Ghost Theatre, Girlz und Panzer der Film, Digimon Adventure tri. 1: Saikai, Hitsuji wo Kazoeru Sayonara, Tsugaku Tochu, Raintree no Kuni, YOKO THE CHERRY BLOSSOM, Hoshasen o abita X nengo 2, Areno, Before a Falling Star Fades Away and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Hello dear readers!

War Back to the Sea Kaori Iwase Film Image

I finally got back into reviewing films for the summer of splatter films (I know it’s autumn) and it was with the trashy Attack Girls’ Swim Team vs. the Undead which got a pretty low final score. Zombie Self-Defence Force and High School Girl Rika – Zombie Hunter are due next week to complete the set then I’ll go back and cover Noboru Iguchi films and more low-budget films. Much more productive and informative was my news piece about the London International Animation Festival. I wrote a story for Anime UK News and then expanded it for my preview after doing more research.

We won, darlin’

What’s released this weekend in Japan?

Ghost Theatre   

Ghost Theatre Film Poster
Ghost Theatre Film Poster


Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 99 mins.

Director: Hideo Nakata

Writer: Junya Kato, Ryuta Miyake (Screenplay)

Starring:  Haruka Shimazaki, Rika Adachi, Riho Takada, Keita Machida, Mantaro Koichi,

Website    IMDB

I previewed this one when it played at the London Film Festival. Here’s what I wrote:

Hideo Nakata has directed three truly brilliant works – RinguDark Water, and Ghost Actressor, Don’t Look Up, as it is also called. Ghost Actress lasts just over an hour and is a slow-build but the tension and gradual horror is superbly executed. It seems like Ghost Theatre is inspired by that last film and the festival site describes Nakata’s latest as “a deliciously unhinged piece of work, arguably his most satisfying since the acclaimed Dark Water.” This sounds like a return to form to me! A note of caution for fans of his more serious work, the festival page for the film also notes Nakata takes a “a more playful, even slightly tongue in cheek approach” and he has hired an AKB48 idol for the lead role. Is this more fun like POV: A Cursed Film than chills like Ghost Actress?

Synopsis: Sara (Haruka Shimazaki) is an actor at a theatre troupe under the direction of Gota Nishikino (Mantaro Koichi). When the lead actors in the play retire due to strange accidents, Sara is thrust into the spotlight and given the lead role. Sara soon realises that amidst all of the jealousy is a supernatural threat that is haunting the play…


Girlz und Panzer der Film   

Girls und Panzer der Film Film Poster
Girls und Panzer der Film Film Poster

ガールズ&パンツァー 劇場版「Ga-ruzu & Pansha- Gekijouban

Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director: Tsutomu Mizushima

Writer: Reiko Yoshida (Screenplay),

Starring: Ai Kayano (Saori Takebe), Mai Fuchigami (Miho Nishizumi), Ikumu Nakagami (Yukari Akiyama), Mami Ozaki (Hana Isuzu), Yuka Iguchi (Mako Reizei),

Website ANN MAL

This is a continuation of the TV anime. An OVA was released last year.

Synopsis from Anime News Network: The story centers around high school girls who drive tanks that exist in real life, as they compete in teams.



Digimon Adventure tri. 1: Saikai   

Digimon Adventure tri. 1 Saikai Film Poster
Digimon Adventure tri. 1 Saikai Film Poster

デジモンアドベンチャー tri. 1章「再会」「Dejimon adobenchā tri. Dai 1-sho `saikai’

Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 78 mins.

Director: Keitaro Motonaga

Writer: Yuuko Kakihara (Series Composition), Akiyoshi Hongo (Original Creator),

Voice Actors for the Human Characters: Natsuki Hanae (Taichi Yagami), Yoshimasa Hosoya (Yamato Ishida), Suzuko Mimori (Sora Takenouchi), Junya Ikeda (Jo Kido), Junya Enoki (Takeru Takaishi), MAO (Hikari Yagami), Mutsumi Tamura (Koshiro Izumi), Hitomi Yoshida (Mimi Tachikawa), 

Voice Actors for the Digimon: Kinoko Yamada (Palmon), Chika Sakamoto (Agumon), Miwa Matsumoto (Patamon), Mayumi Yamaguchi (Gabumon), Junko Takeuchi (Gomamon),

Website ANN MAL

This long-awaited sequel to the television series was due to air in the spring and many thought it would be a television series but it has turned into a number of films instead. Digimon is viewed with a lot of affection by many in the western anime community and they will be pleased to see the return of characters and their monster friends. I was a Pokemon guy so the story makes little sense to me.

Synopsis from My Anime List:

It’s been six years since that summer adventure when Taichi Yagami and the rest of the DigiDestined crossed over to the Digital World. And nearly three years have passed since the final battle between Hikari Yagami’s group and BelialVamdemon. As the peaceful days passed by, at some point the gate to the Digital World closed. Not even the DigiDestined know what caused this, and time alone continues to pass.

On one such day, a Kuwagamon suddenly appears in Odaiba. Its rampage leaves the town in ruins, and the people there in turmoil. Taichi happens to catch sight of the Kuwagamon, and he chases after it all by himself in an effort to halt its rampage. But there’s nothing he can do against a Kuwagamon.

“It’s no use… I can’t do anything about this alone…”

Just as the Kuwagamon roars and attacks Taichi, his Digivice begins to emit a bright light…

“Taichi, look how big you’ve grown!”

With the sound of that nostalgic voice, the story once again begins to move in a big way.

Taichi Yagami, age 17; high school student.

The adventure now evolves once again.



Hitsuji wo Kazoeru   

Hitsuji wo kazoeru Film Poster
Hitsuji wo kazoeru Film Poster

羊をかぞえる。「Hitsuji wo Kazoeru

Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 88 mins.

Director: Naoyoshi Kawamatsu

Writer:  Naoyoshi Kawamtsu (Screenplay),

Starring: Toshiyuki Somey, Tomoru Akazawa, Kurara Miyai, Masaaki Nakano, Tomoki Hirose, Taishi Sugie,

Website   IMDB

This looks so much like an anime, one that would be laden with ikemen and gags and aimed at a female audience.

Synopsis: Osamu (Toshiyuki Someya) and Tsuyoshi (Tomoru Akazawa) are two friends who vow to help a girl named Kanna (Kurara Miyai) and a guy named Hiroyuki (Tomoki Hirose) escape from creditors but it won’t be easy since they engage in many hairbrained schemes.


Eiga kodan nanihasenki sanada yukimura   

Eiga kodan nanihasenki sanada yukimura Film Poster
Eiga kodan nanihasenki sanada yukimura Film Poster

映画 講談・難波戦記 真田幸村 紅蓮の猛将 「Eiga kodan nanihasenki sanada yukimura

Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 96 mins.

Director: Katsuro Yoshimasa

Writer:  N/A

Starring: Gyokudo Nanko


Synopsis: The movie is a recording of an oral performance of the story of Yukimura Sanada, a hero during the warring states period and a name synonymous with The Fall of Osaka Castle (Namba senki). The performance is part of the rakugo tradition and done in such a way that Gyokudo Nanko recites it extremely fast and aggressively.



Sayonara Film Poster
Sayonara Film Poster


Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 112 mins.

Director: Koji Fukada

Writer:  Koji Fukada, Oriza Hirata (Screenplay),

Starring: Bryerly Long, Hirofumi Arai, Geminoid F, Makiko Murata, Yuko Kibiki, Nijiro Murakami,

Website   IMDB

The first ever movie with an android in it? It was at the Tokyo International Film Festival and it looks fascinating but not exciting or entertaining if these reviews from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter are anything to go by but the write-up in the Japan Times makes it sound a fair bit more interesting and pretty tragic as we watch the final days in the life of a dying woman who is supported by an android. It is a collaboration between Japanese playwright Oriza Hirata and the leading robotics scientist Hiroshi Ishiguro who works at Osaka University and the film was directed by Koji Fukada (Hospitalité, Au revoir l’été).

Synopsis: The population of Japan is being evacuated due to radioactive contamination. Tanya (Bryerly Long) is a foreign refugee with an illness so she will be among the last to leave while healthier Japanese escape. She has an android named Reona (Geminoid F) who supports her in her final days as everyone around her leaves.



Tsugaku Tochu   

Tsugaku Tochu Film Poster
Tsugaku Tochu Film Poster

通学シリーズ 通学途中「Tsugaku shiri-zu Tsugaku Tochu

Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 80 mins.

Director: Koji Kawano

Writer: Juri Takeda (Screenplay), Miyu (Original Novel)

Starring: Taishi Nakagawa, Aoi Morikawa, Izumi Fujimoto, Yudai Chiba, Airi Matsui, Nanami Abe,

Website IMDB

I reviewed one of director Koji Kawano’s films earlier this week. It was Attack Girls’ Swim Team vs. the Undead, a garbage pink film with zombies. His early career spent toiling away in movie purgatory making soulless films has paid off since now he is making soulless adaptations of manga. Where next?

Synopsis: Yuki (Aoi Morikawa) is a shy girl who is in love with a guy who already has a girl. Will she remain alone? Not if her fellow art club member Kou (Taishi Nakagawa) has anything to say about things since he loves Yuki!


 The next poster is exactly the same as the last and there’s probably one film released a month which uses the same design…


Raintree no Kuni   

Raintree no Kuni Film Poster
Raintree no Kuni Film Poster

レインツリーの国「Reinshri- no Kuni

Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 108 mins.

Director: Yoshishige Miyake

Writer: Chihiro Watanabe (Screenplay), Hiro Arikawa (Original Novel)

Starring: Yuta Tamamori, Mariya Nishiuchi, Kanna Mori, Joji Abe, Yumi Asou, Ren Osugi,

Website IMDB

Meeting someone through a blog is a big thing but I have done it and it turned out to be the best thing I could have one since I made good friends. Could it ever lead to romance? Finding somebody who has a compatible personality is possible especially with

Synopsis: Nobuyuki Sakisaka (Yuta Tamamori) has been haunted by the light novel “Fairy Game” ever since he read it in middle school. He reads the blog Rein Tsuri no Kuni amd gets in touch with the author Rika Hitomi (Mariya Nishiuchi) who wrote a post about the same book. They soon start emailing each other but Rika refuses to meet Nobuyuki in real life because of a secret…


Yume no Hotori ninshisho guru-pu ho-mu Fukujusoi  

Yume no Hotor ninshisho gurupu homu Fukuju soi Film Poster
Yume no Hotor ninshisho gurupu homu Fukuju soi Film Poster

ゆめのほとり 認知症グループホーム 福寿荘 Yume no Hotori ninshisho guru-pu ho-mu Fukujusoi

Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 108 mins.

Director: Shinichi Ise

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A


Synopsis: With a rapidly ageing population it is no surprise that there are many documentary works about the elderly and this one records the everyday life of a dementia group home in Sapporo.





Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 114 mins.

Director: Gen Takahashi

Writer: Gen Takahashi (Screenplay/Original Work)

Starring: Takashi Sasano, Maki Miyamoto, Maiko Kawakami, Masahiko Tsugawa, Shota Sasano,

Website IMDB

Gen Takahashi made Goth (2008), a crime film about teenagers exploring their existential boundaries as a serial killer stalks town. That made me a fan of his so this new title looks intriguing but totally different, a biopic about a guy who grew a new type of cherry blossom tree!

Synopsis from IMDB: The inspiring true story of Masaaki Takaoka, a public school teacher in rural Japan in 1940, who, despite his deep and personal objections to the War, was forced to send his beloved students off to battle, with the promise that they would all meet again, upon victory, under the cherry tree on the school grounds.

When only one of his students comes back, maimed and full of shame, with the news that his classmates had all perished in far- away lands, Massaki is overcome by an all-compassing sense of shame and guilt. To fulfill the promise that he made them, he goes on a lifelong quest to artificially create the first-ever cherry blossom that could bloom anywhere in the world, in any climate, so that the spirits of the young men who lost their lives would all finally have a place to meet again. To date, over 30,000 of Masaaki’s YOKO Cherry Blossoms bloom in over 20 countries around the world, as symbols of world peace and harmony.


Hoshasen o abita X nengo 2   

Hoshasen o abita X nengo 2 Film Poster
Hoshasen o abita X nengo 2 Film Poster

放射線を浴びたX年後2Hoshasen o abita X nengo 2

Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 86 mins.

Director: Hideaki Ito

Writer: N/A

Starring: Misa Kawaguchi, Kunikazu Noguchi,


Synopsis: In this documentary the director looks at the impact of American hydrogen bomb experiments carried out after the end of the Second World War from 1946 through to 1962 and he investigates the damage to Japanese fishing boats caused by the nuclear tests carried out more than 100 times in the Pacific Ocean as well as the spread of sea pollution and radioactive substances. This was all coered up by top-secret deals between the United States and Japan. All of this is exposed in a series of interviews and research which brings the truth to the screen.



Areno Film Poster
Areno Film Poster


Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 79 mins.

Director: Michio Koshikawa

Writer: Michio Koshikawa, Yuki Sato (Screenplay), Emile Zola (Original Novel),

Starring: Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Junko Uchida, Maho Yamada, Taro Suwa, Yuya Shintaro, Satoru Kawaguchi,

Website IMDB

Synopsis from Tokyo International Film Festival: “We have to kill him”, the wife and her lover thought. When three childhood friends reunite, it doesn’t take long before two of them feel the woman’s husband is in their way. They push him into a lake, but the boat capsizes and all three are thrown into the water. The lovers reach the shore, but the husband is nowhere. Has he drowned? They decide to wait at a lakeside hotel for his body to be found. Based on Emile Zola’s masterpiece “Therese Raquin”, mismatched emotions of women and men are conveyed via 16mm film. Coarse sensuality.


Before a Falling Star Fades Away   

Before a Falling Star Fades Away Film Poster
Before a Falling Star Fades Away Film Poster

流れ星が消えないうちに「Nagareboshi ga kienai uchi ni

Release Date: November 21st, 2015

Running Time: 124 mins.

Director: Kenji Shibayama

Writer: Kenji Shibayama (Screenplay), Tsumugu Hashimoto (Original Novel)

Starring: Haru, Jingi Irie, Shono Hayama, Eri Ishida, Kanji Furutachi, Saori Watanabe, Yuina Kuroshima, Mantaro Koichi,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Naoko Motoyama (Haru) is a university student who lost her boyfriend in a sudden accident. She can’t get over him, but when she meets a man named Takumi (Jingi Irie) she discovers somebody with a similar background to her and begins to find solace in his company.


Japanese Movie Box Office Results for this Week:


Gekijouban Mozu (2015/11/07)

Grasshopper (2015/11/07)

Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015/11/14)

Everest 3D (2015/11/06)

Ore Monogatari!! (2015/10/31)

Eiga Go! Princess Precure Go! Go!! Gōka 3-bon Date!!! (2015/10/31)

Galaxy Turnpike (2015/10/24)

Pan (2015/10/31)

The Intern (2015/10/10)

Library Wars – The Last Mission (2015/10/10)

5 thoughts on “Ghost Theatre, Girlz und Panzer der Film, Digimon Adventure tri. 1: Saikai, Hitsuji wo Kazoeru Sayonara, Tsugaku Tochu, Raintree no Kuni, YOKO THE CHERRY BLOSSOM, Hoshasen o abita X nengo 2, Areno, Before a Falling Star Fades Away and Other Japanese Film Trailers

  1. Hayley

    “Is this more fun like POV: A Cursed Film than chills like Ghost Actress?” I haven’t seen either of those films but I”m going to guess the answer is “no” because the only thing I can remember about Ghost Theater is how boring it was. It is quite silly, but just in a stupid way, not really a fun way 😦

    Was wondering what Gen Takahashi was up to – did you see Court of Zeus at Raindance a couple of years ago? It was was kind of interesting but a bit strange tonally and I’m not sure he made it work in the end.

    1. Thanks for the reply!

      If you like J-horror then you have got to see Ghost Actress. It’s great. I think it’s top three Nakata and it was made when he still had passion for the form unlike now which feels like his latest films are adaptations churned out for the studios(an unfair comment, perhaps, but The Complex seemed like a passionless retread of Dark Water).

      I didn’t watch Court of Zeus because it was on at an awkward day/time. Living away from London means that I miss lots of films which might be a good thing because I would be spending lots of money to see EVERYTHING 😉

      I had better save my money for next year.

      1. I was being a bit facetious but Geminoid F is no worse than most of the bland Hollywood no talents who seem to get nominated and win, year in, year out… <_<

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