Suu, Mai and Sawa – Righting the Girl Ship, Bad Communication, The Dark System Full Version, Winter Day, Tofu Fa, Fukushima Not Forgotten, Anime Mirai 2013, Mobile Suit Gundam UC: Episode 6 and Other Trailers and the Japanese Film Box Office

Little Witch Academia Film ImageAh, I have just arrived home after my commute from work where I encountered two Japanese people by chance and had a good old chat with them. The pluses of public  transport! This week I received Skyfall, the 2LDK/Aragami double release, the Blue Exorcist anime and I Come with the Rain and I am expecting Detroit Metal City soon. As far as movies watched goes I watched Heat After Dark a further two times despite my review giving the impression that I did not rate it that much… I also wrote about Makoto Shinkai’s forthcoming film The Garden of Words and the anime Mysterious Girlfriend X. The former has the potential to be great while the latter wasted its potential to become just another fan-service show.

What do the Japanese charts look like this week (Feb 23/24 2013)?

  1.       A Good Day to Die Hard
  2.       Ted
  3.       The Brain Man
  4.       Les Miserables
  5.       Strrawberry Night
  6.       Life of Pi
  7.       Zero Dark Thirty
  8.      Chair of the Grasslands
  9.       Story of Yonosuke
  10.      Reunion

Well three of the Japanese films released last week (A Story of Yonosuke, Reunion and Chair of the Grasslands) break into the top ten but it is US/UK films that are dominating the charts.

Ah, this week sees the release of Flight and Django Unchained so I guess distributors are holding back big titles and resorting to counter-programming with a real mixed bag of titles… there are quite a few short films released and they have a whole gamut of rising stars of Japan’s directorial world. There are three documentaries, a loot of short films and two indie films while the one big-budget flick issssss now:

Suu, Mai and Sawa – Righting the Girl Ship   Sue, Mai and Sawa - Righting the Girl Ship Film Poster

Japanese Title: すーちゃん まいちゃんさわ子さん

Romaji: Su-chan, Mai-chan, Sawako-san

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 106 mins.

Director: Osamu Minorikawa

Writer: Miri Masuda (Original Manga), Sachiko Tanaka (Screenplay)

Starring: Kou Shibasaki, Yoko Maki, Shinobu Terajima, Hana Kino, Akiko Kazami, Megumi Sato, Aoi Yoshikura, Ai Takabe, Shota Sometani, Arata

Osamu Minorikawa released Jinsei Irodori last year and is back with an adaptation of Miri Masuda’s manga. It stars Kou Shibasaki (One Missed Call, Battle Royale), Yoko Maki (Infection, Battle Royale II, and The Grudge), Shinobu Terajima(Vibrator, The Millennial Rapture) and Megumi Sato (Exte: Hair Extension). The males of the cast are Arata (After Life, Ping Pong) and Shota Sometani (Himizu, Lesson of the Evil). The film is a slice-of-life tale for adult women based on a four-panel gag manga and the trailer starts with a woman crying and not a gunfight or anything that would catch my attention but Rebirth had a trailer that made me uncertain and then I was blown away by it. Plus the review over at the Japan Times is intriguing… If The Japan Foundation screens it I will watch it! And then watch Heat After Dark for a dose of testosterone.

Sue (Shibasaki), Mai (Maki) and Sawako (Terajima) are three former companions who have remained friends. Sue works at a coffee shop and likes her manager. Mai works at an OA machine maker and is in a relationship with a married man and Sawako is a web designer who takes care of her grandmother.

Bad Communication                               Bad Communication Film Poster

Japanese Title: Bad コミュニケーション

Romaji: Bad Comyunike-shon

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 30 mins.

Director: Haruhi Oguri

Writer: Haruhi Oguri (Screenplay)

Starring: Daiki Shiomi, Yoshino Motoyama, Yūta Hashimoto, Yūya Inechū, Ryūto Tanaka, Iemori Nagata,

Haruhi Oguri follows up Toilet and Women (that’s the actual title of a film released last year) with a youth movie depicting a group of friends in a seaside town as they leave school, enter college in Tokyo and experience the death of one of their number. The five leads are new to the acting game. Bad Communication is the title of a song by the cool J-rock group B’z and it reminds me of Ill Communication by the Beastie Boys which was cool. Random thoughts ended. the trailer doesn’t really interest me as much as the one for Toilet and Women.

The Dark System Full Version                        Dark System Film Poster

Japanese Title: Bad ダークシステム 完全版

Romaji: Da-ku Shisutemu Kanzenhan

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 113 mins.

Director: Shūji Yuki

Writer: Shūji Yuki (Screenplay)

Starring: Makoto Takunomasaki, Katsumi Furuya, Yuko Kamata, Takehiro Kamibaba

Shūji Yuki’s two Dark System short films have been re-edited and re-constructed to make a feature-length film about two friends who split over a girl and soon turn to wire-tapping their homes and even violence. I would watch this if this were a DVD extra. I’m not sure I would go to a cinema to see this.


Here is where the short-films begin:

Winter Day                                Fuyu no Hi/Tofu Fa Film Poster

Japanese Title: 冬の日

Romaji: Fuyu no Hi

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 28 mins.

Director: Hiroshi Kurosaki

Writer: N/A

Starring: Masami Nagasawa, Jun Fubuki, Kenta Uchino, Masayo Umezawa

Movie PAO have produced a second volume of shorts directed by three young directors Fuyu no Hi Snow Film Imagewith the aim of nurturing talent and allowing them to work with industry vets. The directors have got the chance to make whatever they want. The first title is Winter Day which stars Masami Nagasawa (Kiseki) and the great actress Jun Fubuki (Séance, Rebirth). Here’s a funny advert that I found after looking for a trailer. It could be a parody trailer of a dorama what with its music and slice-of-life setting. All Yuko wanted to do was eat oranges but when her father came home something emotional happened 😛

Lisa (Nagasawa) gives up on her dreams of becoming a photographer and heads back to her parent’s photo studio. It is snowing and in the snow she meets a woman (Fubuki) who will reveal a secret about her family.


Tofu Fa                                           Tofu fa Image

Japanese Title: ファの豆腐

Romaji: Fa no Toufu

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 40 mins.

Director: Shinji Kuma

Writer: Yuka Honchō (Screenplay)

Starring: Akiko Kikuchi, Sansei Shiomi, Yuki Makoto Miura, Reiko Seno

Another Movie PAO title. The very foxy Akiko Kikuchi who co-starred with Koji Yakusho in last year’s Chronicle of My Mother, takes the lead role of a chef named Asako who runs a tofu shop with her father, who is reunited with a childhood friend which sparks subtle changes in her life. The trailer has segments from other Movie PAO titles but the first one is Tofu Fa like in the trailer above.

Detective CasablancaNew Directions in Japanese Cinema Film Poster

Japanese Title: カサブランカの探偵

Romaji: Kasaburanka no Tantei

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 30 mins.

Director: Tatsuo Kobayashi

Writer: Tatsuo Kobayashi

Starring: Rina Ohta

Rina Ohta, one of the stars in Brain Man, which was released last month, does a little indie work withDetective Casablanca Film Image the director of Country Girl, released last year. Kobayashi uses the same city of the latter film, his home-town of Kyoto, in a short that is part of the New Directions in Japanese Cinema which is a project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs for promoting Japanese film. The rest of the short films I write about are in this trailer.

Lalala Laundry                                         Rara Laundry Film Image

Japanese Title: ラララランドリー

Romaji: Rarara Randori-

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 30 mins.

Director: Kenichiro Suzuki

Writer: Kenichiro Suzuki (Screenplay)

Starring: Misato Tanaka, Kazuya Uchida, Kumiko Abe, Ryusuke Komagine

Misato Tanaka (Quartet!) takes the lead in a film about a woman named Yuko who looks into the origins of singing.

The Taste of Pudding                              Taste of Pudding Film Image

Japanese Title: プリンの味

Romaji: Purin no Aji

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 30 mins.

Director: Daisuke Hatanaka

Writer: Daisuke Hatanaka (Screenplay)

Starring: Koichi Ueda, Asako Kobayashi, Matsuda Kahori, Kanai kōshō

Ah, this short film looks to be a comedy about a boy eating puddings an a dead grandfather… My translation skills are not up to this one… Something about a boy who eats puddings as per his recently deceased grandfather’s will? Asako Kobayashi (Tokyo Tower, Villon’s Wife).

I Shed the Sea                                                     I Shed the Sea Film Image

Japanese Title: んで、全部、海さ流した

Romaji: nde, Zenbum Umi-sa Nagashita

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 30 mins.

Director: Shoji Teruaki

Writer: Shoji Teruaki

Starring: Hanae Kan, Ryōya Shinoda, Adachi Tomomitsu, Kazuaki Hanumi

This is a short that is part of the New Directions in Japanese Cinema which is a project and is a road movie involving a Yankee (delinquent) and a lazy guy who search for a long lost sister. It stars Hanae Kan (Villain).


World of 3km Radius                            World of 3KM Film Image

Japanese Title: 半径3キロの世界

Romaji: Hankei 3-kiro no Sekai

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 30 mins.

Director: Kiyotsugu Kikuchi

Writer: Kiyotsugu Kikuchi (Screenplay)

Starring: Yukihiro Iijima, Mitsuki Tanimura, Tsutomu Takahashi, Yuriko Hirooka, Kumi Nakamura

This is the fifth and final film of the New Directions in Japanese Cinema programme for this year and it stars Mitsuki Tanimura (The Girl Who Leapt through Time, Summer Wars, Thirteen Assassins, The Wolf Children), Tsutomu Takahashi (The Woodsman & the Rain, The Drudgery Train) and Kumi Nakamura (Eyes of the Spider). The story concerns a person named Ikki who has lost his beloved mother. His mother was on an organ donation register and when the recipient of her heart writes to him he can find traces of her in the letter.

Here are the three documentaries…

Showa Treasures: Museum of the Womb Pilgrimage        Showa Treasures of the Womb Museum Film Poster

Japanese Title: 昭和聖地巡礼 秘宝館の胎内

Romaji: Shouwa Seichi Junrei Hihoukan no Tainai

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 68 mins.

Director: Ryohei Sasaya

Director Ryohei Sasaya has two films out this weekend., both made a while ago but getting a limited cinema run. The first is a documentary about a museum of sex treasures from the Showa era… Hmm, this is the fourth week in a row when typing in the kana for the kanji and then copying and pasting the title in Google has led me to strange sex images… I dread to think what a Japanese person looking at my history would think. Warning: Trailer might be inappropriate to some with a delicate nature…

Meanwhile the second film is…

New Century Vibe Switch                                       New Century Vibe Switch Film Poster

Japanese Title:すいつちん バビブ 新世肌紀

Romaji: Shouwa Seichi Junrei Hihoukan no Tainai

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 61 mins.

Director: Ryohei Sasaya

A documentary on modern sex toys… and the people who use them. With analysis on why. Here’s a link to the trailer which has more scenes some might not like.


Fukushima Not Forgotten                     Wasurenai Fukushima Film Poster

Japanese Title: わすれない ふくしま

Romaji: Wasurenai Fukushima

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hiroshi Shinomiya

Documentarian Hiroshi Shinomiya has previously shot films about the slums and garbage dumps of the Philippines (Sons of God/Basura) but now he turns his camera lens on Japan and documents the lives of people displaced from Fukushima Prefecture after the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. It was filmed over one and a half years from April 2011 just after the accident and we see a variety of people including children trying to recover from loss, dairy farmers who lost their livestock and others resisting being forced to cull their livestock because of radiation fears and a Filipino woman who lost her husband in the disaster.


Mobile Suit Gundam UC: Episode 6 Space and Sky and Earth and StarsGundam Unicorn 6 Film Poster

Japanese Title: 機動戦士ガンダムUC episode6「宇宙(そら)と地球(ほし)と」

Romaji: Kidō senshi Gandamu UC episode 6 `uchū (sora) to chikyū (hoshi) to’

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 59 mins.

Director: Kazuhiro Furuhashi

Writer: Hajime Yatate, Yoshiyuki Tomino (Original Work), Fukui Harutoshi (Story), Yasuyuki Muto (Screenplay)

Starring: Ayumi Fujimura, Ken Narita, Kouki Uchimiya Yuko Kaida, Shuuichi Ikeda, Daisuke Namikawa, Haruka Tomatsu,

The trend of putting TV anime in cinemas continues apace with 16 theatres screening the sixth episode of the Mobile Suit Gundam UC anime series. I say sixth and final episode but a seventh one was added recently so… anyway I am not a Gundam fan. I prefer real-mecha like Patlabor but the Gundam franchise is huge so it’s not like my opinion matters much in this case. The director is Kazuhiro Furuhashi who has worked on anime I do like such as Noein, Le Chevalier D’Eon and Mononoke. You can be sure this will have a convoluted story involving earth and its colonies and terrorists and with character names like Full Frontal, Micott Bartsch and Bright Noa, things look flamboyant. Here is the trailer.

Anime Mirai 2013                              Anime Mirai Film Poster

Japanese Title: アニメミライ

Romaji: Anime Mirai

Release Date: March 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

The Anime Mirai project for 2013 is finished and we see the four titles on the big screen. The Anime Mirai program sees government money given to the Japan Animation Creators Association who distribute it to animation studios who will use it to train the next generation of anime talent. The trailer displays the animation and the people behind it.

Anime Mirai Ryo Film ImageRyo

Starring: Yuki Midori, Minako Kotobuki, Keiji Fujiwara, Tomoyuki Morikawa

Gonzo leads the trailer with samurai tale Ryo which is directed by Koichi Chigira who directed Welcome to Lodoss Island (a spin-off of Record of Lodoss Wars) and episodes of Rurouni Kenshin. This has a similar vibe to Kenshin and looks the least interesting of the projects.

Aruvu Rezuru – Mechanised Fairies                          Anime Mirai Mechanised Fairy Film Image

Starring: Jun Fukuyama, Yoko Hikasa, Ken Narita, Eri Kitamura

Zexcs brings us a dose of sharp looking existential sci-fi in Aruvu Rezuru – Mechanised Fairies which is directed by Tatsuya Yoshihara (episode director on Sket Dance) and based on an award winning novel published last year. I kept predicting that this would be out in different anime seasons over at AUKN but now, it is finally here. I like the futuristic concept of people literally losing their consciousness online but the animation leaves me cold.

Little Witch Academia                 Little Witch Academia Film Image

Starring: Megumi Han, Yoko Hikasa, Susumu Murase, Fumiko Orikasa

Studio Trigger get cute and colourful with Little Witch Academia which is directed by Yoh Yoshinari who worked on key animation for the Production I.G. titles Jin-Roh: Wolf Brigade and A Letter to Momo. I love Production I.G.’s works and Jin-Roh is a particular favourite but the concept here is terribly mundane. In the short the rough around the edges but talented central protagonist Akko travels from Japan to Europe to attend a prestigious magic school and loses her abilities. Can she get them back? The story is not my cup of tea.

Death Billiards                                        Anime Mirai Death Billiards Film Image

Starring: Tomoaki maeno, Yuichi Nakamura, Jun Hazumi, Masami Seto

Madhouse are probably one of my favourite anime studios although for every title I love (Black Lagoon) they have one I dedspise (Highschool of the Dead). They bring us a mysterious looking title named Death Billiards which is probably my second favourite segment in the anime. It is directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa who has helmed episodes of Steins;Gate, my second favourite anime of 2011. I like the look of this.

4 thoughts on “Suu, Mai and Sawa – Righting the Girl Ship, Bad Communication, The Dark System Full Version, Winter Day, Tofu Fa, Fukushima Not Forgotten, Anime Mirai 2013, Mobile Suit Gundam UC: Episode 6 and Other Trailers and the Japanese Film Box Office

  1. The problem with the Bad Communications trailer is that it isn’t clear what kind of film it is trying to be – rather mixed signals (could be psychological thriller in parts, could be coming of age drama, etc.). Still, I think I am somewhat interested in seeing it (with hope that there be more coherency in the final product).

    Okay, the trailers with multiple films features are a little confusing… I do want to watch Tofu fa, just for my endless love of tofu 🙂

    1. The trailer did not work for me at all although I did not get psychological thriller from it. Perhaps it’s all of those things. As I wrote, Haruhi’s previous film looked more interesting and that was a psychological thriller.

      I did wonder whether I should just compress all of the shorts into a paragraph.

      To be honest, I just wanted to get this done because I have to do a preview article about the Spring 2013 anime season. 4 shows and some graphics done so far… 19 to go…

      I can’t say I have ever tried tofu. I should stop rambling now and get on with writing.

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