Udine Far East Film Festival 2021
New York Asian Film Festival 2021
Mei Nagano, Alice Hirose, Nanao, Kenichi Endo
Naoko (Mei Nagano, RUROUNI KENSHIN) is an innocuous office worker at Mitsufuji, a company like any other. Colleagues talk about the latest developments in their favourite TV series, discuss their diets, and many have a good time during lunch hours. Naoko steers clear of the clique war between three departments led by ruthless, backside-kicking bosses. Then a new employee arrives – Ran Hojo (Alice Hirose, THE TRAVELLING CAT CHRONICLES). She has the charisma and strength of a manga heroine. Ran defeats the clan leaders one by one and becomes the undisputed leader of Mitsufuji. She also befriends Naoko, who is not interested in office fights. The legend of Ran is spreading and the female warriors from other sections are constantly challenging her, without success. But what if she is dethroned by another gang, seeking to wrest control of Mitsufuji? Who would stand up for the company's honour?
If you think that workplace pettiness sometimes goes too far, wait until you see OFFICE ROYALE! Real gang wars are waged brutally, right next to the photocopier. We're not talking about elegant duels here, these are the kind of fights one would witness in back alleys, the opponents beating each other to a pulp. Screenwriter Bakarythm delivers a self-deprecating tale with hilarious meta narration that constantly refers to manga conventions, while displaying an intelligence you would never expect from such a concept. For his part, director Kazuaki Seki does not skimp on the comics-book battles that follow one another at a frantic pace, and the actresses' performances fit perfectly with the film's grandiloquence. OFFICE ROYALE could well be the most enjoyable film of the year! – Translation: Rupert Bottenberg
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