“Check it Out, Yo!” a Japanese teen comedy about three high school friends, Tetsuo, Tamashiro and Akira, who are inspired to form a hip-hop group by a concert, who thanks to their Tom-Boy friend, Yui, they recently attended. But with only two weeks till their gig, will they be able to make their dreams a reality?
Title: Check it Out Yo!!
Other Names: チェケラッチョ!! (Chekeraccho!!)
Director: Reiko Miyamoto
Cast: Hayato Ichihara, Tasuku Emoto, Yûta Hiraoka, Mao Inoue, Tetsuji Tamayama, Ayumi Ito, Konishiki, Sayaka Yamaguchi
Running Time: 1hrs 57mins
Last week I bought Chekeraccho!!, a music oriented Japanese teen movie. Japan has come out with a few of these kinds in the last few of years, but so far I had only watched “Water Boys” (although it’s not music oriented, it does involve a group of high school students who form a group) and “Linda Linda Linda”. For some reason, probably had something to do with Inoue Mao (I know you know what I’m sayin’), I was attracted to Check it Out Yo!!. Being an avid listener of hip-hop, I found it interesting that Japan would produce a hip-hop influenced film (…well so far it’s the only one I’ve heard about, if you know of any, let me know), even if it is a teen flick. So I was actually expecting quite a bit from this teen flick, but decided, as usual, to watch it with an open mind…. didn’t exactly turn out to be what I had anticipated.
Tetsuo and his friends, Tamashiro and Akira, are persuaded to go to a Workaholic concert by Yui, a mutual tomboyish friend. The reason they agreed to go to see the indie/rap guy band was because they thought they would be able to meet a lot of their cute female groupies. What they didn’t expect was to be inspired to start up their own group. Their goal in life has come to them in the form of music. The three boys form a band called 098, and, with the help of Yui, work hard to learn their respective musical instruments as well as write lyrics for their songs. However their lives are about to be turned upside down; Akira signed up their band as an opening act for a Workaholic concert, which is not a month, but two weeks away. Will 098 be prepared in time for their first ever concert? Will they be able to make their dreams a reality?
We begin by being introduced to the main characters of Check It Out Yo!!, the three guys, Testsuo, Tamashiro, Akira, and their tomboy girlfriend Yui. I think as soon as you see them you realize the kind of relationship they have with each other. The boys love goofing around, and Yui, trying to keep them under control, ends up using her strength against Tetsuo, whom she has feeling for but has never told anyone about. Turns out our protagonist, Tetsuo, doesn’t have much going for him in terms of future prospects, works part time at an aquarium. In fact, none of the three guys have plans once they graduate high school.
Anyways, through a turn of events, while at the aquarium, Tetsuo is saved from drowning by Nagisa, a girl that he immediately falls for. Although nothing happens at the aquarium, Tetsuo ends up meeting her again at a Workaholic’s live indie rap concert, which he and his friends were persuaded to go to by Yui. Little do they know, this concert will be the inspiration for them to start up their own band in order to try and get a following of female fans. None of them have any musical instruments, let alone any music skills, but they manage to get a hold of some equipment (drum kits and a couple of guitars) from the school and begin practicing straight away. Just when things were going well, the trios unknowingly end up being accepted to be the opening act for Workaholic. With only two weeks left, and spirits low, Yui, her sister Mina and her husband Andy, support the budding musicians and do everything they can to help them prepare for their first gig. However their efforts are in vain, and the trio, now called 098, fail miserably. Tetsuo attempt at impressing Nagisa is unsuccessful, and to make matters worse for him, he finds out that the lead member of Workaholic is also her boyfriend.
Tetsuo does not give up though, 098 get back together to work hard and come up with a new image for themselves, a more hip-hop oriented one. Andy introduces them to a sampling machine, which gives them a new more unique style to their group.
And so we pretty much reach the end of the movie. What happens to the band? What happens to the “love triangle” between Yui, Tetsuo and Nagisa? Guess you’ll just have to watch it. Although in my opinion, the conclusion is not that satisfying, this movie is one to consider if you are looking for a great mix of music and laughs.
This really wasn’t what I expected to watch. I know I said I watched it with an open mind, but I couldn’t help myself. Inoue Mao (Yui) doesn’t have that big a role in the movie as is turns out, and the whole influence of hip-hop doesn’t actually take off till like half way through the movie. And so much for a comedy, although it’s present in the beginning, it kinda dies down and transforms more into a love story. Also I think Hayato Ichihara’s (Tetsuo) acting leave more to be desired. I remember seeing Hayato Ichihara in the movie Worst By Chance, which he did pretty well in, but in this case I wasn’t that impressed.
But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the movie. It was thoroughly entertaining with very catchy music. Orange Range had a couple of tracks in the movie, I didn’t realize it was them till near the end…they really have a distinctive style…it’s almost hypnotizing. The comedy was hilarious, not as good as Summer Time Machine Blues, but pretty darn good. It did have some hot chicks in it like Inoue Mao, Ito Ayumi, and Yamaguchi Sayaka. You also get to see the great island of Okinawa.
I did find the relationship between Tetsuo and Nagisa a bit weird, aside from the fact that she is older (in her mid-twenties) and he is still in high school. Also the fact that Yui’s sister Mina is pregnant (her baby pretty much half way out), yet she is still running and jumping around at a rap concert…maybe the baby made her go…?!?
Overall it is a movie that I would recommend you to see, even though my rating may not reflect this. As I said, I couldn’t help myself in terms of expectations while I was watching this. I was really hoping to be presented with more of an insight into the Japanese hip-hop culture, even after I read the blurb for the movie. So I would have probably given the movie a 7/10, but because of this whole “not enough hip-hop” issue, Check It Out Yo!! doesn’t quite make the cut.
I give this a 6.5/10. Because it is entertaining, it doesn’t deserve to be just a 6. If you are a fan of comedy, this movie will not disappoint…Check It Out, Yo!!!….(Yea, I know, that was pretty weak)
You can buy Check It Out Yo!! from Amazon.
You can buy Check It Out Yo!! from Yes Asia.
You can buy Check It Out Yo!! from Play-Asia.