Thursday, March 13, 2014

Moon Child

First, I want to make a confession: I just fell in love with GACKT!! Seriously, I feel ashamed. I'm so laaaatteeeee. Why didn't I love him back then?! I knew Gackt since I was in middle school. Taiwanese artists were so famous, therefore I kept being updated with their news by buying lotsa asian celebs magazines. There were several times I spotted Gackt in magazine. I thought, 'Wow, he's so pretty!', and then I didn't try to find out more about him, maybe because at that time I didn't know the concept of a true artist. And now I found him, it looked like a renaissance for me (not sorry for hyperbole a bit).

Moon Child is a 2003 movie, starring Gackt and Hyde. This movie was filmed in Taiwan, and many Asian languages were used; Japanese, Chinese, Cantonese, and English also. I write a summary of this movie so this post will contain SPOILER, and I also warn you what you read next in this post may be too unfair due to my excessive worship to Gackt.

The story happens in the future, in 2014 (LOL! this year), in a fictional city named Maleppa. This city is located in China and according to Wikipedia, it is a 'melting pot' of different Asian groups. Due to economic problems, some Japanese people need to migrate to that city. It seems that Maleppa is a not-friendly-city to live in. Robbery, poverty, gang war are quite often to be seen.

Sho (Gackt) as a child (portrayed by Kanata Hongo), are stealing money from a man that looked like a mafia, with his brother, Shinji, and his friend Toshi. While he is hiding in a ruined building, he finds Kei (Hyde), a young man, who looks so sick and weak. Sho approaches him. Even though Kei yells to him to go away, Sho brings that man to his hideout, saving him from the sunlight, because Sho sees smoke keeps appearing from that man's skin.

At his hideout, Sho tries to feed Kei, meanwhile Toshi and Shinji count their money from the robbery. Unfortunately, the man whom they robbed while ago is able to find out their hideout. Those three kids run away, but he shoots Shinji's leg. Kei 'saves' those kids by biting him to death. It appears that this young man is actually a vampire. Shinji says to Sho, "Your friend is a monster.". However, Sho once again approaches Kei. While Kei's mouth is covered in blood, he asks Sho, "Are you not afraid?". Sho says "No" (or shakes his head). He gives his smile instead.

2025, Sho and Kei seems getting along together. They often have fun in their attacks to gang members in Maleppa. One day, they plan to attack a gang with help from Toshi as a pizza deliverer. They meet Son (Wang Leehom) who fires on that gang in rage, avenging her sister, Yi-Che, who has been raped by the leader. They help each other, and soon, Sho, Kei, Toshi, Son, and Yi-Che become close friends. It's obvious that Sho falls in love with Yi-Che. He awkwardly acts weird everytime Yi-Che's around. However, Yi-Che seems having a feeling towards Kei. Oh, by the way, Yi-Che cannot speak because of the trauma she had.

Yi-Che makes a great painting on the wall at park. Therefore, Son plans to invite his close friends to come to Yi-Che's opening exhibition of her mural that is held at noon. Son asks Kei to come, not knowing he is a vampire who's not able to face sunlight. Kei doesn't imply to not able to come, but he just smiles and kind of makes a promise to come if he's able. Sho notices this strange behavior of his friend, and later, at their house, he speaks to Kei about him being weak by not trying to drink blood recently. Kei answers "Should I just drink your blood?". Then, Kei starts to lament his vampire life, as all his friends start to grow up and die someday. Sho sheds a tear but not able to say anything. Kei mocks him as a crybaby, but he approaches Sho and hugs him.

On opening exhibition day, Sho comes to the park and meets Son and Yi-Che. Toshi has not come, and later it reveals that he gets a trouble by a gang lead by Chan, a Taiwanese mafia. Toshi is brought to the park and they starts to attack people on that exhibition. Toshi's murdered there. The rain comes down. Clouds are hanging in the sky, hiding the sunlight. Kei, with the hoodie, comes and attacks the gang members. Son and Yi-Che are terrified by seeing Kei's sucking blood off his victim. Sho who is shaken by Toshi's death yells to Kei to stop and pays attention to their friend's death. But Kei seems not wanting to stop.

Nine years later, Sho is now a leader in Maleppa and tries to seek vengeance of Toshi's death. He is married with Yi-Che and has a little daughter named Hana. Sadly, Son has joined with Chan's gang, because of his ideology of nationality as a Taiwanese. Therefore, it makes him Sho's enemy. Meanwhile, in an unknown place, Kei is in prison, sentenced to death for murdering. He actually wishes that. News about him appears in TV, Sho watches that, and the next day, he comes to that prison to meet up with Kei. Bounded by thick glass between them, Sho tells Kei to look at him as he has grown-up to be a cool man. Kei has no reaction, but Sho keeps continuing her story, about Yi-Che and his daughter. As a proud father, he shows the photo of her and forces Kei to look at that. Finally, Kei shows his reaction. He asks about everyone, including Yi-Che and Son. Later, he states that he's glad that Sho's alive, because he's afraid his recklessness can bring him to death.

When this happens, Sho's gang members are shot to death. Shinji, Sho's brother, blames him for not being in a city with the gang, and takes care of his monster friend instead. Angrily, Sho confronts him of being dependent to him. They ends up punching each other's faces. Later, affected by his brother's words, Shinji tries to attack Chan, his brother's greatest enemy. He fails, and is shot to death by Chan's subordinates, two cold-blooded young boys.

Right before the execution, Kei receives a phone call from Sho who begs for his help, and also utters his loneliness since now everyone has gone. Then, Kei decides to run away from execution (it's easy because he's a vampire). The two friends finally meet each other outside the jail.

Previously, Yi-Che is diagnosed to have a disease which makes her lose memory. It's proved while Son comes to visit at hospital's ward, she mistakenly, calls his brother 'Dad'. Sho and Son then talk to each other about Yi-Che's condition, and discuss their different path. Son says, the next time they meet, they will point gun to each other. This is the fate for them.

Sho asks Kei to take care Hana if he dies because he doesn't want her daughter to be like him, an orphan. Then, the two go to Chan's hideout and 'have fun' as they used to have years ago. However, Sho seems recklessly firing his gun without protection. It makes Kei worry if Sho really wants to die at the moment. When finally Sho and Son face each other, Sho fires his gun to the ceiling, making holes for sunlight to enter the building, therefore Kei is trapped, unable to interfere the fight between Sho and Son.

Meanwhile, Chan has died, betrayed by his subordinates, the two young boys who killed Shinji. These boys plan to kill them all. They find Kei trapped in a corner of building. They brutally shoot him, but they doesn't know that Kei is a vampire. The bullets have no impact to him. Kei attacks and kills them both, then he rushes to go to find Sho and Son.

The duel between Sho and Son now reaches the end. Sho is shot by Son in their last round (both of them fire the gun at the same time). Finding Sho's lying down covered in blood, Kei angrily shoots Son to death. He comes close to Sho who is in his agony and very close to his death. Sho reminds Kei a promise to take care his daughter. And it seems, Sho dies in Kei's arms.

2045, an opening exhibition of the new mural is being held at the same park at which Yi-Che's mural exhibition was held years ago. Hana is now grown-up and becomes an artist, just like her mother. She thanks Kei for taking care of her these years. It's also a good-bye for them since Hana has said she wants to go to another place to study and make good paintings. Before leaving, Hana says she feels someone has been watching over her.

When Hana has left, Sho appears before Kei. Wasn't he dead already?! I assume that because of fear of losing friend, Kei has made Sho a vampire right before he dies. Kei asks Sho if he's still angry to him (I think because he has turned him into a vampire), but Sho answers he cannot be angry anymore watching Hana has grown-up, all thanks to Kei.

Their task in the world is now over. They both go to the beach where they used to visit with Toshi, Son, and Yi-Che. They stay there until the sun rises and burns their immortal bodies. The memory is recalled, when Sho, Kei, Toshi, Son, and Yi-Che play at the beach...but under the daylight.

The End.

Reason why I want to watch this is because of my curiosity of Gackt. I need to lower the expectation for seeing such a good scene of action, because somehow it looks lame. Gackt also acts differently from the well-known-Gackt. Sho is a reckless man who often acts uncool, and even can be very awkward when he falls in love. Honestly, it's weird to see Gackt acts that way. But as the story goes on, he does well until the end of the movie. Meanwhile, Hyde successfully plays his role as the vampire Kei. This character suits him a lot.

The setting is awesome. The melting pot in which all people from different races meet and share same problems in their economy and social life. It also legitimates the over-action-scenes in that movie. You can imagine people love to point their guns while the city is already in chaos, right?!

The main theme is friendship between different races, whether it's Japanese, Taiwanese, or even vampires. Ironically, this relationship is destroyed by the same reason. Nationalism is one that makes Son leaving his friends and choose his own path. They used to share fun together in their youth. As they grow up, this fun goes away since one by one leaves, whether it's caused by death, or other reasons, for example, ideological reason that forces one to choose their group beyond friendship. This happens. Some people choose the path that someone claims it makes good deeds for humanity. While it's actually just a matter of choosing between making a benefit for one group or another group, or just giving no cares to all of them. Geddit?!

At first, the vampire Kei seems being in the wrong movie. What's the use for?! Isn't it enough to make him a mere human?! However, later on, the point of he's being a vampire makes sense. It dramatizes their bond of friendship. It also shows the meaning of fearing death and life at the same time. Kei desperately wants death, but he hardly get his wish granted because he cannot merely leaves life behind. His close relationship with Sho makes him realize that the thing he fears most is actually death, but at the same time, he also wants to leave things behind and ends his immortal life. He once says his life is cursed, therefore, he doesn't want anyone to experience his cursed life. Hmm..he fails though since he finally changed Sho to vampire. Well, he reminds me of Louis from Anne Rice's 'Interview with a Vampire'.

Overall, this movie is satisfying despite of the lame action (it's made in 2003, anyway!). The fact that Gackt is the one of the writers makes me super-excited. Oh~ why you so talented?! This movie also describes his philosophy of life which is not caring of concept of nationality that explained in his autobiography 'Jihaku' too.

Check the trailer! It's for you who haven't watched it, just like me a day ago. Shame on you. LOL.

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