Space Pirate Captain Harlock, 009-1: The End of the Beginning, Backwater, Hameln, Ultraman Galaxy Theatre Special, Usotsuki Paradox, Saesaete Naho Kokkeina Tsuki and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Hey thereThis week was all about festivals! It began with a post about the Scotland Loves Animation Festival 2013 and was followed by a post about the announcement that Hayao Miyazaki will be retiring from directing feature films (here’s a more in depth article about his decision which makes my post look silly. I totally want him to take a break now!) which was broken at this year’s Venice Film Festival. Then there was that post about the line-up of Japanese films at the BFI London Film Festival. Tomorrow there will be a post about the Raindance Film Festival. Those last two festivals… I’ll be attending them! There will be two more festivals I will write about before the year is out, the East Winds Film Festival and the Vancouver Film Festival. In the year when I resolved to cover more festivals I can safely say that I did it.

What’s released this weekend in Japan?

Space Pirate Captain Harlock                         Space Pirate Captain Harlock Film Poster

Japanese Title: キャプテン ハーロック

Romaji: Kyaputen Harokku

Release Date: September 06th, 2013

Running Time: 115 mins.

Director: Shinji Aramaki

Writer: Harutoshi Fukui (Screenplay), Leiji Matsumoto (Manga)

Starring: Shun Oguri, Haruma Miura, Yu Aoi, Arata Furuta, Ayano Fukuda

Leiji Matsumoto is a big deal in Japan and his manga/anime keep getting remade. This year sees the big budget CG movie adaptation of his 1977 manga¹/1978 TV Asahi anime. The film is directed by Shinji Aramaki who has been in the anime industry for a long time with involvement in titles like Bubbegum CrisisMegazone 23Wolf’s Rain and Gundam. He knows how to make CG films having directed the recent Appleseed movies. The seiyuu (voice actors) are impressive with live-action film stars Shun Oguri (The Woodsman & the Rain) voicing the heroic Harlock, Yu Aoi (PenanceHana and AliceMushishi), Arata Furuta (Thirteen Assassins,Ninja Kids!!!) and Ayano Fukuda voicing some of Harlock’s crew and Haruma Mirua (Tokyo Park) voicing an assassin. There are also full-time seiyuu like Maaya Sakamoto, Chikao Ohtsuka and Kiyoshi Kobayashi on the cast.


In the year 2977, mankind has become complacent and stagnant because machines perform all manner of tasks while humans indulge in entertainment. This is the moment when mysterious invaders from space invade the Earth. Rebelling against Earth’s inept government, Harlock (Oguri) and his crew of 40 use his space battleship to fight for humanity. This fight comes with risks beyond space battles as a young man named Yama (Miura) is ordered to kill Harlock.


009-1: The End of the Beginning     0009 The End of the Beginning Film Poster

Japanese Title: 009-1 (ゼロゼロクイチ) The End of the Beginning

Romaji: N/A

Release Date: September 07th, 2013

Running Time: 84 mins.

Director: Koichi Sakamoto

Writer: Keiichi Hasegawa (Screenplay), Shotaro Ishinomori (Original Manga)

Starring: Mayuko IWasa, Minehiro Kinomoto, Nao Nagasawa, Mao Ichimichi, Aya Sugimoto, Naoto Takenaka, Hirotaro Honda, Minami Tsukui, Ryohei Abe

Koichi Sakamoto, director of sci-fi flick Travelers is back with a film with some dodgy CGI and cool action time. It is based on a manga by Shotaro Ishinomori, the creator of Masked Rider and 009 Re:Cyborg. This is a futuristic sci-fi spy film fill of plenty of good-looking women like Nao Nagasawa (Suicide Club, Travelers) who wear skimpy skin-hugging dresses and slink around with guns. The lead is played by Mayuko Iwasa (MILOCRORZE – A Love Story). Hirotaro Honda (Zero Focus) is also acting in this one.

In the future, the world has been divided between the Western and Eastern block. Mylee (Iwasa) is a spy for the West and she is heading into J country, a border state between East and West, to investigate human traffickers. On her mission, she meets a young immigrant named Chris, a man who will remain in her memories even if she should forget him…


Backwater               Backwater Film Poster

Japanese Title: 共喰い

Romaji: Kyou Kui

Release Date: September 07th, 2013

Running Time: 102 mins.

Director: Shinji Aoyama

Writer: Haruhiko Arai (Screenplay), Shinya Tanaka (Original Novel)

Starring: Masaki Suda, Misaki Kinoshita, Ken Mitsuishi, Yukiko Shinohara, Yuko Tanaka

I have one Shinji Aoyama film and it’s the highly regarded Eureka. I have yet to watch it but he seems to be the type of director that makes dramas. You know, ones that examine existential and economic crises in modern Japan. Bleak ones. That would explain why Alua picked this one up for one of her trailer posts. This is one of Aoyama’s bleak films. And it’s written by Haruhiko Arai who writes bleak things like A Woman and War. It stars pretty boy Masaki Suda who has come in numerous Masked Rider films. It also stars Ken Mitsuishi (Noriko’s Dinner Table, Himizu). Oh, and if you don’t believe that this is a bleakie, the literal title is Eat Each Other.

It is 1989 and we follow Tooma (Suda) who lives with his father and his father’s lover. Tooma sees his father’s sadistic treatment of his lover and Tooma begins to act in a similar fashion…


Hameln              Hamerun FIlm Poster

Japanese Title: ハーメルン

Romaji: Hamerun

Release Date: September 06th, 2013

Running Time: 132 mins.

Director: Takushi Tsubokawa

Writer: Takushi Tsubokawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Chieko Baisho, Nagatoshi Sakamoto, Hiroya Morita, Kenji Mizuhashi, Shungiku Uchida, Akiko Kazami, Masao Komatsu

Hidetoshi Nishijima was nowhere in my understanding of Japanese cinema until I saw him in Zero Focus earlier this year. Now I’m seeing him everywhere because he has something like five films out this year including a Korean one! He’s in a review I’ve got schedule for next week and apparently he was in Loft and if I remember hard enough I think I can make him out as the publishing agent… I’ll have to re-watch it. Anyway, in this drama he’s working in a place similar to where I work only in a more picturesque town and supported by Kanji Mizuhashi (the overly dramatic Taguchi in Pulse), Shungiko Uchida (Visitor Q), and Nagatoshi Sakamoto (A Woman Called Sada Abe). It’s a beautiful looking trailer.

A former school principle (Sakamoto) lives in an elementary school that was shut down and spends his days repairing the place. Until the decision to dismantle it is taken.

Noda (Nishijima) was a student at the school. He is back in town to take up work as a museum employee and visits his former school to seek out a time capsule he buried during the school’s last day.

Ayako is a former teacher at the school and Ritsuko (Baisho) is a former student. Ayako is being moved into a nursing home but wants to see the school one last time. Noda will meet his ex-principle, teacher and Ritsuko!


Motoharu Sano “Film no Damage”                         No Damage Revisited Film Poster

Japanese Title: 佐野元春「Film No Damage」

Romaji: Sano Motoharu “Film no Damage”

Release Date: September 07th, 2013

Running Time: 71 mins.

Director: N/A

Writer: N/A

Starring: Motoharu Sano

This is a digitally remastered documentary of the rock star Motoharu Sano  and his 1983 “Rock & Roll Night Final Tour” which was called “No Damage”


Ultraman Galaxy Theatre Special                                   Ultraman Universe Film Poster

Japanese Title: ウルトラマン ギンガ 劇場 スペシャル

Romaji: Urotoraman Ginga Gekjou Supesharu

Release Date: September 07th, 2013

Running Time: N/A

Director: Abeyuichi

Writer: Akira Tanizaki (Screenplay),

Starring: Takuya Negishi, Mio Miyatake, Mizuki Ohno, Kirara, Takuya Kusakawa, Masahiko Tsugawa, Shohei Uno, Tomokazu Sugita

This is an omnibus film retelling the story of Ultraman Galaxy. Good and evil waged a war known as Dark Spark where the Ultramen and their allies fought against monsters and evil aliens from different universes. An evil being wielding a great dark power known as the Darkness Spark transformed all of the cobatants into figurines known as spark dolls. An Ultraman known as Galaxy had a similar item called the Galaxy spark but lost it and it fell to earth where a young man named Hikaru Raidou (Negishi) stumbled across it. Hikaru now uses this item to become an Ultraman and release his fellow good-guys from their imprisonment as figurines.


Usotsuki Paradox                                   Liar Paradox Film Poster

Japanese Title: うそつき パラドクス

Romaji: Usutsuki Paradokusu

Release Date: September 07th, 2013

Running Time: 83 mins.

Director: Kota Yoshida

Writer: Kota Yoshida (Screenplay), Nanki Sato, Akira Kiduki(Manga)

Starring: Nami Motoyama, Akihiro Mayama, Rei Toda, Ruri Shinato, Miku Aono

This is based on a manga by the wife and husband team Nanki Sato and Akira Kiduki. It is directed by Kota Yoshida who has had some interesting dramas/dry comedies in Yuriko’s Aroma and Come as You Are.

Shunsuke Youkadou (Mayama)  is a salaryman in love with his co-worker, Hinako Seiyuu. Unfortunately for him Hinako is in a long-distance relationship but one day, while working overtime, the two almost start an affair until Hinako stops things. Since then, the two keep each other company to hold off their loneliness.


Shining Beside Funny Moon       Saesae film Poster

Japanese Title: 冴え冴えて なほ 滑稽な 月

Romaji: Saesaete Naho Kokkeina Tsuki

Release Date: September 07th, 2013

Running Time: 118 mins.

Director: Kakuei Shimada

Writer: Louis Kayuki (Screenplay/Original Work)

Starring: Mei Kurokawa, Naomi Kawase, Yuki Sawada, Akio Otsuka, Maki Mizui, Kyosuke Hamao, Kotaro Furuichi, Daiamondo Yukai

Kakuei Shimada (Jap the Rock Revolver, Destroy Vicious) has an interesting looking film here. Okay, I was drawn by the poster full of beautiful ladies in skimpy clothes but there’s an interesting cast (honest): Naomi Kawase, an award-wining director who was on this year’s Cannes jury and Mei Kurokawa (The Story of Yonosuke) head up a dark tale about an SM club where one of its performers helps a detective investigating a string of suicides connected to the place. It’s the presence of Naomi Kawase and loads of J-rockers from bands like ARB that’s interesting. What could this be? Kind of like Suicide Club? Check the trailer.


2 thoughts on “Space Pirate Captain Harlock, 009-1: The End of the Beginning, Backwater, Hameln, Ultraman Galaxy Theatre Special, Usotsuki Paradox, Saesaete Naho Kokkeina Tsuki and Other Japanese Film Trailers

  1. Tired Paul

    Can’t wait to for Backwater, I’ve seen a large chunk of Shinji Aoyama’s films, out of everything I’ve watched Eureka and Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? are probably my favourites.

    Like the idea of punk bands acting in movies, they have a performance element in their shows so in theory it could work but in “Shining Beside Funny Moon” they seem a little stiff…..although they’re the least stiff actors in that trailer.

    1. That film bears a huge resemblance to Suicide Club crossed with R-100… A low-budget version, at least. I expected Rolly to show up at some point. I bought Eureka last year but it’s still in its shrink-wrap because that run-time is longer than I can take at the moment.

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