When Marnie Was There, The Torture Club / Chotto Kawaii Iron Maiden, The Palace of Ryugu, When Day Breaks, I’m Ten, Then I’ll Catch Eleven, Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, Goddess with a Gun and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Long intro with pictures from this week’s posts. Feel free to skip over it. If you want to read it then listen to this track and bore yourself to tears. I’m going to watch anime now.

What’s in a trailer?

Usually too much of a film’s plot but a trailer’s two minute slices of the film are meant to advertise what a viewer will get when they plunk down hard-earned cash for a cinema ticket, a difficult choice for some considering the prices involved.

Tokyo Ghoul Hide and ToukaEvery weekend I publish a list of Japanese films scheduled for release in cinemas across the nation or, in the case of many smaller films, in Tokyo. The selection is usually diverse with documentaries and low-budget indies battling for space with anime and big-budget studio pictures. For a recent trailer post I had a comment:

most of these films are so low quality you can’t never shake the feeling that there’s a camera in front the actors. They are very amateurish.

That’s not really fair.

Genki-Zankyou-no-Terror-Lisa-Mishima-Meets-ToujiIndie films are a hard sell made even harder by trailers with their reductive nature. The fragmentary form is perfect for some films since they can play like a highlight reel for glossy and stylish titles full of explosions and car chases and whatnot. If you’re familiar with the filmmakers and the franchises you know what you’re getting. To wit, one can feel an immediate adrenaline rush watching the visual and aural craziness and excess in the trailer for Sion Sono’s forthcoming Tokyo Tribes movie, an adaptation of a hit manga series and anime, and know that the film will maintain that feeling.

For indie titles with no hype or background? The trailer has to perform a miracle in convincing viewers with the content that they have a lot to offer and since it’s not the big-budget spectacle that immediately grabs a viewer it is harder to gauge. Perhaps there will be the impression of a lack of incident, the cheap looking nature of digital video and sets may jump out, and viewing a host of unknown actors who lack J-pop idol looks may underwhelm many and yet my own experience with the sort of Japanese films, the type that were criticised, is markedly different.

At a small screening of Shady at last year’s Raindance Film Festival, I Shady Izumi (Izumi Okamura)was gradually sucked into the lives of the protagonists, enjoying the newfound friendships and feeling like I was embraced by their world and not just a voyeur. I was emotionally invested in a way that was deliberately orchestrated by the film and left me open for a final third which had me leaning forward in my seat, teeth clamped shut and fingers tensing, a reaction to the emotional roller-coaster and feeling  strong desire to talk to someone about the film even if they were a complete stranger, something that has happened with cinema screenings of big budget titles like Spirited Away, Inception, and Battle Royale.

Shindo which had a story that was so familiar one might want to dismiss it but the actual experience of watching characters who were portrayed with so much life and emotion opened up an epic vista of love and maturity in the confined space of a small town and the ending had me in its grip.

The other indie films which I have seen through screeners, film Tokyo Ghoul Rize and Kenfestivals and the releases of Third Window Films, the only film label out there releasing titles that give a real snapshot of what is happening in the Japanese movie industry, and indie movies. Indie films take narrative and aesthetic risks that make me sit up and pay attention or are anchored by strong performances by a cast of unknowns that sway me. Sometimes it’s easy to see in a trailer, other times you need to experience the entire film to understand why it’s important.

There are so many experiences that I have had with indie films that make me glad that I am a cinephile, the most recent being the exhilaration of the bike ride in Shady which will forever remain one of the most memorable movie moments, another being the end for Shindo remains rooted in my memory.

Genki-Jason-Jitensha-Shady

Of course, a person’s response to a trailer is a highly individual thing and not everyone is going to be pleased but that’s what reviews are for. My aim with the blog and the trailer posts is to show what is released and report on what I watch, to explore the cult and indie films that we rarely see in the west and shine a light on all sorts of films missed by other English language websites and meet like-minded people. The blog has helped me do this.

My top film from last year was Shady, beating the bigger and brasher Why Don’t You Play in Hell? which was helmed by my favourite director! If you doubt independent Japanese cinema then start paying attention because there are many titles showing assured and stylish direction with great stories and characters, something that trailers rarely get across.

Coincidentally Third Window Films have launched a Kickstarter to NEw Directors From Japan DVD Caseshowcase the latest in indie Japanese cinema which I posted about on a couple of website and here. I trust the label to bring me a great set of titles and I know the indie scene is buzzing with ideas. I’m so confident that I’ve already backed it and the project looks set to meet its goal which shows that there are others who feel the same way.

End of ramble. Im done invalidating my trailer posts -_-

For all this talk about film, I didn’t watch a single one this week. I spent most of my free time watching anime and writing about it, posting about trailers on different news sites and spending more time on social media. On the blog this week I published a review for Knights of Sidonia, first impressions for Zankyou no Terror and Tokyo Ghoul and the aforementioned post about Third Window Films’s Kickstarter.

I also started watching Psycho-Pass Redux which reminded me what a great show it is.

I’ve started talking about anime to work colleagues again and getting them to watch shows.

What’s released in Japan this weekend? Look away if you don’t want to see indie pictures… Or anime, soft-core pinch and tickle porn, super sentai shows, documentaries, and girls with guns. This is why I love Japanese films, so many ideas.

When Marnie Was There    When Marnie Was There Film Poster

Japanese: 思い出のマーニー

Romaji: Omoide no Mani

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 103 mins.

Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Writer: Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Keiko Niwa, Masashi Ando (Screenplay), Joan G. Robinson (Original Novel)

Starring: Kasumi Arimura (Marnie), Sara Takatsuki (Anna), Hitomi Kuroki (Hisako), Susumu Terajima (Kiyomasa Oiwa), Yo Oizumi (Dr. Yamashita), Nanako Matsushima (Yoriko), Kazuko Yoshiyuki (Baaya),

With the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki, a new generation of Studio Ghibli directors must make take the reins of the studio’s output. First up is Hiromasa Yonebayashi, director of Arrietty (2010). He is in charge of the adaptation of British novelist Joan G. Robinson’s book originally published in 1967. He has taken the bold decision of shifting the setting from Britain to Japan, a small coastal town in Hokkaido. This is the location for a strange tale involving a twelve-year-old girl named Anna who travels from Sapporo to the village to cope with her asthma. She is staying with relatives and leads a solitary existence because she finds it hard to deal with other children due to a dark incident in her past. One day, she sees a western-style house that the villagers refer to as Marsh House and spies a mysterious blonde girl named Anna in the windows. She heads over there and the two become friends but Anna has a dark secret…

Website

 

 

The Torture Club /  Chotto Kawaii Iron Maiden   Chotto Kawaii Iron Maiden Film Poster

Japanese: ちょっとかわいいアイアンメイデン

Romaji: Chotto Kawaii Iron Maiden

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Kota Yoshida

Writer: Kota Yoshida (Screenplay), Makoto Fukami (Original Novel)

Starring: Noriko Kijima, Haruna Yoshizumi, Yuki Mamiya, Mika Yano, Reiko Hayama, Shungiku Uchida,

This is based on a manga about a torture club at a prestigious girl’s school which trains members to enter the military/police as interrogation experts. The film follows Yuzuki Muto (Kijima) who has joined the club and falls for her sempai Aoi Funaki (Yoshizumi)m a girl who loves to torture others.

Website

 

Right, apologies for my lack of knowledge on the next two film entries and super sentai shows in general.

 

Ressha Sentai ToQger: The Movie – Galaxy Line SOS   Kamen Rider and Ressha Sentai ToQger Film Poster

Japanese: 烈車戦隊トッキュウジャー THE MOVIE ギャラクシーラインSOS

Romaji: Ressha Sentai Tokkyûjâ Za Mûbî Gyarakushî Rain SOS

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 29 mins.

Director: Noboru Takemoto

Writer: Yasuko Kobayashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Jun Shison, Jin Hiramaki, Riria Baba, Ryusei Yokohama, Ai Moritaka, Shin Nagahama, Tsutomu Sekine, Kappei Yamaguchi, Yui Horie, ao Ochimichi

Ressha Sentai ToQger: The Movie – Galaxy Line SOS is a super sentai show involving a flying train. I have no idea what is going on and only know that it has been double-billed with the next film.

Website

 

Kamen Rider Gaim the Movie: The Great Soccer Match! The Golden Fruit Cup!                Kamen Rider and Ressha Sentai ToQger Film Poster

Japanese: 劇場版 仮面ライダー鎧武(ガイム) サッカー大決戦!黄金の果実争奪杯!

Romaji: Kamen Rider Gaimu Soccer Daikessen Ohgon no Kajitsu Sôdatsusen

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 65 mins.

Director: Osamu Kaneda

Writer: Jin Hagenaya (Screenplay), Shotaro Ishinomori (Original Manga)

Starring: Taketo Tanaka, Minami Tsukui, Gaku Sano, Yutaka Kobayashi, Yuki Kubota, Metal Yoshida, Yumi Shida, Saku Momose,

Kamen Rider Gaim has worked with J-League stars to bring together a football match involving the other Kamen Riders but there are some mysterious players also on the pitch. And something about horses.

Website

 

The Yasukuni Shrine, Earthquakes and the Emperor   The Yasukuni Shrine, Earthquakes and the Emperor Film Poster

Japanese: 靖国・地霊・天皇

Romaji: Yasukuni Jishin Tennô

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 90 mins.

Director: Nobuyuki Ohura

Writer: N/A

Starring: Ayumi Abe, Manri Kim, Akihiko Ohguchi, Shinichi Tokunaga, Aiko Utsumi

The Yasukuni Shrine is seemingly always on the news due to the heightened tensions between Japan, Korea and China and this documentary seeks to examine what the shrine actually represents by discussing it with a variety of people from right-wingers to anti-war protestors and some notable politician’s wives. The shrine represents the spirits of the war dead and many are buried there including war criminals. What are some of the responses to the issues surrounding it? Try watching this documentary.

Website

 

Everyday is Alzheimer’s 2 Director Sekiguchi Goes to England   Everyday is Alzheimer’s 2 Director Sekiguchi Goes to England Film Poster

Japanese: 毎日がアルツハイマー2 関口監督、イギリスへ行く編

Romaji: mainichi ga arutsuhaimā 2 Sekiguchi kantoku, Igirisu e iku hen

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 51 mins.

Director: Yuka Sekiguchi

Writer: N/A

Starring: Yuka Sekiguchi

Yuka Sekguchi’s mother Hiroko was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease four years ago and since then she has had to care for her. Yuka has been able to document the emotional ups and downs of caring for her mother and has even started to explore how people elsewhere deal with dementia. She travels to Britain which as state-of-the-art dementia care and talks to people who deal with the subject and attends the dementia care academy to discover how dementia is handled in the UK. It’s great that films can cover subjects as diverse as this. Check out the YouTube channel to see more videos that Yuka Sekiguchi has created.

Website

The Palace of Ryugu, When Day Breaks   Ryugu, Akatsuki no Kimi Film Poster

Japanese: 竜宮、暁のきみ

Romaji: Ryugu, Akatsuki no Kimi

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 94 mins.

Director: Katsunari Aoki

Writer: Katsunari Aoki (Screenplay)

Starring: Risa Taniuchi, Hoshi Ishida, Akiko Matsumoto, Koji Nishiyama, Yukichi Kobayashi,

When Taro (Ishida) returns home to Kagawa Prefecture from Tokyo University, he reunites with his best friend but tragedy soon strikes as he nearly drowns off the Shonai peninsula. He survives but he loses his friend who tried to save him. The beautiful mountains and scenery do nothing to dull the pain of his loss but when Taro encounters a mysterious young girl named Mizuki, he begins to reconsider the meaning of life. A tale of loss and recovery ensues. Based on ‘Urashima Taro’ (the Ryugu legend), one of the most famous old tales that every Japanese person knows, the film is interweaved with the Japanese traditional puppet performance forming a modern day adolescent fantasy. – Adapted from the IMDB synopsis and film website details.

Website

 

I’m Ten, Then I’ll Catch Eleven    I’m Ten, Then I’ll Catch Eleven Film Poster

Japanese: 僕はもうすぐ十一歳になる。

Romaji: Boku wa mousugu juu ichi sai ni naru

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 75 mins.

Director: Jimbo Yoshimasa

Writer: Jimbo Yoshimasa (Screenplay)

Starring: Hibiki Hamada, Shion, Kohsho Karmula, Airi Ichikawa, Toshiaki Torii, Hiromasa Kawamura

This got its premiere at the Osaka Asian Film Festival and the page for the film has all sorts of interesting info on the director and the film’s genesis which is where I got the synopsis from. Anyway, the story is about an elementary school boy named Shogo (Hamada) who catches and collects insects every day during his school’s winter break. Shogo knows there is a much larger insect collection in his father’s room, which is always locked. But when his father Toru (Kawamura) comes back from his job overseas, where he is touched by the reincarnation philosophy of India and Bhutan, he tells Shogo that he doesn’t want to collect insects anymore. Shogo’s grandfather, Tadashi, treats his dead wife’s ashes as a living figure, but the noodles Tadashi gives her remains in a bowl. “Has grandma reincarnated into something else?” Seeing adults’ different views of life and death, Shogo wonders what death is all about.

Website

 

Chasing song reading the real drama of “Night on the Galactic Railroad”   Hontou no uta roudoku geki `gingatetsudounoyoru' o otte Film Poster

Japanese: ほんとうのうた 朗読劇「銀河鉄道の夜」を追って

Romaji: Hontou no uta roudoku geki `gingatetsu dou no yoru’ o otte

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Jimbo Yoshimasa

Writer: Jimbo Yoshimasa (Screenplay)

Starring: Hideo Furukawa, Keijiro Suga, Motoyuki Shibata, Keitaney Love Kojima, Izumi Aoyagi

In 2011, playwright and poet Hideo Furukawa joined forces with other creative like Keijiro Suga, Keitaney Love Kojima, the actress Izumi Aoyagi, and Motoyuki Shibata to stage an interpretation of the novel, Night on the Galactic Railroad by Kenji Miyazawa. They did so through a variety of mediums such as theatre, music and went on tour across Japan for two years taking it to Tohoku in North East Japan where the earthquake and tsunami struck hard. The film features performances and interviews. This looks fascinating!

Website

 

Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction   Pokémon the Movie Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction Film Poster

Japanese: ポケモン・ザ・ムービーXY『破壊の繭とディアンシー』

Romaji: Pokemon za Mubi XY “Hakai no Mayu to Dianshī”

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Kunihiko Yuyama

Writer: Satoshi Tajiri (Original Concept)

Starring: Ikue Ohtani (Pikachu), Rica Matsumoto (Ash/Satoshi), Marika Matsumoto (Dancie), Mariya Ise (Eureka), Mayuki Makiguchi (Serena)

In the underground Diamond Domain the Mythical Pokémon Diancie serves as ruler but the Heart Diamond that sustains the land is beginning to fall apart and Diancie is not yet strong enough to create a new one. Worse still, a group of thieves who want to steal the diamond awaken the Legendary Pokémon Yveltal from its cocoon during their heist. Fortunately Ash and his friends enter the picture and help Diancie discover its true power, stop Yveltal’s rampage, and save the Diamond Domain.

Also screened is the short Pikachu, what is this Key? (ピカチュウ、これなんのカギ?) with AKB48’s Mayu Watanabe acting as narrator.

Website

 

 

Gun Woman    Gun Woman Film Poster

Japanese: 女体銃 ガン・ウーマン GUN WOMAN

Romaji: Nyotaijuu Gan Uuman Gun Woman

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 86 mins.

Director: Kurando Mitsutake

Writer: Kurando Mitsutake (Screenplay)

Starring: Asami, Kairi Narita, Noriaki Kamata, Toshiya Agata, Matthew Floyd Miller, Dean Simone, Tatsuya Nakadai,

Director Mitsutake stars as a doctor who abducts a woman and turns her into a perfect assassin so she can eliminate the man who murdered his wife. She will be dropped into an underground facility where the killer goes to fulfil his sexual fetishes. What makes her the ultimate gun woman is that all of the parts for the weapon are inside her body and she must assemble the weapon and kill the man before she bleeds to death.

Website

 

Goddess with a Gun   Goddess with Gun Film Poster

Japanese: かくて女神は笑いき

Romaji: Kakute Megami wa Waraiki

Release Date: July 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 83 mins.

Director: Kanji Tsuda, Yusuke Hatai, Atsushi Muroga

Writer: Kurando Mitsutake (Screenplay)

Starring: Asuka Kurosawa, Aiko Kato, Rumi Hanai, Chiharu Konno, Yuko Ito, Hideo Sakaki, Kenichi Yajima, Shinjia Kasahara,

For all of my talk about indie films… I wanna see bad-ass women with guns! This is a film of three parts directed by Atsushi Muroga (Score – 1995, Junk – 2000), Yusuke Hatai (assistant director on How Selfish I Am!) and Kanji Tsuda, the actor. It stars a bunch of beautiful ladies like Asuka Kurosawa (Cold Fish, A Snake of June), truly doing it for themselves and getting revenge on rotten men! I’m game for this!  

Website

4 thoughts on “When Marnie Was There, The Torture Club / Chotto Kawaii Iron Maiden, The Palace of Ryugu, When Day Breaks, I’m Ten, Then I’ll Catch Eleven, Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, Goddess with a Gun and Other Japanese Film Trailers

  1. HS

    Wait, n..no…films?! At all…not even ones you’ve seen before…for A WHOLE WEEK?! I don’t understand *hysterical crying*.

    At the risk of playing devil’s advocate (because I’m pretty sure the poster is just a troll) – I don’t think she(?) necessarily meant ‘indie’ films. I’d put money on her meaning lower end ultra mainstream films & films that come from TV dramas which often do have a stark ‘so natural it’s unnatural’ look which many viewers used to the more cinematic aesthetic common in Europe & America would describe as cheap and/or amateurish. i.e. – I think she more likely means Tokyo Densetsu (ach Seiji Chiba, he can’t even make ninjas fun) than Portrait.

    Actually, on Portrait because I forgot to comment there – some creepy guy followed me for ages once with a cheap and crappy looking camera trying to get me to go somewhere with him as he was looking for a ‘pretty girl’ for some kind of picture taking thingO_o Anyway it was kind of scary and I was just really glad when I finally reached the supermarket and he left me alone but I stayed in there ages just to make he’d really gone and wasn’t going to follow me home which is a really long winded way of saying I don’t recommend it as a pick-up technique. London is so rubbish sometimes >__<

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read the babble! I did watch a film this morning (because I woke up at 3:00) and the review will be ready for the week after next on a Monday.

      Tokyo Densetsu and its sequel did look very awful but there were indie and low-budget flicks on there that I felt had some potential such as Disregarded People and maybe even Otaku’s Daughter (depending on how the narrative plays out). The comment bugged me so I ended up writing about it after waking up super early yesterday morning. Perhaps it’s less a criticism of her and maybe more of one on my trailer posts. I wish I could cover more and fill in lots of details but I need to spread my time between many things – and I’m glad I’ve got many things to deal with, lots of them fun, and people like to have me around otherwise I’d be bored… and sad.

      Anyway strong indies here like I’m Ten, Galactic Railroad and Goddess with a Gun.

      I’ve got a massive list of film reviews to whittle down.

      That sounds scary but sadly I’m not surprised because I have heard about some real creeps harassing female colleagues at my workplace and saying inappropriate things. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often but when I hear about it I find myself watching out for stuff like that and checking in on people. Your situation does sound like something out of a horror film like Peeping Tom and you did the safest thing – which is why you’re commenting here! That’s a pretty invasive thing he attempted and If I were in our position I know I’d be freaked out and I’d do the same thing. Stay safe!

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