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Junichi Suzuki spins this three-hanky tearjerker about a plucky high school girl cut down in the bloom of youth by the dreaded -- and, in Japan, rarely discussed -- AIDS virus. Akiko Sonoda (Akane Oda) returns to her rural hometown in the southern prefecture of Kumamoto after living in South America for a spell with her parents. While there, she was injured in car accident and ended up contracting AIDS from a bad blood transfusion. Akiko greets her best friend Natsumi (Megumi Matsushita) with a big hug, from which Natsumi instinctively recoils. Fortunately, Natsumi soon repents and becomes Akiko's only friend at school. Others are not so generous: Natsumi's boyfriend and father regard her as untouchable, her classmates are afraid of her, and the leader of the local parents' group (played by 1960s gangster icon Jo Shishido) tries to get her expelled. Fortunately, the school's fair-minded vice-principal and Akiko's fiercely protective mother (Mari Natsuki) battle on Akiko's behalf, even as her health declines.
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