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    Hi, and welcome to Mangaminx's Lair! I'm Mangaminx, a 21 year old female anime and manga fan, and this is my blog. Here you will find lots of reviews/screenshots and other features for your yuri anime needs! Feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment! Thanks to the amazing Melainy for my latest banner!

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Ab-Normal Beauty (Live Action)
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Ah, time once again for one of my rare live-action entries. Ab-normal Beauty takes us into the more than a little sick world of photographing death, and features people jumping off buildings, men in gimp masks beating people to death with lead pipes and some of the most truly bizarre camerawork I've seen in a live-action film (baring in mind that I barely watch any of course!)

Jin is your average everyday art student, she spends her time with her (very) close friend Jas and the two often take photographs together. However one day while walking along Jin witnesses a horrific car accident, and before she can stop herself photographs one of the dying victims laying in the street covered in blood. Evidently some big alarm bells here that Jin is rather... odd, and yes, you'd be correct. Jin gradually becomes more and more obsessed with death, photographing increasingly macabre things, and painting such things too. She gradually begins to lose her mind and for some reason the scenes of death are triggering long buried memories of abuse in her childhood. Fortunately Jas is on hand to try and bring Jin back to reality, but while Jin may be able to be saved from her plummet into madness... others are too far gone.

That's the plot summary out of the way! I always find it's the dullest thing to write for live-action films although I've tried to avoid major spoilers. The main thing I feel I need to point out about Ab-Normal Beauty, is it's weird. Really weird. In fact it is one of the most bizarre and downright sickest films I've ever watched, but despite all the disturbing content (not usually my kind of thing) it manages to be pretty good at the same time. Each of the disturbing scenes (they come fairly frequently) are done in a rather unusual way, the film is brutal, it is bloody but you are shown the most unpleasant parts of each scene very briefly (at least until the end). The images flash on the screen in quick succession from different angles and viewpoints at times making the already bizarre subject matter seem even weirder. It's a nice effect and something you will either love or hate depending on your tolerance of "weird". A scene in particular that sticks in my mind since watching it is Jin almost getting into a fever of excitement photographing chickens being slaughtered. It's warped, its definitely unsettling viewing but the bizarre closeups (done like on a handheld camera) add to this even more. It's a scene that reinforces just how disturbing I found this title.

When it comes to watching anything, I HAVE to like the characters. If I don't like the cast for a TV series, anime, movie whatever even if it's got a great plot I will hate it. However Jin and Jas provide a fairly interesting pairing of characters (Jin is by far the lead character though) with some truly great scenes with each other. The two of them seem to be in love, but this is more implied than directly shown (but hey it's good enough for me). The fact that the two are a couple in the film is made rather odd by the fact the two actresses who play them are sisters in reality (Race and Rosanne Wong who also made/make up the real life pop act 2R). Despite all the warped subject matter the only thing that seems relatively sane amongst the stories dark moments is the way Jas is there for Jin doing her best to help and support her. This was a nice touch and gave the film a few lighter moments.

To be fair while this is a decent enough warped psychological horror/drama film it was more the character interactions (there are some interesting conversations between a "losing grip on reality" Jin and a male friend of hers too) that pushed my opinion of it higher. The subject matter is very sick stuff (perhaps a bit too sick for me) and it only gets more disturbing as the film reaches its climax. If the film had maintained being rather creepy mixed in with the social interactions till the end I would give it a higher score, but it just goes for all out brutality by the final reel. Still for those who don't mind rather sick films, or for those with just a high enough tolerance for them (such as myself) it's worth a watch from beginning to end.

posted by Mangaminx On Sunday, April 30, 2006  
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