The Suicide Manual
Japanese Title: 自殺マニュアル
Release Date: 04th October 2003 (Japan)
Running Time: 86 mins.
Director: Osamu Fukutani
Writer: Osamu Fukutani, Hiroshi Kanno (Screenplay), Wataru Tsurumi (Original Book)
Starring: Kenji Mizuhashi, Chisato Morishita, Yuko Nakamura, Niki Nagasawa, Kei Horie, Hideo Sakaki, Miho Fujima, Yuka Hanabusa, Maki Meguro Ayaka Maeda
Wataru Tsurumi’s notorious book, The Complete Manual of Suicide has been blamed for helping people to commit suicide and improving the chances of death occurring. This is not the first time I have encountered Wataru Tsurumi since news organisations around the world carried reports on his work. What I did not know was that his book had inspired a film. The result is far less interesting than one might think.
Yuu (Mizuhashi) is a journalist/cameraman with AX TV, a local broadcaster. He has been tasked with investigating a recent spate of suicides by his boss Yashiro (Sakaki). He heads over to the scene of a group suicide with his assistant Rie (Morishita) where they encounter a survivor (Nagasawa) who puts them on the trail of a woman named Rikki (Nakamura) who organises group suicides through her suicide bulletin board and a DVD she sends to potential suicides. The DVD is called The Suicide Manual. Yuu finds himself haunted by the concept of suicide and becomes obsessed with contacting Rikki.
This V-cinema release was the second directorial effort of Osamu Fukutani, one of the writers from the low-budget horror films The Locker 1 and 2. The cast list for The Suicide Manual features actors from both of those films and even the director Kei Horie. While I was no fan of Osamu Fukutani’s writing in The Locker I am interested in seeing how he squares up as a director.
The film opens with the lines:
The purpose of this movie is to warn against suicide. Its intent is not to encourage people to commit suicide