Continuing with this series of 47 moments in film that I love (Why 47?), today we hit #23, as I mentioned yesterday, this is again going to be about Summer Time Machine Blue, a favorite film of mine that I’ve written about a lot. It’s the focus of this week’s Weekly Geeky Question, and so I thought it was time to cover two of my favorite movie moments which are found in this film. Amusingly enough, the two moments, even though they come from very different parts of the movie (one near the start and the other near the end), actually both cover roughly the same event!
And as I mentioned last time, because I’ve just done a whole bunch of screenshots for my other posts, I thought I’d use them here to better visualize the moments I want to talk about.
Summer Time Machine Blues (2005)
Directed by: Katsuyuki Motohiro
A group of awkward college students attempt to use a time machine they found to save their air conditioner from breaking, but then become concerned about the potential impact this could have on the stability of the universe!
Komoto has helped to lead his friends in attempting to avoid the potential of destroying the universe by changing history. They appear to have succeeded in their goal, having left the remote control for the air conditioner in position to be broken as it is “fated” to do in just a few moments. However, the group, who are one day in the past, are nearly discovered by the previous selves, who are returning to the Sci-Fi Clubhouse after a clean-up at the public baths. Everyone piles onto the Time Machine to leave, but Komoto is the last one on and the force of the machine throws him off, even as it disappears behind him.
Now Komoto will definitely be discovered by his friends. He crouches in fear, trying to figure out how to avoid revealing to them that he is from the future, and how to get out of there before his own previous self arrives back home!
Komoto’s four friends enter the club house, and are surprised to see Komoto there ahead of them, and that he has changed his clothes. Questioning him, they are suspicious about his vague answers.
When he tries to leave, they stop him, and Ishimatsu accuses him of secretly trying to get away to meet a woman! Komoto denies it, but unfortunately he has left a confusing message on Soga’s phone (in his attempt to communicate with the Soga from his own day), which the others take as evidence that Ishimatsu’s theory is correct.
In his efforts to get away, Komoto pretends that this is true, and asks if he can then leave, but the boys won’t have it. They demand…a penalty: the naked dance. (???? The what? Oh well). Komoto tries to laugh it off and escape, but the others insist.
Ishimatsu goes into the darkroom where the neighboring Photography Club meets and tells them to join the fun.
Komoto again tries to escape, but the others stand fast, leaving him with no way out.
One of the girls is watching him is Haruka, the girl that Komoto likes, and she’s none to pleased to hear that Komoto has a girlfriend.
Finally, Komoto has an idea, and he pretends to see his girlfriend out the window. When the others go to look, he makes a break for it, but it’s too late! Komoto from one day earlier has arrived, carrying his wash basin from his time in the bath.
The future Komoto dives into a locker to hide, leaving his previous self to his fate.
The others are confused, and think this is the same Komoto, but now with a wash basin to use in his dance. They insist Komoto continue, but just as we saw earlier, Soga accidentally causes a chain reaction that leads to the destruction of the remote control for the air conditioner.
The befuddled past-Komoto looks at the chaos and wonders, “What’s going on?”
Inside the locker, the future Komoto answers for him: “This is.”
The joy of this moment is in how it serves as payoff to what you’ve seen before (particularly here). It brings a deep sense of narrative satisfaction to see the story’s threads pull together like this. It’s a strength of Summer Time Machine Blues–perhaps its defining strength–that all of its elements add up so effectively. When the moment begins, we can feel a real sense of anticipation related to the fact that the story has brought us to its climax; and when it ends we know we’ve been on a journey that’s far cleverer than the one that most films take us on.
On top of that, it’s a cool dramatic moment as well, as we really feel Komoto’s desperation to get away from his friends without revealing who he is. He paces around like a caged animal, looking for any way of escape, and we are right there with him. It’s a great job by actor Eita, director Katsuyuki Motohiro, and writer Makoto Ueda.