We are in the middle of Studio Ghibli Season here in the UK and I have managed to watch Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and The Cat Returns and a little of Kiki’s Delivery Service. My Neighbour Totoro is just starting! I am still doing the Serial Experiments Lain simulwatch over at AUKN where many participants are scratching their heads in puzzlement over what is going on. I love the twisting and obfuscating narrative! This week began with a joint-review of Detroit Metal City with Novroz. The film is a simple and enjoyable comedy starring Kenichi Matsuyama with great music and even better comedy. I then followed it with news about Sion Sono’s latest film project which has a great open audition process on YouTube. A short working week thanks to Good Friday meant that I had a some time free at the end. Next week begins with Easter Monday so another short week. I’ll try and get some reviews completed in that time.
What does the Japanese movie box office look like this week (March 23rd – 24th)?
- Wreck-It Ralph
- Doraemon Nobita’s Dinosaur
- Platina Data
- Aibou Series X Day
- Precure All Stars New Stage 2
- Oz the Great and Powerful
- Jack the Giant Slayer
- Himawari and Her Puppies
- My Diary of Our Exchange
- Nobody’s Perfect
Colour me surprised. Doraemon has been deposed from the top and Disney is on top with Wreck-It Ralph. I always underestimate how popular Disney is with Japanese people and lazily assume that all they watch is anime, anime, anime. No they don’t. The other entries into the top ten from last week are Aibou Series X Day, a movie sequel to a popular TV franchise, Nobody’s Perfect and My Diary of Our Exchange which are both based on books.
What is released this week?
Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home
Japanese Title: 花咲くいろは Home Sweet Home
Romaji: Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home
Release Date: March 30th, 2013 (Japan)
Running Time: 66 mins.
Director: Masahiro Ando
Writer: Mari Okada (Screenplay),
Voice Actors: Kanae Itō (Ohana), Aki Toyosaki (Nako), Ayumi Tsunematsu (Takako), Chiaki Omigawa (Minko), Cho (Denroku), Haruka Tomatsu (Yuina), Junichi Sawabe (Tarō), Junji Majima (Tōru)
Hanasaku Iroha – Blossoms is the sequel to the popular slice of life anime Haasaku Iroha which follows a girl named Ohana who has to live with her grandmother in a hot springs after her single mother runs off with a boyfriend to skip out on a debt. Said grandmother is strict and requires Ohana to work hard and despite her initial dislike over her circumstances and all of the hard work Ohana begins to find life isn’t as bad as she thought. Ohana has grown accustomed to living in the hot springs inn her grandmother manages, Kissuisou. One day, the daughter of a manager for Kissuisou’s rival inn, Yuina, comes to Kissuisou for training to become a landlady herself. As Ohana is observing her training, she finds “a certain item” in the storeroom while cleaning.
The anime movie sees the return of staff and cast from the TV series with Kanae Itō taking the lead role of Ohana and Aki Toyosaki voicing Nako. It is directed by Masahiro Ando, a chap who has worked on Production I.G. titles Jin-Roh, Patlabor The Movie, and Ghost in the Shell in the key animation department. He also directed Sword of the Stranger and CANAAN. He is working from a screenplay from Mari Okada who is one of the hardest working writers/head writers in anime. She has written scripts for things like Toradora!, Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Red Garden and Aria the Natural. More importantly the two worked on the TV series for Hanasaku Iroha. It’s a slow week for releases so I would settle for seeing this and two or three of the short films below.
Japanese Title: ドラゴンボールZ 神と神
Romaji: Doragon Bo-ru Z Kami to Kami
Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)
Running Time: 85 mins.
Director: Masahiro Hosoda
Writer: Akira Toriyama (Original Creator/Screenplay), Yusuke Watanabe (Screenplay)
Voice Actors: Masako Nozawa, Kōichi Yamadera, Masakazu Morita, Hiromi Tsuru, Mayumi Tanaka, Masaharu Satō
The massively popular Dragon Ball franchise gets a moie edition in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (Dragon Ball Z: Kami to Kami) which is theatrically released today and I would be interested in seeing if it dominates the chart like Doraemon and One Piece have. It is set between the 517th and 518th volumes of Akira Toriyama’s original long-running manga after the end of the epic battle with the pink terror Majin Buu. It introduces new characters named Birusu – the God of Destruction – and his attendant Wisu who just love fighting. They should fit in perfectly, then.
The film is directed by Masahiro Hosoda, who was assistant director on the blood-thirsty movie version Fist of the North Star and other anime titles like Hell Girl, Kobato, Naruto Shippūden and Street Fighter Alpha. Most importantly he was episode director on Dragon Ball Z during the Cell Games Saga which I have watched and can confirm were rather action-packed with Gohan beating the stuffing out of the green freak Cell. Anyway… The screenplay was written by Yusuke Watanabe with involvement from Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragon Ball Z. Watanabe has a lot of experience transferring manga and anime to the big screen considering he is the screen writer for the live action film versions of GANTZ, Twentieth Century Boys, as well as the TV drama Future Diary. Tadayoshi Yamamuro is the lead animator and he has worked on three Dragon Ball movies and One Piece film Strong World…. Just watched the trailer and I’m rocking out to the updated them tune Chala Head Chala! Nothing will quite beat the Lucky Star Version. Yes the trailer makes the film look awesome but I am not really a fan of DBZ.
Birusu, the god of destruction who has maintained the balance of the universe, has awakened from a 39-year slumber to destroy everything. Hearing rumours of a Saiyan named Goku who defeated the evil Freeza, Birusu seeks Goku out and challenges him to a fight. Goku is excited at getting the chance to fight a strong opponent and ignores King Kai’s advice to avoid the battle which leads to Goku being beaten. Birusu leaves after uttering an ominous message, “Is there anyone on Earth more worthy to destroy?” Can Goku and the others stop the God of Destruction before he destroys everything?
Living in a Foreign Country: Burmese in Japan
Japanese Title: 異国 に 生きる 日本の中のビルマ人
Romaji: Ikoku ni Ikiru Nihon no Naka no Biruma Jin
Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)
Running Time: 100 mins.
Director: Doi Toshikuni
Documentarian Doi Toshikuni freedom of speech in Japanese schools to the Israeli/Palestinian situation and later this year he has one that tackles the Great East Japan Earthquake. Here He has made a documentary which recrods the lives of people who fled from the military junta in Burma/Myanmar and ended up as political refugees in Japan. Expect moving tales as ties severed and taken up again are examined. One man opened a restaurant who reunites with his wife in Thailand.
Japanese Title: 恐竜を掘ろう
Romaji: Kyouryuu wo Horou
Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)
Running Time: 117 mins.
Director: Shinya Owada
Writer: Shinya Owada, Kensuke Owada (Screenplay)
Starring: Hiroki Matsukata, Rina Uchiyama, Jingi Irie, Karin Ono, Sawa Suzuki, Hikaru Yamamoto, Ai Takahashi, Emi Hashino, Taro Yabe, Sumiko Yamada,
Actor Shinya Owada and his… son? Kensuke Owada (The Millenial Rapture, Brain Man, Tokyo Nameless Girl’s Story) unite behind the taking up the directing and writing credits camera to make a human drama. This is a film starring Hiroki Matsukata (Ninja Kids!!!, Thirteen Assassins, Tajomaru) and Sawa Suzuki (Space Travellers, Loft, Dreams for Sale). The trailer does not set my world alight as it seems to be a solid drama mixing a coming of age tale and one examining memories.
Sosuke (Matsukata) owns an art shop and is lonely but when he meets a girl looking for meaning in life he comes into contact with the girl’s mother and through his involvement with these people Sosuke finds himself facing his past.
Continue reading “Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home, Let’s Dig for Dinosaurs, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Love and Eros Cinema Collection, Love Whirlpool, In the Seaside Town, The Sunshine Does Not Stop and Other Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart”