Toronto Japanese Film Festival 2021: Our Review of ‘Lip x Lip Film Live’

Toronto Japanese Film Festival 2021: Our Review of ‘Lip x Lip Film Live’

A woman who runs a talent agency did a cattle call for future idols. And out of hundreds she chose two teenage boys. Yujiro Someya (Koki Uchiyama) has a voice that he can project within the large audition room. Another, Aizo Shibasaki (Nobunaga Shimazaki), is a diamond in the rough. The only catch is that these boys didn’t like each other. But this manager puts them together anyway because there’s great energy that she can harness within this team of rivals a la Grabeel and Tisdale. The manager gives them a nice ultimatum – work together or walk out the door.

LipXLip is a virtual band who became the subject of the series which the animators condensed into an hour long movie. A lot of the storylines involve the manager’s assistants being angry at the Yujiro and Aizo’s unprofessionalism, which the due and the manager scoff away for comic effect. The movie tries this balancing act when it comes to depicting the appeal of every character. It can’t go over the top because this is a movie about teenage boys. But it’s so male gaze-y, especially in depicting the manager’s décolletage, as if women are either too sexual or dumpy.

LipXLip also uses these young characters to queer bait, and I disapprove of queer baiting as a whole. Condensing the duo’s story into an hour long movie makes it feel like they’re rushing everything into that surprisingly short amount of time. What follows the film is a concert from the virtual band that’s just for fans. It would have been nice to know what the duo was singing about. The animation here is pretty shoddy in comparison to the hour long film. And after the numbers, there’s a sketch that reference a scene in the movie that just falls flat.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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