Japanese Title: 花とアリス 殺人事件
Romaji: Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken
Release Date: February 20th, 2015
Running Time: N/A
Director: Shunji Iwai
Writer: Shunji Iwai (Screenplay/Original Creator),
Starring: Yu Aoi (Tetsuko Arisugawa), Anne Suzuki (Hana Arai), Ryou Kazuji (Kotaro Yuda – a man who holds the key to the murder mystery), Haru Kuroki (Satomi Hagino-sensei – Hana and Alice’s homeroom teacher), Tae Kimura (Yuki Tsutsumi – the ballet classroom teacher), Shouko Aida (Kayo Arisugawa – Alice’s mother), Sei Hiraizumi (Kenji Kuroyanagi – Alice’s father), Ranran Suzuki (Tomomi Mutsu – Hana’s classmate), Tomohiro Kaku (Asanaga-sensei), Midoriko Kimura (Tomomi Arai – Hana’s mother),
I write for a few websites and one of them is Anime UK News which is where I publish anime season previews. I have written about a lot of TV anime but there is one special anime film I want to share with users and that is Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken which is in the first part of my season preview.
This is the prequel movie to Shunji Iwai’s wonderful 2004 coming-of-age film Hana & Alice, the film which was the break-out title for two totally talented actors Yu Aoi and Anne Suzuki who respectively starred as Alice and Hana, two school girls in an intense friendship who both experience love for the first time. Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken tells the story of how the girls first met and it is apparently through the world’s smallest murder case.
There hasn’t been much word on why Shunji Iwai has turned this into an anime but he has directed in the medium before with short films. One may suggest that it may be to allow his lead actresses to reprise their roles without standing out too much but the art style intrigues me. It reminds me of Aku no Hana which used rotoscoping and which combined intense realism and grace of human movement (perfect for scenes of ballet) and expressive facial features. It also allows the film to easily slide from detailed and realistic sets/locations into flights of fancy which the trailers show.
Much like the first Hana & Alice film Shunji Iwai is writing and directing and composing the music here, and he is also credited with making the music. My first experience of his films was All About Lily Chou-Chou back when it screened on BBC Four in the early 2000’s. Here’s the music video:
The film broke my heart and made me cry tears that tasted of ash. Okay, maybe not literally but I sure did feel devastated and empty after it. Thankfully, his other films were easier for me to take (I have a small collection that includes the All About Lily Chou-Chou (too scared to watch it), April Story, Picnic, Swallowtail Butterfly, and Hana & Alice. I’m really excited about Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken not least because a lot of the actors and staff are returning:
Yu Aoi plays Alice. She is famous for starting off with Shunji Iwai and has expanded to working with bigger directors like Yoji Yamada in titles like About Her Brother and Tokyo Family as well as slightly offbeat titles like One Million Yen and the Nigamushi Woman and Don’t Laugh at My Romance. She is a name mentioned quite a bit around here because she was Megumi in Rurouni Kenshin, and Tanyu in Mushi-shi as well as a haunting appearance in Penance/Shokuzai.
Her co-star from the first film, Anne Suzuki has been in The Ravine of Goodbye and 9 Souls. The rest of the cast include actors involved in the first film like Tae Kimura who is another actor who has impressed me with performances in the most recent version of Zero Focus (2009), and the small but great intriguing Starfish Hotel.
Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken is also getting a manga adaptation of the prequel film and novelist Otsuichi is also creating a novel adaptation that will ship in February before the movie premieres in February next year. One last reference before I go… Otsuichi created the manga Goth which was the basis of another favourite film of mine! Goth – Love of Death.