Soman kokkyou 15 sai no natsu / ソ満国境 15歳の夏
Based on the book by Kazuo Tahara describing ostensibly real events, Soman kokkyou 15 sai no natsu, as directed by Tetsuya Matsushima, is a particularly ham-fisted and unintentionally hilarious revisionist history about he waning days of WWII. In this bit of obscure history (?) a group of junior high school-age soldiers march across Soviet-occupied Manchuria, not yet giving up even though the Japanese have surrendered. In this version, a Yak fighter appears from nowhere, strafing the boys, yet not hitting a single one. Soot-smudged faces represent the long days without eating food or bathing. And somehow, through all their trials, they managed to find a nice, friendly Chinese family here in this war-torn country where there’s a justifiable hatred of its former occupiers. Of course, the family has lots of food and a love interest. They naturally take the boys in and take care of them. All of this is framed around some contemporary students discovering the details of this ridiculously overwrought story, learning about the bravery and romance of life during wartime.
Originally published in EL Magazine, August 2015.