Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory, High Speed! – Free! Starting Days -, Koukaku no Pandora: Ghost Urn, Sanchu Uprising: Voices at Dawn, The Miracle of Tanuma Inn and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

Zombie Self Defence Force Hitomi with Weapons

The year is coming to an end and the Christmas holidays are beginning. Big purchases are out of the way but I’ll be working lots of overtime to cover things including today. I am also collecting treasure for next year so this will be a regular thing. Not that this will stop me from watching films. This week, I watched Ruined Heart (2014) and Cast a Deadly Spell (1991) which features a very young Julianne Moore. I posted a review of High School Girl Rika Zombie Hunter (2008).

What’s released this weekend?

Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory  Haruko'sParanormal Laboratory Film Poster

春子超常現象研究所 Haruko Chojo Gensho Kenkyujo

Release Date: December 05th, 2015

Running Time: 73 mins.

Director: Lisa Takeba

Writer: Lisa Takeba (Screenplay),

Starring: Aoi Nakamura, Moeka Nozaki, Fumiyo Kohinata, Sayaka Aoki, Takumi Saito, Yumiko Takahashi,

Website    IMDB

I am a big fan of Lisa Takeba based solely on trailers for The Pinkie and her short film Wandering Alien Detective Robin. She appears to be one of the most consistently imaginative and inventive directors going especially at a time when the Japanese film industry seems so conventional and unambitious (look at the trailers that follow this one). This one has been at international film festivals such as Rotterdam and Japan Cuts (which is where I got the synopsis from) and I hope to see it.

Synopsis: Haruko (Nozaki) is a lonely oddball who has longed for a“real paranormal phenomenon” since childhood and is in the habit of bitching at her television. It’s an old, analogue set, which one day breaks down – then starts talking back to her. It seems her wish has been granted. The television set becomes a man (Nakamura). Haruko names him Terebi and soon falls in love with him. Absurd situations stack up in colourful images in a startling mix of pop art and absurdist comedy, drawing on cult TV shows and romantic children’s television. Beneath all the craziness, however, a love story unfolds in this strange movie which contains romance and pokes fun at contemporary Japanese culture.

125 Years Memory   

Kainan 1890 Film Poster
Kainan 1890 Film Poster

フリーキッチン「Kainan 1890

Release Date: December 05th, 2015

Running Time: 80 mins.

Director: Mitsutoshi Tanaka

Writer: Eriko Komatsu (Screenplay),

Starring: Seiyo Uchino, Kenan Ece, Shiori Kutsuna, Yui Natsukawa, Gota Watabe, Naoki Kawano,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: The film takes two historical events that link Japan and Turkey. The first takes place in 1890 when the Turkish battleship Ertugrul sinks off the coast of Japan. Almost 500 crew members die but the rescue efforts of the local residents saves some of the crew.

A Turk returns the favour almost one hundred years later when in 1985, during the Iran-Iraq War, over two hundred Japanese nationals stranded in Iran, are evacuated from the country on the first Turkish airplane to leave. They take priority over the Turks.


Jinro Game Crazy Fox   

Jinro Game Crazy Fox Film Poster
Jinro Game Crazy Fox Film Poster

人狼ゲーム クレイジーフォックス「Jinro ge-mu Kureiji- Fokkusu

Release Date: December 05th, 2015

Running Time: 97 mins.

Director: Maya Ayabe

Writer: Maya Ayabe (Screenplay), Ryo Kawakami (Original Novel/Screenplay)

Starring: Sara Takatsuki, Ami Tomite, Reiya Masaki,, Yoshiki Saito, Minori Hagiwara, Takenmi Fujii,


These Jinroh games keep getting made. A new cast full of the next set of young stars and a new spin on the formula.

Synopsis: Ayaka Morii (Sara Takatsuki) is one of a group of students forced to play the Jinro Game. Any one of her classmates can be a killer but she has a crush on Yosuke Takigawa (Reiya Masaki) and she holds the fox card.



Persona Non Grata   

Sugihara Chiune Film Poster
Sugihara Chiune Film Poster

杉原千畝 スギハラ チウネ Sugihara Chiune

Release Date: December 05th, 2015

Running Time: 139 mins.

Director: Cellin Gluck

Writer: Tetsuro Kamata, Hiromichi Matsuo (Screenplay),

Starring: Toshiaki Karasawa, Koyuki, Fumiyo Kohinata, Takashi Tsukamoto, Gaku Hamada, Agnieszka Grochowska, Anna Grycewicz, Ryo Ishibashi,

Website    IMDB

Sugihara Chiune the title of the film and the name of a real life diplomat who saved Jews during the tumultuous events of the Second World War.

Synopsis from IMDB: The story of a Japanese diplomat, sometimes called the Schindler of Japan, and his life leading up to and after his decision to issue over 2,000 visas to Jewish refugees in Kaunas, Lithuania resulting in saving the lives of over 6,000 people. This is the story of a man who believed in doing all he could do for the benefit of his beloved Japan, including trying to keep her from becoming embroiled in a worldwide conflict he saw as inevitable. Along the way, he came face to face with the plight of the European Jews as they tried to escape the onslaught of the Nazi’s and the rapidly advancing German army. Caught between the unbending policies of his country now bound by treaty with Nazi Germany and his awakening moral responsibilities, we follow his life from his early days in Manchuria to his eventual posting in Lithuania and his appointment with destiny which would forever brand him a hero.


High Speed! – Free! Starting Days –   

High Speed! - Free! Starting Days - Film Poster
High Speed! – Free! Starting Days – Film Poster

映画 ハイ☆スピード! Free! Starting DaysEiga Hai Supi-do! Free! Starting Days

Release Date: November 27th, 2015

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Hiroaki Ando

Writer: Maiko Nishioka (Screenplay), Koji Oji (Original Creator), Futoshi Nishiya (Original Character Design)

Starring: Mamoru Miyano (Rin Matsuoka), Nobunaga Shimazaki (Haruka Nanase), Tatsuhisa Suzuki (Makoto Tachibana), Kenji Nojima (Natsuya Kirishima), Kouki Uchiyama (Ikuya Kirishima),

Website ANN MAL

According the MyAnimeList, this is a prequel to the 2013 Kyoto Animation TV anime series Free! which is an adaptation of light novel HighSpeed!

Synopsis from Anime News Network: Haruka Nanase feels something special when he touches water. The medley relay was the last competition he was able to participate in during elementary school. Haruka, along with Makoto Tachibana, Nagisa Hazuki, and Rin Matsuoka, saw something they’d never seen before. In spring, with the cherry blossoms in full bloom. Haruka moves on to Iwatobi Middle School with Makoto and starts a new life. Both enter the swim team, and plan to compete in the medley relay together with Asahi Shiina and Ikuya Kirishima. All four students have different objectives and ways of thinking, and different baggage they’re carrying, and so their practice for the relay hasn’t been going well.


Koukaku no Pandora: Ghost Urn   

Koukaku no Pandora Ghost Urn Film Poster
Koukaku no Pandora Ghost Urn Film Poster

紅殻のパンドラ「Koukaku no Pandora

Release Date: December 05th, 2015

Running Time: N/A

Director: Munenori Nawa

Writer: Tatsuya Takahashi (Screenplay), Masamune Shirow, Koushi Rikudou (Original Creator),

Starring: Sanae Fuku (Nene Nanakorobi), Manami Numakura (Clarion), Rie Murakawa (Bunny), Atsuko Tanaka (Delilah Uzal),

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis from Anime News Network: When Nene Nanakorobi, a cybernetically-enhanced girl-next-door, heads to the island metropolis of Cenancle to live with her aunt, she has no way of knowing what’s in store for her. A chance meeting intertwines her fate with that of the super-rich inventor, Delilah Uzal, and her adorable and grumpy companion, Clarion, who happens to be a cyborg just like Nene. Nene is thrilled to make a friend, but there’s more to Uzal and Clarion – and the island of Cenancle itself – than meets the eye. When a super-powered terrorist threatens Cenancle, Uzal claims that the only way to avert disaster is for Nene to team up with Clarion and use their combined powers – abilities Nene never even knew she had.


Outer Man   

Outer Man Film Poster
Outer Man Film Poster

アウターマン Auta-man

Release Date: December 05th, 2015

Running Time: 82 mins.

Director: Minori Kawasaki

Writer: Masakazy Migita, Minoru Kawasaki (Screenplay),

Starring: Shun Shioya, Yasuhisa Furuhara, Gero Gen Ichikawa, Nanami, Yuki Ikushima, Shunichi Okita,

Website    IMDB

Synopsis from Crunchyroll: The story is set in a world where a tokusatsu hero TV series “Outer Man” has gained national popularity for

50 years (just like the Ultraman series). One day, a giant alien exactly look like Outer Man appears in Japan. The truth is soon revealed that, unlike the story in the TV series, Outer Man is an evil alien who has been trying to brainwash Japanese people to invade the earth. The actors who played the hero in the TV series decide to fight against the real Outer Man by transforming into the villain alien in the series, Sylvie Seijin.


Harukanaru Onrai Yama   

Harukanaru Onrai Yama Film Poster
Harukanaru Onrai Yama Film Poster

はるかなるオンライ山 八重山・沖縄パイン渡来記「Harukanaru Onrai-san Yaeyama Okinawa pain toraiki

Release Date: December 05th, 2015

Running Time: 85 mins.

Director: Yoshiaki Hongo

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

Synopsis: Do you want to know the history of the pineapple in Japan? It is the history of Taiwanese settlers in Okinawa who brought the pineapple to the island. We see the cultural exchange and friction between native Japanese and the settlers and the activities of their descendants.


Sanchu Uprising: Voices at Dawn   

Sanchu Uprising Voices at Dawn Film Poster
Sanchu Uprising Voices at Dawn Film Poster

新しき民「Atarashiki tami

Release Date: December 05th, 2015

Running Time: 117 mins.

Director: Junichiro Yamasaki

Writer: Junichiro Yamasaki (Screenplay)

Starring: Kano Kajiwara, Naohisa Tanaka, Keiko Furuuchi. Yota Kawase,

Website    IMDB

I covered this one when it played at Japan Cuts earlier this year.

Synopsis from Japan Society New York: 1726, Sanchu, Okayama Prefecture: farmers negotiate with the feudal domain in order to seek exemption from rising taxes before infighting leads to suppression by the samurai class, and the farmers band together for battle. It’s a moment of injustice, setting the stage for bravery and sacrifice. However those daring characters remain largely offscreen in Juichiro Yamasaki’s brilliant film. Instead, the cowardly protagonist Jihei (Naohisa Nakagaki) weighs the risks of rebellion and its aftermath, a tale resonating with our contemporary moment. In this rare independent jidaigeki, Kenta Tawara’s beautiful digital B&W photography channels and refigures luminaries of classical Japanese cinema, boasting rapturous animated sequences by Tomomichi Nakamura and an experimental score by Ayako Sasaki.


The Miracle of Tanuma Inn   

Miracle in Tanuma Inn Film Poster
Miracle in Tanuma Inn Film Poster

田沼旅館の奇跡「 Tanuma ryokan no kiseki

Release Date: December 05th, 2015

Running Time: 66 mins.

Director: Hisashi Ide

Writer: Hayashi Mori (Screenplay)

Starring: Natsuna, Kumiko Endo, Akihiro Tsunoda, Motohiro Takewaka,    Ryuji Akiyama, Buffaloe Goro, Hiroyuki Baba,

Website    IMDB

Synopsis: A reporter named Nao Nishikawa (Natsuna) arrives at a hot spring town to have a relaxing stay at the Tanuma Inn. After checking in she finds herself staying with several other guests, each of whom say they are experiencing troubled days in marriage or life in general. With potential divorces and suicides on the cards it sounds like grim stuff but the reporter’s presence gets the people to change.


Japanese Movie Box Office Results for this Week:

Little Prince (2015/11/21)

Raintree no Kuni (2015/11/21)  

Girlz und Panzer der Film  (2015/11/21)

Grasshopper (2015/11/07)

Gekijouban Mozu (2015/11/07)

Ore Monogatari!! (2015/10/31)

Ghost Theatre (2015/11/21)

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

Woman in Gold (2015/11/27)

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

5 thoughts on “Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory, High Speed! – Free! Starting Days -, Koukaku no Pandora: Ghost Urn, Sanchu Uprising: Voices at Dawn, The Miracle of Tanuma Inn and Other Japanese Film Trailers

    1. Uuuhh, you have me stumped there. I have watched horror and crime films that take place over Christmas but I can’t remember watching any Christmas themed movies other than the anime Tokyo Godfathers which is brilliant. That’s my recommendation. I’ll ask around different friends for you!

      Have a great week!

      1. Off the top of my head (and reviewed here), Key of Life, which is a identity-swap comedy like Trading Places, and Judge!, a culture-clash comedy set in the world of advertising. I thought both were very funny and I saw them with an audience who also laughed out loud and hard.

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