Starring: Yukie Nakama, Kumiko Asou, & Tanabe Seiichi
Directed by: Norio Tsuruta
Running Time: 95 minutes
In addition to my research and comparison, I finally completed the Japanese anthology with Ringu 0. The manga shares the same name and I think Birthday is the name of the novel. This chapter covers the backstory of Sadako and how all this came about.
If you've been keeping up with the original storyline then you know that Sadako was not a child when she died and she was part of a theater troupe. We start our story with this theater group preparing for a performance. Some of the women find Sadako strange and blame all bad occurrences on her. She later takes the lead due to an accident with the original actress and develops feelings for a certain guy, Toyama.
While seemingly showing us Sadako's struggle to fit in and be close to Toyama, the movie unveils her unusual family situation. Her loving mother who shared similar supernatural powers, her father who exploited them for it while masking it with love and care, and the secret records exposing nearly everything Sadako went through.
Not only do we learn these unfortunate things, but we learn that Sadako wasn't really an evil person as portrayed in Ringu and so on. We also go an explanation of why she's a little girl or younger woman among other things. Every little question about Sadako is mostly answered in the prequel. You can sympathize with the way Sadako is in present day and a bit of her mother's issues.
I'm not completely sure if the U.S. will ever use this in the future remake installments, but honestly I'd rather them not make a mess of such a great story like they are with their upcoming Ring 3D. Nonetheless, I found the movie intriguing and informative. It portrayed her as a normal human being feeling awkward about her ESP, family problems, and emotions toward the opposite sex.
If you're interested in this franchise, then Ringu 0 should be added to your watch list to complete the story.