Nakedness which Wants to Die Too Much (2012)

Michiru is a high-school boy who is bullied mercilessly by his classmates. The film opens with him looking over the body of his dear recently deceased grandmother. He explains that he realized at an early age that everyone will one day return to being an empty vessel. This morbid fascination with death leads him to create a cardboard coffin to sleep in. Michiru also plays a “suicide game” in which he pretends to slash his wrists, using a taped on packet of red paint for a sense of authenticity. Those suffering from depression will relate to the character who is suicidal but afraid of actually going through with it, stuck in a miserable purgatory. Michiru’s life changes when he meets Sayaka, a girl who is not put off by his queer tendencies, and the two form a strong platonic friendship. However, Sayaka also has a secret life, one that threatens to destroy their relationship.

Director Hidenobu Abera shows a burgeoning talent with this film. A lack of polish is made up for by his style and inventiveness. The story, written by Abera, is unique in its particulars although dealing with familiar themes such as depression, bullying and sex work. Both the main actors do a decent job with what are pretty complex characters. Kawamura Kosho is awkward and retiring as Michiru, while Natsumi Imanaka’s Sayaka is fun, though with a dark past always just beneath the surface. The film has some great music accompanying it, including modern pop songs. “Nakedness which Wants to Die Too Much” is a short film, though a tough watch. It treads a fine line between tragedy and black comedy, constantly engaging with two intriguing lead characters and an interesting premise.

The film deals with the problem of bullying in a particularly harrowing way. What Michiru experiences, both psychologically and physically, is difficult to watch. His depression and obsession with suicide are understandable in this context. He is utterly helpless, being too weak to fight back, and this makes for a difficult watch. The film also touches on child abuse, prostitution and isolation. In the end the message is one of hope, that bonds of friendship can be formed in the darkest times and these can help people get through whatever they are facing.