Platina Data, Flower of Absolution, Bozo, Case of High Treason (Echo) is a 100 Year Echo, Precure All Stars New Stage 2: Kokoro no Tomodachi, I Can See From Heaven and Other Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

The week started off with March 11th, a date which will be forever associated with the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami which hit eastern Japan back in 2011. I posted about Third Window Films release of Vulgaria and then posted about Tohoku on Film, two films screening this weekend at the Japan Foundation. The films show Fukushima before and after the disaster. Roll on Wednesday and I started a list of films which deal directly with the aftermath of the disaster in a post called Great East Japan Earthquake Aftermath on Film and it contains details of some of the films that cover the aftermath of the disaster. I will update it as more films become available.

Film has been a key medium in keeping alive the memory of the disaster and those who suffered in it. Through film we can see the horror of the day, the effects on the people and the strength of the human spirit as survivors fight their way back from disaster. Whatever the genre, it will serve to remind the audience of that day.

Himizu is one such example. Sion Sono, former wild-man of the Japanese film industry channelled his creative talents to create a film so powerful thanks to its anger and life that it scorches itself on the memory. It was a powerful story about an individual but it also applied to Japan as a whole.



Himizu Sometani and Nikaidou

What does the Japanese film chart look like this week ( March 09th-10th).

  1.   Doraemon Nobita’s Dinosaur
  2.   Oz the Great and Powerful
  3.   Flight
  4.   A Good Day to Die Hard
  5.   Ted
  6.   Les Miserables
  7.   Toaru Majutsu no Index
  8.   Django Unchained
  9.   The Brain Man
  10.   Reunion
  11.   Argo
  12.   Strawberry Night

Did I predict Doraemon would dominate the charts last week or did I predict it would dominate the charts? It was never a question of how well it would do because Doraemon is one of the biggest characters in Japan, Asia… The world even. His fans will keep this at number one for a while now. The other new entry is Oz the Great and Powerful. March 11th drama Reunion sits at ten and Strawberry Night is at twelve.

What’s released in Japan this weekend?

Platina Data                                            Platina Data Film Poster

Japanese Title: プラチナデータ

Romaji:  Puratina De-ta

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 133 mins.

Director: Keishi Ohtomo

Writer: Keigo Higashino (Original Book), Hideya Hamada (Screenplay),Cool Platina Data Film Poster

Starring: Kazunari Ninomiya, Etsushi Toyokawa, Anne Watanabe, Kiko Mizuhara, Honami Suzuki, Katsuhisa Namase

Ha, when I was last in London I picked up the book as a present for my teacher. When I read that it was written by Keigo Higashino I figured it would be an excellent thriller because that’s how Higashino’s books roll! Turns out the movie is genuinely good according to the Japan Times Film Review and it’s the biggest movie released this week. It is directed by Keishi Ohtomo who had a hit last year with Rurouni Kenshin. The cast is full of big names like the Arashi singer Kazunari Ninomiya (Gantz, Letters from Iwo Jima, Tekkonkinkurito) and Anne Watanabe (Ninja Kids!!!, XXXHOLiC) as well as rising star Kiko Mizuhara (Norwegian Wood). My film of the week!

It is the year 2017 and the Japanese government attempts to secretly control the DNA of everybody in the country. When a scientist named Ryuhei Kagura (Ninomiya) who works at the National Police Agency is accused of murdering the DNA analysis system he helps run he goes on the run with veteran detective Reiji Asama on his trail! 

Flower of Absolution              Shamen Hana Film Poster

Japanese Title: 赦免花

Romaji:  Shamen Bana

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 107 mins.

Director: Shinichi Karube

Writer: Yu Orihara (Screenplay/Original Book)

Starring: Yaeko Mizutani (Narrator), Misaki Saijo, Hidekazu Ichinose, Naoto Takenaka, Taro Kawano, Natsuo Ishido, Monica Takano, Mariko Yasui,

Shinichi Karube, producer of Fly with the Gold, brings together quite the cast for a period drama set at the end of the Edo period in which a samurai named Kengo (Ichinose) is exiled to Sado island on the charge of disobeying the Shogunate. On the island he meets a former prostitute named Yuki (Misaki) and the two fall in love with each other. The two conceive a child but with Kengo being offered a pardon Yuki is faced with raising the child alone or attempting an abortion… Hidekazu Ichinose has a few films to his name (Snakes and Earrings) but Misaki Saijo appears to be an AV actress… a pretty hot one. If I were Kengo I’d tell the Shogun to stuff his pardon but then I’d make a rubbish samurai 😉

Bozo                                                      Bozo Film Poster

Japanese Title: ぼつちゃん

Romaji:  Botsu-Chan

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 130 mins.

Director: Tatsushi Ōmori

Writer: Hidemori Tsuchiya, Tatsushi Ōmori (Screenplay)

Starring: Shingo Mizusawa, Shohei Uno, Ai Tamura, Shinsuke Suzuki, Fuchigami Yasushi, Mayumi Takahashi, Asako Ogawa, Yasushi Fuchikami, Masashi Endo, Emiko Imaizumi

Tatsushi Omori is an actor/director/screenwriter who has worked on Our Homeland (actor), Tada’s Do-It-All House (director/screenwriter) and this is his latest film. It looks miserable and funny, the main character physically divorced from reality and mentally drifting off the map to boot. It also looks like a pretty strong psychological drama full of everyday horror that pushes people to the edge. It draws inspiration from a real life criminal case where Tomohiro Kato indiscriminately killed people in Akihabara in 2008. Shingo Mizusawa (Roadside Fugitive) takes the lead role alongside Shohei Uno (The Drudgery Train, Toilet and Women) and Ai Tamura (Asakusa Daydreams) and Masashi Endo (Sawako Decides). I would want to see this one as well.

Tomoyuki Kaji (Mizusawa) is a temporary worker at a factory in Nagano Prefecture and spends his free time writing about his loneliness on an internet forum. He meets Tanaka (Uno), another lonely guy and they both become friends but Tomoyuki suffers a series of misfortunes like being fired, betrayed by his friend and having unfulfilled love. At the edge of an abyss, he goes to Akihabara…

Case of High Treason (Echo) is a 100 Year Echo                    High Treason 100 Years On Film Poster

Japanese Title: 100年の谺(こだま) 大逆事件は生きている

Romaji: 100-Nen no kodama (Kodama) dai gyaku jiken wa ikite iru

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 90 mins.

Director: Kei Tanaka

Writer: Tomoko Fujiwara

A documentary that raises the historical case 12 people who were hanged and another 12 who were given a sentence of life imprisonment in 1911 for what the government deemed “high treason”. It brings together studies and research that aims to prove that the people condemned were done under false accusations and the sentences were passed to silence socialists and anarchists in Japan. It looks fascinating.

Precure All Stars New Stage 2: Kokoro no TomodachiPrecure All Stars New Stage 2 Kokoro no Tomodachi Film Poster

Japanese Title: プリキュアオールスターズ New Stage こころのともだち

Romaji:  Puri Kyua O-ru Suta-zu New Stage 2 Kokoro no Tomodachi

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 90 mins.

Director: Kōji Ogawa

Writer: Yoshimi Narita (Screenplay)

Starring: Ai Nagano, Aya Hisakawa, Eri Kitamura, Hisako Kanemoto, Fumie Mizusawa, Akiko Nakagawa, Asami Tano, Rie Tanaka, Kanako Miyamoto,

Another year another Pretty Cure film. The director is Kōji Ogawa and it is his first big directorial job although he has worked on a number of awesome titles like Moldiver, Noein and Azumanga Daioh. The screenplay is from a Pretty Cure veteran, Yoshimi Narita, who has written for a number of the other films and television series. Feel the magic!

In this adventure the PreCure girls get a party invitation from the school fairy at a time when items are being stolen and suspicious shadows are emerging. Can the PreCure girls stop the shadows, solve the mysterious thefts and get to the party?

The Adventures of Shimajirou, Sukue – The Flower of Seven ColoursShimajirou Film Poster

Japanese Title: しまじろうと フフの だいぼうけん ~すくえ!七色の花~

Romaji: Shimajirō to Fufu no Daibōken – Sukue! Nanairo no Hana

Release Date: March 15th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Isamu Hirabayashi

Writer: Osumiyuka (Screenplay)

Voice Actors: Omi Minami (Shimajirou), Bin Shimada (Dotto), Miki Takahashi (Mimirin),

This is an educational anime aimed squarely at infants which was constructed by Benesse Corporation. The story follows Shimajirou who must save flower island by carefully nurturing the flowers and trees. Go Shimajirou!

7 Days of Himawari & Her PuppiesHimawari Chan and Her Puppies Film Poster

Japanese Title: ひまわりと子犬の7日間

Romaji: Himawari to Koinu no Nanokakan

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 117 mins.

Director: Emiko Hiramatsu

Writer: Emiko Hiramatsu (Screenplay), Yumi Yamashita (Original Novel)

Starring: Masato Sakai, Miki Nakatani, Denden, Isao Natsuyagi, Masayasu Wakabayashi, Reiko Kusamura, Tokie Hidari, Risa Kondou, Kanata Fujimoto, Rei Dan

A new director on the scene! Eriko Hiramatsu, a frequent collaborator of Yoji Yamada (The Twilight Samurai) in the capacity of assistant director and writer. For example she was the writer of Yamada’s latest film Tokyo Family. Anyway she makes her directorial debut with a drama based on a true story about a miracle dog… Okay. It stars Masato Sakai (Key of Life), Miki Nakatani (Zero Focus, Loft) who is apparently good at playing villains, Rei Dan (Ninja Kids!!!) and Denden (Cold Fish, Himizu). I’m a cat person so there’s no way in hell I’d let a dog have a chew on my arm like Sakai does in the trailer! Still, I hope Himawari’s puppies are saved…

A dog named Sunflower lives in a animal shelter and has had a litter of puppies. She is fiercely protective over her puppies but if an owner cannot be found in 7 days the dogs will be put to sleep. Kanzaki (Masato) tries his best to get the dogs into homes but the deadline is approaching fast!


I Can See From HeavenI Can See From Heaven Film Poster

Japanese Title: 天から見れば

Romaji: Ten Kara Mireba

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 95 mins.

Director: Fumiko Irie

Writer: Fumiko Irie

Starring: Masafumi Minami

This is one of two documentaries released by the distributor Miracle of the Heart which hopes to release inspirational tales of human courage. This one is about Masafumi Minami who lost his arms in an accident at a young age and learned to paint using a brush in his mouth.


Toward the Day when the Miracle Behind Me is no longer a Miracle Film PosterToward the Day when the when the Miracle Behind Me is no Longer a Miracle

Japanese Title: 僕のうしろに道はできる 奇跡が奇跡でなくなる日に向かって

Romaji: Boku nō Shiro ni Machi wa Dekiru Kiseki ga Kiseki de Nakunaru Hi ni Mukatte

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Yasuko Iwasaki

Writer: Yasuko Iwasaki

Starring: Toshiya Miyata, Katsuko Yamamoto, Katsuko Kamiya, Yasuyuki Shibata

This is the second inspirational documentary which tells the story of Toshiya Miyata, a language teacher who suffered a brain haemorrhage at the age of 42 and fell into a temporary vegetative state but is back on the road to what can be considered a miraculous recovery thanks to support from his best friend Katsuko Yamamoto who helps children with disabilities.

8 thoughts on “Platina Data, Flower of Absolution, Bozo, Case of High Treason (Echo) is a 100 Year Echo, Precure All Stars New Stage 2: Kokoro no Tomodachi, I Can See From Heaven and Other Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

  1. Hmmm. I’m not too excited about anything here. Your film of the week doesn’t quite do it for me – I don’t think Nino is such a strong actor… he’s okay, but IMO he doesn’t have the range and power that some of his contemporaries (+/-) have – Tsumabuki, Shota, Sometani – to create a complex and nuanced character (you know, where a half-raised eyebrow already express something).

    1. Ninomiya didn’t set my world alight either but the actors and the set around him looked really impressive. Plus Higashino writes great mysteries.

      Actually I felt that this week has a nice variety. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of these.

      1. I think that will be the problem… that Nino will be outacted. Which, as one of the leads, is a major problem.

        My other issue is that I find it hard to be compelled by him when he looks like a teen (a sweet-faced, innocent one at that) but is playing a scientist of some standing and possibly with blood on his hands (I doubt it, but for a movie like this to be gripping, you would want a totally ambiguous character that could either be guilty or innocent).

      2. Based on the trailer Ninomiya looked like a haughty and arrogant jerk, the type who has raced to the top and thinks he has all of the answers. His reversal of fortune will put the thumbscrews on him but how he performs in the rest of the film is still unknown. I think since this is a big pop-corn movie Ninomiya gets to look good and get chased around without there being too much demand on his acting ability.

        I agree about Sometani probably being able to make more of the role but maybe Ninomiya will be good

      3. I wouldn’t put Sometani into this role either, he’s twenty. Unless the character is meant to be a genius barely-out-of high school scientist…

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