Tug of War!, Crow’s Thumb, The Ear Cleaner, Joshi Camera, Milocrorze – A Love Story and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Persona Saturday FaceThis week I started writing my submission for an art prize and I started my Christmas shopping… Two gifts for other people and I just ordered an awesome movie collection as highlighted by Goregirl! I also know when the Christmas party for Japanese class is going to be and I know that the restaurant sells green tea ice cream (lovely!). As far as blogging goes I started this week with two trailers for two major anime titles in the form of Berserk Golden Age Arc III: Descent and One Piece Film Z. I then followed up with a review for Key of Life, an excellent comedy with great performances that I saw at the 56th BFI London Film Festival and news on the UK release of Mystical Laws, an anime movie I was not taking too seriously during its original Japanese release due to its backers but I am eager to hear whether it is any good.

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

  1. Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
  2. Lesson of the Evil
  3. The Floating Castle
  4. Ninkyo Helper: Beautiful World.
  5. A Chorus of Angels
  6. Smile Precure!
  7. Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
  8. Fly with the Gold
  9. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  10. Paranormal Activity 4

When writing the previews for the latest Eva movie I mentioned it being the type of anime that is a licence to print money. Here is the proof. Since its opening last week, the movie has accrued about $19,183,750. According to Anime News Network, the film’s opening box office weekend was $13,913,200, the highest earnings in Japan this year. Incredible. The other new entry from last week was Ninkyo Helper, a movie adaptation of a television series. Far more importantly is the return of Takashi Miike… actually he’s so prolific he never really goes away… with the brilliant looking Lesson of the Evil where a psychotic teacher takes out pupils, parents and teachers played by half the cast of Himizu.

Enough about last week! What is released in Japan today? And yesterday!?

Tug of War!                                      Tug of War Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 綱引いちゃった!

Romaji: Tsuna Hiichatta!

Release Date:  23rd November 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Nobuo Mizuta

Writer:  Daisuke Habara

Starring: Mao Inoue, Keiko Matsuzaka, Tetsuji Tamayama, Naomi Nishida, Sonim, Naomi Watanabe, Inuko Inuyama, Takashi Sasano, Morio Kazama

I have to admit that I did crack a smile with this. The antics of the cute Mao Inoue (My Tug of War Movie Poster 2Darling is a Foreigner, Kaidan)  caught me off-guard. She is joined by Keiko Matsuzaka (Instant Swamp), Tetsuji Tamayama (Norwegian Wood), Naomi Nishida (Train Man, Swing Girls, A Man with Style, The Happiness of the Katakuri’s) and Takashi Sasano (Thermae Romae, Insight into the Universe). The director is Nobuo Mizuta who is the chap who helmed Maiko haaaan!!!, a very influential comedy, the writer is Daisuke Habara who wrote Hula Girls and the Suicide Song, two films I hope to review sometime in the new year. Anyway… This looks like it could be fun.

Chiaki Nishikawa (Inoue) helps handle the public relations department for Oita city. Oita is a city that has won the tug-of-war world championship three times in the past and so in order to promote the city the mayor has a bright idea: an all-girl tug-of-war team. Luckily Nishikawa is an enthusiast for the game and she is the perfect person to rope a few people in and make them pick up the rope!!!

 

 

Crow’s Thumb                                      Crows Thumb

Japanese Title: カラス の 親指

Romaji: Karasu no Oyayubi

Release Date:  23rd November 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 160 mins.

Director: Tadafumi Ito

Writer:  Tadafumi Ito (Script), Shusuke Michio (Original Novel)

Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Satomi Ishihara, Shoji Murakami, Rena Nounen, Yu Koyonagi, Shingo Tsurumi, Shigeyuki Totsui, Takeshi Nadagi, Bengal

Hiroshi Abe is insanely handsome, insanely successful and insanely talented as his

Crows Thumb Book

turns in Survive Style 5+, Summer of Ubume, and Still Walking showed me. He is also insanely popular as the 2012 mega-hit Thermae Romae revealed (as the trailer points out) so I am not alone in thinking he is great. Well now he is back and in a film called Crow’s Thumb which is based on Shusuke Michio’s 2008 novel of the same name.  His co-stars are Satomi Ishihara (Sadako 3D), Bengal (Boiling Point), Yu Koyonagi (Tokyo Sonata), Shoji Murakami (Kaidan), Rena Nounen (Confessions). The trailer looks okay. I was with it through the funky opening until the dramatic music and crying child but then I was won over by the J-pop and sequences showing the elaborate con including Hiroshi Abe sporting silver hair and a mean stare.

 

Take (Abe) and Tetsu (Murakami) are two veteran conmen who live in an old house with two beautiful sisters named Yahiro (Ishihara) and Mahiro (Nounen) and Yahiro’s boyfriend Kantaro (Koyanagi) and a baby cat. When a girl is placed in the care of Take and Tetsu they decide to change their lives and so all five will take part in an elaborate con.

 

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