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BALLAD: Song of a nameless love

BALLAD
Kanji BALLAD 名もなき恋のうた
Rōmaji BALLAD: Na mo naki koinota
Directed by Takashi Yamazaki
Screenplay by Takashi Yamazaki
Starring

Yui Aragaki

Tsuyoshi Kusanagi

Takao Osawa

Takeshi Takei

Produced by BALLAD Production Committee
Distributed by Toho
Release date September 5, 2009 (Japan)
Country Japan
Language Japanese

BALLAD: Song of a Nameless Love (BALLAD 名もなき恋のうた) is a Japanese movie released on September 5, 2009 and based on the 10th movie of Crayon Shin-chan, The Storm Called: The Battle of the Warrant States. The screening time is 132 minutes and the movie grossed more than 1.8 billion yen while in theaters.

The film was directed by Takashi Yamakazi (山崎貴) with Yui Aragaki and Takei Takeshi in the leading roles. Although the story follows the happenings in the Crayon Shin-chan movie, some of the elements have been altered to make the plot suitable for a live-action movie. The main change would be the attitude of Shinnosuke (Shinnichi in the movie), who is around 10 years old and has a less important role and softer jokes.

The movie was highly promoted in the main Crayon Shin-chan series with 3 special episodes and daily adverts inbetween the chapter released while BALLAD was still in theaters. The catch phrase of the movie was "To defend, to love, to pray is to love".

Summary

Shinichi Kawakami has had a dream where a princess seems to pray by a lake, and that really disturbed him as it seem really realistic. That day, after being bullied in school, he went to the Great Tree of Kawakami, an acorn tree near Kasukabe. There he finds an old box with a letter inside and suddenly fell asleep.

When he woke up, he had travelled back in time to 1574. There he found a battle between two armies, and brought the attention to two soldiers that were hiding to shoot the general of the other army. They were discovered and couldn't kill him, so the general, Yoshitoshi Matabe Ijiri, was saved by Shinichi and brough him to his castle. There, he tried to explain his story, and although the lord of the fort, Moriyasuke Izumi Kasuga found it hard to believe him, he finally did and ordered Matabe to take care of the kid. There they also met Ren, the princess that appeared on Shinichi's dream. Takatora Okurai, head of the Okurai clan, came to the castle and required Ren to marry him, what everybody sees as an strategic marriage.

Meanwhile, Akira and Misako, Shinichi's parents, are really worried about his disaparition. They found the letter that Shinichi discovered by the tree and started thinking that what it said was actually true. They were finally convinced when Misako found on the Internet that "Shinichi and his clan helped the Kasuga to defeat their enemies". Then they decided to pack their stuff and go to the past to rescue Shinichi. They went by the tree with their car and waited.

Matabe lived with Bunshio and his parents, Niemon and Osato. Bunshio was also a young samurai. Shinichi explains then that he could easily discover a mutual attraction between Matabe and Ren and encourages him to reveal it. The day after, Shinichi went to the castle again to explain his story and decided to write a letter to his parents so that they can find it. Bunshio and Shinichi go to the lake to bury it when they saw Ren being attacked by some vandals. Fortunately, Matabe came on time and saved them all. After that, Misako and Akira appear by the lake in the car and they all return to the castle.

There they told Lord Kasuga that in the future all the clans would disappear and then he allows his daughter Ren to refuse the marriage. When Okurai heards of that, he declares the war on Kasuga to keep her by the force. Kasuga's army, despite being so small compared to their enemies, manages to defend the fort until the night, Early in the morning, they decide to attack the Okurai camp, managing to get into it thanks to the Kawakami's car, that scares the soldiers. There Matabe defeats Takatora. When he was about to kill his defeated enemy, Shinichi stops him as they had already won, contrary to what samurais used to do.

After the battle, when they head back to Kasuga, Matabe is shot by one of the Okurai soldiers that were retiring back to their place. Ren was waiting for them to come, and then runs to Matabe to confess her love before he dies. Finally, the Kawakamis plant a seed that will become the Great Tree of Kawakami and then came back to the present time, with the movie finishing with the clips Shinichi had recorded on his mobile phone.

Characters

  • Shinichi Kawakami (川上真一) is a coward elementary school student. He founds the letter from the Tensho era and comes back to the past to meet Ren and Matabe.
  • Yoshitoshi Matabe Ijiri (本作の主人公); samurai protecting the Kasuga clan, secretly in love with princess Ren and main character of the movie.
  • Ren Kasuga (廉姫) princess of the Kasuga clan and main protagonist of the movie.
  • Misako Kawakami (川上美佐子), Shinichi's mother.
  • Akira Kawakami (川上暁), Shinichi's father.
  • Bunshio (文四郎) is a young samurai that lives with Matabe.
  • Takatora Okurai (大倉井高虎), main villain of the movie.

Differences with the animation movie

  • There is no Shiro or Himawari equivalent in the Kawakami family.
  • In the animated movie, Shin chan finds the letter digging in the garden of his house, whereas in BALLAD Shinichi finds it near the Great Kawakami Tree.
  • In BALLAD there are no ancestors of Shinnosuke's friends, and their role is played by Bunshio, a young samurai that lives with Matabe, and by unnamed kids that bully Shinichi at the beginning of the movie.
  • In BALLAD Shinichi travels back to the Tensho Era with his bicycle, that is important during the movie, as the villagers and samurais were impressed on that unknown object.
  • Although some of Shinnosuke's jokes and expressions are kept in BALLAD (such as he telling Matabe that Ren was 'hot'), Shinichi has a softer mood than Shinnosuke and, of course, doesn't show his butt.
  • Shinichi is around ten years old, twice the age of Shin-chan.
  • In the final battle in BALLAD, Matabe defeats Takatora without any intervention from the Kawakamis, whereas in the animated movie he fights General Taro while the Noharas battle Takatora.

Promotional episodes

A total of five segments were aired in the main series Crayon Shin-chan to promote the BALLAD film before being released in cinemas in Japan. Three stories are presented in the episodes 676, 677, 678 and 679, featuring different moments of the life of Ren and Matabe.

676/677 The Seach of the Legendary Army Fan

In 'The Search of the Legendary Army Fan' (伝説の軍扇をさがせだゾ) Shinnosuke and his friend form the Time Patrol Squad and have to go back to year 1564 (10 years before the events of the movie) to recover a Legendary Army Fan that is supposed to ensure the victory to his owner. They met two kids, Ren and Matabe, that will help them follow the map and find the Fan. At the end, the Legendary Army Fan ensured victory in love to his owner, but it didn't work for Ren when pointing at Matabe. The characters from the movie seen in this episode are:

  • Ren Kasuga
  • Yoshitoshi Matabe Ijiri
  • Niemon
  • Osato
  • Yoshino
  • Moriyasu Izumi Kasuga

678 Taking the Park

In 'Taking the Park' (天下を取るゾ), Shin-chan is a lord samurai and Kazama his protector. Shinnosuke decides to go to an amusement park, where he meets two teenagers, Ren and Matabe. Matabe and Kazama were in charge of protecting their superiors, Ren and Shinnosuke. In the park, Takatora Okurai and Matabe start a competition to take Ren, which finally Matabe wins. This marks the beginning of the rivalry between them. Appearances on this episode:

  • Ren Kasuga
  • Yoshitoshi Matabe Ijiri
  • Takatora Okurai

679 Memories of the Warring States Love

In 'Memories of the Warring States Love' (恋の戦国メモリーだゾ), actual version of Ren and Matabe meet the kids in Kasukabe. Ren is in love with Matabe, but she is too shy to declare her love. The kids will try to help her. Matabe is a passionate of kendo, and he saves Ren when she was by the river, as it happened in the movies. In this episode, the characters from the movies that appear are:

  • Ren Kasuga
  • Yoshitoshi Matabe Ijiri

Gallery

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