Body Temperature, Garo and the Wailing Dragon, A Certain Magical Index: The Miracle of Endymion, Memories Corner, The Story of Yonosuke, The Intermission, Life After 3.11 and Other Japanese Film Trailers and Movie Chart February 23rd, 2013

Umineko Twilight ImageI started this week with a trailer for HAL and followed that with a review for The Twilight Samurai and a trailer for the first Hanasaku Iroha movie. Next week I hope to get some yakuza films reviewed. There are so many films released this week I decided to shorten the title of the post rather than write the whole thing out as I usually do and the title highlights the films that caught my attention. Before that…

What does the Japanese film box-office chart look like this week (Feb 16/17)?

  1. A Good Day to Die Hard
  2. Ted
  3. Brain Man
  4. Strawberry Night
  5. Les Miserables
  6. Zero Dark Thirty
  7. Life of Pi
  8. Jack Reacher
  9. Masquerade
  10. Tokyo Family

None of the Japanese films released last week break into the top ten. The new entries are western films – A Good Day to Die Hard, Zero Dark Thirty and Masquerade. Nothing too interesting. There are a lot of films released this week with a lot of documentaries and a lot concerned with the anniversary of the 3/11 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.

 

Body Temperature            Body Temperature Film Poster

Japanese Title: 体温

Romaji: Taion

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 72 mins.

Director: Takaomi Ogata

Writer: Takaomi Ogata (Screenplay),

Starring: Chavetaro Ishizaki, Rin Sakuragi

This film sounds a lot like Air Doll going by the synopsis alone. I am unfamiliar with the names involved and the trailer seems to give the whole game away. Be careful, some racy content is present.

Rintaro (Ishizaki) works in a factory with does not have any real relationship with anyone except his blow-up doll Ikbuki. When he meets night cub hostess Rinko (Sakuragi) who looks like Ibuki, he falls in love with her. She is also a bit of a loner despite the public face she puts on. The two grow closer.

 

Garo and the Wailing Dragon          Garo and the Wailing Dragon Film Poster

Japanese Title: 牙狼 GARO 蒼哭ノ魔竜

Romaji: Garo – Soukoku no Maryu

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 96 mins.

Director: Keita Amemiya

Writer: Keita Amemiya (Screenplay/Creator),

Starring: Ryosei Konishi, Yuki Kubota, Anna Aoi, Yukijiro Hotaru, Rei Fujita, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Keiko Matsuzaka, Shouma Yamamoto,

The Garo fantasy adventure television series gets its second film and it is a special effects family fun-filled which premiered at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival where it got a good review from Screen Daily. Most of the actors are unfamiliar to me except Yukijiro Hotaru (Stacy: Attack of the School Girl Zombies, Cure, Mitsuko Delivers) but the film looks like a lot of fun with plenty of action and inventive looking creatures.

Kouga Saezima (Konishi) travels to the land of promise to retrieve the Fang of Sorrow but when he gets there he loses his Garo sword, magic clothes and Mado ring which renders him useless. Not quite as he still save a girl named Meru (Aoi). Can she help him?

 

A Certain Magical Index: The Miracle of Endymion                     Toaru Majutsu no Index: The Miracle of Endymion Anime Film Poster

Japanese Title: 劇場版 とある 魔術 の 禁書目録 エンヂュミオン の 奇跡

Romaji: Toaru Majutsu no Indekkusu: Endyumion no Kiseki

Release Date: February 23rd 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 90 mins.

Director: Hiroshi Nishikori

Writer: Hiroyuki Yoshino (Screenplay),

Starring: Atsushi Abe (Tōma Kamijō), Rina Satou (Mikoto Misaka), Yuka Iguchi (Index), Kisho Taniyama (Stiyl Magnus), Aki Toyosaki (Kazari Uihara)

The first film entry in the The Toaru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magical Index) franchise is released this year and it is going under the title Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endyumion no Kiseki (A Certain Magical Index: The Miracle of Endymion). The staff list is filled with Index franchise veterans. Leading the way is Hiroshi Nishikiori (Gad Guard, Azumanga Daioh) who is directing the film. The script has been written by Hiroyuki Yoshino (Macross Frontier, Accel World) and that is based on an original story from Kazuma Kamachi the creator of the franchise. Kiyotaka Haimura, the man behind the illustrations for the Toaru Majutsu no Index light novel is helping with original character designs while art direction is orchestrated by Tomonori Kuroda. All of this is taking place with J.C. Staff animating and studio Sanzigen handling the CG.

Academy City is about to see the completion of the space elevator named Endymion. Around the time of completion Tōma Kamijō and Index encounter a Level 0 girl named Arisa Narumori who has a mysterious connection to Index. The three get along well but soon find themselves the targets of magicians lead by Stiyl Magnus who claims that Arisa is key to a brewing war between science and magic. A female leader named Shattoaura leads a unit from Academy City against the attack but Tōma Kamijō and Index still need to deal with the threat posed by Stiyl.

3D World Pro Wrestling Tokyo Dome  ¼ 2013

Japanese Title: ワールドプロレスリング3D 第6弾 1.4東京ドーム 2013

Romaji: Wa-rudo Puro Resuringu 3D Tokyo Do-mu 2013

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: N/A

Writer: N/A

Starring: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Kazushi Sakuraba

This is the 6th movie screening of a pre-wrestling match sponsored by Japan Pro Wrestling and it will be projected in 3D. The action captured took place on January 4th, 2013.

Memories Corner          Memories Corner Film Poster

Japanese Title: メモリーズ コーナ

Romaji: Memori-zu Ko-na

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 82 mins.

Director: Audrey Fouche

Writer: Audrey Fouche (Screenplay),

Starring: Deborah Francois, Hiroshi Abe, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Jun Kunimura, Sansei Shiomi,

This is the debut film of Audrey Fouche… Sounds French. Well this film is a co-production between France and Canada. It featured over on a Trailer Weekly at Otherwhere and at the time I thought I did not know who the lead actress was. I did a little digging around about the title and found out that I had watched Deborah Francois in two films – The Page Turner and Female Agents. I can just about remember her. I am very familiar with the Japanese actors like Hiroshi Abe (Survive Style 5+, Still Walking), Hidetoshi Nishijima (Zero Focus, Licence to Live) and Jun Kunimura (Vital, Outrage).

A young French journalist visits to Japan to investigate the phenomenon of ‘Death by Loneliness’ which seems to have taken victims following the 1995 Kobe earthquake. She is accompanied by Okabe (Nishijima) an interpreter to Kobe where she meets a man suffering from the aftermath of the disaster named Kenji who was a photojournalist in Kobe (Abe) at the time of the earthquake.

Reunion                                                  Reunion Film Poster

Japanese Title: 遺体明日への十日間

Romaji: Itai Ashita e no Tooka Kan

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 72 mins.

Director: Ryoichi Kimizuka

Writer: Ryoichi Kimizuka (Screenplay), Kota Ishii (Original Book)

Starring: Toshiyuki Nishida, Naoto Ogata, Ryo Katsuji, Jun Kunimura, Wakana Sakai, Koichi Sato, Shiro Sano, Ikki Sawamura, Mirai Shida, Michitaka Tsutsui, Toshiro Yanagiba

Ryoichi Kimizuka, screen-writer for Infection and Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust is back with a film that is based on Kota Ishii’s nonfiction book “Itai Shinai, Tsunami no Hate ni” which covers a story of morgue workers over the course of 10 days after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and Tsunami. This is the first of many trailers that cover the event and it looks like a mainstream human drama that convers the extent of the confusion and damage and death of the disaster. It stars Toshiyuki Nishida who became a family favourite actor with the Free and Easy series where he played a salaryman always on the lookout for a chance to skip work and go fishing. He has also starred in Fly with the Gold and A Letter to Momo. He is joined by Naoto Ogata, his Space Battleship Yamato co-star, Ryo Katsuji (All About Lily Chu-Chou), Jun Kunimura in his second film of the day and Koichi Sato (Starfish Hotel).

After the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, the morgue in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture is overwhelmed with the bodies of the dead. Retired funeral worker Tsuneo Aiba (Nishida) volunteers to help reunite the dead with their families.

 

Chair on a Grassland            Chair of the Grasslands Film Poster

Japanese Title: 草原の椅子

Romaji: Sogen no Isu

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 139 mins.

Director: Izuru Narushima

Writer: Satoko Okudera (Screenplay), Teru Miyamoto (Novel)

Starring: Koichi Sato, Masahiko Nishimura, Michiko Kichise, Eiko Koike, Kanata Sadamitsu,  Hana Kuroki, Mayumi Wakamura, Hisashi Igawa

Two points:

Point 1: The Akutagawa Prize winning novelist Teru Miyamoto sees his novel get a big screen adaptation. Apparently it was written in the wake of the Kobe earthquake which is used in Memories Corner and uses it as the spur to make its characters act but the disaster has been changed to the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.

Point 2: Rebirth is a film I really need to review because it blew me away when I watched it at The Japan Foundation’s Touring Film Festival. The director of that film, Izuru Narushima, is back with a new picture scripted by Satoko Okudera, a wonderful screenwriter who also wrote the script for Rebirth and The Wolf Children. This is Koichi Sato’s second film of the day and Eiko Koike from the awesome film… take a guess! – Rebirth! And 2LDK which is also awesome!

Following the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, four people travel to Hunza in Pakistan to find paradise. Why? Well the aforementioned disaster but also, Kenatro Tooma (Sato) works for a camera company in its sales department and one of his clients, Jujo Togashi (Nishimura) brings him a captivating picture of a chair sitting in a field of grass. They are joined on their quest by Kishiko (Kichise) who owns an antique shop and a 4-year-old boy  named Keisuke who is abused by his mother who Kentaro knows through his eldest daughter.

 

The Story of Yonosuke                      A Story of Yonosuke Film Poster

Japanese Title: 横道世余

Romaji: Yokomichi Yonosuke

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 160 mins.

Director: Shuichi Okita

Writer: Shiro Maeda (Screenplay), Shuichi Yoshida (Original Novel)

Starring: Kengo Kora, Yuriko Yoshitaka, Sosuke Ikematsu, Ayumi Ito, Gou Ayano, Arata, Kimiko Yo, Aki Asakura, Mei Kurokawa, Tasuku Emoto, Aimi Satsukawa, Keiko Horiuchi, Noriko Eguchi,

Shuichi Okita, director of my favourite film of the year (SO FAR) The Woodsman & the Rain, unites with Shiro Maeda (Isn’t Anyone Alive?) to adapt a novel by Shuichi Yoshida (Villain). This is one of the big releases from Third Window Films that I highlighted at the beginning of the year and it lookslke another heart-warming and humorous film. It stars Kengo Kora (The Drudgery Train) and a bunch of favourite actors of mine like Yuriko Yoshitaka (Adrift in Tokyo, Noriko’s Dinner Table), Jun Kunimura… AGAIN!, Arata (After Life, Air Doll) and Kimiko Yo (For Love’s Sake, Suicide Circle). A review at the Japan Times makes me think this is a winner! It’s UK release is around September this year.

It is the 1980’s and Yonosuke Yokomichi (Kora) has left the port city of Nagasaki and travelled to Tokyo to attend university. His girlfriend is Shoko Yosano (Yoshitaka) and she is the daughter of a company president.

Tokyo てやんでぃ The Story Teller’s Apprentice       Tokyo Teyande Story Teller's Apprentice Film Poster

Japanese Title: Tokyo てやんでぃ The Story Teller’s Apprentice

Romaji: Tokyo てやんでぃ The Story Teller’s Apprentice

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 102 mins.

Director: Yuji Kanda

Writer: Yuji Kanda, Masami Tsuchida, Fujishiro Muraki (Screenplay), Shiro Fuji Doodling Troupe Troupe (Original Work)

Starring: Seiji Nozoe, Nao Minamisawa, Fukumi Kuroda, Yoshinobu Itoh, Masanori Ishii, Masaya Nakamura, Norihisa Hiranuma, Fujishiro Muraki

This looks like an ensemble comedy which uses the back room chaos of a vaudeville dressing room for its subject. The title is in English apart fromてやんでぃwhich means “What are you saying. that’s old slang in Edo era.” Thanks to Yoshito Seino for clearing that up! Anyway, it is directed by Yuji Kanda who was an associate producer on the live-action Mushi-shi (review coming soon). It stars Seiji Nozoe who was in Detroit Metal City (review coming soon) and Fukumi Kuroda who was in Zero Focus (review coming soon). A film which reminds me I have a lot of reviews to write… which is a usual state of affairs for me. I want to see this a lot after watching the trailer.

Pikatchi Tachibana-tei  (Nozoe) has been with the troupe for over nine years and cannot get a lead. He is working backstage making tea. Tragedy. And yet he continues to work hard but can a moment of chaos in the dressing room lead to him moving ahead?

Bakumatsu Swordsman Kitan Shinsen 5                 Shinsen 5 Film Poster

Japanese Title: 幕末奇譚 SHINSEN 5 剣豪降臨

Romaji: Bakumatsu Kiitan SHINSEN 5 Kengō Kōrin

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 73 mins.

Director: Ryō Nakajima

Writer: N/A (Screenplay),

Starring: Toru Baba, Keisuke Kaminaga, Ren Yagami, Shota Takasaki, Sasaki Yoshihide

This film is set during the Edo period and follows the Shinsengumi (newly selected corps) officer corps as they fight a number of historical figures who aim to overthrow the shogunate. It stars Toru Baba (For Love’s Sake), Keisuke Kaminaga (Scalpel of Evil Women) and is directed by Ryo Nakajima, director of the film Rise Up.

Thanks for the Story, Tsuneo Takae Sorrow Hope for TomorrowThanks for the Story Film Poster

Japanese Title: 明日の希望 悲しみよありがとう・高江常男物語

Romaji: Ashita no Kibō Kanashimi yo Arigatō Takae Tsuneo Monogatari

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 82 mins.

Director: Hisako Yamada

Writer: Hiroshi Hotaka (Screenplay),

Starring: Ichiro Mizuki, Yuria Hoshina, Midori Isomura, Shōji Umeka, Daisuke Matsubara, Hiromi Konno, Yuko Mita, Yasuhiko Kawazu, Tomohisa Aso, Kentaro Honma

This film is unfamiliar to me and I write about anime a lot… It is directed by Hisako Yamada but the only reference on Anime News Network is for a producer for an anime from 1990… A little further digging and I found that she has directed live-action films like Assistant Tomeoka, a social drama about a school. This is aother drama but it focusses on Tsuneo Takae, a man who lost both arms and suffered sight loss after a mining accident (grabbing high voltage wires) who fought back from that disaster by re-learning skills like writing (using a pen with his mouth) and eventually becoming a newspaper reporter. He decides to create facilities for the disabled and the elderly and victims of accidents to give them a new lease of life. The animation looks simple but the story is life-affirming and positive and I’d be interested in seeing it.

The Intermission                 The Intermission Film Poster

Japanese Title: インターミッション

Romaji: Inta-misshon

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 112 mins.

Director: Naofumi Higuchi

Writer: Naofumi Higuchi, Minato Takehiko (Screenplay),

Starring: Kumiko Akiyoshi, Shota Sometani, Kyoko Kagawa, Akiko Koyama, Kumi Mizuno, Naoto Takenaka, Shiro Sano,

The director, Naofumi Higuchi, is new but the writer Minato Takehiko has been around for a while and was the writer of recent films like Night People, Sumo Hot Pot and Be My Slave. The film draws on the story of an old movie theatre in Ginza, Tokyo called the Ginza Shinepatosu which will be closed in March. It stars Shota Sometani (Himizu), Kumiko Akiyoshi (Deep River), Kyoko Kagawa (Shall We Dance?) and Kumi Mizuno (Godzilla Final Wars). Indeed there are lots of famous people from the Japanese film business but the place is unknown to me and I don’t really dig the nostalgia vibe.

Kumiko (Akiyoshi) is the manager of the Ginza Shinepatosu and she has a younger husband named Shota (Sometani). The movie theatre faces closure following the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011 due to safety fears. As the final day approaches, Kumiko’s anxieties over earthquakes and radiation grow.

A Record of Ishinomaki’s Kadowaki Elementary School a Year After the Tsunami                                                                                    After the Tsunami Film Poster

Japanese Title: 津波 の あと の 時間割 石巻 門脇 小 1年の記録

Romaji: Tsunami no Ato no Jikanwari Ishinomaki Kadowaki ko 1 Nen no Kiroku

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 125 mins.

Director: Kenji Aoike

Writer: N/A

Starring: Yuko Mikuni (Narration)

The March 11th Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami was hugely devastating so it comes as no surprise that as the anniversary date draws near there are a number of films being released about it. This one focusses on Kadowaki Elementary school in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture which was hit by the disaster and hit hard as the school was devastated and lives lost. Over the course of a year we see how the school and its pupils and staff recover from the disaster with stories of renting a new school, reconstructing lives and the city as a whole. No trailer but here is the site.

The Other Side of the Sex The Other Side of Sex Lives of an AV Actor Film Poster

Japanese Title: セックス の 向こう側AV男優という生き方

Romaji: Sekkusu no Mukō-gawa AV Danyuu to Iu Ikikata

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 86 mins.

Director: Yujiro Enoki, Hidekazu Takahara

Writer: N/A

Starring: Hibino Tatsuro, Kenji Hayami, Ryuji Yamamoto, Hiromi Hiraguchi, Taka Kato,

I don’t recognise any of the names involved in this film. It is a documentary analysing the pink film industry with a focus on the male actors in it. I have watched a few pink films back in days gone by. Rather inadvertently and out of curiosity for the most part (they may have been art-house pictures because they were so strange…) A lot of my favourite film directors got their start in the pink film industry and more than a few of the films I have reviewed here star actresses who have a degree of AV work in their background (Aino Kishi in Samurai Princess for one). Some research shows that co-director Hidekazu Takahara was editor of Takashi Miike’s Dead or Alive Final. I guess if you want an insight into the Japanese sex industry, this is it… I’ll stick to J-horror.

Life After 3.11                                           Life After 3.11 Film Poster

Japanese Title: 3.11後を生きる

Romaji: 3.11 Ato o Ikiru

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 85 mins.

Director: Hideo Nakata

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

Hideo Nakata, the genius director that turned creepy supernatural chillers Ringu and Dark Water into bloody scary films is back with his second film of the year. His first was The Complex which was at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and got excellent reviews which prove he’s finally back in fine horror form after a few misfires. This is his second film of the year and it is a documentary that visits the areas affected by the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11th and it explores the reality of the victims of towns washed away. Nakata studied journalist at university so this isn’t a big departure.

Go for Broke! Nisei Storage, HawaiiGo for Broke Film Poster!

Japanese Title: Go for Broke! ハワイ 日系 二世 の 記憶

Romaji: Go for Broke! Hawai Nikkei Nisei no Kioku

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hiroyuki Matsumoto

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

Amidst all of the 3/11 documentaries is this one about the Japanese population of Hawaii and their experiences during World War II unravelling the role played by them in the US war effort.

14 thoughts on “Body Temperature, Garo and the Wailing Dragon, A Certain Magical Index: The Miracle of Endymion, Memories Corner, The Story of Yonosuke, The Intermission, Life After 3.11 and Other Japanese Film Trailers and Movie Chart February 23rd, 2013

    1. I think my translation might take the shine of the synopsis of some of these films. There were a few titles that caught my eye like A Story of Yonosuke and Garo and the Wailing Dragon.

      1. Well, Yonosuke as well as Memories Corner were already on my list anyhow. The ones that interest me the most here are Body Temperature (bizarre but…), Sogen no Isu (somewhat) and Intermission. The last one is intriguing – I get the impression it’s taking a non-topic and turning it into a film somehow (sort of like with Ikiteru Mono wa Inai no Ka, except that this one is probably not absurd). I don’t expect much plot, but it could be interesting. Just the fact that the characters of Akiyoshi Kumiko and Sometani Shota are wife and husband is mind-boggling – there is nearly a 40-year gap between them in real life (they were born in ’54 and ’92’ respectively) and that is obviously going to be used for some sort of bizarre/hilarious twist in the film, don’t you think?

      2. I want to know what happens in Body Temperature as well! Surely it won’t be a bleak ending!

        Intermission didn’t quite get my attention. The trailer with the ‘zany’ antics was a misfire. That said, the Ginza Shinepatosu is dedicated to indie films so the fact that it gets its own indie film is nice.

        The other releases I like the look of are Garo because it reminds me of all of the JRPGs I play and Tokyo Tayende because it looks like it will be fun.

      3. Tired Paul

        I saw Body Temperature at Raindance and to be honest I can’t remember most of what happened………I remember being fairly bored.

      4. Talk about killing my enthusiasm for the film! 😉 I guess it doesn’t compare to Air Doll but I hope the protagonist of Body Temperature gets the flesh and blood girl!

      5. Tired Paul

        Sorry about that 😦

        I searched for Body Temperature Raindance in google, out if three reviews two really didn’t like it and one loved it so maybe it’s a bit subjective? if so I guess there’s still hope for you yet!

    1. I think this is all of the Japanese films released in Japan (or Tokyo at least) and it is one of the busier weeks so far… Just checked next week… 18 Japanese films are marked as getting a release including another from Shota Sometani… Time to start writing!

  1. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but Garo and the Wailing Dragon has a fantastic poster! Not quite as great as The Other Side of the Sex (although, even if it was subtitled, that trailer did not sell itself to me in the slightest), but funny nonetheless.

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