The Complex, Maruyama, The Middle Schooler, Buddha Burning Human, Proof of the Child, Leaving on the 15th Spring, Peach Festival Films and Other Trailers and the Movie Box Office Chart

Saturday Touhou StreetAku no Hana/Flowers of Evil was the only post this week but I wanted to let this one have the spotlight for a couple of days because I think the anime is very, very brilliant. I also had to revise for my Japanese test on Wednesday. I think I passed this course but I’m not happy with the way my study habits floundered at points. There is definite room for improvement. No films watched but plenty of anime like Attack on Titan, My Youth RomcomAku no Hana and Red Data Girl. Next Saturday I will be attending a Japan Day Festival, which I posted on AUKN.

What does the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart look like for the weekend May 11th-12th?

  1. Detective Conan Private Eye in the Distant Sea
  2. Phone Call to the Bar 2
  3. Iron Man 3
  4. Prefecture’s Government Hospitality Division
  5. Library Wars
  6. Shield of Straw
  7. Crayon Shin Chan! Gourmet Food Survival
  8. Kamen Rider X Super Sentai X Space Sheriff: Super Hero Taisen Z
  9. Saint Young Men
  10. Steins;Gate: The Movie

Major changes in this week’s movie box office standings with three new entries in the top ten from last week’s crop. Saint Young Men comes in at nine, Prefecture’s Government Hospitality Division at four and Phone Call to the Bar 2 resting at two. Detective Conan continue to reign supreme at one for the fourth week in a row while Steins;Gate claws its way back into the top ten at ten.

What is released this week? I say this week because there is a film festival going on in Japan at the moment and they released some titles on the 16th and 18th. There are lots of cool trailers.

Peach Festival Films

Female filmmakers have been on the rise in Japan as well regarded films like Dreams for Sale, End of Puberty and Just Pretended to Hear reveal. To get a better taste of what other young female directors are doing we get a whole festival dedicated to showing the freshest works coming from them. The theme for this year is ‘Tears’. Here are three short films that will be on the big screen.

Peach Festival Presents Tears “Sayonara Mermaid”       Peach Film Festival Poster

Japanese Title: 桃まつり presents なみだ “サヨナラ人魚”

Romaji: Momo Matsuri Presents Namida “Sayonara Ningyo”

Release Date: May 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 48 mins.

Director: Ayaka Kato

Writer: Ayaka Kato (Screenplay)                                                Sayonara Mermaid Film Image

Starring: Kazuha Komiya, Yuta Toda, Katsunori Teraoka, Minori Hagiwara

This is the debut of Ayaka Kato and it has a title which sounds like it could be strange. The trailer is intriguing. Two guys approach a mysterious woman previously seen on a beach. Is she a mermaid? Is she simply suicidal and disturbed? Guys, you better watch out! Mermaids can’t be trusted! Even foxy ones!

Actually this is a film where a woman named Sammy, who is attending a prep school, is in all sorts of relationships with instructors and fellow students and feels emptiness. We then follow a series of encounters with different people. Is this a riff on the Little Mermaid fairy tale and does she go through similar things? Well this short has 48 minutes to develop this story. If Ayaka Kato is skilled enough, it should be enough.


Peach Festival Presents Tears “Itai no Itai no Tonde Ike”Peach Film Festival Poster

Japanese Title: 桃まつり presents “なみだ “いたいのいたいのとんでいけ”

Romaji: Matsuri Presents Namida Itai no Itai no Tonde Ike

Release Date: May 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 30 mins.

Director: Miwa Paku

Writer: N/A

Starring: Haruna Okawa, Mari Hayashida, Shioi Kasahara

Pain Fly Away Film Image

I am totally unsure about this title. It looks like Pain of the Pain Fly Away but it sounds totally wrong… Arrgh. Frustration. Anyway, this film comes from Park Miwa who worked on the 3.11 shot-film compilation Tomorrow which gathered together staff originating from the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The story follows Kana, a young girl who is trying to get her parents to reconcile their differences during a domestic conflict. The biggest name for me is Mari Hayashida who was in Cold Bloom. No trailer.

Leaving on the 15th Spring                               Tabidachi no Shima Uta Film Poster

Japanese Title: 旅立ちの島唄 十五の春

Romaji: Tabidachi no Shima Uta – 15 no Aru

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 114 mins.

Director: Yasuhiro Yoshida

Writer: Yasuhiro Yoshida (Screenplay),

Starring: Ayaka Miyoshi, Shinobu Otake, Karou Kobayashi, Saori Koide, Ryuya Wakaba, Jyo Hyuga,

I listed this one with the incorrect release date of April 17th. Apologies. I was suspicious because the website I got the info from didn’t tally up with another, much more reliable one. Anyway the film trailer didn’t impress me that much on the first run but a review from the Japan Times film review site chalks this up as an impressive feature citing the fact that director, “Yoshida can universalize from the real without turning his people into case studies or stereotypes… Yoshida prefers to speak volumes with nonviolent, emotionally charged suggestion. That is, he brings an understated lyricism to what an ordinary documentary might have reduced to just-the-facts prose.” Ayaka Miyoshi, one of the stars of Good Morning Everyone, last year’s rock film which starred Kumiko Aso, takes the lead in this family drama which examines the lives of a family who are separated from each other due to geographical circumstances.

Minamidaito Island does not have a high school and so when teenagers hit 15 they must head to mainland Japan. Yuna Nakazato (Miyoshi) is about to make the same trip as her two older siblings leaving her father Toshiharu (Kobayashi) behind. She worries about him being left alone but she will be joining her mother Akemi (Otake), sister Mina (Koide) and brother in Naha. With her date of departure looming Yuna feels unease about her future but also has a curiosity about the wider world.

The Complex                                              The Complex Film Poster 2

Japanese Title: クロユリ 団

Romaji: Kuroyuri Danchi

Running Time: 106 mins.

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Director: Hideo Nakata

Writer: Hideo Nakata, Junya Kato, Ryuta Miyake

Starring: Atsuka Maeda, Hiroki Narimiya, Masanobu Katsumura, Naomi Nishida, The Complex PosterSosei Tanaka, Masaya Takahashi, Satomi Tezuka, Taro Suwa, Yurei Yanagi, Megumi Sato, Mayumi Asaka

Hideo Nakata, the director of J-horror classic Ringu and Dark Water returns with another urban supernatural chiller with The Complex which premiered at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival. Reviews suggest this is a return to horror form for the director and the trailer strikes all the right notes for me! It stars the beautiful Atsuka Maeda who is a former member of AKB48 and starred in The Drudgery Train, one of the more interesting titles released in Japan last year.  Hiroki Narimiya, Tooru in Mirror Hell part of Rampo Noir and the titular character in the Phoenix Wright movie Ace Attorney is her male co-star. The supporting cast include Naomi Nishida (Library Wars, Swing Girls) and Megumi Sato (Cyborg She, Exte). First trailer of the week! Go J-hora!

Asuka (Maeda) has moved into the Kuroyuri apartment complex. It is a place with a chequered history as mysterious deaths occurred there 13 years ago. It isn’t long before she starts hearing the sound “garigarigari” from the apartment next door where an old man lives and it isn’t long before he is found dead! This is the start of a series of horrifying events that strike the apartment. Asuka calls upon Sasahara (Narimiya), a man who cleans up the homes of the recently deceased, to help solve the mystery.


Maruyama, The Middle Schooler          Maruyama the Middleschooler

Japanese Title: 中学生 円山

Romaji: Chuugakusei Maruyama

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 199 mins.

Director: Kankuro Kudo

Writer: Kankuro Kudo (Screenplay)

Starring: Hiroaki Takuma, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Yang Ik-June, Maki Sakai, Toru Nakamura, Nanami Nabemoto, Yuiko Kariya,You, Fumina Hara,Kenji Endo, Tomorowo Taguchi, Maho Nonami

This one is my second trailer of the week. It premiered at the 15th Udine Far East Film Festival last month where it got this review and this more recent Japan Times review makes the film sound really, really funny. Hiraoka Takuma (The Wolf Children) takes the lead in this comedy with Yang Ik-June (Breathless, Our Homeland), Maki Sakai (Paris Tokyo Paysage, The Samurai That Night), You (Nobody Knows, Still Walking), Maho Nonami (2LDK), Tomorowo Taguchi (Tetsuo: The Iron Man) and Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, member of J-pop group SMAP and star of Beautiful World. It’s directed by Kankuro Kuda, actor in Memories of Matsuko and Instant Swamp. The trailer is short and reading my synopsis is long but I like the look of this one!

Katsuya Maruyama (Hiraoka) is 14, an age where a boys thoughts are consumed by carnal desires. Only his are strange. He wants to “to touch his own weeny with his tongue.” Perhaps his strangeness is a result of living a mundane life in a housing complex with his mother Mizuki (sakai)), a woman obsessed with Korean dramas, his fitness obsessed father Katsuyuki (Nakamura) and sharing his room with his sister Akane (Nabemoto). There are other, stranger characters around like Tatsuo Shimoi (Kusanagi), a single father who wheels his infant son in a buggy around everywhere and prying into his neighbours lives and irritating housewives and a Korean electrician named Park Hyeon-Hun (Yang Ik-June) who attracts the attention of Mizuki. When bodies start turning up in the apartment complex Maruyama begins to draw a manga about a superhero named Captain Fruit (based on his father) who comes to the rescue. He shares his crazy tales with Shimoi and the line between fantasy and reality become blurred.


Gachi-Ban Supremacy                                   Gachiban Film Poster 

Japanese Title: ガチバン スプレマシー

Romaji: Gachiban Supuremashi-

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 66 mins.

Director: Takashi Motoki

Writer: Masao Iketani (Screenplay),

Starring: Kazuma Sano, Masataka Kubota, Ryo Kato, Mari Suzuki, Arai Atsushi Risako Ito

After the release of the first part of the Gachiban double-bill last month we get the second. I am still none the wiser for the franchise but I do recognise some of the actors because Atsushi Arai was in Classroom of the Evil and Ryo Kato (again) was in Detroit Metal City. Honestly, I think I’d rather be scared by The Complex or head over to that women’s film festival and watch some of those short films rather than watch a bunch of boys (who girls probably find really cute) punch each other out and yell.

SPINNING KITE                                                Spinning Kite Film Poster 2

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 109 mins.

Director: Kase Satoshi

Writer: Kase Satoshi (Screenplay)

Starring: Tomoya Nakamura, Kenta Uchino, Yuki Ito, Daigo Naohiro, Yoji Tanaka, Takashi Yamanaka, Yasuyo Mimura

Tomoya Nakamura (Quirky Guys & Gals) and Kenta Uchino (Winter Day) star in this youth drama about a band who have been together since junior high school. Punk music is what they live for in mundane existences punctuated by tough incidents and they aim to play at a concert for a chance of hitting the big time.

Foolish Old Man Folk Tales The Movie Wars      Silly Old Man Tales Film Poster

Japanese Title: バカ昔ばなし劇場版 じじいウォーズ

Romaji: Baka Mukashibanashi Gekijōban Jiji u-ōzu

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 55 mins.

Director: Toru Hosokawa, Keiko Saotome

Writer: Toru Hosokawa, Keiko Saotome (Original Work/Screenplay)

Starring: Yōichi Nukumi (Narrator)

Popular writer Toru Hosokawa and painter Keiko Saotome  join fores to create a TV anime based on the popular picture book Momotaro. This is the movie and the story f the movie follows an old and woman and a demon who head into space . That’s about it for the synopsis I read. The trailer doesn’t really elaborate much further but it all makes absolute sense. If you consume enough sugar. It reminds me of the video for Dan Deacon’s song Paddling Ghost, quite possibly the best music video in all of creation ever.

Buddha Burning Human             Buddha Burning Human Film Poster

Japanese Title: 燃える仏像人間

Romaji: Moeru Butsuzō Ningen

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 80 mins.

Director: Uji Cha

Writer: Uji Cha (Screenplay)

Starring: Yuka Iguchi, Minori Terada, Ryuki Kitaoka

David Lynch makes scary movies. The other sort of movie nightmare I fear look sort of like this. Seriously, this is the scariest and most brilliantly inventive thing I have watched this week. The simple but highly detailed paper cuts outs and the bloody, visceral and creepy character designs created genuinely unsettling feelings in me. It is directed by Uji Cha, a creative from Kyoto who wrote, drew, photographed and directed the images in this film. It stars the voice of the beautiful and talented Yuka Iguchi who is a familiar voice actress who can be heard in anime like Bakemonogatari/Nisemonogatari as Tsukihi and in Haganai. She is joined by Minori Terada who voiced Musuka in Laputa Castle in the Sky.

Rough translation. The story begins with the theft of a Buddha statue from a temple. Schoolgirl Beniko (Iguchi) discovers that it was her parents who stole it when she stumbles upon it in a room in their house where she discovers that her parents are fusing it with humans and she’s next! Beniko finds herself involved in a twisted tale of murder and supernatural horror.

Nekoyado’s Spring and Autumn          nekoyado film image

Japanese Title: ネコヤドのハルとアキ

Romaji: Nekoyado no Haru to Aki

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 15 mins.

Director: Yuichi Kondo

Writer: Yuichi Kondo (Screenplay)

Starring: Megumi Mizoguchi, Rika Hoshina, Takao Ayatsuki

This is the first of two short films from Yuichi Kondo. Both are fantasy/youth dramas and he has taken a number of roles including director, writer and cinematographer. The lead actresses are making their movie debut.

A short film that follows Haru (Mizoguchi)and Aki (Hoshina), two friends who fall in love with the same boy and fall out with each other. However, a small stuffed animal makes the girls reconnect. How, I don’t know but these stuffed animals look like magic! The trailer is nice.


Summer of Angels                                Summer of Angels Film Poster

Japanese Title: ソラから来た転校生

Romaji: Sora Kara Kita Tenkousei

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 48 mins.

Director: Yuichi Kondo

Writer: Yuichi Kondo (Screenplay)

Starring: Rika Hoshina, Megumi Mizoguchi, Kosuke Kuwano, Kento Nishijima, Itsuki Sagara, Nanase Iwai, Tomio Suga, Michi Yamamura

The second Yuichi Kondo film and another one which has fantasy/youth drama leanings. It is hard to get a grasp of what this one is about from the trailer but it’s certainly gentle. There are a lot more actors and a longer running time. The cast of the first short are here with more experienced actors like and Itsuki Sagara who starred in Goodbye Debussy and will next be seen in the movie based on Keisuke Kinoshita’s life (the last 9 months have seen his cachet rise with cinephiles with retrospectives of his films at different festivals), Nanase Iwai (Genius Party anime), Tomio Suga (Thermae Romae), and Michi Yamamura who was in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s dorama Penance and portrayed the reporter in Battle Royale.

Reika (Hoshina) is an angel who is looking for another angel named Runa who has gone missing so she can take her back. Part of her investigation involves posing as a transfer student at a school where she meets Makoto (Mizoguchi), a girl who wants to make an indie film for her school’s cultural festival.


Touhai Gekijouban (Tile Freeze Theatre Version) Freeze Tile Movie Version

Japanese Title: 凍牌劇場版

Romaji: Touhai Gekijouban

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 109 mins.

Director: Yuichi Onuma

Writer: Yuichi Onuma (Screenplay)

Starring: Goki Maeda, Ayane Oto, Hidekazu Ichinose, Shunsuke Ichijo

Yuichi Onuma, director of the forthcoming Schoolgirl Complex film is here with a tale based on a highly interesting looking tale/manga which mixes mahjong and crime. Kei (Maeda) is a high school student who makes a lot of money working the back parlours of gambling dens where high stakes games of mahjong are played. He has an ice cool gaze and handsome features which intrigue the girls in his school but more female attention is on the cards when his life is mixed up with a girl named Amina (Oto) who is a mysterious foreigner. The trailer lacks atmosphere but I always like a mix of incongruous things like mahjong and crime/international politics.


Proof of the Child                               Proof of the Child Film Poster

Japanese Title: できる子の証明

Romaji: Dekiru Ko no Shoumei

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 76 mins.

Director: Yuji Harada

Writer: Yuji Harada (Screenplay)

Starring: Yoshimi Aida, Yui Tokui, Shoichi Matsuda, Naohiro Takeda

Yuji Harada has been making short films for a few years now but his latest, Winter Alpaca, was screened at this year’s Yubari Film Festival where it won the Governor’s Prize and caught the attention of experienced film critic Tom Mes over at Midnight Eye, where he praises Yamada,

“Working in the tradition of Aki Kaurismäki and Nobuhiro Yamashita, director Yuji Harada is clearly a talent to watch for his ability to express conflicting emotions through a shooting style that eschews all visual trickery. His one-take scenes are modest marvels.”

Consider me interested. This film is the first feature length title and it follows a woman named Sachi who has a cheating boyfriend and abusive boss. She hooks up with a middle-aged stripper named Fujiko and the two head to the mountains. A lot of the actors are making their debut here although Shoichi Matsuda has been in titles like Love, Kill, Kill. I like the look of this trailer a lot making it my third favourite trailer of the week. The sexy antics, comedy and darkness in this story look to have been combined in an offbeat and quirky offering.

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