Pulse

 

 

            Yrei ni aitai desu ka? (Do you want to meet a ghost?)

 

The plot centers on ghosts invading the world of the living via the Internet. The film is a philosophical exploration into the alienation and loneliness of modern existence thanks to technology and more specifically, the internet. Communication breakdown and isolation is the main theme of the film.

The first storyline involves a young woman named Kudo Michi who works at a plant sales company. She has recently moved to the city and her main friends are her three colleagues; Sasano Junko, Toshio Yabe and Taguchi. At the start of the film, it appears Taguchi has been missing for some days working on a computer disk. Michi goes to visit his apartment and finds him physically okay, albeit distracted. When Michi's back is turned, Taguchi hangs himself in a manner as abrupt as it is casual.

She and her colleagues ponder why Taguchi killed himself but cannot find any answers, although there are clues on the computer disk Taguchi was working on, including an image of his apartment with Taguchi's ghostly face reflected in a computer monitor. Yabe later receives a phone-call that seems to be of Taguchi saying "Help me", over and over, so he goes to his deceased colleague's apartment and sees a ghostly black image imprinted on the wall where Taguchi was hanging against. Yabe leaves but spies a door to a nearby apartment which has been taped up with bright red tape. He rips the tape off and enters, only to encounter a ghostly woman who approaches him silently while he desperately hides under a sofa.

After that encounter, Yabe becomes despondent and lethargic, hiding in his apartment and refusing to leave. Later, Michi receives a phone-call whereby Yabe intones "Help me" over and over. She goes to his apartment but Yabe is not there; there is merely a black stain on the wall. She leaves in fear. Michi and Junko are soon alone at their workplace, with their boss having also dropped out of sight. Doors with red-tape over the edges are cropping up all over Tokyo, and Junko enters one of them, where she encounters a ghostly woman. Junko is rescued by Michi, who takes her to her apartment, but Junko is rendered lethargic and uncommunicative. When Michi's back is briefly turned, Junko asks her "Am I just going to die like this?" Michi cheerfully responds "No, of course not," but when she turns round, Junko has vanished, leaving just a sad black stain on the wall.

The other storyline features Kawashima Ryosuke, an economics studentwho decides to get onto the internet; he knows nothing about computers but feels compelled to join in the internet fad. He signs up to an ISP but watches in confusion and then horror when his computer automatically connects to a series of webcam images showing lethargic and depressed looking people in darkened rooms, before showing the text "Do you want to meet a ghost?"

Ryosuke turns the computer off and the next day asks advice from a computer expert, a fellow student named Harue Karasawa. She suggests a hacker may have been responsible for his odd experiences and advises him on how to take the address of the site should it happen again. Ryosuke tries this advice the next night, when his computer dials up on its own, but he unplugs the computer in terror when he sees a webcam image of a man sitting in a chair with a bin-bag on his head and the words "Help me" scrawled repeatedly on the wall behind him.

He gets in touch with Harue again, but she does not have much of an explanation as to what is going on. One of her fellow students, Yoshizaki, does, and in fact he ties in Ryosuke's experiences with the appearances of ghostly looking people who can be seen around campus. Yoshizaki explains his theory that the place where dead people's souls go to is somehow full up, and the overspill of souls (or ghosts) are invading the physical world - somehow employing the internet to do so - and that this is behind the rash of people vanishing or losing the will to live and subsequently committing suicide,

Throughout the two storylines, Tokyo is rapidly and inexplicably being emptied of people. At one point, Michi goes to a local shop, which is empty, save for a ghostly man lurking behind the counter. Towards the start of the film, Ryosuke visits a video arcade, which is packed with other people, but when he goes there a few days later it is empty, apart from a bizarre, ghostly apparition that compels him to flee in terror. Harue subsequently drops out of sight too, and Ryosuke ends up drifting aimlessly around an increasingly desolute Tokyo, where he meets Michi, who - having seen her colleagues and friends all either kill themselves or vanish - was driving aimlessly in the hope of finding someone, only for her car to break down. Ryosuke and Michi team up and try to find Harue. She turns up in an abandoned factory, where she shoots herself in the head in front of Ryosuke and Michi. The latter two are compelled to drive off, but not before Ryosuke stops to obtain some fuel and ends up wandering into a room whose door was previously sealed up with red tape. There he encounters a ghost who mournfully explains that death is "eternal loneliness" and pleads "help me".

At that point, Ryosuke seemingly loses the will to live, and Michi has to all but drag him to safety. They drive through Tokyo, which is deserted and desolate, with parts of it on fire. Along the way they encounter many scenes of an almost apocalyptic nature, such as a military plane crashing and the sky darkened by the fires raging through an empty Tokyo.

Finally, the pair make it to a ship crewed by a small group of survivors. Ryosuke is slumped against a wall in a cabin when he vanishes, leaving a black stain; Michi is left on her own with the other few survivors. The captain states that they are heading towards Latin America because they have received "signals" from that location, indicating that there are survivors there. This makes it clear that the whole of the planet Earth- not just Tokyo - has seen an apocalyptic de-population of humanity.

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

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Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Produced by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Starring Haruhiko Kat
Kumiko Aso
Koyuki
Koji Yakusho
Music by  
Distributed by  
Release date(s) February 10, 2001
Running time 118 mins
Language Japanese
Budget  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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