Poison Berry in My Brain, Miss Hokusai, Zutaboro, Geki x Cine Aonoran, 17 Short Lived, Make Room, August in Tokyo Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

Journey to the Shore Film Image

The 2015 Cannes Film Festival is going to commence next week and I posted about the Japanese contingent that would be in France. I’m looking forward to seeing the coverage they will get and seeing if they live up to expectations. I’ll post about them when the festival ends. I also posted a review of the Atsuko Maeda x Kiyoshi Kurosawa film Seventh Code (2013). I hope to get a couple of more reviews completed before the end of the month and I’m thinking of taking time off work to do that.

What’s released in Japanese cinemas this weekend?

Poison Berry in My Brain   

Poison Berry in My Brain Film Poster
Poison Berry in My Brain Film Poster

Japanese: 脳内ポイズンベリー

Romaji: Nounai Poison Berry

Release Date: May 09th, 2015

Running Time: 121 mins.

Director: Yuichi Sato

Writer: Tomoko Aizawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Yoko Maki, Yuki Furukawa, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Yo Yoshida, Hiyori Sakurada, Kazuyuki Asano, Songha,

I like the concept of this one because it allows people with massively different personalities to fight with each other for control of the brain of one character or work together. Comedy will surely ensue when you have genki girls and boys played by Ryunosuke Kamiki and Hiyori Sakurada matching wits with a miserable looking prim and proper types in the shape of Hidetoshi Nishijima (License to Live) and Yo Yoshida. The person who has them in their head is played by Yoko Maki, a lady who put in star turns in The Ravine of Goodbye, and Like Father, Like Son two 2013 films to steal the show.

Ichiko (Maki) is a thirty-year-old unemployed woman who meets the much younger Ryoichi (Furukawa) at a bar. She totally falls for him but love may not run so smoothly since Ichiko has 5 different characters in her brain and they work together to operate her actions. The ostensible leader is middle-aged Yoshida (Nishijima), who oversees the stern pessimist ikeda (Yoshida), the younger and more optimistic Ishibashi (Kamiki), and Hatoko (Sakurada), a girl who lives in the moment, and the rather calmer and more experienced Kishi (Asano) who thinks about the past.



Miss Hokusai       

Miss Hokusai Film Poster
Miss Hokusai Film Poster

Japanese Title: 百日紅 Miss HOKUSAI

Romaji: Sarusuberi Miss HOKUSAI

Release Date: May 09th, 2015

Running Time: N/A

Director: Keiichi Hara

Writer: Miho Maruo (Screenplay), Hinako Sugiura (Original Creator),

Starring: Anne Watanabe (O-Ei), Yutaka Matsushige (Tetsuzo/Katsushika Hokusai), Shion Shimizu (O-Nao), Kumiko Aso (Sayogoromo), Kengo Kora (Utagawa Kuninao),  Gaku Hamada (Zenjiro/Keisai Eisen), Jun Miho (Koto), Michitaka Tsutsui (Katsugoro/Totoya Hokkei), Danshun Tatekawa (Manjido),  

I have written about this film quite a bit so I’ll link through to this post which has a lot of details on the staff, cast, and the origins of the project. Suffice it to say that I am excited about this important story coming to light especially with the direction of Keiichi Hara who showed his skill with the film Colorful, a title that made me cry due to my attachment to the story and characters.

Production I.G describes the story of Miss Hokusai:

The time: 1814.

The place: Edo, now known as Tokyo. One of the highest populated cities in the world, teeming with peasants, samurai, townsmen, merchants, nobles, artists, courtesans, and perhaps even supernatural things.

A much accomplished artist of his time and now in his mid-fifties, Tetsuzo can boast clients from all over Japan, and tirelessly works in the garbage-loaded chaos of his house-atelier. He spends his days creating astounding pieces of art, from a giant-size Bodhidharma portrayed on a 180 square meter-wide sheet of paper, to a pair of sparrows painted on a tiny rice grain. Short-tempered, utterly sarcastic, with no passion for sake or money, he would charge a fortune for any job he is not really interested in.

Third of Tetsuzo’s four daughters and born out of his second marriage, outspoken 23-year-old O-Ei has inherited her father’s talent and stubbornness, and very often she would paint instead of him, though uncredited. Her art is so powerful that sometimes leads to trouble. “We’re father and daughter; with two brushes and four chopsticks, I guess we can always manage, in a way or another.”

Decades later, Europe was going to discover the immense talent of Tetsuzo. He was to become best known by one of his many names: Katsushika Hokusai. He would mesmerize Renoir and van Gogh, Monet and Klimt.

However, very few today are even aware of the woman who assisted him all his life, and greatly contributed to his art while remaining uncredited. This is the untold story of O-Ei, Master Hokusai’s daughter: a lively portrayal of a free-spirited woman overshadowed by her larger-than-life father, unfolding through the changing seasons.





Zutaboro Film Poster
Zutaboro Film Poster

Japanese: ズタボロ

Romaji: Zutaboro

Release Date: May 09th, 2015

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Hajime Hashimoto

Writer: Izumi Takahashi (Screenplay), Gettsu Itaya (Original Novel)

Starring: Tasuku Nagase, Fumika Shimizu, Atsushi Arai, Takuya Ishida, Arata Horii Eiki Narita,

Oh no… Izumi Takahashi is writing this. His films are boring. Vanished and The Devil’s Path are soporific. I did not get along with them and felt that the narratives tended towards cramming so much in they become muddled. This projects looks utterly derivative of those battling yankee movies like Crows Zero and Gachiban. This is the sequel to a film released a few years ago…

Koichi (Nagase), Yakko (Arai) and Kyamu graduate from the same middle school and attend high school. Instead of studying, the guys join a motorcycle gang and get into fights. It is far from fun and games for the boys because Yakko becomes the victim of bullying in the gang and it shatters his confidence. Koichi is angered and joins the yakuza to avenge his friend much to his mother’s horror.



Geki x Cine Aonoran   

Geki x Cine Aonoran Film Poster
Geki x Cine Aonoran Film Poster

Japanese: ゲキ×シネ「蒼の乱」

Romaji: Geki x Cine Aonoran

Release Date: May 09th, 2015

Running Time: 168 mins.

Director: Hidenori Inoue

Writer: Kazuki Nakashima (Screenplay),

Starring: Yuki Amami, Kenichi Matsuyama, Taichi Saotome, Zen Kajihara, Miharu Morina, Shoko Takada, Jun Hashimoto, Makoto Awane, Mikijiro Hira

Yuki Amami (Black Angel 2, Ponyo) and Kenichi Matsuyama (Detroit Metal City, Norwegian Wood, Shindo) takes parts in an epic Chinese civil war drama where the two play a married couple fighting for the rights of heavily taxed peasants, Matsuyama being a cool samurai from Japan (I think).



17 Short Lived   

17 Short Loved Film Poster
17 Short Loved Film Poster

Japanese: 7才の別れ

Romaji: 7 sai no Wakare

Release Date: May 09th, 2015

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Takao Saiki

Writer: N/A

Starring: Michiko Miyagi (storyteller), Norie Ishida (singer/song writer), Yui Kakazu (girl in flashback), Aya Nanbu (dancer) Tomishiro High School Girls,

There’s a lot of anger over the way US forces in Japan are based in Okinawa and a lot of resentment over the way Tokyo treats the island. That’s partly because during the way, military generals in Tokyo gave the order for civilians to commit suicide instead of surrendering to US forces and many did. Okinawa became a battleground and the natives of the island were caught between US forces and Tokyo. This documentary gives us an insight into some of the tragic tales that went on.

Michiko Miyagi is a survivor from the chaos of the battle of Okinawa and she about her life-changing experiences after 44 years of silence brought on because she thought she would be arrested by the Japanese government if she did. She was one of many high school girls drafted into a nursing army of sorts. This student corps was given basic training and sent onto the battlefield as nurses where nearly two hundred died. It was all hushed up by the Japanese government but Michiko never forgot and now she is speaking out about it.




Make Room   

Make Room Film Poster
Make Room Film Poster

Japanese: メイクルム

Romaji: Meikurumu

Release Date: May 09th, 2015

Running Time: 86 mins.

Director: Kei Morikawa

Writer: Kei Morikawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Aki Morita, Beni Itoh, Riri Kuribayashi, Nanami Kawakami, Mariko Sumiyoshi,

This indie title was the big winner of Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival’s Grand Prix earlier this year and it has travelled to the Udine Far East Film Festival:

Director Kei Morikawa draws from his experiences as a former adult-video director for this comedy which stars some AV actresses. It looks like a similar deal to Be My Baby in the sense that it’s effectively a stage play with a limited set and lots of talking.

The comedy revolves around a porn shoot and the antics that happen in the make-up room.




August in Tokyo   

August in Tokyo Film Poster
August in Tokyo Film Poster

Japanese: 愛の小さな歴史

Romaji: Ai no Chisana Rekishi

Release Date: May 09th, 2015

Running Time: 81 mins.

Director: Ryutaro Nakagawa

Writer: Ryutaro Nakagawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Eriko Nakamura, Takashi Okito, Asaka Nakamura, Sosuke Ikematsu, Ken Mitsuishi, Manami Takahashi, Ayaka Ikezawa Yuriko Mishina,

The title translates as A Small History of Love, which is enigmatic. Director Ryutaro Nakagawa is a relative unknown but making waves with films like Plastic Love Story featuring in film festivals. I have seen that film and it is very beautiful and full of raw emotions. I’ll have to get around to reviewing it. This new film of his stars hot new actor Sosuke Ikematsu (How Selfish I Am!), Eriko Nakamura (Love’s Whirlpool) and the ever dependable Ken Mitsuishi (Noriko’s Dinner Table, Rent-a-Cat). It looks really dramatic.

In a corner of Tokyo, a man named Natsuo lives as a yakuza and a woman named Natsuki works part-time. Although they rarely think about their families, they attempt to reunite with them. Brother and sister, father and daughter; the distance between them begins to shrink, but… This film portrays the dynamics of people trying to co-exist in nature and in the city. Even though two individuals may be insignificant in the context of a large society, one life meets another and they move forward. This is a movie about their small footsteps.


7 thoughts on “Poison Berry in My Brain, Miss Hokusai, Zutaboro, Geki x Cine Aonoran, 17 Short Lived, Make Room, August in Tokyo Japanese Film Trailers

  1. Jeje, Ryu was posting about Poison Berry on Twitter today. It definitely has an interesting cast.

    I’m not interested in Geki x Cine Aonoran, but it has a gorgeous poster! Very beautifully designed.

    1. Poison Berry looks like a lot of fun precisely because of the cast. I’m imagining all sorts of fun seeing Nishijima keeping everyone with their different personalities in line.

  2. This is going to sound like a weird complaint and I apologise in advance but I am flummoxed at how so many JAV idols are either extremely beautiful or ridiculously cute types you want to take home to meet your mother. Whenever they pop up in “mainstream” films I’m usually shocked that the prettiest cast member is often the porn star! 😮

    Here in the west they are quite often pneumatic, cosmetically altered dirty types who fit the bill but in Japan it seems the girls who look like they should be classy models or TV newsreaders are the ones degrading themselves on camera!

    A real Bizzaro land deal there…. :-\

    1. I follow Tokyo Reporter on Twitter and it seems like every second story is about how some newsreader has gone over to the AV industry or paid her way through uni by doing AV.

      I can’t really speak about the AV/Gravure side of things and I daren’t ask my teacher in case I get a reputation… 😛

      1. I used to belong to a now defunct forum which shared Japanese related stuff, along with photo sections for J-Pop stars (my first exposure to it), actresses, TV stars, models -both Gravure and “regular” – as well as JAV Idols and it just seemed so surreal that the overlap we’re used to over here in terms of looks was non-existent.

        There must be something in the water in Japan… :-\

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