Welcome to 2015 and the first trailer post of the year! I hope I find you all in good health.
The start of 2015 was a bit of a quiet one for me. My day off was spent foraging for food for pets, whiling away too many hours on Twitter and then started watching Samurai 7 and Ghost Hound (two anime I skipped while in university) whilst eating cake. I also practiced my Japanese and managed to complete a review for a film I saw in November of last year and this trailer post so it wasn’t a wasted day, just really relaxed. Other than that, I dug out my Dreamcast with the intention of playing Shenmue 1 and 2 again and completing Grandia II.
In terms of the blog, I posted my new year’s resolutions and updated old posts.
Over the next few weeks I’ll get my ‘Best Of’ posts out into the wild along with reviews for anime and films.
What’s released in cinemas in Tokyo this weekend?
Chitose no Itteki Dashi Shouyu
Japanese: 千年の一滴 だし しょうゆ
Romaji: Chitose no Itteki Dashi Shouyu
Release Date: January 02nd, 2015 (Japan)
Running Time: 100 mins.
Director: Shohei Shibata
The first Japanese film released in 2015 looks like food/nature porn. Slow motion shots of liquid droplets drizzling the air, diced mushrooms dropped into boiling water It’s all part of a co-production between Japan and France that looks at Japanese food culture over the last 1000 years. It’s based on an NHK documentary that was broadcast in December 2013 and has been edited to travel the world and show off things from something like the use of soy sauce and umami to things such as the impact that Buddhism has had on Japanese culinary culture.
Cinema Kabuki Two Person Fuji Musume
Japanese: シネマ歌舞伎 二人藤娘
Romaji: Shinema Kabuki Futari Fuji Musume
Release Date: January 03rd, 2015 (Japan)
Running Time: 90 mins.
Starring: Bando Tamasaburo, Nakamura Shichinosuke II,
The Cinema Kabuki series is back and in this one the actors Nakamura Shichinosuke II and Bando Tamasaburo both take the lead role in the play Fuji Musume. Here’s a rundown of the story courtesy of zengarden.org:
Fuji Musume or “Wisteria Maiden”, is a famous classical dance out of the Kabuki theater in Japan. While I explain the history of Fuji Musume, to truly enjoy Kabuki Theater one must travel to Japan and see it from its source.
Fuji (wisteria) Musume (maiden), now performed independently, was first performed in 1826 as one of a set of five dances.
The figure of the wisteria maiden first came from the town of Otsu on the shores of Lake Biwa, where folk art called Otsu-e were sold as souvenirs. The wisteria maiden was the most famous of them. The other four dances in the original set also came from Otsu-e.
The dance Fuji Musume was first performed in 1826 at Nakamura-za, Edo (now Tokyo). Later in 1938, Onoe Baiko VII, the most famous Kabuki actor during his time, became associated with dance after his portrayal of Fuji Musume at the Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo. His choreography and refinement of this dance helped to make it stand out and remain today as one of the most popular and famous Kabuki dances.
Cinema Kabuki Nihon Furisode Hajime
Japanese: シネマ歌舞伎 日本振袖始
Romaji: Cinema Kabuki Nihon Furisode Hajime
Release Date: January 03rd, 2015 (Japan)
Running Time: N/A
Starring: Bando Tamasaburo, Kankuro Nakamura, Yonekichi Nakamura
More Cinema Kabuki but this trailer features a little footage of Fuji Musume at the start just before some of Nihon Furisode Hajime. Here’s the plot synopsis of the play (including spoilers) courtesy of the website Kabuki 21:
As the play opens we see local villagers bringing Princess Inada to the rock dedicated with a sacred rope which is the site where the annual sacrifice for the dragon is to be left.
As night falls, another princess, Iwanaga, appears. She is the jealous woman whose spirit has become the dragon. As she approaches the rock she sees many large vats of sake wine and begins to drink. Before long she is gloriously inebriated, but this is just as Susanoo has planned. The wine is poisoned but before Susanoo arrives at the scene, the dragon opens its mouth, devours the princess, and disappears into a cave. When the dragon reemerges, it is now in its true form–with eight hideously horned venomous heads (seven other actors are dressed identically to the leading actor and wear the same makeup so that when they move they seem like one creature). Susanoo and the dragon fight viciously and then suddenly the princess reappears. She has used a sword she found in the dragon’s tail to cut herself free through its belly. Susanoo then strikes a fatal blow to the dragon, which stands in a final defiant pose as the curtain closes.
That was a short post! Here’s a music video for you: