Shinichi Tsutsumi works hard to keep Yuichi Fukuda adaptation of the manga far from disappointment…
Every dream worth of its name has no need to be loaded with too much details or by a vast background for its foundation: to fully appreciate it, lightness is the first requirement. Same argument works for Yuichi Fukuda’s adaptation of Shunju Aono’s manga, I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow.
A middle age crisis hits Shizuo Oguro (Shinichi Tsutsumi, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, Our Little Sister) like some sort of lazy lightning. He quits his job and opts for a life playing videogames in a narrow living room until he’ll find a purpose: become a mangaka. It doesn’t matter if he has never tried in his life neither drawing nor writing stories: from now one he’ll do his best to make it true.
This idea is seemingly appreciated by his daughter Suzuko (Ai Hashimoto, Parasyte, Confessions), unconcerned for her own future and a bit supportive, even if her words are barely whispered to him. Can’t be said the same for his furious father Shiro (Renji Ishibashi, Outrage, Homeland), always dressed with a white pajamas like some sort of Dickensian Ghost of Christmas Past.
Shizuo wipes out responsibility from his life, tabula rasa, but the absurdity of the situation doesn’t breath without creating a ripple effect and influencing other people’s lives: for example Osamu (Katsuhisa Namase, A Lone Scalpel, The Snow White Murder Case), divorced and with one desire in mind, making his son Masao happy… by just feeding him with sweets. Or Shizuo’s new “friend” Shuichi (Takayuki Yamada, Crows Zero, Monsterz), a silent, sometimes violent, twenty-something with a dream to become a “boring” man with a salaried job.
I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow is pretty transparent: you could see it originated from a manga from a mile away. No doubts about it. Especially thanks to an exuberant stellar performance by Shinichi Tsutsumi and director Fukuda, whose decision is obviously to let the manga characteristics outlive their death in the transition from paper to film.
Even the framing keeps the dynamic of the comic form, with Tsutsumi jumping around like the viewer’s eye could simply follow him in the next strip, surrendering to a order of things uncommon for the big screen. Tsutsumi’s Shizuo is a hard pawn to cage, conscious of the limits of what is and what is not in front of the camera, acting in and out of the character.
Fukuda’s style is mirrored in the very idea of the film – screenplay also written by him, a 42 year old man with a degree of responsibility below zero, inferior to that of his own daughter who lends him money – impossible to tame, to keep within the ranks of prefixed destinations imposed by a limited society. A detail that brings a bit too much predictability to the plot, driving towards a quick disappointing ending.
Fukuda lacks the skills to orchestrate the various sub plot in a satisfying way and at the same time can’t fully entertain the public with the main plot. Too much static from the beginning, consisting of a repetition of nights spent drawing and a series of weird meetings with Murakami (Gaku Hamada, Fish Story, See You Tomorrow, Everyone), Shizuo’s chosen publisher.
But what’s actually behind Suzuko’s calm attitude? What is going on with Osamu’s life? What exactly is Shuichi’s story apart from his boredom? A bunch of questions whose answers will arrive and abruptly represent I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow’s final scenes. Anyway there’s still enough to appreciate Fukuda’s movie, even if it would have certainly gained a lot if the screenplay/directing were nurtured better.
Whoever’s approaching I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow won’t come out of the screening unhappy; the it-could-have-been-better feeling won’t diminish the incredible effort by its actors. Not only the aforementioned Tsutsumi, both Namase and Yamada do their best despite having little to work with; same goes for Ishibashi in a small but important role. Too bad Hashimoto isn’t strong enough to stand out as much as her co-stars.