Saturday, April 16, 2011

Keitai Kanojo review + plot analysis (spoilers!)

It's been a long time since I reviewed anything, eh?

I finally got a chance to watch Keitai Kanojo last night so here is my review. I wanted to make this post separate from my other post with the download link because this review will contain massive spoilers. I will discuss major plot points and the ending so read at your own risk!

When Keitai Kanojo ("Cellphone Girl") was announced November of last year, I was excited to say the least. My favorite Idol (Suzuki Airi), in my favorite movie genre (horror)? Sounds like a recipe for awesomeness. But, the straight-to-DVD stipulation had me a little worried. Would the movie be as cheaply made as your normal Hello! Project PV? Would the acting be corny? And more importantly, would the story be a rehashed shell that we've seen countless times?

Let's get on with the story.

(I want to quickly say that I only have a limited grasp of the Japanese language and some of this is probably inaccurate. Please correct me if I'm wrong in any way.)

The movie opens with some random guy texting on his cellphone. He sends a message and a virtual girl named Erika replies to each of his messages.

Say something nice and the love meter increases,

but if you really want to please her, you need to do her a "favor".

"See you~ Erika's request is..."
The screen then focuses on two girls walking toward the camera minding their own business when they run into creepy cellphone guy. They have a stare-down, and then

Pow! Right in the kisser.
Poor girl gets punched hard by creepy cellphone guy. I couldn't help but laugh. Sorry lady.

He then proceeds to smash her face in the pavement until she dies. Only 3 minutes into the movie and we have our first bloody scene.

This is where the movie's budget shows. The head smashing sound effects were laughably bad. I'm not going to pretend I know what sound someone's head makes when it comes in contact with cement (which I suppose is a good thing), but I have a feeling it's not quite like that.

There also was no gore to speak of, which is a shame because I think that Japan as a whole does gore better than Hollywood. The creepy cellphone guy did have quite the disturbing look on his face while carrying out the murder, which at least made up for the lack of effects.

After the deed is done, the love meter shoots up to 100% while the cellphone flashes "Complete". Shortly thereafter, creepy cellphone guy makes a weird zombie choking noise and passes out next to his recently murdered victim.

A crowd soon gathers and creepy cellphone guy #2 shows up before the movie fades to a title screen.

Finally, 10 minutes in, Airi makes her first appearance. She plays the role of another girl named Erika. To distinguish between the two Erika's, I'll just call the cellphone game girl Erika, and I'll call Airi by her real name.

Airi is seen walking in a park alongside one of her female classmates, Chiho. Almost immediately after, they are interrupted by a guy hiding in the bushes.

What is it with this movie and creepy guys?
He has on the same uniform as them and is obviously a classmate. Though who knows why he was lurking in the bushes.

After Chiho runs the guy off, the two of them decide to go shopping. Airi volunteers to go upstairs to buy drinks, so Chiho whips out her mp3 player with stylish headphones and waits. Everything seems normal until a bunch of screams are heard. Some insane guy just finished murdering someone with a pipe and is still thirsty for bloodshed.

Airi yells from above to her unsuspecting friend that a murderer is heading right for her, but Chiho's headphones are apparently the awesome noise canceling kind, so she can't hear Airi's desperate screams.

Airi begins to run towards her and finally manages to get Chiho's attention

but it was a bit too late.

Once again, I couldn't help but laugh. It was a combination of Chiho being blissfully unaware of what lurked behind her and the sound that the pipe made when it made contact with her skull. I'm such a horrible person.

Though, seeing Airi get emotional stopped my laughter almost instantly. The look of horror on her face was perfectly fitting of the what had just occurred.

This is when I really started to take notice of Airi's acting skills. Throughout the movie we get to see many sides to Airi that we rarely (if ever) see from her. From melancholy to absolute fear, she convincingly portrayed the emotional rollercoaster that was necessary for her character.

Thankfully for her, creepy cellphone guy #2 passes out (like the other cellphone guy before him) after his love meter reaches 100%. Airi picks up his cellphone, sees the girl in the game shares her name (and kinda looks like her), and then proceeds to faint a few seconds later.

After focusing on some police detective for a while, we are taken to a nightmare that Airi is having.

Keitai Kanojo isn't really a scary movie, but this scene was a bit frightening. I also really love the camera angle here. Every once in a while the movie goes into the first person perspective and that really adds a lot to the movie. The camera angles, the editing, and the transitions as a whole were very well done throughout.

When Airi awakes from her nightmare, we are treated with some fanservice.

Airi in pajamas! kyaaa~
Unfortunately, that scene didn't last long (but there is another pajama scene later!) because Airi must go visit Chiho in the hospital. Apparently being hit in the head with a pipe didn't kill her; it "only" put her in a coma. This is where we get to see a melacholic and tearful Airi for the first time.

When she's finished at the hospital, she goes and chills in the park before she dozes off to sleep. It's nightmare time again! This time, Erika from the cellphone game makes an appearance.

Airi wakes up only to find another creepy cellphone guy who just passed out. However this time, the love meter reads 0% and the cellphone flashes "Game Over".

Trying to process what just happened, Airi looks around and sees, yep you guessed it, creepy cellphone guy #4. Unlike her other encounters with the creepy cellphone guys, Erika makes an appearance in the real world and is giving Airi the death stare.

Creeped out by what she saw, Airi runs home to clear her mind. Bring on moar pajama Airi!

Just when pajama Airi was busy being stressed out, a familiar face rings the doorbell.

Creepy bushes classmate guy makes a return. I really need to come up with better nicknames
This scene is one of my favorites of the movie. All of the movie's strengths are displayed here. Airi fanservice, Airi acting decently well, great camera work, and hey the sound effects sounded fine!

Airi ignores the nonstop doorbell ringing and retreats to a corner in her bedroom. Time slows down (as illustrated by a darkening of the color pallet and the doorbell ringing in slow motion) and Airi looks out the window once more to see Erika standing behind her classmate.

Yuuto is about to leave, but after what she saw, Airi knows that they need to talk. What happens next is the stuff of every male wota's (and I'm sure many female wota's) dreams - Airi invites him into her room. Though she doesn't look too happy.

She demands Yuuto to take out his cellphone, which reveals a hilarious wallpaper.

Someone has a crush~
Airi flips through his phone and finds that his love meter is already at 90%. They decide to go to the police and leave the phone with them. Too bad for Yuuto, getting rid of Erika isn't that easy. His cellphone magically reappears in his pocket and Erika isn't happy that he tried to ditch her.

Uh-oh, it's at 0%. We all know what that means.

It's time to make zombie noises and faint!
Poor Airi. First her friend Chiho, and now her creepy stalker crush.

She goes back to the hospital to see Chiho again and runs into a lady who has a few screws loose.

Hey you! You look like my daughter, so I'm going to shake you!
Thankfully, the insane lady's son jumps in and saves the day. He and Airi sit down for a chat and he convinces Airi to return to his house to visit.

After drinking a glass of water, Airi faints again and has that same nightmare from before. She then jolts awake and clings to hospital boy. Lucky guy!

Airi's dream apparently revealed some sort of location, so Hospital guy, Airi, a detective, and a random lady all decide to take a road trip to that place. Turns out, it is the exact location from the reoccurring nightmares that Airi has been having throughout the film.

When they make their way inside, Airi has some sort of revelation and puts the blame on the random lady that is with them. A flashback is shown with that lady and cellphone game Erika having an argument.

The situation takes a turn for the worse when Erika pulls out her lightsaber taser
Back to reality, after being accused by Airi, the lady runs away and the detective runs after her. Hospital guy and Airi are left in the room alone.

Airi breaks away from him and follows the cellphone game Erika's ghost that suddenly appeared. Airi finds the real Erika hospitalized in a hidden room.

Airi then finds a shard of glass and is ready to kill the evil Erika for hurting all of her friends

i like Psychopathic Revenge Airi
but a well timed noise from another room kills her murderous rage.

Airi runs to see what's up and finds that the lady now has a bloody hand and suddenly wants to cause harm to her.

Thankfully Airi knows what most horror movie protagonists don't - run when there is danger. Unfortunately she suddenly becomes clumsy and falls multiple times, allowing the lady to catch her. In this scene the camera changes back to the cool first person perspective, yay.

Airi manages to break the glass shard that the lady was carrying with convenient rock that was laying next to her, so the lady randomly decides to walk away, only to be shot by the person who is really behind all of this.

Yes its you, detective guy
Detective guy returns with Hospital guy handcuffed and another flashback begins.

It turns out that it was the Detective guy with the lightsaber taser all along and he used it on an unsuspecting Erika, which caused her to pass out, fall, and severely injure her head.

Once again back to reality, Hospital guy (who is still handcuffed) fights the detective. Airi frantically tries reviving Erika from her coma by playing her cellphone game. Once the game starts, Airi loses consciousness and handcuffed hospital guy has also fainted from being kicked repeatedly by the detective.

Detective guy's phone rings and he decides to pick it up. Not a good idea. Erika's game starts, only this time it's slightly different

Oh look, you've pissed off Airi
The love meter shoots up to 100% as Airi begins 3D-ing out of the cellphone screen, Ringu style.

She then pulls detective guy into the cellphone with her in one fluid motion.

This whole scene is full of pure win.

Hospital guy wakes up and is somehow no longer handcuffed and decides to check on the fainted Airi.

Okay guy, you've reached your Airi touching quota. Hands off
After that scene, Airi goes into narrator mode and explains the events that followed. She said something about the Erika game freezing and no longer working.

We then get moar fanservice as Airi visits Erika in the hospital

short skirt is short
And then the final plot twist is revealed. Because of what happened in that abandoned building, Airi and Erika have now switched bodies. Airi is now in a coma and Erika is now free (albeit, inside Airi's body).

The movie ends with Airi Erika grabbing Hospital guy's arm and walking off in the distance (and pissing off any jealous wota in the process).

wanna be that guy right about now
Overall, Keitai Kanojo was a lot better than I expected. Even though I knew it would star Airi, I didn't want to get my hopes up too high. Since it was announced to be a straight-to-DVD release, I knew that it would have a low budget, so I'm not counting that against the movie. I didn't like the majority of the sound and visual effects, but when they got it right, it was really enjoyable.

The plot was something that I've never seen before, so at least that is original. The plot twists were a little random, but as a result, were unexpected. I would rather the plot twists be like that and surprise me, than to be something that everyone sees coming, so good on the movie for that.

As a film, Keitai Kanojo is not going to win any awards (unless the staff are wotas, which would be cool) and I probably wouldn't have bothered with it if it didn't have Airi in it, but that is a moot point because, obviously, Airi is a major part of the movie. She is the star of the movie in every sense of the word. Seeing Airi act sad, angry, and depressed are all things that I normally would hope we don't see much of, but in the context of this movie, it was perfect.

As a bottom line, despite Keitai Kanojo being cheap and corny in spots, it does have redeeming qualities and all Airi fans owe it to themselves to check out Airi's first movie experience. You can download it here if you missed my other post.

Or you can support Airi's acting career and buy it!

EDIT: Thanks to TPF subs, we were finally able to subtitle this into english. Check it out!


  1. Nooooooo Airi ;____;
    To be honest I actually want to watch after reading your review so I have a better grasp of whats going on.

    And LOL at Chiho. I can totally her going "Hi Airi!" in a kinda mentally retarded way and then SMACK right in the head. im so mean.

  2. good, now watch.

    we're both mean because I laughed too (and I just rewatched that scene with your comment in mind and laughed harder)

  3. That is exactly how Chiho reacted, retarded.

    Zombie noises? I call them Grudge noises. I never seen a zombie movie that has the dead make that noise.

    Thank goodness Airi-Erika wasn't a big fan of rings.

    As I said, creepy brother complex. I guess she found a way to have sex with her brother without it being illegal.

  4. This is really helpful for people who don't understand Japanese like me. Moreover, your comments are really funny like we're having the same thoughts.

  5. Wait but that's sad.
    It's like Erika knew that this would happen so she lured Airi to do this.
    Oh wait. That's probably exactly what happened.
    It's still sad :/
    I don't like the Erika character then.

  6. Ok I think I get the plot now. The sister was falling in love with her own brother. Didn't want him getting married, has detective guy friend of the family do what ever she wants. Then why did he tazzer her in the first place ? Why string the other Erika along, was it to get them all in the same place ? So soon to be wife is killed was detective friend killing the brother cause he fell for her? So Erika switched with Erika to save brother guy then why didn't she just appear in the phone her self and kill detective friend? Why switch bodies at the end if she could of done that from the start and save a lot of time ? and were the killings at the start cause she was just angry and the sight of woman with rings on their fingers pissed her off ? I think the movie would of been a little more believable if the whole phone plot was switched with something else. Other then that it was a good movie in my opinion.

  7. I just read this but have you heard about Keitai Kareshi? The only thing similar is that the phone "girlfriend" is a boy and different cast/story. I would love to watch this but this type of stuff isn't really for me but thanks for your analysis!

  8. This is a continuation of Keitai Kreshi.
    but it sounds like the first one was better, I am planing to watch Keitai Kanojo and see for myself ^^