I had not planned to do any first-impressions of the anime this season and just follow the picks I made with a series review but I watched Knights of Sidonia and wanted to write a few words, partly because fellow blogger Novroz was interested and partly to just give my take because I like the story and the anime has impressed me.
It has been a pretty slow week but it has been enlivened by the end theme of “Humanity Has Declined” which I have started watching again.
Longer hours away from the computer and more time revising for Japanese were enlivened by the song. In order to relax a little more, I played “The Walking Dead: 400 Days” in preparation for starting the second season. I also kept watching anime because the Spring 2014 season is underway. “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” has proven to be the stand out so far. In posting terms, I relayed news on the Terracotta Far East Film Festival’s short film competition and I posted about news on the release of “The Story of Yonosuke” and I reviewed that film last year following the last Terracotta festival.
What Japanese films are released in Japan this weekend?
Japanese: クローズ EXPLODE
Romaji: Kuro-zu EXPLODE
Running Time: 129 mins.
Release Date: April 12th, 2014 (Japan)
Director: Toshiaki Toyoda
Writer: Kosuke Mukai, Rikiya Mizushima, Takashi Hasegawa (Screenplay), Hiroshi Takahashi (Original Novel)
Starring: Masahiro Higashide, Taichi Saotome, Ryo Katsuji, Takanori Iwata, Kenzo, Kento Nagayama, Yuya Yagira,
A new generation of actors take on the challenge of making the “Crows” franchise including Masahiro Higashide (“The Kirishima Thing”) and Kento Nagayama (“Crime or Punishment?!?”). It looks pretty flashy and quite surprisingly, it is directed by Toshiaki Toyoda, the man behind “9 Souls” and “Monsters Club.” Perhaps, in making that comment, I haven’t watched as many of his films as I should have.
The Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 is about to launch its second annual Short Film Competition, with a fantastic prize for the winner which includes a trip for two to Kuala Lumpur.
Third Window Films follow up last month’s release of the ultra-brilliant “Shady” with a more heart-warming human drama about the power of friendship called “The Story of Yonosuke“. As I made clear in my review, I liked it a lot. Here are the release details:
The Story of Yonosuke
A film by Shuichi Okita (The Woodsman & the Rain)
Based on a novel by Shuichi Yoshida (Villain, Parade)
Japan / 2013 / 160 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / Colour
I have started getting rid of even MORE magazines now with old issues of the East Asian focussed “Neo” being stacked ready for recycling. I’ve gutted my “Edge” video game magazine in the hopes of saving lots and lots of issues of “Sight & Sound”. I might have to get rid of those to free up space… I have also started revising for a Japanese exams so my evening are spent not watching films or writing about them and so I am only putting out one post at the beginning of the week. This week was my Spring 2014 Anime picks. Despite this, I have watched “Watashi no Kirai Tantei” and “Jojo” as well as finishing up winter anime titles like “Reitetsu Hoozuki,” “Sekai Seifuku” and “Space Dandy” which all ended on a high. Expect a winter season round-up and posts for some other titles. Also, THAT LAST EPISODE OF “THE WALKING DEAD” WAS AWESOME!
Ahem… Here are the rest of the trailers for this weekend.
Japanese: リアル人狼ゲーム 戦慄のクラッシュ・ルーム
Romaji: Riaru Jinro Gemu Senritsu no Kuratshu Rumu
Running Time: 78 mins.
Release Date: April 05th, 2014 (Japan)
Director: Seisoku Kajita
Writer: Seisoku Kajita (Screenplay), Naoya Higuchi (Original Novel)
Starring: Mariya Nagao, Hiroyuki Kajima, Risako Tokoro, Yuka Hanamura, Ryosuke Miswa, Kazuki Tsuruoka, Rio Takahashi
Mai’s boyfriend is returning from a business trip and so she heads to his apartment to greet him. She doesn’t find him. She finds 7 different people who claim the apartment is theirs. Will they be willing to claim an unidentified body in the bathroom?
This is the first of two trailer posts for this weekend. The only film trailer that I like in this post is the crime caper “One Third” which stars Tatsuya Fujiwara. I guess I’m in the mood for glossy fun.
Talking about fun, I took part in the #SaveShenmue day over at Twitter.
I had a blast tweeting and retweeting comments in support of the legendary game Shenmue. It’s one of those titles that captures the imagination of all who play it and becomes a cult hit. Alas, the game didn’t get a third part to continue the story but fans might be able to persuade video game companies to look into making the game. The next #Saveshenmue day is May 03rd.
Romaji: Sanbun no ichi
Running Time: 119 mins.
Release Date: April 01st, 2014 (Japan)
Director: Hiroshi Shinagawa
Writer:Hiroshi Shinagawa (Screenplay), Hanta Kinoshita (Original Novel)
Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Koki Tanaka, Mika Nakashima, Ryuichi Kosugi, Yosuke Kubozuka, Shinnosuke Ikehata, Ryo Kimura, Sho Aikawa, Mitsu Dan
This looks like glossy fun. Sho Aikawa
Shuu (Fujiwara) is the manager of a cabaret club called “Honey Bunny” where a guy named Ken (Kosugi) rocks up claiming to have succeeded in robbing a bank and also claiming to be willing to divide the money between himself and Shuu. Soon, the idea of getting more of the money consumes each of the men and they find themselves plotting against each other, little knowing that another person is also interested…
There are over 50 shows getting released in March and April. Writing a series of preview guides for Anime UK News left me at my most cynical about the lack of artistry and the rampant commercialization in the Japanese entertainment industry as a whole (I must have been feeling tired).
Out of the 50+ released, there is so much that does not appeal to me. A lot of them are aimed at NEETs and hikikomori and I find shows like those are creepy and immature.
I did have a longer, whinier intro about the season and it’s over-reliance on LN adaptations and shows aimed at immature males written but cut it because it was written when I felt grouchy and want to be positive. Some other anibloggers are writing this season off but there are lots of new series starting and some gems amidst all of the titles. Here are the gems from my perspective.
The Winter 2013 anime season is approaching its end as shows enter their 11th and 12th episodes. I have a series of posts lined up about it including one about the most exciting shows in the Spring 2014 season based on some articles I wrote for Anime UK News. I’m approaching a Japanese exam so expect fewer posts from me as I spend less time writing about films and more time actually practicing Japanese. I’m in the middle of my long week at work so time is rather scarce and I need to focus. Remaining on the topic of work, I met a girl there who is utterly charming and a fellow fan of film critic Mark Kermode and we chatter endlessly about films which makes the day easier. Another member of staff is trying to get me to watch Italian films but I’m hesitant because the title he selected is six-hours long. I wish I had six hours to do stuff! It certainly wouldn’t be anything related to Italy!
In blogging terms, I posted information about a Yoshitaro Nomura season – I’ll be watching some of these films – and a trailer for a new “Ju-On.” In film and television terms I watched “I’ll Give it My All Tomorrow” last Saturday and further episodes of “Watashi no Kirai Tantei”. Enough about me, here are the trailers.
Romaji: Shiro Yuki Hime Satsujin Jiken
Running Time: 126 mins.
Release Date: March 29th, 2014 (Japan)
Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura
Writer:Tamio Hayashi (Screenplay), Kanae Minato (Original Novel)
Starring: Mao Inoue, Gou Ayano, Misako Renbutsu, Nanao, Shihori Kanjiya, Nobuaki Kaneko, Erena Ono, Mitsuki Tanimura, Shota Sometani, Katsuhisa Namase, Dankan,
I have reviewed two Yoshihiro Nakamura movies here like The Foreign Duck, and See You Tomorrow, Everyone. I loved the former and hated the later. His latest project looks absolutely deliciously dark. He teams up with his usual writer Tamio Hayashi (See You Tomorrow, Everyone, Shield of Straw) for a murder tale full of hot young actors.
The Show White Murder Case sees victim Noriko Miki (Nanao), the best looking girl at a cosmetics company, murdered and her co-worker Miki (Inoue) coming under suspicion. The media frenzy begins as television shows interview Miki’s friends, family and anybody even vaguely associated with her. Soon rumours of her being a wicked woman emerge. Are they true?
I didn’t see this one coming but it should have been obvious. A new installment in the J-horror film series “Ju-on” is getting a release in July! We get to welcome back the extremely creepy boy Toshio, and his rather hot but super scary mother Kayako Saeki!
Japanese Title: 呪怨―終わり の 始まり
Romaji: Juon – Owari no Hajimari
Running Time: 30 mins.
Director: Masayuki Ochiai
Writer: Masayuki Ochiai (Screenplay)
Starring: Nozomi Sasaki, Kai Kobayashi
The name of director Yoshitaro Nomura has only been mentioned on this blog once and it was in relation to the anime “Coppelion” back in January. He’s a man I know from researching other titles. It’s a bit of an oversight because he is one of those directors who started work during the New Wave of Japanese filmmaking (think Nagisa Oshima) and carved out a mighty fine career tackling difficult subject matter and was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government in 1995. I get the chance to rectify that oversight because the Institute of Contemporary Arts down in London is playing host to a season of his films during a 6-day run of his films from April 18th until April 23rd.
Yoshitaro Nomura was a popular director and pioneer of Japanese film noir. He made his debut in 1953 with “Pigeon” and directed, wrote and produced around 89 films up until his death in 2005, some of which are considered classics He worked a lot on adaptations of novels by the best-selling author Seicho Matsumoto and created what some critics consider the best version of “Zero Focus” (1961) which is one of the films getting screened at the ICA. The other films include the 1974 thriller, “Castle of Sand”, which is ranked as one of the greatest ever-Japanese films by domestic critics, as well as “The Demon” (1978), “Stakeout” (1958), and “The Shadow Within” (1970).
Here’s the breakdown of the films, just click on the titles for more information such as times and a more detailed synopsis: