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Popran – Fantasia Review

Comedies are subjective, there is no way around that. Sometimes ideas are better than the execution that is finally delivered. Sometimes comedies only work in different languages if the comedy is physical instead of situation and vocal, there are so many reasons why a comedy doesn’t land all the time. Shin’ichiro Ueda’s Popran on paper sounds great, and even in some of its execution is great, but it comes down to the performance by Yoji Minagawa who just is miscast or misdirected in this comedy.

The film focuses on Tatsuya Tagami, played by the aforementioned Yoji Minagawa as a CEO of a manga company that seems to have a heart. He is not soulless monster like the typical CEO, but also is afraid of anything new or exciting to bring new readers in, he wants to stick to what he knows will sell. After an encounter with a woman the night before, he wakes up to discover that his penis is missing, and not in a way where there was revenge and it was chopped off or anything mortifying like that, just poof its disappeared. No penis no testicles, just a smooth Ken doll down there. In horror he starts frantically trying to figure out what to do, and finds himself in a mens’ room where there is a stick figure, showing someone in his exact situation and a QR code. He goes to a club, the Popran club, where he is told he has to hunt and find his ‘Popran’ within six days before it disappears forever. The only catch, it can fly at 200 km/h.

With a plot as absolutely insane and bonkers as Popran, it is a shame that it falls as hard as it does because of the comedic chops of its leading man. There is so much potential for Popran to become this cult classic comedy of epic proportions, but with the comedic timing of a wet blanket, there really is not much to be desired. His ability to play a likable enough CEO is excellent, as he truly doesn’t come off as salt of the earth, but being challenged with such a horrific future ahead of himself, that’s being played as a comedy, Yoji Minagawa should’ve cranked the physical humour to eleven and let himself be more animated to bring forth this ‘absolutely would be a manga’ concept to the comical stage it truly deserves to be presented at.

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Popran – Fantasia Review


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About The Author

My earliest movie memory, outside of my home theatre in my basement, was going to the local Video 99 and wanting to rent ET only to be told by the shop owner it was playing down the street in theatres. My love for cinema has been alive for as long as I can honestly remember. I would frequent the cinema minutes down from my house daily. It was a second home. Movies are an escape from the everyday world, a window into the soul, a distant friend. If I’m not watching a movie, I’m probably watching a tv show, if I’m doing neither I’m asleep.

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