J-Movie: Tori Girl

I adore this movie and highly recommend it. Tori Girl aka Tori Garu! is everything good wrapped into one. It’s lighthearted and funny, with a great protagonist. And it possesses something that I love about Japanese movies and shows, which is a plot that is about people working hard towards their goals, which is always motivating.

The movie is about a girl, Toriyama Yukina, who enters a college of science, which she is excited about, until she realizes that most of her classmates are dorks.

She gets dragged to a meeting for a “human powered flight” club. For anyone, who like me had no idea what that is, it’s basically a plane made with bicycle parts that runs when the pilots synchronize their pedaling. (Note: It is very similar to the extreme sport Flugtag).

Yukina is not particularly knowledgeable about or interested in human powered flight until… she sees the club president who she immediately likes, especially after he tells her she should join because “she has a good body.” After that, Yukina joins right away, excitedly training to ride into the sky with the club president.

Only, Yukina soon learns that there is another pilot that the President rode with before, who he is also trying to recruit. A big jock like fellow, who spends his time drinking beer and looking mean, named Sakaba Taishi. The two do not hit it off, and spend most of their time squabbling. Squabbling that is extremely entertaining to watch.

Yukina and Sakaba end up having to fly together, just the two of them. Despite their never ending disputes, they somehow manage to perform in the human powered flight competition.

By the time their bike-plane took off, I was so sucked into the movie, and rooting for them, that I realized I was actually holding my breath. And their time in the air was not only suspenseful, but sweet, slightly heartbreaking, and very funny.

This movie is not especially deep or romantic, but it is great. To put this into context, I will only re-watch films or shows after years have gone by because I don’t see the point in seeing something I recently saw. But, I’ll be making an exception for Tori Girl, and will probably watch it again soon because I like it that much.

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