After breaking up with his girlfriend of two years, Yo (Riku Hagiwara) is surprised to find another young woman (Shiori Kubo) in his room. However, his new guest turns out to be the ghost of a previous tenant who died there and whose spirit is tied to that apartment. Unable ot remember her own name, Yo names her Aisuke. After attempting to speak to the realtor about this unexpected turn of events, Yo finally comes to accept Aisuke’s presence and the two begin hanging out together. Yo’s co-worker suggests employing her aunt, a psychic, to perform a rite to drive Aisuke out of the apartment. But Yo’s burgeoning feelings for Aisuke leave him conflicted.
Written and directed by Natsuki Takahashi and based on the manga by Chugaku Yamammoto, “A Girl in My Room” is a charming, light-hearted supernatural romantic comedy, setting up a perfect odd couple in Yo and Aisuke. There is a poignancy to their relationship, seperated as they are by the line between life and death, but the similarity in age means that for the most part we have a conventional love story. We see Aisuke advising Yo on where he went wrong in his last relationship, while Yo tries desperately to come up with a solution to this unexpected occurance. The two actors have great chemistry together, with their spirited conversations being a highlight of the film. Riku Hagiwara’s hapless romantic lead learns to care for Aisuke in a way that he was never able to with his previous girlfriend. He also has some great comic moments with the realtor (Shohei Uno) as he attempts to explain his situation. Shiori Kubo (a member of girl-group Nogizaka 46) is charismatic and entertaining as Aisuke, with her regional dialect and casual manner. The plot develops in a familiar way, but with the lingering sense of unease about Aisuke’s eventual fate.
As romantic ghost stories go, “A Girl in My Room” provides us with plenty of heart and laughs. It sticks close to the two protagonists as we see them grow closer to one another, learning what it means to care for someone. The film was shot on location in Onomichi, highlighting the charm of this city in Hiroshima prefecture. Essentially a twist on a traditional romantic comedy, with two characters thrown together by circumstance, the film’s casual, understated tone makes it a relaxing watch for fans of the genre.