Helter Skelter, Drudgery Train, Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts, Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd, Pokemon Best Wishes! The Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sacred Swordsman Keldeo Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box-Office Charts

This week I posted a review for 2 Days in New York and trailers for the forthcoming big screen anime adaptation of Asura and the latest Naruto movie.

What’s does the Japanese movie box-office chart look like this week?

  1.  The Amazing Spider-Man
  2.  Snow White and the Huntsman
  3.  Rinjo
  4.  Soreike! Anpanman Yomigaere Bananajima
  5.  Man on a Ledge
  6.  Hotaru: It’s Only a Little Light in my Life
  7. Guskou Budori no Denki
  8. Thermae Romae
  9. Men in Black III
  10.  Go, Masao!

The Amazing Spider-Man, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Rinjo remain in the top three – Snow White is actually pretty decent even if I found the Princess Mononoke section awful.  Two of last week’s releases, Soreike! Anpanman Yomigaere Bananajima and Guskou Budori enter at four and seven respectively. Thermae Romae spends yet another week in the top ten. It must be seriously funny!

What Japanese films are released today (and yesterday)?  Well it’s pretty busy but we see Erika Sawajiri back on the big screen!

Helter Skelter                                                            Helter Skelter Poster

Japanese Title: Heruta Sukeruta

Release Date: 14th November 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Mika Nanigawa

Writer: Arisa Kaneko (Script), Kyoko Okazaki (manga)  

Starring: Erika Sawajiri, Nao Omori, Shinobu Terajima, Gou Ayano, Yosuke Kubozuka, Mieko Harada, Sho Aikawa, Junki Tozuka, Anne Suzuki, Hirofumi Arai

Lead actress Erika Sawajiri (Ghost Train) makes her movie comeback with Helter Skelter a stunning looking movie with a great cast. The director is Mika Ninagawa, an art/fashion photographer who made her directorial debut with Sakuran. The film adapts Kyoko Okazaki’s psychological manga which was originally released in 2003.


Ririko (Sawajiri) is a vision of perfect beauty. What the public does not know is that her beauty is derived from multiple cosmetic surgeries and a lot of medication. To maintain her beauty and position she needs to keep taking medication and getting surgery but when the clinic that performs her surgery comes under investigation for medical ethics from authorities led by Prosecutor Asada (Omori) Ririko finds her career on the brink of calamity. With pressure mounting, Ririko’s body begins to suffer and her emotions and career, and sanity begin to fall apart.

Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts                                Brave Hearts Umizaru

Romaji: Brave Hearts Umizaru

Japanese Title: Brave Hearts  海猿

Release Date: 13th July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hasumi Eiichiro

Writer: N/A

Starring: Hideaki ito, Ai Kato, Riisa Naka, Ryuta Sato, Shohei Miura, Hiroyuki Hirayama, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Saburo Tokito

Another big-screen adaptation of a popular television series only this one focusses on the Japanese Coast Guard. Taking to the high seas are an interesting cast list including Hideaki Ito (Sukiyaki Western Django) and Riisa Naka (Mitsuko Delivers), Ai Kato (Another), and Tsuyoshi Ihara (13 Assassins, Retribution).

When a plane due to land at Haneda Airport begins to suffer engine failure, Sea Marshal Daisuke  Senzaki (Hideaki Ito) is on the case. He better hurry because one of the flight attendants is Riisa Naka!


Drudgery Train                                             Drudgery Train Movie Poster

Romaji: Kueki Ressha

Japanese Title: 苦役 列車

Release Date: 14th July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 112 mins.

Director: Nobuhiro Yamashita

Writer: Kenta Nishimura (Novel)

Starring: Mirai Moriyama, Kengo Kora, Atsuko Maeda

Drudgery Train comes from Nobuhiro Yamashita (Linda, Linda, Linda), and is based on Kenta Nishimura’s Akutagawa Prize-winning novel Kueki Ressha. This character-study stars Mirai Moriyama (Fish on Land, Fish Story), Kengo Kora (The Woodsman and the Rain, Norwegian Wood), and Atsuko Maeda (The Suicide Song), a member of Team A in AKB48 and has got some great reviews. This has to be my favourite trailer from today.

Kitamichi (Moriyama) is a 19-year-old junior high drop out with alcohol problems. He works as a labourer in a warehouse and he has no friends and wastes his days doing very little apart from reading mystery novels. Then he meets Kusakabe (Kora), a new hire at the warehouse. The two become friends and Kusakabe brings Kitamichi into his circle of friends which includes Yasuko (Maeda) who works in a book store. Kitamichi falls for her. The problem is that Kusakabe is also in love with Yasuko and Kitamichi gets jealous. Can his new-found friendships last?


Paikaji Nankai Sakusen                                                Paikaji Movie Poster

Romaji: Paikaji Nankai Sakusen

Japanese Title: ぱいかじ 南海 作戦

Release Date: 14th July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Toru Hosokawa

Writer: Toru Hosokawa,Makoto Shiina (Novel)

Starring: Sadao Abe, Kento Nagayama, Shihori Kanjiya, Nozomi Sasaki, Kazuyuki Asano, Pierre Taki, Shigeru Saiki

Another film based on a novel, this one written by Makoto Shiina and published all the way back in 2004. It stars Sadao Abe (After Life, Kamikaze Girls), Kento Nagayama (Crime or Punishment?!?, Hard Romanticker, Villain), Shihori Kanjiya (Survive Stye 5+, Dead Waves) among others.

Sasaki (Abe) has recently lost his job and is going through a rough divorce. He decides to take a break and visit Iriomote Island. Unfortunately his money and belongings are stolen by four homeless men and he is left on the island with nothing. Forced to adopt survivalist tactics on the island he has to shack up with a strange bunch of people including a survivalist, a city guy and a girl who speaks with a Kansai dialect. Then Sasaki decides to take his revenge on the homeless guys that robbed him.


Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd 

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd is a sequel to Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 1st which was released back in 2010. While the first film was a retelling of the first series the sequel will be a retelling of the events of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s but it will follow the magical girl Nanoha who has to face a new threat while revealing information regarding the Graham family.


The staff members for the movie are veterans of the Nanoha franchise. The original creator of the Nanoha franchise, Masaki Tsuzuki, is writing the script. The director of the anime is Keizou Kusakawa (Campione!, Asura Crying, Dog Days) who has directed numerous entries in the franchise. Character design and animation direction is handled by Yasuhiro Okuda who has also worked on classic 90′s anime Record of Lodoss War. Art direction is supervised by Shinji Katahira who has also worked on Haibane Renmei. Also returning are the voice actors including Yukari Tamura Nanoha Movie 2nd A's(Remon Yamano in Ano Nattsu de Matteru), Nana Mizuki (Saya Kisaragi in Blood-C), and Kana Ueda (Rin Tohsaka inFate/Zero).

Staff: Keizou Kusakawa (Director), Masaki Tsuzuki (Script/Original Creator), Yasuhiro Okuda (Character Design/Chief Animation Director), Shinji Katahira (Art Director),

Voice Actors: Yukari Tamura (Nanoha Takamachi), Nana Mizuki (Fate Testarossa), Kana Ueda (Hayate Yagami), Asami Sanada (Vita), Kaori Shimizu (Signum), Kazuya Ichijou (Zafira), Ryoka Yuzuki (Shamal)

Studio: Seven Arcs


Pocket Monsters/Pokemon Best Wishes! The Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sacred Swordsman Keldeo              Pokemon Best Wishes

Japanese Title: 劇場版ポケットモンスター ベストウイッシュ キュレムVS聖剣士 ケルディオ

Romaji: Gekijoban Poketto Monsuta Besuto Uisshu Kyuremu tai Seikenshi Kerudio

Release Date:  14th July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 93 mins.

Director: Kunihiko Yuyama

Writer: Hideki Sonoda

Starring: Rica Matsumoto (Ash/Satoshi), Ikue Otani (Pikachu), Aoi Yuki (Iris), Mamoru Miyano (Dent/Cilan), Megumi Hayashibara (Musashi), Shinichiro Mik (Kojiro), Unsho Ishizuka (Narrator)

Okay, hands up… I used to be a Pokemon fan. I played Pokemon Red when I was in high school. In fact I played Pokemon Soul Silver it last year (because my sister loves the franchise and had Heart Gold). I can even sing the theme song from the anime. I have never watched the films or the television series all of the way through because… I’m not all that interested but a Pokemon movie is a major thing in Japan and around the world and the latest movie is released today.

3 thoughts on “Helter Skelter, Drudgery Train, Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts, Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd, Pokemon Best Wishes! The Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sacred Swordsman Keldeo Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box-Office Charts

  1. You’re such a productive blogger…
    So, should we consider a number 7 entry for Guskou Budori no Denki good or bad?

    Agree with you, Drudgery Train looks the best from this batch – although the story doesn’t sound too original. Might borrow that from you for a Trailer Weekly. Kora Kengo never quite scores the lead roles, does he? I also don’t get why they must cast actors are definitely a lot older and don’t look like teens as 19 year olds?

    Tried Helter Skelter the manga. Didn’t get beyond a few pages.

    1. It has made a decent amount of money for the first week but for the number of screens it opened on I’m guessing Warner Bros. Japan expect more (Berserk and Library Wars opened on far fewer screens and managed to make a similar amount of money in a fortnight). The real test is to see if it can stay in the charts for longer than a couple of weeks. I’m no expert and I’m getting my info from here which is one of the links on the right:P

      The user reviews on Cinema Today are generally positive. How this affects the non-existent campaign to get this at the BFI London Film Festival remains to be seen 😛

      Drudgery Train looks very good. I burst out laughing during the trailer.

      1. I don’t really know how to interpret box office numbers and trends either, even less so at the Japanese Box Office since it’s hard to gauge the other Japanese films, which might be cultural institutions of some sort that are a real competition or not.

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