One lesson I learned: Try not to bring your partner to watch a Japanese (or Korean for that matter) romance movie after her makeup workshop. Cynthia was weeping profusely throughout the movie, like the rest of the girls around us in the theater. I had no idea it was that emotional. The title sounds harmless. Based on a Japanese manga, “I Give My First Love To You (僕の初恋をキミに捧ぐ)” centers around two young lovers engaged in a love relationship that has a time limit. This is not a spoiler. Within the very first few seconds into the show, the narrator said so. Cynthia and I exchanged a look and we mouthed: Uh oh. Throughout the movie, I tried to ask Cynthia to be strong, don’t cry. Poor girl, the new make-up was still fresh from the workshop. That did not work.
Takuma has a rare heart disease. And the doctor said that he will not live beyond the age of 20. Mayu, the daughter of the doctor, is Takuma’s childhood sweetheart. On screen, they look like the cutest couple on earth – both the pair of the child actors (when the story was rewound) and the adult actors (in present time). In fact, the four of them are so adorable to look at. As far as the story goes, it is the classic Japanese / Korean tragic romance formula that some if not many subscribe to and keep subscribing to – like I!.
Because Takuma has a very weak heart, there is not much he can do but to stay relatively inactive trying to live life to the fullest. His approach to love , I would say, is reckless bravery. Mayu, on the other hand, is one interesting character. How far would she go to keep this love going knowing that this love has a time limit? Does she love Takuma out of pity? Or deeper than that? Her approach to love, I would say, is relentless loyalty. Putting these two characters together, you would expect some interesting fireworks. Meanwhile, the parents of Takuma and the father of Mayu have played excellent supporting roles. One would cry seeing them act. My heart ached.
I think, in a more reflective level, “I Give My First Love To You” got me pondering upon loving someone in our temporal existence. How long does love last? Knowing the fact that love has a time limit, would you still give that love to someone? And knowing, by that I mean consciously knowing that no love last forever (in a non-poetic sense), what would you do differently each day? I recently read a book. The author joked that the best love ends in death. In a morbid sense, I cannot agree more. Better than ending in a breakup or a divorce paper, eh?
To end this post, I would like to make a noteworthy mention of the young Japanese actress Mao Inoue. Japan has plenty of photogenic actresses but not many can act in a multitude of dimensions, which this film has plenty of opportunities for Mao Inoueto to shine. I am not entirely certain if she is a kyūdōka. But the way she handles the Japanese archery looks authentic to me.