A sort of Idoru meets Spice World, Takashi Miike’s 1998 J-pop jaunt congregates girl group Speed and boyband Da Pump in an effervescent riff on memory and virtualness. When teenage Mai (Hiroko Shimabukuro) dies in an accident, her scientist father embeds an artificially intelligent reincarnation named Ai on her boyfriend’s laptop. Miike fulfills the teenybopper brief with relish—a mid-movie plunge off a cliff cues a choreographed music-video routine—and gives the rote plot a weird, mood-swinging energy, alternating between puppy-love melodrama and garish cyberhallucinations. Any film nuts enough to cast wild-man cinematographer Chris Doyle as a shorts-clad villain is its own kind of must-see.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 28, 2004