Child Police, Extend Hands From Darkness, Aibou Series X DAY, Nobody’s Perfect, My Diary of Our Exchange, Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Whisper of the HeartAh, I started the week with a first-impression post on xxxHOLiC. I followed it up by watching the anime Level E and engaging on a new simulwatch over at Anime UK News with Serial Experiment’s Lain. I am hooked on these two anime already, the former because it is very funny and the latter because it’s a rigorous and intelligent and mysterious series which reminds me of the control and intelligence to be found in Kiyoshi Kurosawa films.

I am so psyched for next week because Film4 are going to start screening lots of Ghibli films which made up my second post. There will be 19 films shown in total and they run from The Little Norse Prince all the way through to Arrietty. I love Ghibli films and I’ll do my best to watch some of them with Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ocean Waves and The Cat Returns being priority.

I am also psyched about next week because I get paid which means a shipment of films will be ordered! Tonight I watch Vulgaria.

What does the Japanese movie chart look like this week (March 16th-17th)?

  1.  Doraemon Nobita’s Dinosaur
  2.  Platina Data
  3.  Precure All Stars New Stage 2
  4.  Oz the Great and Powerful
  5.  Himawari and Her Puppies
  6.  Flight
  7.  Ted
  8.  A Good Day to Die Hard
  9.  Cloud Atlas
  10.  Les Miserables
  11.  Toaru Majutsu no Index
  12.  Django Unchained
  13.  The Brain Man
  14.  Reunion

Doraemon continues his reign over the chart for a third week but there are a few of last week’s releases piping in with detective thriller Platina Data hitting second, the Precure anime movie grabbing third and Himawari and Her Puppies taking fifth.

What Japanese films are released this week?

Child Police                                        Kodomo Keisatsu Film Poster

Japanese Title: コドモ警察

Romaji: Kodomo Keisatsu

Release Date: March 20th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Yuichi Fukuda

Writer: Yuichi Fukuda (Screenplay),

Starring: Mikako Komatsu, Fuku Suzuki, Miyu Honda, Michiko Kichise, Keito Aoki, Kaichi Kaburagi, Yuga Aizawa

This film was released on Wednesday and is based on a ten episode TBS show directed by Yuichi Fukuda who has another film released this year called HK Hentai Kamen (adapted for the screen by Shun Oguri) which looks funny. Unlike this.

Hmm. Part of me dislikes it based on the poster and concept alone – elementary school kids as police… I’m not engaged with the concept and the kid holding the shotgun looks to be in bad taste to my western eyes (too many shootings in the US – I know it’s a weak excuse but my first reaction was to shudder). BUT! The trailer made me chuckle because of lead actor Fuku Suzuki’s outrage behind his desk. なに!!? and the 70’s vibe which reminded me of older Yakuza films I have seen.

Detective Dekachou (Suzuki) is the leader of the special investigation team in Kanagawa who are locked in an investigation of a criminal organisation called Red Venius. While pursuing the gang they are turned into children due to exposure to a special gas but they remain on the case because Red Venius threaten to assassinate the President of Tadhikistan in Japan.

Miffy the MovieMiffy the Movie Film Poster

Japanese Title: 劇場版ミッフィー どうぶつえん で たからさがし

Romaji: Gekijouban Miffi- Doubutsuende Sagashi

Release Date: March 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hans Perk

Voice Actors: Ikumi Nakagami, Noriko Hidaka, Hidemistu Shimizu, Masayo Hosono

Miffy… Hello Kitty… I thought they were connected but they are not. To be honest the only Hello Kitty thing I ever read was a parody called Hello Cthulhu. Miffy isn’t even Japanese. She’s Dutch! She’s the creation of a chap named Dick Bruna who has appeared in 30 books which have sold over 35 million copies around the world since her debut in 1955. So she’s not to be sniffed at. Furthermore she’s popular in Japan where she’s known as Usako-chan. Anyway in this children’s animation, Miffy and her friends go treasure hunting!

Yasuko Nagamine Barefoot Flamenco        Yasuko NAgamine Barefoot Flamenco Film Poster

Japanese Title: 長嶺ヤス子 裸足のフラメンコ

Romaji: Nagamine Yasuko Hidashi no Furamenko

Release Date: March 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 85 mins.

Director: Koichi Omiya

Starring: Yasuko Nagamine

Yasuko Nagamine is an internationally famous dancer who studied flamenco in Spain, pioneering the dance in Japan and combining it with other dance forms and music. This is a documentary from her birth in Fukushima in 1936 to her recent years beating cancer.  The director is Koichi Omiya, the documentarian behind Sketch of Mujo, the first film that captured the affected areas after the Great East Japan Earthquake and one of many I put in a list last week.

BOOWY 1224 The Movie           Boowy Film Poster

Japanese Title: BOOWY 1224 The Movie

Release Date: March 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: N/A

Starring: Kyosuke Himuro, Tomoyasu Hotei, Tsunematsu Matsui, Makoto Takahashi

This is a documentary about the rock band BOOWY which records performances at Shibuya Public Hall in Tokyo where they announced their break up.

 

Shonan Story                      Shonan Story Film Poster

Japanese Title: 湘南ものがたり

Romaji: Shounan Monogatari

Release Date: March 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 114 mins.

Director: Yoichiro Hayama

Writer: Yoichiro Hayama, Satoshi Zenshō (Screenplay),

Starring: Hiroshi Isobe, Tomoka Shibayama, Koji Ito, Aoki Sanae, Harumi Maeda, Fumi Sakurai, Namiko Morooka

I really dislike the film Dead Waves. It was dull J-horror which had a great cast but was marred by poor execution and a lack of budget. The director was Yoichiro Hayama, a man who has had a number of J-horror films in his back catalogue. He also has a number of indie dramas like this one which was made in Kamakura and told the story of a fledgling novelist (Isobe) who heads to Enoshima, an island with an observatory, who meets an old flame (Shibayama). No trailer.

 

Aibou Series X DAY                                     Aibou Series X Day Film Poster

Japanese Title: 相棒シリーズX DAY

Romaji: Aibou Shirizu XDAY

Release Date: March 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Hajime Hashimoto

Writer: Takeharu Sakurai (Screenplay),

Starring: Kazuhisa Kawahara, Kei Tanaka, Yoshino Kimura, Ken Utsui, Anju Suzuki, Ryoko Kuninaka, Tomorowo Taguchi, Tetsuya Bessho

Oh wow, this is based on a very popular franchise with 11 TV series stretching back to 2002 and 3 other movies. It pairs up a nerd and a hard-bitten detective as they investigate a series of crimes. I have never watched it but I know some of the stars like Kei Tanaka (Rent-a-Cat, Tajomaru, Suicide Circle), Yoshino Kimura (Fine, Totally Fine, Dream Cruise) and the awesome Tomorowo Taguchi (who has another film out today!) the star of Tetsuo and part of Strange Circus and Gantz and Who’s Camus Anyway.  Lots of slow-zooms, walking down corridors and reaction shots in the trailer make this look epic and serious.

Detective Kenichi Itami (Kawahara) from the National Police Agency is paired up with Akira Iwatsuki (Tanaka) from the cyber investigation team to solve complex murder cases like the one in this film which is linke to a national financial doomsday scenario codenamed X Day.

 

Nobody’s Perfect                                                 Nobody's Perfect Film Poster

Japanese Title: だいじょぶ 3 組

Romaji: Daijobu 3 Kumi

Release Date: March 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 118 mins.

Director: Ryuichi Hiroki

Writer: Masato Kato (Screenplay), Hirotada Ototake (Original Novel)

Starring: Taichi Kokubun, Hirotada Ototake, Tomorowo Taguchi, Kimiko Yo, Anna Ishii, Toshie Negishi, Makko Watanabe, Hiroki Miyake, Nana Eikura, Miki Kawanishi, Hinako Yoshikawa

Writer Hirotada Ototake was born without limbs due to the congenital disorder Tetra-amelia. This has not stopped him from living life as he has become a best-selling novelist. This is based on Daijobu 3 Kumi, one of his works which was published in 2010 and it tells the story of a 5th grade teacher named Shinnosuke Akao (Ototake), a man born without arms and legs, who is now in charge of 28 pupils. Akao’s time with the class is told from the view of a school board member named Yusaku Shiraishi (Kokubun)

I have seen few fiction films that deal with disability in Japan (Strange Circus… perhaps) but there are quite a few documentaries (two last week). Before watching the trailer I figured on this being a positive film full of life-lessons about struggling to overcome problems and it would be relatively harmless with an up-lifting J-Pop soundtrack and I was not far wrong but there could be some bitterness relating to his disability – those two girls looking and laughing, tears shed.

Anyway the film has an interesting cast with Hirotada Ototake and Taichi Kokubun (Tokio) leading the likes of Tomorowo Taguchi (Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tetsuo II, Strange Circus), Makiko Watanabe (Himizu, Love Exposure), Kimiko Yo (For Love’s Sake, Suicide Circle) and the foxy Nana Eikura (Tokyo Kouen, The Floating Castle).

 

Extend Hands From Darkness                                       Extend Hand From Darkness Film Poster

Japanese Title: 暗闇 から 手 を のばせ

Romaji: Kurayami Kara Te wo Nobase

Release Date: March 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 68 mins.

Director: Yukihiro Toda

Writer: Yukihiro Toda (Screenplay),

Starring: Maya Koizumi, Kanji Tsuda, Sachiko Matsuura, Morooka Moro, Yuki Kan

The second film about disabilities stars gravure idol Maya Koizumi. The film seems tastefully done much like Hollywood movie The Sessions starring Helen Hunt with a lot of drama, people with real disabilities a little violence and a plaintive piano soundtrack. One of the characters mentions car sex, might I recommend to him that he view Takeshi Kitano’s Getting Any? – I just saw a contestant on Mastermind answer questions on his films. I got 7 out of 10 right… Starring alongside Maya Koizumi is Kanji Tsuda (Guilty of Romance, Tokyo Sonata, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl), Yuki Kan (Rebirth) and Morooka Moro (Kids Return, Infection). Despite the good looking girl the film doesn’t really grab me.

Saori (Koizumi) wants money and decides to works for an escort service named Honey Lips, a company which provides sex disabled people. Tsuda (Tsuda), her manager, drives her to her first customer, 34-year-old Mizutani (Kan), a man with progressive muscular dystrophy and a full body tattoo. He is the first client from a list which will break down her cynicism and get her to help her clients in more ways than just physically.

 

My Diary of Our Exchange                             Diary of Our Exchange Film Poster

Japanese Title: ボクたちの交換日記

Romaji: Bokutachi no Kokan Nikki

Release Date: March 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 115 mins.

Director: Teruyoshi Uchimura

Writer: Teruyoshi Uchimura (Screenplay), Osamu Suzuki (Original Novel)

Starring: Atsushi Ito, Keisuke Koide, Masami Nagasawa, Fumino Kimura, Haruna Kawaguchi, Kuranosuke Sasaki, Jiro Sato, Tsuyoshi Muro, Becky, Takanori Takeyama, Koji Okura

The final film on the list released today looks to be the biggest and it is directed by Teruyoshi Uchimura who starred in the awesome sounding My Lover is a Sniper. The trailer looked entertaining enough and it turned out to be my trailer of the week because of some of the physical comedy. That aside it stars Kuranosuke Sasaki (20th Century Boys), Koji Okura (Crime or Punishment?!?, Detroit Metal City), Fumino Kimura (Love for Beginners), Masami Nagasawa (Sunshine Ahead, I Wish), Keisuke Koide (Linda Linda Linda, The Lightning Tree) and the half-Japanese half-English singer Becky who co-starred with Koide in the Nodame Cantabile films. I’ve heard of her but this is the first time I’ve looked at her filmography which is respectable.

Yohei Tanaka (Ito) and Koji Komoto (Koide) are an unpopular comedy duo who split after working together for 12 years. They begin to question whether they should be in the entertainment industry altogether and begin to write their thoughts in a diary.

8 thoughts on “Child Police, Extend Hands From Darkness, Aibou Series X DAY, Nobody’s Perfect, My Diary of Our Exchange, Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

    1. Ha, it was a bit of a shock but I found the trailer cute and I enjoyed being able to understand most of what was being said by the voice actors. Yay, I can comprehend Japanese aimed at children! Good Lord, I need to practice.

  1. If you don’t find time for “Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ocean Waves and The Cat Returns” (your priority films), I do have them all on DVD and can lend them to you.

    Kiki’s Delivery Service was my first Ghibli film 🙂

    Agree with felis catus! I looked at that and thought, Miffy? Miffy?! That’s Nijntje!

    Like last week, there isn’t much in this week’s releases that interests me. Have to say though that Suzuki Fuki from Kodomo Keisatsu (which doesn’t interest me in the least) is a little kid to keep an eye on, I really enjoyed his performance in Yokai Ningen Bem.

    Bokutachi no Kokan Nikki looks good though (might have to feature that one on a Trailer Weekly!).

    1. Thanks for the offer but I already have Spirited Away and my sister has most of the other films that are being screened including Kiki’s Delivery Service and The Cat Returns (both of which I adore). The only one I don’t have is Ocean Waves

      Kiki is a great film to start with. If you don’t mind me asking, how old were you when you saw it? I was in my teens when I saw my first Ghibli film.

      I agree about the paucity of interesting releases and Bokutachi no Kokan Nikki being the highlight. I just didn’t get enthusiastic about many of these trailers but I was curious about Shounan Story (all I could get was a live-action GTO!).

      1. Actually, I’m interested in Shounan Story too though a trailer and more plot details would be good…

        I only saw my first Ghibli film four years ago! They screened it at my uni…. Hard to believe…

      2. Well we’ve all got to start somewhere 😉

        I think my first Ghibli was Spirited Away in a cinema although I do have childhood memories of Sherlock Hound (80’s, 90’s?) which, although not strictly Ghibli, is connected.

    1. I love it. That blonde mad alien Baka always has me cracking up and laughing out loud in every episode because he will be a part of some elaborate mess like in episode 2 where he tells the story of his rescue of the woman and we see the “results”. Poor old Yukitaka and Miho, always getting caught up in it.

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