Netflix Original, Homunculus-An Unkind Show Of The Fab Manga,Fails Despite A Wow! Cast & Ah! Visuals
Rating: TV-MA (meant for an adult mature audience)
Trigger Warning: Contains scenes of sexual assault
Genre: Mystery, Drama, Fantasy
Directed by: Takashi Shimizu
Country of origin: Japan
IMDb Rating: 5.7/10
Homunculus is about Susumu Nakoshi, a 34-year-old amnesic and homeless man who lives and goes around in a small car. He is approached by a certain medical intern, Manabu Ito, in search of volunteers for his experiment known as trepanation, the process of drilling a hole into one's head to activate dormant psychic abilities. Nakoshi agrees and undergoes the procedure in exchange for money.
The operation aftermath results in Nakoshi visualizing humans in the form of homunculi, which means the tiny humanoid that exists inside each human's head and represents his/her inner self. The rest of the plot is based on how Nakoshi helps the homunculi through trauma and in the process he finds himself.
As a fervid manga and anime enthusiast, I can vouch for the fact that nothing surpasses a manga than an anime adaptation done right. However, at times, adaptations have been disappointing enough for the readers to entertain the idea of quitting the onscreen anime or real-life movie or series scene unbiased. The hypothetical world of the homunculi has already been fabulously painted by one of the most loved animes of all time-Fullmetal Alchemist. Hideo Yamamoto's manga also visibly renders readers weak through its epic storytelling. But, Netflix original, Homunculus, the movie adaptation fails unexpectedly and dispenses aguish onto the manga lovers.
Unlocking the brain to its full potential is a rather exploited concept as of late and we have had exceptional movies such as Limitless and Lucy to prove the hypothetical theory, but Homunculus is a rather rocky uptake on the trend comparatively. Both the manga and movie revolve around the same concept but are visibly varying in portrayal and subsequent storyline. One can definitely feel a lack in the lustre and thrill that the genius, Takashi Shimizu's movies contain (director of the Ju-on: the Grudge series). Ryo Narita's portrayal as the evil scientist lacked spice and the heated bizarreness as compared to Yamamoto's character, Manabu Ito.
The first part of the movie excels in storytelling with a definite beautiful introduction to trepanation and homunculi. However, as the movie proceeds, the setup fails to hold the viewer's unflinching engagement as the narration takes a slow burn. The finale magnifies but hardly recovers from the loss of pace. It ultimately turns towards a hurried ambivalent end. The movie fails to exhibit the absolute eerieness of Yamamoto's set narration and thus remains unable to satiate the score created by the source.
The movie seeks redemption through visuals and the definite exceptional performance by actor Go Ayano as Susumu Nakoshi. Having said that it is a marring experience for the manga readers, the movie can provoke a non-reader's intrigue, for its unusual theme. A sci-fi fan who prefers screen adaptations, it will be pass to watch for its visuals and good baseline. But, a reader with utmost honesty deserves the absolutely intriguing and brilliant manga instead.
Despite everything, the trailer is a trip and makes you wanting more.
Image Source ~ IMDb official website
Video Source ~ YouTube