A Woman Called Abe Sada 実録阿部定 (1975)

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A Woman Called Abe Sada                A Woman Called Abe Sada Film Poster

Japanese Title: 実録阿部定

Romaji: Jitsuroku Abe Sada

Release Date: February 08th, 1975

Running Time: 76 mins.

Director: Noboru Tanaka

Writer: Akio Ido (Screenplay),

Starring: Junko Miyashita, Hideaki Ezumi, Nagatoshi Sakamoto, Yoshi Kitsuda

A Woman Called Abe Sada is based on the infamous story of a real woman named Abe Sada¹ that took place in 1936. The case is so well-known it has been turned into film multiple times, the most famous being Nagisa Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses (1976). A Woman Called Abe Sada was released the year before and was been largely overshadowed by Oshima’s title despite being voted one of the best ten films of 1975 by the high-brow movie institution Kinema Junpo. For me, this is the version I prefer and it comes down to Junko Miyashita’s beauty and emotive performance and Noboru Tanaka’s tight direction and Akio Ido’s intelligent script.

 “Whatever happens to us, I don’t care.”

A Woman Called Abe Sada Gaze into the Future(Miyashita)

Abe Sada is a geisha who has been locked in a passionate affair with and Kichi, the owner of a hotel she works in. They have spent a month travelling between machiai (teahouses) where they stay for a few days of sex and drink while geisha sing. Sada is deeply in love with Kichi and asks him, “Will you give them up? Hotel, wife and children”

Kichi replies, “I’ll go to hell if you want me to. I’ve never known a woman like you.”

Continue reading “A Woman Called Abe Sada 実録阿部定 (1975)”

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? Gif Version

I posted the trailer for Sion Sono’s latest film Why Don’t You Play in Hell?  last week and Tired Paul suggested I make some Gifs for the film… Little did he know I was already doing it! Well, I posted them on my Tumblr. Some are so large I need to post them here because of the file upload limit on Tumblr.

So, here’s the film done through the power of Gifs (I expect this post will take ages to load due to the size and number of the things).

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?           Why Don't You Play In Hell Film Poster

Japanese Title: 地獄 で なぜ 悪い Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Romaji: Jigoku de Naze Warui Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Release Date: September 28th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay),

Starring: Jun Kunimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Fumi Nikaido, Tomochika, Hiroki Hasegawa, Kotou Lorena, Gen Hoshino, Tak Sakaguchi

Muto (Kunimura)


and Ikegami (Tsutsumi)


are rival gangsters who despise each other but there’s a catch for Ikegami… he loves Muto’s actress daughter Mitsuko (Nikaido).


Continue reading “Why Don’t You Play in Hell? Gif Version”

Time Slip Glasses, A Boy Called H, Enoshima Prism, SHAKE HANDS シェイク ハンズ, Koisuru Kami sama Kojiki Nyūmon, HOMESICK, Hontō ni atta Tōkō Yami Eizō Gekijōban, Village of Target Japanese Film Trailers

Cult Film Image ExorcismMy efforts at getting back into film reviewing are off to a good start with two reviews for two great films this week. I started with the anime Fuse: A Gun Girl’s Detective Story which I really like a lot. It’s a historical fantasy title with a little light romance and I found it pretty beautiful. The second title I reviewed was  the live-action film The Kirishima Thing, the big winner at the Japanese Academy Awards earlier this year. Again I liked this one but it was more down to the intricacy and believability in the relationships in the film. Expect more some 90’s yakuza thriller reviews next week.

This week sees the release of World War Z and Pacific Rim in Japan as well as these interesting titles:

A Boy Called H                            A Boy Called H Film Poster

Japanese Title:  少年 H

Romaji: Shounen H

Release Date: August 10th, 2013

Running Time: 122 mins.

Director: Yasuo Furuhata

Writer: Kappa Senoh (Original Novel), Ryota Kosawa (Screenplay)

Starring: Tatsuki Yoshioka, Yutaka Mizutani, Ran Ito, Yurine Hanada, Shun Oguri, Taichi Saotome, Jun Kunimura, Kuranosuke Sasaki, Taizo Harada, Ittoku Koshibe

Kappa Senoh’s autobiographical novel Shonen H gets lavish treatment for its big screen adaptation and a safe pair of hands with director Yasuo Furuhata (Dearest) and popular screenwriter Ryota Kosawa (Phone Call to the Bar, Always: Sunset on Third Street). Notable actors include Shun Oguri (The Woodsman & the Rain), Jun Kunimura (Vital) and Ittoku Koshibe (13 Assassins, Adrift in Tokyo).

A Boy Called H follow’s a boy named Hajime Senoh, nicknamed “H”. He lives with his mother Toshiko (Ito) sister Yoshiko (Hanada) and father Morio (Mizutani). Told from the viewpoint of Morio, we witness H growing up around World War II and the hardships he and his community suffer. Despite the tough times, H still burns with curiosity and a sense of justice. 

Enoshima Prism                                Enoshima Prism Film Poster

Japanese Title:  江ノ島プリズム

Romaji: Enoshima Purizumu

Release Date: August 10th, 2013

Running Time: 90 mins.

Director: Yasuhiro Yoshida

Writer: Hirotoshi Kobayashi, Yasuhiro Yoshida (Screenplay)

Starring: Sota Fukushi, Shuhei Nomura, Tsubasa Honda, Mariko Akama, Yo Yoshida, Naomi Nishida, Honoka Miki

Ah, a teen time travel movie with soppy singing. I can tell from the trailer that this isn’t for me. Shuta (Fukushi), Saku (Nomura) and Michiru (Honda) have been best friends since they were children but things go wrong when Michiru decides to move overseas and Saku dies of a heart attack. As a result of this dead, Shuta and Michiru drift apart. On the third anniversary of Saku’s death, Shuta boards a train at the Enoshima subway and finds himself transported back to a time before Saku’s death. Although he cannot stay for long in that time period he can keep going back which makes him determined to save Saku’s life but a mysterious girl named Kyoko (Miki) warns him that his actions could have unforeseen consequences.

Time Slip Glasses                                                Time Slip Glasses Film Poster

Japanese Title:  たいむ すりっぷ メガネ

Romaji: Taimu Surippu Megane

Release Date: August 10th, 2013

Running Time: N/A

Director: Jiro Nagae

Writer: Keiko Kaname

Starring: Ai Shinozaki, Erika Nishi, Haruna Shijou, Kumi Takana, Mamoru Tsubouchi, Koji Moriishi

Gravure idol Ai Shinozaki and the rest of the J-pop group AeLL (Activity Eco Life with Love)  appear in a sci-fi comedy where Fujiko (Shinozaki) returns to Japan to attend the funeral of her father and remembers a land acquisition scam by rogue traders which damaged the town. With her amazing ‘time slip glasses’, Fujiko will change the future of her town.

  Continue reading “Time Slip Glasses, A Boy Called H, Enoshima Prism, SHAKE HANDS シェイク ハンズ, Koisuru Kami sama Kojiki Nyūmon, HOMESICK, Hontō ni atta Tōkō Yami Eizō Gekijōban, Village of Target Japanese Film Trailers”

The Kirishima Thing 桐島、部活やめるってよ (2012)

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The Kirishima Thing                                                   The Kirishima Thing Poster

Romaji: Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo

Japanese Title: 桐島、 部活 やめるってよ

Release Date: August 11th, 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 103 mins.

Director: Daihachi Yoshida

Writer: Ryo Asai (Original Novel), Kohei Kiyasu, Daihachi Yoshida (Screenplay)

Starring: Ai Hashimoto, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Suzuka Ohgo, Mayu Matsuoka, Motoki Ochiai, Masahiro Higashide, Kurui Shimizu, Mizuki Yamamoto, 

High school is a universal experience for a lot of people and a very popular setting for film and anime. Japan is especially good at creating high school, especially when one considers the dominance of clubs in high school life¹. Many stories look deep into the nature of relationships and the way people socialise and deconstruct various aspects to capture high school life and all of the ephemeral emotions adolescents have as this treasure of a film demonstrates.

Genki Kirishima Thing Cast of Characters

The story starts on a Friday when news that the popular high school volleyball star player Kirishima has quit the team is broken to various people.

Shockwaves are sent through the school’s social world with Kirishima’s handsome and equally popular best friend Hiroki Kikuchi (Higashide) left bewildered by the few facts that emerge, Kirishima’s socially popular girlfriend Risa (Yamamoto) angry, and the volleyball team in a panic ahead of a big game with the less capable Koizumi Fuusuke (Taiga) taking Kirishima’s pivotal libero position and getting scared by the pressure to live up to Kirishima’s performance leel.

Also affected, but indirectly, are the rest of the students who see the results of the revelation of Kirishima’s disappearance like badminton players Kasumi Higashihara (Hashimoto) and Mika Miyabe (Kurumi Shimizu), the less popular kids in the culture clubs like Aya Sawashima (Ohgo) a brass band musician with an impossibly earnest crush on Hiroki, and the president of the film club Ryoya Maeda (Kamiki) and his assistant director Takefumi (Maeno).

The story ends on a Tuesday when some of the students find themselves having crossed social boundaries and redefined themselves while others remain steadfastly in their mind-set. 

The Kirishima Thing was the big winner at the 36th Japan Academy Prize Awards taking Picture of the Year, Most Popular Film and Director of the Year awards.  It is based on a similarly named high school novel written by Ryo Asai who worked on adapting the book’s omnibus story framework into a film which has resulted in a non-linear narrative that covers all sorts of people who witness different things from different perspectives.

Continue reading “The Kirishima Thing 桐島、部活やめるってよ (2012)”

Fuse: A Gun Girl’s Detective Story 伏 鉄砲娘の捕物帳 (2012)

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Fuse: A Gun Girl’s Detective Story       Fuse: A Gun Girl's Detective Story Movie Poster

Japanese Title:  鉄砲娘の捕物帳

Romaji: Fuse Teppō Musume no Torimonochō

Release Date:  October  20th, 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Masayuki Miyaji

Writer: Ichiro Okouchi (Script), Kazuki Sakuraba (Original Writer),

Starring: Minako Kotobuki (Hamaji), Katsuyuki Konishi (Dousetsu), Mamoru Miyano (Shino), Hirofumi Nojima (Iesada Tokugawa), Hiroshi Kamiya (Makuwari), Kanako Miyamoto (Meido), Maaya Sakamoto (Funamushi)

I have been interested in this title for a while. How interested? I was reporting about the trailers constantly last year. I was excited at the prospect of this historical fantasy anime movie which reminded me of the Korean film Duelist. I have finally watched it and the comparison is pretty apt since this is a lovely slice of historical fantasy that is easy to watch and provided me with genuine pleasure.

Hamaji Ooyama (Kotobuki) is a young independent hunter.

Fuse A Gun Girl's Story Hamaji


Up until recently she was living with her grandfather Bokuhei Ooyama in a mountain until he was eaten by a bear. She is highly skilled at hunting with her rifle, but she now lives alone maintaining her lifestyle and knows little about the world outside.

Then she receives a letter from her brother Dousetsu (Konishi) who lives in in Edo, the capital of Japan, who has heard of Bokuhei’s death. He asks her to join him in the city so they can be together again. With little keeping her on the mountain and desperate to see her brother, Hamaji heads off to Edo with her rifle.

 Fuse A Gun Girls Detective Story Hamaji Heads to Edo

What she finds is a city that is bigger and far more bustling than she had ever imagined.

 Fuse A Gun Girls Detective Story Edo

It is also full of intrigue because the streets are stalked by Fuse. They are half-human half-dog, werewolf-like people who devour souls. Eight recently showed up in Edo and they have been killing people. Hamaji has entered town as the sixth has just been hunted down.


Hamaji soon witnesses an attack by a Fuse named Shino (Miyano). This same creature saves her when she gets caught between him and hunters and leads her to her brother Dousetsu who introduces her to his world.  

Fuse A Gun Girls Detective Story Funahashi, Dousetsu and Hamaji

In their five years apart Dousetsu has been working as a Ronin. He lives in a beat up row-house by a river and scrapes by with friends and Funamushi (Sakamoto), a woman who sells food by boat and is romantically involved with him. As Funamushi says of existence in Edo, “those who don’t work, don’t eat,” but Dousetsu has a plan: hunt Fuse.

The Shogun, Tokugawa Iesada, has offered a massive reward to anybody who can bring in the head of a Fuse (because decapitation is the only thing that kills them). Hamaji joins her brother Dousetsu  in hunting Fuse in the Yoshiwara district of Edo but can she bring herself to kill the one she has made a connection with, the mysterious Shino and are the Fuse really as villainous as the authorities make out?

Continue reading “Fuse: A Gun Girl’s Detective Story 伏 鉄砲娘の捕物帳 (2012)”

NMB48 Entertainer! THE MOVIE Comedy Youth Girls!, Diamond, Akaboshi, Stand Up and Grab the Sand, Talk to the Dead, Work Shop, Entrusted Their Lives to Aogiri, The After-Dinner Mysteries Japanese Film Trailers

Are You Getting Along with YourselfAnime has been dominating this blog for a while but that’s set to change since I started watching more films and actually reviewing them instead of moving on to the next title. That written, I started the week with a first impression for Danganronpa which I dropped because I’m going to get the game, I followed that up with Watamote which has surprised me with its dark content and brutal humour and then I posted a trailer for Sion Sono’s next film Why Don’t You Play in Hell which is so awesome I’ve watched it at least twenty times!!!

What Japanese released today? Some pretty decent looking films.


NMB48 Entertainer!  THE MOVIE Comedy Youth Girls! NMB48 Entertainers Film Poster

Japanese Title: NMB48 げいにん! THE MOVIE お笑い 青春 ガールズ!

Romaji: NMB48 geinin! THE MOVIE Owarai Seishun Ga-ruzu!

Release Date: August 01st, 2013

Running Time: 90 mins.

Director: Hidemi Uchida

Writer: N/A

Starring: Aya Yamamoto, Yui Yokoyama, Mayu Ogasawara, Nana Yamada, Miyuki Watanabe

We all know about AKB 48 but did you know about NMB48? These girls are based in Namba in Osaka. They are famous enough to have had a sitcom and this is the movie adaptation which sees the girls practicing hard to make it as comedians in a national competition that aims to find funny school girls.

The After-Dinner Mysteries                                 The After Dinner Mysteries Film Oister

Japanese Title: 謎解き は ディナーのあとで

Romaji: Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato De

Release Date: August 03rd, 2013

Running Time: 121 mins.

Director: Masato Hijikata

Writer: Touya Higashikawa (Original Novel), Tsutomu Kuroiwa (Screenplay)

Starring: Sho Sakurai, Keiko Kitagawa, Kippei Shiina, Takeshi Kaga, Rie Miyazawa, Masatoshi Nakamura, Jun Kaname,

This is the movie version of the popular After-Dinner Mysteries TV series which stars Sho Sakurai and Keiko Kitagawa as a sharp-tongued butler/heiress-detective duo who solve crimes and it seems to be the big release for the weekend. In this story, Reiko (Kitagawa) and Kageyama (Sakurai) are on board a cruise ship heading towards Singapore when a murder is committed. They have 5 days to catch the murderer. The only problem is that there are 300 people  aboard the ship and even more havoc is waiting to happen! This looks like fun.

Continue reading “NMB48 Entertainer! THE MOVIE Comedy Youth Girls!, Diamond, Akaboshi, Stand Up and Grab the Sand, Talk to the Dead, Work Shop, Entrusted Their Lives to Aogiri, The After-Dinner Mysteries Japanese Film Trailers”

New Why Don’t You Play in Hell? Trailer Sion Sono’s Next Film Release

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?           Why Don't You Play In Hell Film Poster

Japanese Title: 地獄 で なぜ 悪い Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Romaji: Jigoku de Naze Warui Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Release Date: September 28th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay),

Starring: Jun Kunimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Fumi Nikaido, Tomochika, Hiroki Hasegawa, Kotou Lorena, Gen Hoshino, Tak Sakaguchi

After watching Himizu and The Land of Hope I was getting worried that Sono was becoming serious. Great films as they are, I’m more of a Suicide Club and Strange Circus chap. You know, original messy projects which we all know him for. Tired Paul to the rescue. He recently sent me this new trailer for Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and it looks so f*cking awesome! There’s also a new poster which is also awesome!

Muto (Kunimura) and Ikegami (Tsutsumi) are rival gangsters who despise each other but there’s a catch for Ikegami… he loves Muto’s actress daughter Mitsuko (Nikaido). Part of the reason she’s an actress is because it is the dream of his loyal wife Shizue (Tomochika) who was sent to prison after taking the fall for him.

Muto is out to make that dream happen. Enter Koji (Hoshino), a timid passer-by who is mistaken for being a film director. When dealing with gangsters you don’t mess about so Koji gets a cinephile friend named Hirata (Hasegawa) who casts Mitsuko in a fictional gang war but it soon goes wrong when it turns real.


The opening gunfight, blood-covered women chasing people with knives, a director who is clearly a hyper-cinephile and a bit psychotic, sword fights, people plunging through walls and windows aaaaaannnd a waterslide flowing with blood in a house! I said it with the teaser ad I’ll say it again… OH GOD, A REBELLIOUS CRAZY SONO FILM! LIFE IS WORTH LIVING.

This is actually starting to remind me of Key of Life with its mix of losers in a mistaken identity scenario involving gangsters only there’s fountains of blood everywhere. I really loved Key of Life film with its sharp observational humour and loveable characters and I can tell from the trailer that Hirata is going to be heaps of fun. I mean, Bruce Lee’s Game of Death references and blood-slides? He certainly is imaginative! I am expecting great comedy and lots of bloodshed! The cast contains Jun Kunimura (VitalOutrage), Shinichi Tsutsumi (One Missed Call), Fumi Nikaido (Himizu), Tomochika (Quirky Guys and Gals) and Gen Hoshino (Blindly in Love) who wrote and performed the song that can be heard around the one minute mark. Ive watched this trailer about a dozen times and now I’m singing along with the actors at the end. I want to see this now!

According to Nippon Cinema, “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” will get its world premiere at the 70th Venice Film Festival (August 28th-September 7th) and its North American premiere at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival.

The film will get a theatrical release in Japan on September 28th, 2013.

Source: Nippon Cinema via Tired Paul (Thanks Paul!)