midnight already? Better get ready for bed,” she said lazily while trying to get up.

She let out a large yawn and slowly walked towards the door. Her hand was just centimeters away from the doorknob when she caught a small glitter from her desk. The sounds of paper being brushed away violently continued for a couple of seconds, followed by the thumps of books being briskly dropped to the floor. A single envelope, covered in glitter and a scribble which was supposed to be a name, was all that remained. Miya picked up the envelope and gazed at it intently. A sudden nostalgic feeling coursed through her body. Forgetting that she should be taking a hot shower and it was past midnight, she sat at her desk and stared at the envelope with a reminiscent gaze in her eyes.


Two weeks ago…

“Did you watch yesterday’s soccer match?”

“Yeah! Madrid really rocked, didn’t they?”

“Tsuchiya! The teacher’s looking for you!”

Almost twenty students were in the classroom, resulting in a high degree of chatter and noise. Miya sat at her desk quietly in the back row. In her hand she held an envelope covered in glitter. Her legs were fidgeting under the desk, as were her hands.

Today was the last day of classes. In two days, Miya was going to attend her graduation ceremony alongside her fellow third-years. However, Miya had one last thing to do before this day ended and it involved the envelope in her hand. Today, that envelope should be in the hands of Taku, Miya’s male friend from class 3-2. Miya had postponed this task over and over throughout her high school years. But no longer shall she delay her wish. The letter had to be in Taku’s hands by the end of the day.

Crows cawed in the crimson sky above. The cool spring breeze caused several cherry blossoms to billow away.  Miya was standing under the tree; her back slouched against the tree’s hard trunk and her hands constantly fiddling with the envelope. She took a glimpse at her watch. It was almost 4 o’clock.

“Where could he be?” said Miya. She was anxiously looking around, expecting Taku to come any minute. It was not like Taku to be late. Could he have forgotten our appointment? Miya shook her head hard. No, Taku’s gonna come. I’m sure of it.

The sun had already disappeared, its light replaced by artificial lights from the streetlamps around the tree. Miya was leaning on the trunk, covering her neck with a long, wool scarf. Her eyes looked distant and were watery. She occasionally bit her lip and muttered under her breath. In her right hand, a dim light from her cellphone illuminated her dejected face. Taku, where are you? Suddenly, Miya’s cellphone started ringing. Miya promptly answered it. After a few minutes, the caller hung up. Miya then pocketed her cellphone. She pulled up her scarf, gazed at the twilight sky, and started walking home.


Present day, 9 AM…

“Miya, remember, your flight leaves at 7.30 PM! Go say your goodbyes to friends and be back by 4 PM, kay?” Miya’s mother reminded her.

Miya was just getting ready to walk to school, where all of her friends were holding her farewell party. Miya was wearing a cream-white sweater, a red pleated skirt and matching red-white sneakers with knee-high colored socks. She finished up tying her shoelaces and bolted out the door while shouting, “Bye, mom!”

As she walked the hill road that led to school, Miya saw her high school life flash before her, as if her mind were projecting her vivid memories onto the buildings and walls she passed by. As Miya passed the vacant lot near the intersection, she saw first-year Miya crash into first-year Taku. Paper and books scattered everywhere. First-year Miya was constantly apologizing to an angered Taku, who was busy picking up the result of their fruitful encounter. My first meeting with Taku… how nostalgic.

Miya saw second-year Miya chatting happily with second-year Taku as she passed the stone walls of the hill road near the school building. Compared to the current Miya, second-year Miya had short hair and was slightly shorter. Ah, I remember… this was that day when I walked home together with Taku.

She continued along the road and within minutes, the school building was visible. There was nobody in sight. The spring breeze whistled in Miya’s ear as she saw second-year Miya in her sports uniform; a white nylon shirt and red short sport pants; running alongside second-year Taku on the track. Second-year Miya was smiling cheerfully at Taku, who was closely behind. Suddenly, second-year Miya slipped. Second-year Taku promptly grabbed her hand, but Miya’s momentum caused both of them to crash into the brown soil with a loud “Kyaaah!” from second-year Miya. They sat there on the track, brushing off dirt from their uniforms, as others passed, laughing at them. Second-year Miya and Taku’s eyes met and they both exchanged heartened laughs. Second-year Taku noticed a gash across second-year Miya’s elbow and reached into his pocket. A small Band-Aid was in his right hand. He told second-year Miya to stay still as he applied the Band-Aid onto the gash. Second-year Miya was speechless and blushing very hard. As expected from Taku, always coming prepared. Miya looked at her right elbow. The Band-Aid was gone, but a small scar remained.

Miya entered the building and she saw more glimpses of her past as she approached her classroom; this time, she saw her recent third-year memories. She saw herself frantically preparing decorations for the cultural festival with her friends. She also saw herself in the library, pondering over a mountain of textbooks accompanied by Taku. They were studying for finals and Taku needed tutoring help. She was lecturing Taku, who occasionally yawned. Ah Taku, you were never great at studying.

Miya was in front of Class 3-2’s sliding door. She could hear faint sounds from inside. She reached to the door handle and slid it open. Shouts and cries of joy welcomed her, along with several hugs from Sayu and Yui, her two closest friends.


                Present day, 3 PM…

“It’s been two weeks, huh? We shared a lot…” Miya’s eyes started to water, “…but you never told me you had a heart condition,” Miya said mournfully.

In front of her, a dark and elegant gravestone stood. The sweet fragrance of incense entered Miya’s nose, giving her a relaxed feeling. Beside the incense at the base of the gravestone, a bouquet of white roses and forget-me-nots was neatly arranged. Miya crouched in front of the gravestone and put her hands together. She closed her eyes and whispered a prayer only known to her. When she finished, she rummaged through her back pocket and produced an envelope, the same envelope which she has been holding on to. She gazed at it for a while, remembering all the memories that certain envelope contained. Her eyes started to water, but she had a sincere smile on her face. Slowly, she put the envelope at the base of the gravestone along with the bouquet of flowers. Tears started flowing down her cheeks, but Miya did not wipe them. She stood up silently and turned around.

“Goodbye, Taku. I’ll never forget you. Thank you for the memories you gave me,” Miya said, her eyes overflowing with tears and her head held high.


Boku no Kanojo wa Cyborg [2008]: Human and Machine Love Story

I raided my friend’s external hard drive a couple of days back and copied most of his anime, games, and movies. I must have copied this movie by accident. I had nothing to do last Saturday, so I decided to watch Boku no Kanojo wa Cyborg also known as Cyborg She. It was released in 2008 and it’s a real movie, not an animated movie. I never regretted the two hours I spent in front of my laptop that day. This movie is just impressive!


Movie data

Original title: Boku no kanojo wa saibôgu / 僕の彼女はサイボグ

Released: 2008

Genre: Sci-fi, Comedy, Romance, Action

Origin: Japan

Director: Jae-Young Kwak

Main actors/actresses: Keisuke Koide (protagonist), Haruka Ayase (Cyborg), Risa Ai (Future Girl)


Keisuke Koide plays the role of Jiro, the protagonist of the movie. Jiro is a 20-year old lonely college student who meets a beautiful girl on his 20th birthday. The girl takes him out for a few hours of fun (real fun, not the ecchi stuff you may be thinking about). Once the hours pass, the girl disappears and Jiro is left alone again. On his 21st birthday, the girl turns up again, at the same restaurant Jiro met her last year. She saves Jiro from a drunk psychopath who opens fire in the restaurant. Little does Jiro know that his encounter with this girl would be the beginning of a series of life-changing events…

The Cyborg arrives in Terminator fashion, clad in blue lightning...
The Cyborg arrives in Terminator fashion, clad in blue lightning…

Synopsis (minor spoiler alert)

The main storyline spans over a 126 year period, starting from 2007 until 2133. This time jumps aren’t confusing, but it does get confusing when I try to write it down. The whole storyline finally connects at the ending, so you’ll need to watch till the very end. So, here’s a (somehow) chronological order of events:

Year 2007

Jiro meets Future Girl for the first time. Wait, wasn’t he supposed to meet Cyborg first? The reasons are explained in the ending of the movie.

Future Girl plays with Jiro in 2007
Future Girl plays with Jiro in 2007

Year 2008 (Cyborg timeline)

Jiro celebrates his 21st birthday. Cyborg meets up with Jiro and protects him from being gunned down by a sick psychopath. It turns out that Cyborg was sent back in time by Future Jiro to protect Jiro (Terminator, anyone?). The main part of the movie happens during this year. With the help of Cyborg, Jiro’s life changes into a bright and cheerful life. However, in 2008, Japan was struck by an earthquake. Jiro survives the earthquake, but Cyborg died trying to save Jiro.

Sweet, just sweet. I'll buy a cyborg girlfriend
Sweet, just sweet. I’ll buy a cyborg girlfriend
Cyborg saves Jiro from the earthquake
Cyborg saves Jiro from the earthquake

Circa Year 2070

Jiro becomes a scientist and finally succeeds in rebuilding Cyborg, while creating multiple copies at once. We see old Jiro silently pass away while looking out of the window…

Circa Year 2133

We see some high school students visiting a museum. Future Girl looks at an exhibit of Jiro and Cyborg, and feels that she looks just like Cyborg. Then, we arrive at an auction, where Cyborg is being auctioned. Future Girl wins Cyborg and transfers Cyborg’s memories into her. Future Girl is determined to re-live Cyborg’s life with Jiro in 2008. She then gets permission for time travel and arrives in Year 2007, right where we started.

Year 2008 (Future Girl timeline)

It turns out that Future Girl fell in love with Jiro. She returns to the past again in 2008, right during the earthquake and Cyborg’s death scene. She then “replaces” Cyborg’s role as Jiro’s girlfriend because she wanted to be with Jiro.

Future Girl arrives in 2008 right after Jiro digs up Cyborg's remains...
Future Girl arrives in 2008 right after Jiro digs up Cyborg’s remains…


I’m not a professional critic, but I know a good love story when I see one. I felt like I was watching a real-life romance + comedy anime. You’ve got a sub-standard guy as a protagonist, a superpowered but emotionless girl as his “girlfriend”, a perverted best buddy, and a lot of dramatic and romantic events. There were many charming moments in this movie, such as Jiro’s trip back in time to his home village and Cyborg’s daring rescue. There were also heartbreaking events such as Cyborg’s death and Jiro’s one-sided love. We also get the typical lovers quarrel involving a bimbo and a club. Though some of the romance dwells in cliched moments, Jiro and Cyborg’s chemistry make up for it. Also, we’re talking about a love story that surpasses the limits of time! A girl in the future coming back just to live with the man she loves. If that isn’t epic, what is?

LOL real-life panty shot!
LOL real-life panty shot!

The music was simply outstanding, especially the background music. At some points, I felt like I was watching a masterly-made visual novel. The BGM was heart-touching and warm. I just loved the insert song titled “Kizuna”.

The storyline is a bit complex and requires a bit of work to understand, but once you get it, you’ll feel that this love story is quite a strong one and definitely better than Twilight. What else can we expect from the director that brought us My Sassy Girl?

I’d recommend this as a great date movie, if only I had a girlfriend… but, even if you’re single, watch it. It’s worth your time, and you will NOT regret it.