Kirara, directed by Kiyoshi Murayama. 39 minutes. September 21, 2000.
Kirara is an adaptation of the 1993-1997 six-volume manga by Toshiki Yui, an artist best-known for romantic comedy manga featuring sexy teenage/early 20s girls with a lot of pulchritudinous “fan service”. Kirara mixed a little fantasy into the formula.
I can’t see that this story makes a lot of sense. Kirara Imai, her pal Eimi, and Konpei Asai are three 18-year-old high-school students. The shy Eimi asks Kirara to get Konpei to take her out on a date. Over the years Kirara and Konpei fall in love themselves. When Kirara is 24, she is driving to her wedding with Konpei when she is killed in an automobile accident. Kirara’s ghost goes six years into the past to help her 18-year-old self win Konpei.
Well, this is what it says. It looks to me more like a four-way romantic entanglement, with both the 24- and 18-year-old Kiraras, Eimi, and Konpei. Since this is a comic fantasy, it apparently isn’t supposed to be logical. I may have overthought this, but since Kirara’s & Konpei’s six-year-romance seems to have developed normally enough, why does her 24-year-old ghost have to “help out”? Especially since the ghost seems more to be deliberately driving them apart than helping them get together. Would Eimi have remained so interested if the fascination of Kirara’s ghost wasn’t involved? Presumably Eimi did not get Arthur the exorcist and his assistant Mita to exorcise Kirara’s ghost originally, so do they really help out the romance? And how realistic are two highly-skilled but still amateurish high-school exorcists?
Incidentally, Eimi’s, Arthur’s, and Mita’s assuming that Kirara’s ghost is evil and trying to exorcise her is more than slightly reminiscent of Tōei Dōga’s first feature in 1958, Hakuja-Den, a.k.a The Tale of the White Serpent, a.k.a The White Snake Enchantress, known outside Japan as Panda and the Magic Serpent, where the officious “Magic Wizard” insists on exorcising “Princess” Ba-Niang despite nobody wanting him to.
What this OAV does not answer, and I would like to know, is what happens to Kirara’s ghost after the end of this story? Does she disappear and “go to Heaven”? She didn’t really have any “unfinished business” that she needed to go into the past for in the first place. Does she stay with the 18-year-old Kirara and Konpei as a ménage à trois for six years? She says that she “wants to stay with Konpei always”, but what about the 24-year-old Konpei that she was just about to marry? How did she affect what happened between Eimi and Konpei, and how did Eimi fade out of the relationship originally? Were Eimi, Arthur, and Mita finally dissuaded from trying to exorcise Kirara’s ghost? If so, what was the future relationship between Arthur, Mita, and the ghost? I can’t imagine that the two ghostbusters would just lose interest in a genuine ghost, even if Kirara is a “good” ghost not needing exorcising.
Oh, well. Ashi Productions produced this for Toho distribution in Japan. No U.S. distribution is listed. You can really tell by Kirara’s name on the Japanese audio track why the Japanese have trouble telling “l” and “r” apart. Her name could just as easily be Kilala in English.
Next week: “Taiman Blues” (1987)