Touch: Miss Lonely Yesterday

Also Known As: Touch: Are kara, Kimi wa… -Miss Lonely Yesterday-, Touch: MLY, Touch Movie 4
Genre: Drama/Romance
Format: 1 Movie
Allegiance: Group TAC/Toho
Director: Gisaburou Sugii
Vintage: 1998
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Five years ago, just as he was expected to breeze past Sumi Technical School and take Meisei High School to the Koushien, Uesugi Kazuya was killed in a tragic car accident. Two years later, Uesugi Tatsuya, Kazuya’s twin brother, achieved the dream of his fallen brother by guiding Meisei to the Koushien in a stunning victory over the now heavily favoured Sumi Tech. Despite his victory, for Tatsuya, and for his and Kazuya’s mutual childhood friend and love interest Asakura Minami, time has seemed to stand still since that fateful day five years ago. Will they eventually be able to greet the changing of the seasons once again?

Field Agent Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Overall 8.75

The Touch franchise is arguably the most famous and popular one of all time in Japan. The 26 volume manga by Adachi Mitsuru has now spawned 101 TV episodes, 5 movies, and a live-action drama that’s set to begin airing in Japan this fall. In fact, its popularity is so strong that despite an 11 year gap (1987-1998), the franchise was still lucrative enough to warrant further additions to its canon, and by the original studio and staff to boot (for the animated ones obviously). The movie that first bridged this gap was Touch: Miss Lonely Yesterday, a direct sequel to the original manga and TV series.

The first thing anyone will notice about this film, particularly if they’ve seen the Touch TV series or the older three movies, is that the art and animation has changed quite a bit. The change however is expected due to the time gap and is actually quite welcome. Miss Lonely Yesterday features fluid animation and well drawn characters, while still maintaining Adachi’s unique style. In particular, the colours are much cleaner, crisper, and brighter in this film than they were in its predecessors. The voice acting is still as good as ever, and the music is quite good with a few standout vocal tracks.

Now, since Miss Lonely Yesterday is only a 90 minute movie, it’s rather foolhardy to expect the same scale of characterization that was a striking feature of both the manga and TV series. Nonetheless, Miss Lonely Yesterday still manages to give an extra degree of depth to the relationship between Tatsuya and Minami, as well as put Nishimura Isami, a character mostly used for comic relief, into the spotlight in one of the most touching stories of the Touch universe. The newest introduction to the cast, Mizuno Kaori, is not without her charm either in terms of both personality and background, and rather than just being the focus of a side story, fits seamlessly into the bigger picture.

Touch: Miss Lonely Yesterday isn’t exactly a mind-blowing film, nor will it necessarily have the effect of Kimagure Orange Road: I Want to Return to that Day, where the movie actually attracts people to the series. Nevertheless, with a strong plot, crisp graphics, and fresh material, it certainly does the Touch franchise no shame. While it’s not exactly advisable to watch this movie with no prior knowledge of the Touch franchise, Touch: Miss Lonely Yesterday isn’t so intricately linked to the TV series so that it can’t function as a stand-alone film. Who knows, it might even convert a few new fans.