A young woman with cerebral palsy hopes to achieve her dreams in 37 Seconds. Yuma (Mei Kayama) is a 23-year-old with cerebral palsy who lives with his overprotective mother (Misuzu Kanno). Dreaming to be a manga artist, Yuma works with her cousin Sayaka (Minori Hagiwara), who passes off Yuma’s artwork as her own. One day Yuma takes a risk and tries to find work on her own, which leads her to the editor of a pornographic manga magazine, who advises having more experiences in her life. This results in Yuma not only to explore her repressed sexuality but also seek the truth about why her father left her.
The debut feature film from Japanese filmmaker HIKARI, 37 Seconds is a coming-of-age story about a disabled young woman, who wants to gain control of her own life. Rarely allowed to leave home on her own, except to go work for Sayaka, Yuma suddenly gains the desire to explore her sexuality, if only to gain inspiration to draw pornographic mangas. However, this soon evolves into a desire for Yuma to track down the estranged father she has never known, which leads to some touching revelations.
37 Seconds is a film that tackles many subjects ranging from breaking stereotypes about those with disabilities and helicopter parenting to a desire to reach your goals, no matter how challenging they may be. The film is completely built around the soft-spoken performance by Mei Kayama, with you being able to greatly empathize with Yuma’s desire to live life the way she desires. While 37 Seconds does have some unresolved loose ends, particularly involving Sayaka’s exploitation of her cousin’s artistry, the film is still a quite heartwarming coming-of-age story.