Day of Flying Ants, Since Then, The Millennial Rapture, Doraemon: Nobita’s Dinosaur, Club Jason the Movie, I’m Back Jacqueline Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Devil Survivor 2 Anime Image 3There were fewer posts this week despite me watching more films and anime like Aragami and Blue Exorcist. Part of the reason was the fact that I wrote a Spring Anime Preview for Anime UK News which took up a weekend plus I was at work longer than normal because a gallery is opening with a new exhibition of abstract art. What I did do was make my own picks from the spring season and prepped myself for more reviews of anime, games, films and first impressions of doramas. Enough about me, what’s happening with the Japanese film releases and…

What does the Japanese movie box office look like this week (March 02nd-03)?

  1.  Flight
  2.  A Good Day to Die Hard
  3.  Ted
  4.  Les Miserables
  5.  Django Unchained
  6.  The Brain Man
  7.  Toaru Majutsu no Index
  8.  Life of Pi
  9.  Strawberry Night
  10.  Zero Dark Thirty
  11.  Argo
  12.  Reunion
  13.  Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship
  14.  Chair of the Grasslands
  15.  Story of Yonosuke
  16.  Skyfall

Well film distributors were quite right to hold off from making major releases because Hollywood came to town in a big way with the release of Flight and Django Unchained. The only release to survive last week’s deployment is Sue, Mai & Sawa and that was at number thirteen. Interesting titles in the top ten include A Certain Magical Index at seven, Story of Yonosuke and Skyfall at fifteen and sixteen respectively. Why interesting? The Toaru franchise gets a new series on Japanese TV screens next month, Skyfall has been in the Japanese charts for 14 weeks (thanks to Sony’s cinema’s in Tokyo) and Third Window Films is releasing Story of Yonosuke in the UK later this year. One of the western films released this weekend in Japan is The Cabin in the Woods which is simply called Cabin. Japanese film fans are in for a treat!

Day of Flying Ants                                     The Day of Flying Ants Film Poster

Japanese Title: 蟻が空を飛ぶ日

Romaji: Ari ga Sorawoto bu-bi

Release Date: March 09th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 116 mins.

Director: Akira Nobi

Writer: Akira Nobi (Screenplay)

Starring: Kohei Kuroda, Rei Orihara, Satomi Yakehiro, Takumi Hasuo, Yoshiki Kondo, Yūki Okamoto

This is Akira Nobi’s first film in about 15 years… since 1996 with Secret Waltz actually. It is a story about people living double lives, passing themselves off as normal when they are actually assassins. It stars Kohei Kuroda (Crows Zero II) and Rei Orihara. Despite parts of the trailer having a similar vibe to a David Lynch film and a cool jazz soundtrack I am not convinced that I would enjoy this too much.

To most Kenji (Kuroda) is a student attending Tokyo University but he is actually part of a four-man team of covert assassins. When the target of his team is killed by a woman named Maki (Orihara) the team take her prisoner. Despite Maki trying to kill Kenji the two fall in love. Can they be together in their world of violence?

Since Then                               Since Then Film Poster

Japanese Title: あれから

Romaji: Are Kara

Release Date: March 09th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 63 mins.

Director: Makoto Shinozaki

Writer: Makoto Shinozaki (Screenplay)

Starring: Aya Takekō, Yasuhiro Isobe, Mie Ohta

Makoto Shinozaki has led a life I’d try and emulate if I had the guts and determination. After graduating from Rikkyo University (Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s old university and the place he returns to every so often teach), Shinozaki then worked as a writer for film magazines and saved up enough money to make films which he took on the festival circuit. Since this is my year of doing stuff I can still do it! Anyway… the films… Shinozaki might be familiar to Japanese film fans with titles ike Tokyo Island (2010) and Die! Directors, Die! Which was at last year’s Yubari Fantastic Film Festival. He is back with Since Then which is described as a human drama. The subject matter is the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011 but the focus is on Tokyo. It stars Aya Takekō (Lonely Planet), Yasuhiro Isobe (11:25: The Day Mishima Decided His Own Fate), and Mie Ohta (Kamikaze Girls).

Sachiko (Takekō) lives in Tokyo. When the quake strikes and she sees the devastation in eastern Japan she is concerned about her lover Masashi (Isobe) who lived in an affected area. She tracks him down in a hospital but his family refuse her permission to see him.

The Millennial Rapture                          Millenial Rapture Film Poster

Japanese Title: 千 年 の 愉楽

Romaji: Sennen no Yuraku

Release Date: March 09th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 118 mins.

Director: Koji Wakamatsu

Writer: Koji Wakamatsu(Screenplay), Kenji Nakagami (Original Novel)

Starring: Shinobu Terajima, Kengo Kora, Shota Sometani, ShirThe Millenial Rapture Film Postero Sano, Arata, Taro Yamamoto, Mayu Harada, Sousuke Takaoka

The Millennial Rapture was the last film of Koji Wakamatsu and it was screened at the Venice Film Festival 2013 and Pusan 2013 just before he died following a traffic accident. It stars Shinobu Teraima (Helter Skelter11:25, The Day He Decided His Own Fate), Shota Sometani (Himizu), Shiro Sano (VanishedUnited Red Army), and Kengo Kora (Norwegian WoodThe Woodsman and the Rain, The Drudgery TrainSignal).

 This collection of stories is set in Shingu in the Wakayama Prefecture and focusses on the lives of various people of the Burakumin minority group. These people include a womaniser and a yakuza.

Doraemon: Nobita’s DinosaurDoraemon Nobita's Dinosaur Film Poster

Japanese Title: ドラえもん のび太 の ひみつ 道具 博物館 (ミュージアム)

Romaji: Doraemon Nobita no Himitsudōgu Hakubutsukan (Myūjiamu)

Release Date: March 09th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 63 mins.

Director: Makoto Shinozaki

Writer: Makoto Shinozaki (Screenplay)

Voice Actors: Megumi Oohara, Wasabi Mizuta, Kotono Mitsuishi, Shigeru Chiba, Yuko Sanpei, Yui Horie, Chiaki, Subaru Kimura, Yumi Kakazu

Watch out everybody, Doraemon the time travelling robotic cat is back! As one of the most popular characters in the world I think it will be safe to say that Doraemon will be sitting on top of the chart this time next week. His last film was pretty dominant.  The film is directed by Yukiyo Teramoto, who has directed two previous Doraemon films and, most interestingly, was an episode director for the brilliant thriller Monster! The theme song is called Mirai no Museum and is performed by Perfume. SAIKO!

Club Jason the Movie               Club Jason the Movie

Japanese Title: N/A

Romaji: Club Jason the Movie

Release Date: March 09th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 74 mins.

Director: Yasuyuki Yamaguchi

Writer: Yasuyuki Yamaguchi(Screenplay),

Starring: Yuki Saito, Hisashi Suto, Tomoyuko Miyakawa, Koichi “Koteisui” Sato, Yūri “Firipo/Phillip” Kawasaki, DJ Shirafu

Well I didn’t think it would happen but it did! Club Jason is a film about a strange and eccentric film blogger named Jason (me) who spends his days working in a hakubutsukan and his evenings watching Japanese films and learning Japanese. While waiting for Japanese class to start a mysterious woman named Rika bursts in covered in blood. She claims she was attacked by ghosts but he isn’t too sure…

Not really. This is the cinema screening of a rock horror themed event from the J-rock band HiGE髭 which was held at various clubs last year. It includes Jessica, a goth-loli cosplayer who gets chased by a guy who looks like ‘Jason’ from Friday the 13th. Jessica seeks the help of HiGE as she flees. They are apparently influenced by Nirvana, make of that what you will. What I do know is that I was disappointed that it was not about me. No trailer for the film so here’s a music video. Very 90’s looking.

Hige is the Japanese word for “Beard” or “Moustache”.

I’m Back Jacqueline                                            Tadaima Jacqueline Film Poster

Japanese Title: ただいま、ジャクリーン

Romaji: Tadaima, Jakuri-n

Release Date: March 09th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 40 mins.

Director: Akiko Ōku

Writer: Shigeru Murakoshi(Screenplay),

Starring: Shota Sometani, Emi Shuri, Rinko Kajitsu (Jacqueline’s Voice), Kōta Takagi, Mai Kikuchi

Last week we had a guy with a sex doll in Body Heat, this week there’s a guy with what looks like a Kewpie doll. Is this the start of a disturbing trend? I jest. This is a short film released by The Tokyo Film School which stars Shota Sometani (Himizu, Isn’t Anyone Alive?, XXXHOLiC) and Emi Shuri (Signal: Luca on Monday) who I am a major fan of. I did not expect much of the trailer but I was impressed. This is my film of the week!

Satoru (Sometani) lost his parents in a bus accident at the age of five. A ventriloquist also died in the accident. Satoru, now living in an orphanage, comes into possession of the ventriloquist’s doll and makes a friend in Emi (Shuri). Thirteen years later he faces the prospect of returning to the orphanage and displaying his ventriloquism skills. Can he do it? 

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