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

Spirited Away Bathhouse ChihiroWe 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)?

  1. Wreck-It Ralph
  2. Doraemon Nobita’s Dinosaur
  3. Platina Data
  4. Aibou Series X Day
  5. Precure All Stars New Stage 2
  6. Oz the Great and Powerful
  7. Jack the Giant Slayer
  8. Himawari and Her Puppies
  9. My Diary of Our Exchange
  10. 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      Hanasaku Irohana Film Poster      

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 Hanasaku Iroha Home Sweet Home Poster 2which 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.


Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods                                Dragon Ball Z Battle of the Gods

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                   Burmese Living in Japan Film Poster

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.


Let’s Dig for Dinosaurs                   Lets Dig for Dinosaurs Film Poster

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.

Kotatsu, Orange and Meow           Kotatsu, Orange, Meow Film Poster

Japanese Title: こたつと、みかんと、ニャー

Romaji: Kotatsu to Mikan to Nya

Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 65 mins.

Director: Ryutaro Kajino

Writer: Ryutaro Kajino (Screenplay)

Starring:  Hiroko Kamata, Noriko Kijima, Maki Fukumi

Lesbian drama? Ryutari Kajino has made one other major film called Sea Food Girl Maiko which was a playful lesbian drama. This is a lesbian drama depicting platonic love and romance which stars a set of idols… Okay, it’s fluff. The trailer is totally uninspiring. A relatively unknown cast is led by the more experienced Noriko Kijima who has appeared in Yuriko’s Aroma, The Machine Girl and Shyness Machine Girl. The things female idols have to go through…

Kotatsu (Fukumi) has made a close connection with a person on an internet forum using the username Nya (Kijima). When she discovers that she is a co-worker Kotatsu asks Nya to travel to a onten with her, but Nya’s friend Mikan (Kamata) joins the two…


Kansai Johnny Jr. Kyoto Uzumasa March           Johnny's Jr Film Poster

Japanese Title: 関西ジャニーズ Jr. の 京都 太秦行進曲!

Romaji: Kansai Jani-zu Jr. no Kyouto Uzumasa Koushinkyoku

Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 87 mins.

Director: Katsuhide Motoki

Writer: Akira Toriyama (Original Creator/Screenplay), Yusuke Watanabe (Screenplay)

Starring:  Shigeoka Daiki, Terfumi Kiriyama, Junta Nakama, Bun’ichi Hamanaka, Nozomu Kotaki

Ha, Katsuhide Motoki director of Drugstore Girl, two Gegege no Kitaro films and Welcome Home, Hayabusa is here with a work that will pay the bills. Or am I being harsh. I just see little in this film for the pre-idol unit boys on the Johnny & Associates label. For anybody who has only experienced idol phenomenon through girls, here’s a taste of what the guys have to go through. This is the type of small-scale film that would never ever travel outside of Japan unless a hardcore fan goes the import route. Anyway the film is described as a youth drama in the city of Uzumasa, Kyoto and the trailer is dull but then I’m not the target audience. No trailer but an example of what the boys go through.

Masato Mimura is 19-years-old and dreams of being a star! An actor to be precise. He works hard and finds himself gien the opportunity of being in a television drama but he is surrounded by people with similar ambitions plus his scene might get cut!


Love and Eros Cinema Collection                       Love and Eros Film Poster

Japanese Title: 連結部分 は 電車 が 揺れる 妻の顔にもどれない

Romaji: Renketsu Bubun wa Densha ga Yureru Tsuma no Kao ni Modorenai

Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 82 mins.

Director: Shungiku Uchida

Writer: Shungiku Uchida (Original Creator/Screenplay

Starring: Miyuki Komatsu, Shungiku Uchida, Kawai Gamon, Etsushi Furukawa,

Shungiku Uchida is a talented actress as her work in Thermae Romae and Visitor Q reveal. She also has a way with the pen as her script for Green City (directed by Ryuichi Hiroki) and Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl shows… Okay, that one is a bit of a stretch but it is better than anything that I have done. Now she takes up the reigns of director and actress in this project, Love & Eros Cinema Collection, which gives us comic tales of love and sex. Shungiku co-stars with Miyuki Komatsu who was in Death Note: The Last Name and Etsushi Furukawa (I Carry the Ticket of Eternity).

This is a follow-up to a collection released in 2010 and it tells the tale of a housewife named Ryoko who is disappointed with her husband’s efforts at home taking care of the children. She also becomes suspicious about his activities and comes to believe he may be cheating on her. She takes up a part time job in a café as a distraction but she meets a man named Yawata who makes her heart race…

Short Films: Cinema Impact Project:

The first part of the Cinema Impact project came to fruition earlier this year with five short films getting screened in Japanese cinemas. The project allows young filmmakers, producers and actors the chance of working with a more experienced filmmaker and some of the titles screened at Rotterdam International Film Festival. This is the third volume of films from the project.

People Gathered

Japanese Title: 集まった人たち

Romaji: Atsumatta Hito Tachi

Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 62 mins.

Director: Shinji Imaoka

Writer: Shinji Imaoka (Screenplay)

Starring: Shiho Niiyama, Yuki Matsunaga, Shōichiro Suzuki, Shinya Abe, Asako Ogawa, Kenji Kitani, Satomi Kageyama, Yuichi Takeda, Kaoru Ikeda, Kota Kano

This is the first title from the third round of Cinema Impact and the experienced filmmaker is Shinji Imaoka, screenwriter of the respectable The Drudgery Train and strange pink films. I thought I would forget the trailer for Shinji Imaoka’s last film Long Day of Stars, which was released in February. Alas no… I was scarred by it.  This is a cast of up and comers who have been in a lot of short films littering the Japanese release schedule since the beginning of the year. Shiho Niiyama (a voice actress on Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue), Yuki Matsunaga (an actress who starred in the short film Taco Night which was released in January), Shōichiro Suzuki who has been in three films released this year alone (2.11, Bozo and Sunshine Does Not Stop). This film revolves around the idea of panic seizing those who want to have sex… The trailer is sort of amusing.

The Sunshine Does Not StopSun Does Not Stop

Japanese Title: 止まない晴れ

Romaji: Yamanai Hare

Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 32 mins.

Director: Kazuyoshi Kumakiri

Writer: Masashi Yamamoto (Screenplay)

Starring: Naomi Ito, Hiroyuki Seto, Asako Ogawa, Takashi Ogawa, Koichi Ito, Yuri Kitamura, Misaki Yoshida, Takuma Nagao

Kazuyoshi Kumakiri, director of Antenna and Blazing Famiglia and the writer of Sion Sono’s film Hazard, is the experienced chap leading the charge in a story about an ordinary couple who gradually go mad… Synopsis is a bit thin I know. Take a look at the cool trailer.


Prologue to Hearing the Voice in the Water

Japanese Title: 水の声を聞く プロローグ

Romaji: Mizu no Koe o Kiku Puroro-gu

Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 31 mins.

Director: Masash Yamamoto

Writer: Masashi Yamamoto (Screenplay)

Starring: Gen-ri, Takashi Oda, Miho Takahashi, Takafumi Saito

Masashi Yamamoto, one of the men behind the Cinema Impact project as a producer takes the directorial reigns in a film set in a Korean part of Shinjuku with a human drama tat focusses on people “who suffer a variety of anguish”.


In the Seaside Town                        In the Seaside Town

Japanese Title: 海辺の町で

Romaji: Umi Be no Machi De

Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 64 mins

Director: Ryuichi Hiroki

Writer: Ryuichi Hiroki (Screenplay)

Starring: Yasuko Kōma, Shōta Sanabe, Tatsuya Kitaguchi, Yoshio Kojima, Kanako Yamaguchi

This project is developed by Ryuichi Hiroki who will be known to Japanese film fans from his titles like April Bride, Vibrator and, more recently, River. This story takes place in Fukushima Prefecture and that’s about as much of the synopsis as I could glean.



Love Whirlpool                             Whirlpool of Love Film Play

Japanese Title: 恋の渦

Romaji: Koi no Uzu

Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 140

Director: Hitoshi Ōne

Writer: Daisuke Miura (Original work/Screenplay),

Starring: Kenta Niikura, Naoko Wakai, Chihiro Shibata, Yumi Goto, Takumi Matsuzawa, Mariko Sugio, Hiroaki Kamadaki, Daisuke Sawamura

The final film in the third round of the Cinema Impact movie project is the longest. The film takes place in one room where a group of men and women give various displays of the idea of love. It It is based on a theatre play written by Daisuke Miura which was first staged in 2006. Some info on the staff: the writer Daisuke Miura directed Boys on the Run, the adaptation of Kengo Hanazawa’s manga which starred Mei Kurokawa, You, Ryuhei Matsuda and Denden. The director, Hitoshi Ōne previously worked on Moteki which stared Kumiko Aso, Mirai Moriyama and Riisa Naka. The stage play has been on tour around the world, writer Daisuke Miura declares it an insight into a generation that has everything but is still unsatisfied in spiritual terms.


Four couples, three beds, one masionette living room in a luxury apartment. The action takes place over the course of a night where a kindergarten teacher, students and office works make meaningless small talk about superficial things until their self-consciousness vanishes and they get closer. Closer to what? A sex party. This is one where emotions are absent – names are not known, they onl know each other by number man/woman 1-4 – andthey shed their emotions and passions hoping to break up without getting hurt.

And that is it for March! April is around the corner and that means.

Happy Easter!

Detroit Metal City Family

14 thoughts on “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

  1. I confess I’ve seen Wreck it Ralph – and actually found it pretty funny. The one thing that Disney do quite well is appealing to different audiences. So some young uns will love this just for the film and then people like me will sit looking and recognising loads of the gaming characters. Plus Dragonball Z Yay!
    Lynn 😀

  2. Tired Paul

    Anything Kazuyoshi Kumakiri does I have to see and judging by the trailer The Sunshine Does Not Stop looks very pretty!

    1. I was thinking of buying Blazing Famiglia and I’m going to pick up Hazard at some point. Out of all the trailers for the short films I thought the one for The Sunshine Does Not Stop was the best. I just wish my Japanese was better so I could write more of a synopsis.

      P.S. I was looking for this music video which I saw a few weeks ago and lost and now I have found it after replaying the trailer for The Sunshine Does Not Stop!

      1. Tired Paul

        I think your synopsis is spot on, how much more could possibly be going on in such a short running time?

  3. I haven’t seen Dragon ball in quite a long time. I used to like reading the Manga. very funny and entertaining.

    That Jonhny jr is going to be in the top10, all the fans will definitely waych it 😉

    I love how you use Krauser family photo for your Happy Easter photo 😉

    1. I haven’t seen Dragon Ball since high school which was aaages ago. I prefer Akira Toriyama’s other manga Dr. Slump. Very funny 🙂

      You’re a Johnny Jr fan? Hmm, maybe they will be big after all.

      I wanted a great picture to end the post with and when I saw the Krauser family picture I thought it was a great way to end!

      1. oh no!!! never been a fan of ANY boyband in my entire life. I am a proud Le-Ciel (fans of Larc en Ciel) for the past 12years and has no interest in boybands 🙂
        I some boyband members only because they played in dorama, like Kameneshi, Jun Matsumoto, etc.

        I like both Dr.slump and DB

  4. Pingback: FYC #LAMMYS2013 #15 | The Large Association of Movie Blogs

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