Love for Beginners, Chasing Santa Clause, MIS: Human Secret Weapon Trailer and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Skyfall Character BannerLast week I was so busy trying to get a post out so I could attend an anime festival I posted the wrong trailer (Love for Beginners) and missed out the one I had originally intended to post (Inazuma Eleven). I apologise. すみません!This week I was back in work and so I skipped posting anything on Monday so I could concentrate on re-establishing a writing routine because I have a lot of reviews coming up as part of my Genki Christmas season which kicks off on Monday. The week did see some reviews. On Sunday I posted my thoughts on Skyfall (which I found to be awesome) before sitting down for some Chinese food and watching Insidious at home.

What does the Japanese film chart look like this week?

  1. Skyfall
  2. Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
  3. Inazuma Eleven The Movie 2012
  4. Lesson of the Evil
  5. The Floating Castle
  6. Ninkyo Helper: Beautiful World.
  7. A Chorus of Angels
  8. Tug of War
  9. Trouble with the Curve
  10. Crow’s Thumb
  11. Smile Precure!
  12. Lockout
  13. Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
  14. The Woman in Black

Skyfall is at the top spot after its release last week. The latest new Japanese film in the top ten movie box office chart is Inazuma Eleven at two. The Woman in Black was also released and it is at fourteen. The latest Evangelion movie drops down to two and Takashi Miike’s latest film is at four. That’s a strong top ten.


What are the most interesting Japanese films released this week?


Love for Beginners                                                 Love fo Beginners

Japanese Title: 今日¥、 恋 を はじめます

Romaji: Kyou, Koi wo Hajimemasu

Release Date:  08th December 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Takeshi Furusawa

Writer:  Kanan Minami (Original Manga)

Starring: Emi Takei, Tori Matsuzaka, Rin Takanashi, Fumino Kimura, Sho Aoyagi, Kento Yamazaki, Yua Shinkawa, Erina Dawkins, Reiko Fujiwara, Saki Takaoka, Ayane Sakai, Hiroaki Murakami, Yumi Asou, Hatsunori Hasegawa,

In an example of my ability to be lackdaisical I posted this a trailer a week early. Apologies. Love for Beginners is released today and it stars Emi Takei, who was one of the brilliant stand-out stars of For Love’s Sake, joins forces with an awesome cast of bright young things including Rin Takanashi (Goth: Love of DeathIsn’t Anyone Alive?), Reiko Fujiwara (About the Pink Sky), Kento Yamazaki (Control TowerAnother),  Tori Matsuzaka (The Wings of the Kirin) in an adaptation of Kanan Minami’s popular manga. The film is directed by Takeshi Furusawa who sounds familiar… assistant director to Kiyoshi Kurosawa on Pulse… That’s right! He directed Ghost Train and the recent live-action adaptation of Another! What the heck is he doing here and not on a J-horror? Earning a living, I suppose. Anyway, this is one of those silly films where an extremely beautiful girl dons glasses and everybody considers her plain. Unless everybody else at the school is fantastically beautiful. I have never read the manga. I’m also very unlikely to see the film. The soundtrack has hits by Perfume and Scandal.

Tsubaki Hibino (Takei) is a talented hair stylist with low self-esteem and a taste for old-fashioned clothes. Her fashion sense is the trigger for popular playboy male student Kyota Tsubaki (Matsuzaka) to tease her but then… they fall in love with each other. They will have to overcome his commitment issues first.

MIS: Human Secret Weapon                         MIS Poster

Japanese Title: 二つ の 祖国

Romaji: Futatsu no Sokoku

Release Date:  08th December 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 93 mins.

Director: Junichi Suzuki

Writer:  N/A

Starring: N/A

Junichi Suzuki has made a career out of charting the fortunes of Japanese-Americans who signed up for the US armed forces after Pearl Harbour. His previous film, 442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignits followed the 442nd Regimental Combat Team who fought in Europe. MIS: Human Secret Weapon documents the experiences of nearly 80 Japanese-Americans who speak about their wartime experiences including a soldier who found himself fighting against former class-mates and another soldier who witnessed the surrender of Japan and the aftermath of Hiroshima. This film is getting a limited screening at the Ginza Cine Pathos alongside Suzuki’s other wartime documentaries. Here’s the trailer which looks fascinating.

Chasing Santa Clause                                                      Chasing Santa Clause Poster

Japanese Title: サンタ クロース つかまえて

Romaji: Santa Kuro-su wo Tsukamaete

Release Date:  08th December 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 80 mins.

Director: Hiroki Iwabuchi

Writer:  N/A

Starring: N/A

This documentary charting the recovery of Sendai from the March 11th Earthquake and Tsunami is a personal work from documentarian Hiroki Iwabuchi since he hails from the city. It features footage shot just after the disaster and survivor accounts including Iwabuchi’s own mother! Why chasing Santa Clause for a title Well the title refers to an annual parade full of Santa’s and lights and Christmas magic and how Sendai managed to hold that parade even after being hit by the disaster.

24 thoughts on “Love for Beginners, Chasing Santa Clause, MIS: Human Secret Weapon Trailer and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

  1. akb48fan

    The Love For Beginners movie doesn’t do anything for me either so I’m not going to bother with it but the Chasing Santa Claus documentary sounds interesting so I might try and catch that before I leave Japan on Thursday.

    1. I hope you’re have a good time! There have been a lot of documentaries following the aftermath of the Earthquake/Tsunami. I wonder how this one turns out.

      I look forward to your posts on your return!

      1. akb48fan

        None of the cinemas in Tokyo is showing the Santa Claus documentary which is a shame.

        Quite ironic that during Friday evening when I had just sat down in my comfy seat at Odaiba’s Cinema Mediage to watch Bayside SHAKEdown The Final that a big earthquake shook the place. I did begin to worry as the tremor intensified and lasted for well over a minute. It also crossed my mind that it could be the big one that Tokyo was expecting but thankfully it wasn’t. It was the kind of excitement during my holiday I could have done without!!!

      2. Bayside Shakedown 🙂 Well done. I watched the reports about the quake on the BBC and wondered what was happening in Tokyo! Did you happen to see anything moving dramatically because of the quake?

      3. akb48fan

        Sorry it’s taken me so long to ge back to you. Apart from my seat rocking back and forth, I didn’t notice anything else moving especially the cinema screen.

        I’ve been interested in your conversation about learning Japanese with Alua. Having started off learning 6 years ago I’m still not past the beginner stage but I know that’s due to laziness more than anything plus where I live there isn’t anywhere that has any Japanese lessons for me to attend. However, it doesn’t stop me from having some sort of Japanese conversation with my friends when I’m out in Tokyo and I find that the more I’m in the country the better I become at talking Japanese if only slightly.

      4. No problem, I figure travelling would take priority!

        I think Alua is right in the sense that I need to push myself outside of my comfort and travelling there is the key thing. Your experiences seem to confirm that.

        I’m lucky in the sense that I do have lessons where I live and there are quite a few Japanese people. I just need to push myself and talk to them more… arrange conversations and so forth.

  2. I have read most of the manga for Kyou, Koi wo Hajimemasu and Hibino is definitely a bit plainer in it (or at least as long as she wears glasses & braids), while Takei Emi in her ‘ugly’ version is anything but that… sadly this is something you see way too often in J/K/TW dramas and films and it drives me bonkers. The manga is pretty typical shoujo fare, so I can’t get excited about this movie. I’m certain it’s going to be another disaster adaptation like Koukou Debut and that was actually a good (awesome & hilarious) shoujo.

    By the way, Tsubaki is the surname of both characters (Hibino and Kyota) – the fact that they share a surname actually plays a (small) role in the story.

    1. Movie logic, eh? What’s wrong with glasses and braids? Emi Takei is anything but plain. There are quite a lot of movies released every week but I suspect Love for Beginners will be the only one in the chart next week. I reckon that Skyfall will still be on top.

      1. I don’t think it’s actually (doubtful) movie logic, it’s the entertainment industry – and a particular habit of the Asian one I would say. Or maybe not – America Ferrera is everything but ‘ugly’ as well (although people could argue against her in terms of her size, given the beauty standard of super-thin). But Asian dramas/films are particularly illogical (and thus infuriating) about it, in Western productions they at least try to disguise them with frumpy hair and things, but in Asian ones they don’t even do that – Emi’s a prime example.

        The trailer disappointingly seems to emphasise that the appearance – clothes – are what make a person beautiful. Although in the manga the character too somewhat changes her appearance, there is the message that she is different from the others in terms of what she wears and does and that this doesn’t really change (i.e. she gets one new dress, but otherwise she continues to wear old-fashioned clothes because she is characterised as a person that is as if from the Shōwa period, unlike modern girls).

        Okay, that’s probably way more than you ever wanted to know about film you will never watch and a manga you will never read…

      2. I appreciate the information and while I am unlikely to ever watch or read the film you never know… looks at back-log of shounen/sci-fi/horror anime and manga like Biomega, Pluto and I Am A Hero… Maybe in ten years time…

        Seriously though, your comment was quite interesting to read (as usual) and beats whatever vague mutterings I could come up with about the title and I might even read it. I read a volume of Antique Bakery a while back.

      3. By the time ten years have gone by, you’ll have a whole lot of other films to watch.

        I haven’t read Antique Bakery but that’s a different genre manga (yaoi I think). The Korean film adaptation wasn’t bad though (superb eyecandy certainly, ‘specially Kim Jae-wook, but that wouldn’t work for you).

        –> went and checked. Mangafox has it listed as yaoi, wikipedia as shoujo (saying that it won some shoujo manga award).

      4. Well I was reading Antique Bakery for the story not for the bishounen. Actually I had no idea what it was about when I first got it out from the library. I can’t remember much about it except I didn’t hate it.

        Anyway, in ten years time I hope to be reading Japanese light novels in Japanese!

    2. In ten years you hope to be reading light novels in Japanese? Haven’t you been studying Japanese for 6 years already? It shouldn’t take you 16 years!

      You need to get yourself to Japan and do full immersion language learning.

      I’ll be reading sth. like that within 5.

      1. Hmm. Re-reading that last comment does make me sound lazy/inept. I meant it in the sense that I would work through my back-log of English-language translations and go on to reading Japanese LNs like the two I bought back in London (which I have yet to read).

      2. I don’t think you are lazy or inept, but I think you’ve got (no offense) the wrong attitude. You have bought into the very typical mindset that (nearly all) English native speakers have, namely that it is so difficult to learn another language. Untypically, you at least decided you’d give it a try. (I wanted to tear the page out of one of my Japanese language books, when it started with something like “Japanese is a very difficult language, you’ll have a hard time learning it”. They might as well have written “Don’t even bother”!).

        I think you just need to set yourself higher goals, start saving up your money for a one-month intensive language course in Japan next summer and get to plans to work there off the ground.

        It should not take you 16 years to learn to read a light novel.

      3. I don’t hold the attitude that the language (or any language for that matter) is difficult to learn. Indeed, I tell anyone who suggests that Japanese is hard that all a person needs to learn it is time and patience.

        My problem is that I don’t revise often enough. Sometimes I do forty minutes a day, sometimes I put off revision for another day because I’m busy. The only thing I consistently practice is Kanji but even then I may get lazy and just practice the same 200.

        I will save my money up and go to Japan and I will tackle the JLPT at some point. I just need to set up a study regime. Any advice would be appreciated on that front! 🙂

    3. Thinking you need 16 years to read light novels = Japanese is hard attitude.

      The only advice I can give you is don’t just say “I will … at some point”. Go. They are accepting applications for Daiwa Scholarships at the moment again (one of my classmates from J class is applying). There is JET, there are other opportunities. You are native English speaker with a British passport after all.

      You don’t need the JLPT. You need to go to Japan and perfectionise the language you know at an already sufficient level in the country where they speak it.

      1. Was writing review for Wishing Stairs and listening to Japanese electro pop then sees e-mail alert from WordPress.

        I’m not saying the language is hard, just that I’m busy and I’ll put off most things like reading in favour of films and work and what not. By the time I finish all of my current manga/light novels (if I ever get around to reading them and not get distracted), ten years will probably have elapsed! I still have a metric-horror-ton (actual unit of measurement) of horror manga to get through!

        Ultimately you are right. If I ever want to go to Japan and really speak Japanese I should stop making excuses and just go.

      2. That sounds like a challenge!

        I’m going to study harder than ever… right after finishing this review due tomorrow O_O

        If you do beat me there, you’ll have to show me around.

  3. Well, I won’t be watching Love for Beginners either. Perhaps given the origins they’re going for the comic book feel though? Bit like Superman – dons a pair of glasses and nobody recognises his alternative persona.
    Love that Skyfall picture.
    Lynn 😀

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