Pale Moon / Paper Moon, As the Gods Will, Crimson Pledge, Black Butler: Book of Murder, Expelled from Paradise, Peeping Life WE ARE THE HERO, Tanikawa-san, Please Create One Poem and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Hello dear audience!

I hope you’re all in good health.
This has been a pretty movie filled week for me and I feel somewhat The World of Kanako Tsumabukienergised because of it. I started the week with What Time is it Over There? and Rampo Noir and that was quickly followed by Nightcrawler and at the end of the week I watched a selection of Koji Shiraishi films like Occult and Cult. By the time this post goes live I’ll be in work and after that I am heading to my favourite cinema with an acquaintance from Japan to watch the British film, Mr Turner.

I mentioned my need to crank up the speed with which I review things and I can confirm that I have two film reviews completed with one more almost finished and they all come in at less than one thousand words. You’ll have to be the judge as to whether they are any good or not 😉

The review I posted this week was for The World of Kanako, a stellar film I had a blast watching because it was intellectually and emotionally moving, full of fine performances from many great young and established actors and a visual tour de force. I highly recommend the film which gets a western release courtesy of Third Window Films next year.

What’s released in Tokyo this weekend?

Pale Moon / Paper Moon   Paper Moon Film Poster

Japanese Title: 紙の月

Romaji: Kami no Tsuki

Release Date: November 15th,  2014

Running Time: 126 mins.

Director: Daihachi Yoshida

Writer: Hayafune Utaeko (Screenplay), Mitsuyo Kakuta (Original Novel)

Starring: Rie Miyazawa, Sosuke Ikematsu, Yuko Oshima, Seiichi Tanabe, Yoshimasa Kindo, Satomi Kobayashi, Renji Ishibashi,

Paper Moon is the literal title but it seems that the international one is Pale Moon. When I think of Paper Moon, I think of the 1973 American title. The Japanese version is based on a novel by Mitsuyo Kakuta which was then adapted into a dorama. The film won the audience award at the recent Tokyo International Film Festival and is directed by Daihachi Yoshida who was last reviewed in this blog for brilliantly bringing The Kirishima Thing (2012) to life. It stars Rie Miyazawa as an adulterous housewife involved with a student and I sung her praises for her performance in The Twilight Samurai. I think this looks really good and I love the poster.

Rika Umezawa (Miyazawa) lives a dull life. Despite being a highly rated employee with her clients at a bank, a seemingly loveless marriage with her husband leaves her feeling a profound sense of emptiness and this leads her to embark on an affair with a young man named Kota (Ikematsu), a university student. Spending money on him is a costly endeavour what with hotel suites and fancy restaurants and so she begins to embezzle money from her clients and neglect her husband as she becomes addicted to her illicit affair…



As the Gods Will       As the Gods Will Film Poster 1

Japanese: 神さまの言うとお

Romaji: Kami-sama no Iutoori

Release Date: November 15th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 83 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Hiroyuki Yatsu (Screenplay), Muneyuki Kaneshiro, Akeji Fujimura (Original Manga)

Starring: Sota Fukushi, Hirona Yamazaki, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mio Yuki, Shota Sometani, Nao Omori, Lily Franky

Looking even better is this!!! Takashi Miike is back to his bloody best with a series of horror films released in the second half of this year. Kami-sama no Iu Toori translates as Just as God Said but it’s also known under the title As the God’s Will. It is based on a horror-survival manga series written by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and illustrated by Akeji Fujimura and taking part in the horror show are an amazingly talented bunch with experienced actor Nao Omori, star of The Ravine of Goodbye (2013) and Lily Franky, a supporting actor and a hilarious one at that in Judge! (2014). They are providing support for a new generation of actors like Ryunosuke Kamiki, one of the standouts in the ensemble school drama, The Kirishima Thing (2012) and Hirona Yamazaki, one of the star of Lesson of Evil (2012). I started reading the manga recently and it’s pretty good! For more images and trailers, see my post about its trailer.

Shun Takahata (Fukushi) is a high school student who lives an ordinary life until he finds himself forced to participate in a series of children’s games which turn extremely deadly as is seen in the first one when his teacher’s head explodes and is replaced by a daruma doll! Shun has to play the games and win to survive otherwise he will die. It gets complicated because his friend Ichika Akimoto (Yamazaki) is also playing. Nobody knows who or what has caused this bizarre game but a fellow student named Takeru Amaya (Kamiki) is enjoying seeing his classmates die…



Crimson Pledge   Crimson Pledge FIlm Poster

Japanese: 紅破れ

Romaji: Kurenai Yabure

Release Date: November 15th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 70 mins.

Director: Koji Yokogawa

Writer: Koji Yokogawa, Kenichi Iwabuchi (Screenplay),

Starring: Hiroyuki Watanabe, Kayoko Shibata, Shizuka Midorikawa, Kenji Sakamoto, Asuka Kishi, Aya Maekawa,

Aki and her boyfriend Tomoya throw a retirement party for his father Tadashi and are going to invite many of his students. The students get drunk and reveal all sorts of secrets about Tadashi, a lot of them of a sexual nature. What seemed like a party was Aki’s revenge for being abandoned as a child by a father she is trying to track down…



Black Butler: Book of Murder   Black Butler Book of Murder Film Poster

Japanese: 黒執事 Book of Murder 上巻

Romaji: Kuro Shitsuji Book of Murder Joukan

Release Date: October 25th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Noriyuki Abe

Writer: Hiroyuki Yoshino (Series Composition/OVA Script),

Starring: Daisuke Ono (Sebastian Michaelis), Maaya Sakamoto (Ciel Phantomhive), Emiri Kato (Mey-yin), Shunji Fujimura (Mr Tanaka), Hiroki Touchi (Baldroy), Shintaro Asanuma (Arthur),

This is episode 2 of the OVA. Here’s the synopsis straight from Anime News Network!

At the Queen’s behest, young master Ciel Phantomhive hosts a lavish banquet to be attended by the crème-de-la-crème of London’s elite. What begins as a fabulous affair quickly takes a dark turn when guests begin turning up dead! Murder takes center stage in this chilling OVA collection where even a debonair demon butler isn’t safe from a killer on the prowl. Should Sebastian and Ciel wish to once more see the light of day, they must join forces with their guests, including the legendary author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to unravel the mystery – and apprehend the murderer before it’s too late!



Expelled from Paradise   Rakuen Tsuiho Expelled From Paradise Film Poster

Japanese: 楽園追放 -Expelled From Paradise-

Romaji: Rakuen Tsuihō – Expelled from Paradise

Release Date: November 15th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 104 mins

Director: Seiji Mizushima

Writer: Gen Urobuchi (Screenplay),

Starring: Rie Kugimiya (Angela Balzac), Hiroshi Kamiya (Frontier Settler), Shinichiro Miki (Zarik “Dingo” Kajiwara), Megumi Hayashibara, Noriko Uemura, Yukiko Morishita, Minami Takayama,

The only Gen Urobuchi anime I like is Psycho-Pass and Expelled from Paradise ain’t no Psycho-Pass, it looks like more mecha madness in the mould of Aldnoah.Zero (disappointing) and Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (haven’t finished watching it) and rather silly. It looks like in the future humanity abandons the earth to live in cyber space but when a person starts hacking into the system, a material body named Angela Balzac is created and sent to take out that guy.



Peeping Life WE ARE THE HERO   Peeping Life WE ARE THE HERO Film Poster

Japanese: ピーピング ライフ ウェーアーザヒーロー

Romaji: Pi-pingu Raifu We- A- Za Hi-ro

Release Date: November 15th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 30 mins.

Director: Ryoichi Mori

Writer: N/A

Starring: Shunsuke Sano, Yukari Seino, GO Matsumoto, Koji Mishima, Tomoko Fujii

Short animation and CG from Tatsunoko Production and Tezuka Production were combined with improv theatre to bring to life heroes such as Astro Boy a Casshern and demonstrate how important heroes are to people.



Tanikawa-san, Please Create One Poem   Tanikawa-san, Please Create One Poem Film Poster

Japanese: 谷川さん、詩をひとつ作ってください。

Romaji: Tanigawa-san, Uta wo Hitotsu Tsukutte Kudasai

Release Date: November 15th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 82 mins.

Director: Nobuaki Sugimoto

Writer: N/A

Starring: Shuntaro Tanikawa,

Shuntaro Tanikawa is one of the most widely read and highly regarded living poets both in Japan and aborad according to Wikipedia. He has written more than sixty books of poetry and translated Charles Schilz’s Peanuts. On top of that he co-wrote Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad and wrote the lyrics to the theme song of Howl’s Moving Castle. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake he has attempted to capture the scale of the disaster on the people who endured it and his work and the people who inspired it are featured in this documentary. I would like to see this one.



Futaba kara Toukuhanarete Dainibu   Far Away from Futaba The Second Part Film Poster

Japanese: フタバから遠く離れて 第二部

Romaji: Futaba kara Toukuhanarete Dainibu

Release Date: November 15th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 114 mins

Director: Atsushi Funahashi

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

With certain areas in Japan planning to restart reactors and the government continuing to gag the press, it seems that documentary filmmakers are one of the best sources of information about what is going on in the 3/11 disaster zones and the people displaced as a result of the tsunami and reactor meltdowns.

This is a sequel to a documentary about the residents of Futaba town in Fukushima prefecture following their story a few years after the first one. Here’s a synopsis for the original film from the site:

A documentary about the exile of Futaba’s residents, the region housing the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Since the 1960s, Futaba had been promised prosperity with tax breaks and major subsidies to compensate for the presence of the power plant. The town’s people have now lost their homeland. Through their agonies and frustrations, the film questions the real cost of capitalism and nuclear energy.

The day after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake on March 11, 2011, Futaba locals heard the hydrogen explosion at Reactor Number 1 and were showered with nuclear fallout. In response, the Japanese government designated the whole town as an “exclusion zone” and 1,400 of the town’s residents fled to an abandoned high school 250 kilometers away. The entire community, including the Town Hall office, was moved into the four-story building, making the residents nuclear refugees.

The film portrays the evacuees as the nuclear disaster situation changes over time. One of them is Ichiro Nakai, a farmer who lost his wife, his home, and his rice fields in the massive tsunami. Doing his best to cope with the monotony of life at the evacuation center, he struggles to wipe away the haunting memories and start a new life with his son. The two finally get an official permit to enter the exclusion zone to visit their hometown. There, they see that their worst fears have become reality…

The other is Katsutaka Idogawa, Futaba’s mayor, a former active supporter of the government’s nuclear policy, who was lobbying to build two additional reactors. After realizing his constituents were exposed to significant amounts of radiation and that the situation at the TEPCO plant is still unstable, his beliefs begin to change.



ASAHIZA Ningen ha, Doko he Iku      Asahiza Film Image

Japanese: ASAHIZA 人間は、どこへ行く

Romaji: ASAHIZA Ningen ha, Doko he Iku  

Release Date: November 15th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 74 mins.

Director: Hikaru Fujii

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

The ASAHIZA is an old movie theatre in Fukushima which was opened in 1923 and closed in 1991 after serving its community well and yet it is still the focus of community activity even after the 3/11 disaster and memories of the place are shared by interviewees in this documentary.



Eiga toshite no Ongaku   Eiga toshite no Ongaku Film Poster

Japanese: 映画としての音楽

Romaji: Eiga toshite no Ongaku

Release Date: November 15th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 56 mins.

Director: Kei Shichiri

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

Musicians and poets met to perform a series of pieces live one night and the results were recorded.



Kita Chousen Sugao no Hitobito   

Japanese: 北朝鮮・素顔の人々

Romaji: Eiga toshite no Ongaku

Release Date: November 15th, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 30 mins.

Director: Kazuo Inagawa

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

This is a secret film shot in North Korea and it shows the everyday lives of people including executions… This is shown in a double-bill with another film about a military parade Kim Il Sung attended.



And that’s it for this week! Here’s a video that has music heard in the film The World o Kanako:

11 thoughts on “Pale Moon / Paper Moon, As the Gods Will, Crimson Pledge, Black Butler: Book of Murder, Expelled from Paradise, Peeping Life WE ARE THE HERO, Tanikawa-san, Please Create One Poem and Other Japanese Film Trailers

    1. As much as I liked the live-action Black Butler, part of me wanted something more faithful to the manga just so we could see the characters interact with real giants of the Victorian age. Thermae Romae proved that Japanese could mix with western actors and audiences would buy it!

  1. HS

    I think I read somewhere Daihachi Yoshida decided to change the name to Pale Moon because of the Bogdanovich film, I don’t know though – I think I think of the song first before anything else. I’m assuming they both take the title from the song anyway (the Bogdanovich definitely does, I think Paper Moon the song turns up in a few Murakami novels too, doesn’t it?). I think it might have been alright to leave it though “Pale Moon” sounds a bit more dramatic to me, kind of like a melodrama. I really want to see this one though!

    1. I really love the title Paper Moon. It’s evocative of something both illusory and romantic.

      The song is used (quite appropriately) in 1Q84 which was the last place I saw it.

      It’s a Barnum and Bailey world,
      Just as phony as it can be,
      But it wouldn’t be make believe
      If you believed in me.

      Aw man, I love those lyrics.

      After watching Paper Moon on Channel 4 I liked the film enough to purchase it and the book. I’m really tempted to start the dorama but a part of me wants to wait for the film.

    1. They do sound interesting and it’s great to see that documentaries like that get supported. I have a documentary film festival in my neck of the woods but rarely see anything Japanese.

  2. Ah Gen Urobuchi and his film he’s worked on for a few years is finally released. Well, I wasn’t that much excited about it as it looks pretty similar to Aldnoah.Zero. I will agree Psycho-Pass is his best work, but Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is also quite high up there for me. Talk about a series with an awesome soundtrack.

    1. Phantom… I watched the first episode and made a mental note to get back to it at some point but I haven’t yet. I’ll try watching it this week.

      Urobuchi’s anime… When he’s writing it’s interesting but when he comes up with the concept and lets others take over they become weaker. That written, I’m enjoying Psycho-Pass 2.

  3. As the Gods Will and Expelled from Paradise look like the two most interesting. I like Gen Urobuchi’s work, though his works often start with more promise than they deliver.

    When I hear the name Paper Moon, I think of a diner in Baltimore and a strip club in Richmond. xD Naturally, I’ve only ever been to the diner, which is a weird place with mannequins placed here and there and dolls and toys lining the walls. An interesting place to see if you ever happen to visit Maryland.

    1. Thanks for the reblog!

      The list of Urobuchi’s works that I drop gets longer with every season. After the last episode of Aldnoah.Zero, I’m not going to bother with it. The problem seems to be that he comes up with great concepts and lets others do the writing and they don’t quite capture the scale or ambition that he has.

      Paper Moon is a great name. That written, I don’t think I’ll be visiting that club in Richmond either. I’ll probably try the diner 🙂

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