Screaming Class, Figua na Anata, I’ve Done My Best, The Serialist, Far Away So Close, The Sango Ranger, School Girl – 1936, Naoko’s Room, BANK, Non-metallic Night, Japanese Film Trailers

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition PhotoThis week has been spent writing, writing, writing. I got back from London at the beginning of the week and since then I have been writing up review notes from the Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2013 and, if I’m honest, from two films from the Japan Foundation’s Touring Film Programme which I really need to get done. Writing up the Anime UK News Summer Anime Preview for 2013 and writing up this trailer post which took longer than expected. I caught up on the anime I missed and watched one film set in Japan – Dream Cruise.

Posts this week include a look at the East End Film Festival, a post about Terracotta and a production video from the set of the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service.  Expect anime and movies next week.

Here are the trailers for the films released this weekend.

Screaming Class                  Screaming Class Film Poster

Japanese Title: 絶叫学級

Romaji: Zekkyou Gakkyuu

Release Date: June 14th, 2013

Running Time: 77 mins.

Director: Tetsuya Sato

Writer: Emi Ishikawa (Original Manga),Uiko Miura (Screenplay),

Starring: Haruna Kawaguchi, Alice Hirose, Mayu Matsuoka, Louis Kurihara

Do you know what has been missing these last few weeks? A horror film. Here’s one. This mid-budget effort is based on a 2008 manga series of the same name by Emi Ishikawa which I looked up and it’s kind of alright… Really, no one does horror like Junji Ito but anyway… It stars a bunch of up and coming actresses like Alice Hirose (Soup), Mayu Matsuoka (Kioshita Keisuke Story, The Kirishima Thing, Love Exposure, Lesson of the Evil, Potechi), and Haruna Kawaguchi who has been in a haunted high school movie in P.O.V. – A Cursed Film. Ghosts in a girls school? It sounds a lot like the Whispering Corridors films (Memento Mori is the best in that sequence) but it looks like a lot of fun!

When high school student Kana (Kawaguchi) has her photograph selected for a magazine she becomes the victim of a bully named Rio (Hirose) who is a popular student. Kana hears rumours of a ghost of a former student who died in an accident which resides old school building. This ghost can grant wishes but at the cost of something important. Kana is desperate and decides to see if it exists. The next day she is part of Rio’s gang but Kana’s friend Erika (Matsuoka) ends up getting bullied. Things get even hairier than this.

Figua na Anata                                Figyua Anata Film Poster

Japanese Title: フィギュア あなた

Romaji: Figyua Anata

Release Date: June 08th, 2013

Running Time: 112 mins.

Director: Takashi Ishii

Writer: Takashi Ishii (Screenplay/Original Manga),

Starring: Emoto Tasuku, Sasaki Kokone, Naoto Takenaka, Rina Sakuragi, Yuki Mamiya, Rumi Kazama

Ah, Takashi Ishii, a manga artist, writer and movie dude who has written and directed quite a few films I know like Black Angel and Gonin. He is here this week with an adaptation of a manga of his which can be described as an erotic love fantasy. With nudity and otaku and a doll that comes to life it could also be described as male wish-fulfilment. It stars Tasuko Emoto, son of Akira Emoto (Starfish Hotel) and husband of Sakura Ando (Ai to Makoto), who has been in lots of quality films like Yellow Elephant but it is his work in Air Doll makes him particularly suited for the role of the lonely otaku at the heart of the story. His doll is the gravure idol Sasaki Kokone. The trailer makes this look better than the synopsis and details involved. Action, sexy girls, excellent visuals and some decent looking drama prove this isn’t T&A drivel. No, it’s sleazy but aims for something higher.

Kentaro Uchiyama (Emoto) is a lonely otaku who is fired from his job. Feeling sorry for himself he heads to a bar and drowns his sorrows but things turn bad when he is chased by group of thugs into an empty building. Things then turn strange when he s rescued by a girl wearing a sailor suit. He takes her home with him but in the morning she turns into a figure. The mysterious transforming girl and the Otaku live together but how will their relationship work?

I’ve Done My Best                                           I've Done My Best Film Poster

Japanese Title: 俺はまだ本気出してばいだけ

Romaji: Ore wa Mada Honki Dashite nai Dake

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 105 mins.

Director: Yuichi Fukuda

Writer: Yuichi Fukuda (Screenplay), Shunju Aono (Original Manga)

Starring: Shinichi Tsutsumi, Ai Hashimoto, Katsuhisa Namase, Takayuki Yamada, Gaku Hamada, Renji Ishibashi

Bakuman for adults? Shunju Aono’s manga about a normal guy striving to be a manga artist gets the movie adaptation treatment and the trailer for this comedy shows that it looks to be very funny. The bathetic image of the central loser who initially lacks the drive and ideas to actually do anything about his ambitions and would rather play videogames. It reminds me of Fine, Totally Fine with its cast of dreamers. It is directed by Yuichi Fukuda (HK: Hentai Kamen) and it stars a whole host of great actors like Shinichi Tsutsumi (One Missed Call, Monday, Space Brothers), Ai Hashimoto (Another, The Kirishima Thing), Takayuki Yamada (Thirteen Assassins), Gaku Hamada (Foreign Duck, See You Tomorrow, Everyone) and Renji Ishibashi (Ninja Kids!!!).

Middle-aged Daikoku (Tsutsumi) is a bit of a sad-sack father whose high school daughter Suzuku (Hashimoto) has given up on him. Living with his father Shiro (Ishibashi) he decides to follow the slogan “Find your true self!” and quits his job at a company to become a manga artist. Soon, all those around him become a part of his quest.

The Serialist                                                         The Serialist Film Poster

Japanese Title: 二流 小説家 シリアリスト

Romaji: Niryuu Shousetsuka Shiriarisuto

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 115 mins.

Director: Nobuaki Izaki

Writer: Nobuaki Izaki, Kenichi Onishi, Yoko Ito, Yukiko Mishima (Screenplay), David Gordon (Original Novel)

Starring: Takayama Kamikawa, Shinji Takeda, Nana Katase, Aya Hirayama, Rina Koike, Tomoka Kurotani, Denden, Keiko Toda, Hirotaro Honda

From David Gordon’s post-modern murder mystery novel of the same name comes a Japanese film running under the title Second-rate Author The Serialist (Niryuu Shousetsuka Shiriarisuto). The plot sounds interesting enough and the trailer looks almost exciting. The poster has a Saul Bass look to it as well. Actually its displays of research into the death of women and running around forests reminds me of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Director Nobuaki Izaki has worked on television crime dramas like Aibou. There are some familiar faces in the cast like Hirotaro Honda (Zero Focus) and Shinji Takeda (Pulse).

Ippei Akabane (Kamikawa) is an unpopular second-rate novelist who gets an interesting offer from death row inmate Daigo Kurei (Takeda): let us have an interview and you can write my memoirs. Daigo is on death row for killing four women by decapitating them and sending pictures of the bodies with flower decorations to the police. Scenting a chance to break into the best-seller list Ippei takes Daigo up on his offer but when women start getting decapitated again he finds himself the main suspect and must work to clear his name!

Space Battleship Yamato 2199   Chapter VI Reach! Large MegellanSpace Battleship Yamato Anime Image

Japanese Title: 宇宙戦艦ヤマト2199 第六章 ‘到達!大マゼラン’

Romaji: Uchū Senkan Yamato 2199 Dairokushō ‘Tōtatsu! Dai Mazeran’

Release Date: April 13th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 101 mins.

Director:  Yutaka Izubuchi

Writer: Hiroshi Onoki, Sadayuki Murai, Shigeru Morita

Starring: Daisuke Ono (Susumu Kodai), Houko Kuwashima (Yuki Mori), Kenichi Suzumura (Daisuke Shima), Takayuki Sugo (Captain Jūzō Okita), Aya Hisakawa (Lt. Kaoru Niimi), Rie Tanaka (Ensign Akira Yamamoto), Rina Satou (Makoto Harada)

Another one… The sixth in the series. Aren’t they back on Earth yet? I have to admit that I’ve lost track but it does what the last bunch of films have by splicing together  a bunch of episodes (19-22 out of 26) and this is definitely the fifth time that I have copied and pasted the following (with some added info to reflect changes in storyline)…

In 1974 Leiji Matsumoto (Galaxy Express 999Captain Harlock) and Yoshinubu Mishizaki created Space Battleship Yamato which became a massive hit. Thirty-nine years later we see the latest part of the anime movie adaptation released. This is actually the sixth part but the staff and voice actors remain the same. The role of director is taken up by Yutaka Izubuchi is a veteran designer in the anime industry having worked on anime like RahXephon and the brilliant anime Patlabor. Nobuteru Yuki (Escaflowne) acting as character designer and animation director.

There are a lot of veteran seiyuu involved with Daisuke Ono (Shizuo Heiwajima in Durarara!!), Kenichi Suzumura (Uta no Prince Sama), Aya Hisakawa (Yoko Yuzuki in Mōryō no Hako), Rina Satou (Mikoto Misaka in A Certain Magical Index), and Rie Tanaka (Sammy in Time of Eve). The animation is produced by Xebec (Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos) and AIC (Burn Up). 

In the year 2199, the human race has lost a war against alien invaders named Gamilos and have been driven underground due to the threat of radiation. Scientists give humanity a year before it is destroyed. When young officers Susumu Kodai and Daisuke Shima retrieve a capsule from a ship that crash landed on Mars they set off to Iscandar on the other side of the Magellan Galaxy which has the technology to smash the Gamilos and save Earth. The battleship Yamato is sent on a mission to get that technology. In this instalment, the Yamata has come out of warp space and aims to avoid a large Gamilos fleet on its way to collect the weapons.

Bond (Bond) A Stone’s Taste                         The Taste of Stone Film Poster

Japanese Title: 紲(きずな) 庵治石の味

Romaji: Kizuna (Kizuna) Ajiseki no Aji

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 96 mins.

Director: Hideaki Kataoka

Writer: Hideaki Kataoka(Screenplay),

Starring: Takahiro Sato, Marie Ono, Keijirou Shiga, Tsutomu Takahashi,

Every week I try and translate titles and grimace with damn near most results because my Japanese is way too literal and I can miss the true meaning or the poetry in words. This title seems right but then again… That’s why I provide the Japanese, so you can look it up by its original. Anyway this is the debut feature for Hideaki Kataoka and it takes stone carving and family ties as its subject matter. The trailer is all about respecting traditional arts and doing one’s best. It stars Takahiro Sato who was that wretched school kid in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Retribution and Marie Ono who was in the cool sounding Spirit World Street View (霊界の扉 ストリートビュー). Ghosts and Google Maps? Awesome!

Takamatsu in Kagawa Prefecture is known for its production of a particular type of granite. Shota Suzuki (Sato) is the son of a stone craftsmen named Hideyuki (Takahashi) who is in Tokyo attending art school with the intention of being an architect. When his father dies, Shota returns home for the funeral for the first time in years and witnesses another stone craftsman named Genjiro (Shiga) at work. Shota is impressed and decides to stay with Genjiro at his cabin and become an apprentice for the summer holiday.

Movie Version BUCK-TICK Firecrackers Phenomenon I buck-tick-firecracker-film-poster

Japanese Title: 劇場版BUCK-TICK バクチク現象I

Romaji: Gekijouban BUCK-TICK BakuChiku Genshou I

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: N/A

Director: Yuichiro Iwaki

Writer: N/A

Starring: Atsushi Sakurai, Hisashi Imai, Hoshino Hidehiko, Yutaka Higuchi, Thor Yagami

BUCK-TICK are an immensely popular rock band and this is part of a documentary trilogy produced to commemorate their 25th anniversary. It includes footage from their December 2011/12 performances at the Nippon Budokan and their tours and album recordings.

Picture of the Ryuukyuu Sky Habatake Yuki-Kun,      Yuki Kun Paints Film Poster

Japanese Title: 琉球の空へ 羽ばたけ天使君

Romaji: Ryuukyuu no Sora e Habatake  Yuki-Kun

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 71 mins.

Director: Yasuhiro Kitabatake

Writer: N/A

Starring: Yuki Kohatsu

Yuki Kohatsu is a landscape painter with down syndrome who lives in Nishihara in Okinawa. Since the age of six he has been painting and his art has impressed many. This documentary captures the creative process and the struggles he faces everyday as well as the bonds he has with his family.


Mongolia Youth Baseball Chronicle           Mongolian Baseball Team Film Poster

Japanese Title: モンゴル 野球 青春記

Romaji: Mongoru Yakyuu Seishunki

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 118 mins.

Director: Takeshi Masaharu

Writer: Shin Adachi (Screenplay)

Starring: Takuya Ishida, Hiroshi Okochi, Mizuno Katsuhito, Tomoyo Maeno, Shingo Mizusawa

The film centres on Atsushi. He’s unemployed and a backpacker and for four years he has taught baseball to children in Mongolia. Despite all of the problems in trying to get the game off the ground he manages to get his team to the Asian Championships where they will face a Japanese team.


Non Metal Night                NonMetal Night Film Poster

Japanese Title: 非金属の夜

Romaji: Hikinzoku no Yoru

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 72 mins.

Director: Kei Nakata

Writer: Kei Nakata

Starring: Airi Tsukamoto, Shintaro Akiyama, Ikki Funaki, Hisanori Sato, Misaki Ayame, Mira Chiba, Kayo Machida, Saori Shimoda, Masayuki Yamamoto Nobu Morimoto

Kei Nakata was an actor in Goth: Love of Death and now he is directing films like “COOL GIRLS Cool Girls” and “World of Butch”, youth dramas that take a look at the dark heart of city life. This particular one is set in Shibuya after an earthquake. Death is all around and people let fate decide what happens to them. Cool trailer.


Japanese Title: BANK

Romaji: N/A

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 84 mins.

Director: Akio Murahashi

Writer: Akio Murahashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Hiroyuki Nishio, Fumi Oka, Keita Katsumata, Mitsuhiro Takahashi, Michinari Hayashi, Nami Yuasa, Aoki Sanae, Masaaki Kitazawa, Nami Mnami, Mami Ito

BANK is a comedy that takes place entirely in a bank which is being held up by a bunch of losers who fail to anticipate the swift response of the police. Now they have to take hostages. Let the comedy begin! Well, as soon as a trailer is found…

Naoko’s Room,

Japanese Title: 直子の部屋

Romaji: Naoko no Heya

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 103 mins.

Director: Naomichi Aimori

Writer: Naoyuki Sumita (Screenplay),

Starring: Yumeno Hosoi, Miho Ishikawa, Shuhei Handa, Eiji Shimabukuro

Aimori is a graduate of Tokyo university and has won prizes at the 2010 Short Shorts Film Festival and has worked as assistant director on indie feature BAD COMMUNICATION by rising talent Haruhi Oguri.

Naoko (Hosoi) works in a video-rental shop and her sister Maho (Ishikawa) stays at home all day doing nothing which really irritates her. Naoko finds herself wishing that she would move back into their parent’s home especially when some characters connected to her sister show up.

School Girl – 1936,                School Girl 1936 Film Poster

Japanese Title: 女生徒―1936

Romaji: Onna Seito 1936

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 106 mins.

Director: Yuzu Fukuma

Writer: Yuzo Fukuma (Screenplay), Osamu Dazai (Original Collections)

Starring: Miho Shibata, Mina Kawarasaki, Takeshi Masago, Yuki Okamoto

This film adapts  Osamu Dazai’s short stories Grasshopper, Waiting, Schoolgirl and Lantern. He is one of modern Japan’s most important writers and this trailer seems respectful enough. It takes place from 1937 up to World War II and the story is told from the perspective of school girls caught up in the drama of history. Cast and crew are new to me but one of the actors is Takeshi Masago who was in the farming drama The Sound of Light.

The Sango Ranger                           The Sango Ranger Film Poster

Japanese Title: サンゴレンジャー

Romaji: Sangorenjā

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Yuji Nakamae

Writer: Yuiko Mirua, Maki Takahashi (Screenplay), Tamaki Sakai (Original Play)

Starring: Sho Aoyagi, Kei Tanaka, Nozomi Sasaki, Fujiki Hayato, Fumiyo Kohinata, Tetsuhiro Ikeda, Kenji Mizuhashi

The title Sango Ranger literally means “Coral Ranger” which is perfect for this environmental comedy set on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture, a popular spot for tourists due to its beaches and coral reefs.  It stars Sho Aoyagi (Love for Beginners), Kei Tanaka (See You Tomorrow, Everyone, Rent-a-Cat) and Nozom Sasaki (Afro Tanaka). Environmental comedy? Sounds dubious. I can’t think of any decent ones and this trailer doesn’t look all that good to me.

Ishigaki Island s about to have a massive bridge built but it will damages the reefs around the election. Yajima (Aoyagi) is a conseration official for the Ministry of the Environment and he declares “I am absolutely opposed to this bridge construction! I will protect this beautiful coral reef by becoming a Coral Defense Ranger!” Fellow civil servant Kishitani (Tanaka) joins the cause alongside a school teacher named Risa (Sasaki).

Far Away So Close,                                               So Far Away So Close Film Poster

Japanese Title: 遠く で ずっと そば に いる

Romaji: Toku de Zutto Soba ni Iru

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 108 mins.

Director: Masahiko Nagasawa

Writer: Kyoko Inukai (Novel & Screenplay),

Starring: Kana Kurashina, Yuta Nakano, Kana, Kurumi Shimizu, Yoshimi Tokui, Seiji Rokkaku

The last trailer for today looks like a sensitive drama which looks a lot like that recent US flick The Vow. I was going to write something snide about the music but then I discovered it was by Shunji Iwai and anyway, I shouldn’t make fun of people who can pay the piano better than me. It stars Kana Kurashima (Saki in See You Tomorrow, Everyone) Kurumi Shimizu (The Kirishima Thing) and Seiji Rokkaku (Crime or Punishment?!?, Thirteen Assassins).

Sakumi Shimura (Kurashina) lost her memory at the age of 17 because of a car accident. Now she’s 27 and can only remember event up to when she was 17. Despite putting on a brae face she is bothered by the loss of her memories and tries to remember with the help of Yoshihiko, a man who claims to be her boyfriend since high school.

8 thoughts on “Screaming Class, Figua na Anata, I’ve Done My Best, The Serialist, Far Away So Close, The Sango Ranger, School Girl – 1936, Naoko’s Room, BANK, Non-metallic Night, Japanese Film Trailers

  1. Tired Paul

    I thought how crazy it is that Takahiro Sato looks and sounds exactly as he did ten years ago when making Taste of Tea, then I thought he must be about 25 by now………He’s older than me! crazy! A Stone’s Taste looks quite good as long as they show real stone workers it could be enjoyable.

    Masahiko Nagasawa has made a few reasonably good movies, they tend to be a bit melodramatic which I’m not too keen on but I’ll give Far Away So Close a shot.

    Non Metal Night looks like Raindance material but I’ll feel a bit ripped off paying £9 – £10 for a 72 minute movie, gotta be at least 90 mins or strap a short movie at the beginning or end.

    1. Ha, I really hated Sato in Retribution even though it was a small role. I guess he’s a better actor than I give him credit for. He does look pretty young and I did a double-take. The trailer didn’t quite work for me.

      As a J-horror fan Screaming Class looked like the best this week followed by Non Metal Night which looked to be doing something new and interesting amidst all of these adaptations. I’ve Done My Best also looks like fun. I think I’d feel a little too seedy watching Figua which comes across as otaku bait.

  2. There is actually a Japanese adaptation of The Vow – 「もう一度君に、プロポーズ」 (Mou Ichido Kimi ni, Propose/Will you marry me…again?). It’s a dorama however, not a film. The story is pretty much an exact copy of the American film (the characters have different jobs though), meaning it isn’t particularly original or exciting, but it is more reflective. The big draw is that it stars Takenouchi Yutaka, who is, IMO, too underrated. He’s very very good at conveying inner pain without uttering a single word (Nagareboshi is an even better example of that).

    (Yeah, I actually watched The Vow. But it was on an airplane, and on an airplane anything goes – anything to distract me from the fact I’m stuck for a damn plane 8-10 hours with nothing to do.)

    1. I’m not going to judge you for watching The Vow, no. I mean, I watched Bridget Jones in a cinema at the invitation of a friend who promised they would watch a movie I selected. I made them watch Oldboy.

      Anyway, have you seen the Japanese version of Ghost. I’ve read it’s painfully dull.

      1. Well, I’ve watched my share of crappy films and read my share of crappy books (by the truckload, when I was preteen/teen). I think I’ve got to be well versed in all awful stuff that’s out there to appreciate the good stuff, so no shame.

        Ghost? Which one is that? (I have a vague sense of which US film you might be referring to but not sure.) Don’t think I’ve watched either version.

      2. Patrick Swayze version. I watched it when I was a kid and quality control wasn’t a term I was acquainted with. Actually, I can’t remember if it was good or not…

  3. Great post as always!
    So many to be commented but here are my highlight 😉 Figyua Anata sounds a bit like Manequin (not sure about the spelling), The Serialist is the one I want to see the most. I wish Laruku will make a documentary like Buck Tick too when they reach 25 years ( which is 3 years from now)

    I have a Japenese movie to review but it’s not a memorable one…I think I will write it along with other movies.

    Okaeri Jason 🙂

    1. こんばんは 🙂

      The 1987 film Mannequin? I vaguely remember watching that when I was younger. There have been two other Japanese films about dolls that spring to mind – Air Doll and Body Temperature. Figyua looks sleazier than the two combined.

      I look forward to finding out what movie you watched. I have dozens to review 😉

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