After 3 years, the gang from "PIKANCHI" is back!
The Boys' "Life is Hard but Happy" motto is now...
"Life is Hard therefore Happy"
How they've grown!
But their slogan has changed!
From "Life is Hard But Happy" to "Life is Hard Therefore Happy"
The first J Storm Movie "PIKANCHI," based on the boyhood experience of Yoshihiko Inohara (member of pop group,V6), depicted the lives and dreams of five inseparable teenage boys living in a gigantic, culturally insular apartment building complex, and making their way clumsily but passionately through their final days of high school. The second film, "PIKANCHI" (PIKANCHI Double) locates the five young men three years later and, as the subtle change in the movie's sub-title suggests, traces the minute changes in the boys' relationships and spiritual development as they try to adjust to the grounded realities of work, family and real world affairs.
Since they were last together, the five young men, now in their early 20s, have each seen a change in their living environments and are dealing with unexpected new challenges. As they are reunited, they take on the additional task of reconciling who they were with who they've become, attempting to decipher what is most important to them and what part of their past they should recover. They soon find out the answers lie in their bonds of friendship.
Returning to the screen to recreate their starring roles are the members of teen idol group, "ARASHI" (Satoshi Ohno, Sho Sakurai, Masaki Aiba, Kazunari Ninomiya and Jun Matsumoto) along with Hajime Yamazaki and Natsuko Akiyama, a guest appearance by Yoshihiko Inohara and a colorful supporting cast playing new characters, including Atsuko Sakurai
Rejoin the world of "PIKANCHI: Life is Hard Therefore Happy" on a much more explosive level.
When last seen, the five boys of "PIKANCHI" were each going their separate ways after high school. "Shun" (Masaki Aiba) was determined to get into the prestigious "Aoyama Academy" University. "Chu" (Sho Sakurai), who had dropped out of school, was serving as the 25th leader of the local bike gang, Samezu Ikka. "Bon" (Jun Matsumoto) had chosen to follow in his father's footsteps and become a chef but needed to apprentice somewhere. "Haru" (Satoshi Ohno) had landed a job in the produce section of the local supermarket chain store. And "Takuma" (Kazunari Ninomiya) had taken off to California to skateboard and broaden his horizons.
Three years laterc
We find "Takuma" suddenly returned from California where he immediately runs into "Haru" who is still working at the local supermarket and still in the midst of a "whispered" love affair with Kimie (Natsuko Akiyama), a sultry, 40-year-old married woman. But now, the two are practically living together.
The residents of Yashio finds themselves caught in a standoff between city developers, who want to replace the so-called "slum" annex of the compound with a gleaming, 50-story mixed-use high rise called "Yashio Hills," and a citizens' protest group dubbed "Yashio Peace," comprised of tenants and led by Yashio's own "Joan of Arc," Masumi Tsujikaze (Atsuko Sakurai).
Meanwhile, "Chu" has traded in his Vespa and signature "regent" haircut for a 9-to-5 job as a floor salesman at a large consumer appliance store because he now must support a wife and baby boy. "Shun" can now boast that he's made it into "Aoyama Academy" but it's not the one he originally intended. It is a community school of the same name, but teaches crocheting. Surprisingly, he has mastered the craft well enough to become a teacher there. Shun, Takuma, Haru and Chu are reunited and soon find themselves deeply embroiled in the political intrigue of the "Yashio Hills" battle, which is not all as it seems. Only "Bon" is conspicuously absent as he pretends to be living the life of a wandering apprentice chef in Okinawa.
Where is Haru and Kimie's affair leading? What is behind Chu's about-face change in lifestyles? Why has Shun gone from a very ordinary guy to a flamboyant knitting king? What exactly has brought Takuma back to Japan? And where, really, is Bon?
Since their last big hurrah, three years have passed under the bridge for these best friends butc what is the big trap that threatens to ensnare them now that they're together again?
"Don't just decide to move onc I can't keep up."
"This is the first time I've felt needed."
Haruhiko Takada ("Haru") Played by Satoshi Ohno
After graduating from high school, he took a job in the produce department of the Gaus supermarket chain's Yashio store. Though he once pined for Kimie's daughter, it is Kimie who seduced him three years ago, and their "illicit" relationship continues as part-time roommates since Kimie's husband is stationed overseas. Once dubbed as "the guy with the worst luck in Yashio," he is about to play a central role in a major conflict that threatens to consume him.
"I'll work my butt off for you two."
"You're never getting rid of me!"
Tadashi Kamogawa ("Chu") Played by Sho Sakurai
Something in Chu's life over the past three years has prompted him to get rid of the "regent" style haircut that marked him as 25th generation leader of local bike gang, "Samezu Ikka," and take a job at a large consumer appliance store. For one, he is now a married man and proud father, and his outstanding performance as a floor salesman at the store reflects his commitment to supporting a family, which consists of his wife, Yayoi, and one-year-old boy, Teppeki..
"Listen and be impressed! I attend the prestigious Aoyama Academy!"
"It's pointless unless we're all together!"
Shun Okano ("Shun")Played by Masaki Aiba
After spending two years cramming for his entrance exam to Aoyama Academy, Shun is finally a student there. But it's not the prestigious school everyone knows but a small adult school specializing in crochet instruction that carries the same name. Nevertheless, Shun enters and excels in the craft. He launches his own self-made brand he calls "SHUN MEN" and dresses himself completely in his own white creations. But his knitwear turns out to play an unexpected role in the impending conflict that snags the boys.
"Lots of stuff has happened."
"Just be at Haru's side tomorrow."
Takuma Onda ("Takuma") Played by Kazunari Ninomiya
Takuma has turned himself into an expert skateboarder while holding down part-time jobs in California. There, he apparently met up with an old friend, Harry Ranmaru, and the two grew close. While never tiring of skateboarding, Takuma plays guitar for a so-called "mellow-core" rock band along that includes Harry. Their growing popularity abroad has stirred talk back home about the possibility of a reverse import, recording debut, which brings Takuma somewhat hesitantly to Japan.
"I've reached my limit."
"I'd like to bring a smile to their faces."
Rentaro Futaba ("Bon") Played by Jun Matsumoto
Bon began his career as an aspiring chef by working in his father's restaurant but soon came to realize he needed to get more training and experience elsewhere. Three years ago, he boldly declared to his friends, "I'm going to be a wandering chef," and disappears into the sunset. But the truth is, he's now homesick and working as a live-in apprentice at a chic Japanese restaurant called "Mansai" when fateful circumstances allow him to discover the truth behind the sticky quagmire that has captured his four buddies.
DIRECTOR, SCREENWRITER & CREATOR PROFILES
Yukihiko Tsutsumi, Director
Born Nov. 3, 1955 in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture
A graduate of Tohogakuen School of Broadcasting, Tsutsumi made his directorial debut in 1980. His film directing debut came in 1988 with a vignette entitled "Eigo Ga Nanda" (Phooey with English) in the movie, "Bakayaro!." He made New York his base after the movie was released, directing Yoko Ono in the film, "HOMELESS" while also working in "video clip, high-definition" images. In 1994, Tsutsumi helped form the production company, Office Crescendo, to broaden his talents as a stage director and currently is active in a wide variety of entertainment genres, from television drama, commercials and feature films to music videos, CD releases and publishing. His recent film works include "PIKANCHI" ('02), "TRICK" ('02) (feature film version) and "Renai Shashin ('03)." He has amassed a huge following among young viewing audiences with such hit television dramas as "Keizoku," "Ikebukuro West Gate Park," "TRICK" and "Stand Up!" and continues to do so.