It is Christmas Eve, I have done no wrapping and I’m putting the finishing touches to this blog post. Priorities, right… I’ll start wrapping presents while listening to some J-Rock after finishing this post!
Twitch broke news about Third Window Films ending the year with yet another awesome acqusittion announcement (I do like alliterations!) in the form of Kotoko from legendary J-horror director Shinya Tsukamoto (you should know him from the Tetsuo films and Nightmare Detective). Reading the synopsis this sounds more in the line of his dark dramas like Vital.
A single mother begins to see doubles and becomes paranoid which makes taking care of her baby a nightmare. Her only relief from the double vision is singing and cutting herself but she soon suffers a nervous breakdown and her baby is taken away. One day, while riding a bus, she sings to herself and this catches the attention of a man who falls in love with her. The man is a novelist and he begins stalking her until they engage in a volatile relationship which seems to ease her visions and paranoia. Then her baby returns and her condition worsens.
Anyway these are the last films to be released in Japan for 2011 and a trailer for Rurouni Kenshin which will hit next year and looks particularly awesome.
Release Date: 25th August 2012
Running Time: N/A
Director: Keishi Ōtomo
Writer: Nobuhiro Watsuki (manga)
Starring: Takeru Sato, Emi Takei, Taketo Tanaka, Munetaka Aoki, Yu Aoi, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yosuke Eguchi,
The live-action adaptation of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s chanbara manga Rurouni Kenshin wasrecently released. The film’s titular character is played by Takeru Sato who has appeared in the live-action adaptation of BECK and Emi Takei, star of Takashi Miike’s forthcoming Ai to Makoto adaptation, takes the lead female role of Kaoru Kamiya. The film is being directed by Keishi Ōtomo who directed a popular NHK historical television series named Ryomaden which featured Sato.
The story takes place in the early Meiji period, a time of transition for Japan where industrialisation allowed Japan modernise itself and consign samurai to the history books as they are replaced by guns and are banned from wearing swords in public. One such samurai is Himura Kenshin who was once an elite assassin during the final years of the Edo period he now finds himself as a wandering samurai offering aid to those in need as atonement for his past actions. During his travels he meets Kaoru Kamiya, an instructor at her father’s Kendo school. She offers Kenshin a place to stay at her dojo and their relationship begins to blossom but Kenshin’s past will soon catch up with him.
Futari H: Second Kiss
Release Date: 17th December 2011
Running Time: N/A
Writer: Aki Katsu (manga)
Starring: Yūri Morishita, Hikaru Okada, Kirara Asuka, Momoko Tani
One night when reading Neo magazine I came across Manga Sutra (originally named Futari Ecchi). This is a manga that combines the sexually explicit with slice-of-life/factual elements in a heady mix of sex, romance and comedy. I decided that it was not for me (what if someone found it amidst my copies of Biomega and Battle Royale???!). Others were of a different opinion and this is a long running series (23 million copies sold, 50th volume published this year) that has been translated into different languages and received an anime and live-action television adaptation as well as the film treatment. Here’s the trailer for the second film.
The film follows a sexually inexperienced couple (they were both virgins when they married) and their explorations in intimacy as family members, co-workers and friends give advice. Will the film be explicit like the manga? Don’t worry, the trailer’s safe!
Release date: 21st December 2011 (Japan)
Running time: N/A
Director: Eiichiro Hasumi
Writer: Mikiya Mochizuki (manga)
Starring: Eita, Kippei Shiina, Ryuhei Maruyama, Tsuyoshi Abe, Takashi Ukaji
Based on Mikiya Mochizuki’s manga (1969 – 1979), the film follows a secret motorcycle unit made up of former Yakuza members set up by the Japanese National Police Agency to tackle rising crime and terrorism in Japan. The film stars Eita (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai 3D, Monsters Club), Ryuhei Maruyama (Outrage, Sakuran).
Isoroku Yamamoto, the Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet
Release Date: 23rd December 2011
Running Time: N/A
Director: Izuru Narushima
Writer: Yasuo Hasegawa, Kenzaburo Iida
Starring: Koji Yakusho, Mitsugoro Bando, Toshiro Yanagiba, Akira Emoto, Teruyuki Kagawa, Rena Tanaka, Mieko Harada, Hiroshi Abe
A film based on the life of Isoroku Yamamoto who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet of the Japanese navy and orchestrated Japan’s efforts in major battles like Pearl Harbour.
There’s also the Thermae Romae flash animation which accompanies the soon to be released film…