Like all great adventures and road trips, this is a journey of self discovery and finding yourself. ‘Sake-Bomb‘ features Gaku Hamada as Naoto and Eugene Kim as Sebastian. Written by Jeff Mizushima and directed by Junya Sakino, two well-known filmmakers of many talents from Japan.
Naoto is from Japan and preparing for the rest of his life at a sake brewery. Sebastian is dumped and has nothing about his life figured out. The two cousins could not be more different and that’s where both encounter the biggest challenges of their lives. Before Naoto can take over a sake brewery, he is given a week to do whatever he wants and he chooses to seek out his first love in California. His cousin, Sebastian, is self-serving and immature while recording angry Youtube videos, and his father forces him into taking Naoto on his great search. Somehow, Naoto survives the terrible help of Sebastian, and ends up relying on his own ways to find his happy ending. Along the way, he makes new friends, learns new lessons, and Sebastian straightens up as a young man who is reliable and family.
Sebastian is meant to piss off the Asian community by playing at all of the stereotypes. The angry videos on Youtube that yells at the rest of the world for discriminating Asians while being that which shames him most. Preaching what he doesn’t know anything about and being a shameful representation to Naoto of Americans, Naoto is an innocent young man who starts with motivation and hope and ends it with heartbreak and new lessons learned. The constant voice of reason and hope, Naoto’s innocence and culture keeps him apart from everyone, while bringing him more into the lives of the Americans around him. In some ways, Naoto fits in much better than Sebastian, which is an interesting mix to watch. Both young men found their own ways in life and sits with it. Their characters needed each other to change and grow into who they became.
Overall, the music was great and the cinematography. The color, production design, and casting was well done. Everything is clean and well paired. Though there are a few quite extreme scenarios, this film really builds up the clichés and breaks down everything in the end. Though this film is well made, it is riddled with small bumps that are never smoothed out. This film borders on a dramatic comedy mixed with a very Asian form of filmmaking and humor that isn’t too popular in America. Almost with a ‘Garden State‘ (2004) feel to the main character. Be sure to check out the trailer and website!