Ito-kun A to E, Evil and the Mask, Our House, Watashitachi no Ie, Hopeiro no Yuutsu, Left Fly, Legend of the Stardust Brothers, Brand New Legend of Stardust Brothers, Hoshikuzu kyodai no aratana densetsu, Mazinger Z Infinity, Full Metal Panic! One Night Stand, Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 3: Kakusei no Houkou, Cinema Kabuki Kyouganoko Musume Gonin Doujouji / The Dancing Girl at the Dojoji Temple, Cinema Kabuki Ninin Wankyu Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

Kako My Sullen Past Film Image Kyoko Koizumi Fumi Nikaido

I hope everyone is well!

Work has been okay, writing has been better, movie viewing has been fantastic. I posted a review for the wonderful drama, Kako: My Sullen Past, posted my top ten films from last year and watched a whole lot of Japanese movies, usually before going to work. Various things are being put into place this week as I book tickets for the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2018 event at the ICA and something else.

What’s released this weekend in Japan?

Ito-kun A to E    Ito-kun A to E Film Poster

伊藤くん Ito-kun A to E

Running Time: 126 mins. 

Release Date: January 12th, 2018

Director: Ryuichi Hiroki

Writer:  Kohei Kiyasu(Screenplay), Asako Yuzuki (Original Novel)

Starring: Masaki Okada, Fumino Kimura, Nozomi Sasaki, Mirai Shida, Elaiza Ikeda, Kaho, Kei Tanaka, Tomorowo Taguchi, Tomoya Nakamura,

Website IMDB

Ryuichi Hiroki has consistently put out films that vary between commercial and indie and he manages to give depth to a lot of them. I’ve got a couple but the only one I have reviewed is Kimi no Tomodachi which still makes me cry… 

Synopsis: Seijiro Ito (Masaki Okada) is what is known as an ikemen. He is totally hot and all the ladies fall for him. Such a shame that his personality is rotten and he strings women along for fun and money. He has five different women in love with him including Rio Yazaki (Fumino Kimura), a screenwriter who is fully aware of what is going on but wants to revive her career by using other people’s unhappiness…

Evil and the Mask    Evil and the Mask Film Poster

悪と仮面のルール Aku to Kamen no Ruru

Running Time: 138 mins.

Release Date: January 13th, 2018

Director: Teppei Nakamura

Writer: Tsutomu Kuroiwa (Screenplay), Fuminori Nakamura (Original Novel)

Starring: Hiroshi Tamaki, Yuko Araki, Ryo Yoshizawa, Tatsuya Nakamura, Ken Mitsuishi, Kunio Murai, Akira Emoto,

Website IMDB

It’s fantastic to think that when I first saw Ghost System and reviewed it, I barely had any idea who Hiroshi Tamaki was and yet, years later, I’ve watched a lot of his movies and one of his doramas. He’s progressed from throw-away horror fun to a serious actor.

Synopsis: Fumihiro Kuki (Hiroshi Tamaki) is the son from a wealthy zaibatsu and was raised to be pure evil. His true nature revolted when it came to protecting his adopted sister Kaori (Yuko Araki) and he killed his father to free themselves of him. Following that incident, he disappeared, had plastic surgery and took on the identity of Koichi Shintani, a man who watches over Kaori and wants to face the great evil that exits within the Kuki family.

Our House    Watashitachi no ie Film Poster

わたしたちの家Watashitachi no ie

Running Time: 80 mins.

Release Date: January 13th, 2018

Director:  Yui Kiyohara

Writer: Yui Kiyohara, Noriko Kato (Screenplay),

Starring: Kazuki Kasai, Yukiko Anno, Mari Ozawa,


This film comes from Yui Kiyohara, a graduate student at the Tokyo National University of the Arts and has studied with Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It took top prize at the The Pia Film Festival Award Winning Film and was at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year. Her previous film was A Certain Bagatelle (2015).

Synopsis from the festival site: A mother named and daughter live on a boat in the city of Kure. They exist in two separate worlds in their house but as the two worlds start to merge, confusion develops.What will happen when they connect to each other?

Hopeiro no Yuutsu    Hopeiro no Yuutsu Film Poster

ホペイロの憂鬱 Hopeiro no Yuutsu

Running Time: 92 mins.

Release Date: January 13th, 2018

Director: Akihito Kajiya

Writer: Akihito Kajiya (Script), Naoto Onoue (Original Novel)

Starring: Shunya Shiraishi, Asami Mizukawa, Shiro Sano, Maiko Kawakami, Masaru Nagai, Shun Sugata, Kazuko Shirakawa, Yura Komura, Tomohiro Kaku,,


Information from Doramaworld

Synopsis: This is The Melancholy of the Roupeiro – a Portuguese word that refers to someone in charge of a sporting team’s uniforms and equipment. Eisaku Sakagami (Shiraishi) is the roupeiro for a weak football team, Big Kite Sagamihara. He solves various problems facing the team alongside a PR rep named Nagisa Onizuka (Asami Mizukawa), from spies working for rival teams, and falling ad revenue.

Left Fly    Left Fly Film Poster

レフトフライ Refuto Furai

Running Time: 100 mins.

Release Date: January 13th, 2018

Director: Akihara Hokuin

Writer: Yukie Ochiai (Screenplay),

Starring: Akira Onodera, Magi- Shirou, Izumi Motoya, Shintaro Ejiri,


Synopsis: An engineering firm in Nagano Prefecture has a baseball club called “Red Frog Seiko”. It was known as a strong man of baseball for social workers in the 1980s. But the times have changed, recently the baseball club has been failing and the company is considering cutting it. Things get even more desperate when the team are caught up in terrorist turmoil overseas and will not be able to return to the country. Things look hopeless until the supporters come to the rescue and step up to the plate.

Legend of Stardust Brothers / Hoshikuzu kyodai no densetsu    The Legend of the Stardust Brothers Film Poster

星くず兄弟の伝説 Hoshikuzu kyodai no densetsu

Running Time: 100 mins.

Release Date: January 13th, 2018

Original Release Date: June 15th, 1985

Director: Macoto Tezuka

Writer: Macoto Tezuka (Screenplay), Haruo Chikada (Original Story)

Starring: Ryosuke Miura, Kohei Takeda, Tadanobu Aasano,, Shingo Kubota, Kan Takagi, Kyoko Togawa, Issay, Kiyohiko Ozaki, Miwako Fukushima, Mie Akatsuka, Motoko Arai,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: This is a rock musical comedy where two rival singers from two different bands are scouted by the same producers and go on to become huge hits.

And here’s the remake:

Brand New Legend of Stardust Brothers / Hoshikuzu kyodai no aratana densetsu    The Brand New Legend of the Stardust Brothers Film Poster

星くず兄弟の新たな伝説「Hoshikuzu kyôdai no aratana densetsu

Running Time: 132 mins.

Original Release Date: November 02nd, 2016

Director:Macoto Tezuka

Writer: Macoto Tezuka (Screenplay), Haruo Chikada (Original Story)

Starring: Ryosuke Miura, Kohei Takeda, Tadanobu Aasano, Chika Arakawa, Issay, Shingo Kubota, Kan Takagi, Tomomi Itano, Jun Inoue,


Synopsis from JFDB: A drama remaking the 80s cult-classic musical film, Legend of the Stardust Brothers, with a brand new story. Tezka Macoto, director of the original, also assumes the director’s chair for this film.

In the near future, Tokyo is a cyber-metropolis where Shingo (Kubota Shingo) is the barkeep of a modest bar. He, along with a DJ, Kan (Takagi Kan), who together had once seized fame as the Stardust Brothers, head for the Moon where they’re bound to gain stardom again. Regaining their youth, Shingo (Takeda Kohei) and Kan (Miura Ryosuke) go on a journey to find the soul of rock.

Mazinger Z Infinity    Mazinger Z Infinity Film Poster

劇場版 マジンガーZ InfinitiyGekijouban Majinga- Z Infinity

Running Time: N/A

Release Date: January 13th, 2018

Director: Junji Shimizu

Writer: Takahiro Ozawa (Screenplay) Go Nagai (Original Creator),

Animation Production: Toei Animation

Starring: Ai Kayano (Sayaka Yumi), Showtaro Morikubo (Koji Kabuto),

Website      MAL   ANN

Mazinger Z The Movie has been made to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the original Mazinger Z manga and television anime series which was first serialised in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1972. The television anime series premiered at the same time and the franchise has spawned three more television series, at least nine movies, and several OAVs.

Audiences will be able to watch scenes and get a glimpse into the making of the film as the creator of Mazinger Z, Go Nagai, will be on stage alongside two others involved in the making of the film. 

Synopsis from Anime News Network: Ten years after defeating Dr. Hell and the Underground Empire with the super robot Mazinger Z, Koji Kabuto encounters a new threat deep beneath Mt. Fuji. Now, the former hero must make a decision about the future of mankind: become a god or a demon…

Full Metal Panic! One Night Stand    Full Metal Panic One Night Stand Film Poster

フルメタル・パニック! ワン・ナイト・スタンド Furu Metaru Panikku! Wan Naito Sutando

Running Time: N/A

Release Date: January 13th, 201

Director:  Koichi Chigira

Writer: N/A (Screenplay), Shoji Gatoh (Original Creator)

Starring: Satsuki Yukino (Kaname Chidori), Tomokazu Seki (Sousuke Sagara), Akio Ohtsuka (Lt. Cmdr. Andrey Kalinin), Daisuke Namikawa (Leonard Testarossa), Yukana (Teletha “Tessa” Testarossa),

Animation Production: GONZO

Website MAL ANN

This is the second of three films acting as a “director’s cut” version of the first Full Metal Panic! television anime series from 2002. The story centres on a mercenary group in a world where the Cold War did not end.

Synopsis from ANN: Sousuke Sagara, a seventeen year old military specialist working for the secret organization MITHRIL, has been assigned to protect the latest “Whispered” candidate Kaname Chidori. To complete this task Sousuke will have to deal with enemies from his past as well as the occasional panty thief. Unfortunately for Sousuke, the toughest part of his mission isn’t only protecting Miss Chidori but also getting used to living an average High School students life, no easy task for someone raised on the battlefield.

Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 3: Kakusei no Houkou    Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 3 Kakusei no Houkou Film Poster

劇場版 進撃の巨人 覚醒の咆哮 Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 3: Kakusei no Houkou

Running Time: 120 mins.

Release Date: January 13th, 2018

Chief Director:  Tetsuru Araki, Director: Masashi Koizuka,

Writer: Hiroshi Seko, Yasuko Kobayashi, (Screenplay), Hajime Isayama (Original Creator)

Starring: Yuuki Kaji (Eren Jaeger), Yui Ishikawa (Mikasa Ackerman), Marina Inoue (Armin Arlelt), Hiroshi Kamiya (Levi), Daisuke Ono (Erwin Smith),

Animation Production: Wit Studio

Website MAL ANN

I used to be a huge fan of this show. I read the manga, a light novel or two, and watched the anime. Now, I barely watch anime at all… This is a compilation film consisting of episodes from the second season.

Synopsis from My Anime List: Eren Yeager and others of the 104th Training Corps have just begun to become full members of the Survey Corps. As they ready themselves to face the Titans once again, their preparations are interrupted by the invasion of Wall Rose—but all is not as it seems as more mysteries are unravelled. As the Survey Corps races to save the wall, they uncover more about the invading Titans and the dark secrets of their own members.

Cinema Kabuki Kyouganoko Musume Gonin Doujouji / The Dancing Girl at the Dojoji Temple    Cinema Kabuki Kyouganoko Musume Gonin Doujouji Film Poster

シネマ歌舞伎 京鹿子娘五人道成寺 Shinema Kabuki Kyouganoko Musume Gonin Doujouji

Running Time: N/A

Release Date: January 13th, 2018

Director:  N/A

Writer: N/A

Starring: Tamasaburo Bando, Kankurou Nakamura, Shichinosuke Nakamura, Baishi Nakamura,


Synopsis adapted from one on Web Japan: The main characters in the “Dojoji Temple” legend are a handsome Buddhist priest, Anchin and a young girl, Kiyo-hime. Kiyo-hime falls in love with Anchin who rejects her because he is a priest. After all her attempts have been thwarted, her passionate love turns into a great grudge. She transforms into a serpent and chases after Anchin who escapes to the Dojoji Temple and hides beneath a huge bell. The serpent coils itself around the bell and scorches it with fire from its mouth and Anchin is burned to death.

However, the events that happen later provide the main story of “Musume Dojo-ji” in the “kabuki” play. The begrudging serpent transforms into a “shirabyoshi (a female dancer in a male costume)” who names herself Hanako and visits the Dojoji Temple to perform her dance. Soon she starts to climb up to the huge bell and reveals herself to be a serpent. The fervent prayers of the priests and the endeavours of “Oshimodoshi”, a powerful man who appeases the fierce spirit of the serpent, at last manage to drive her out of the temple.

Cinema Kabuki Ninin Wankyu

シネマ歌舞伎二人椀久 Shinema Kabuki Ninin Wankyu

Running Time: N/A

Release Date: January 13th, 2018

Director:  N/A

Writer: N/A

Starring: Tamasaburou Bandou, Kankurou Nakamura,



Synopsis adapted from one on Kabuki 21: The theatre goes from its usual half-light to pitch, with only the hanamichi lit like an airstrip. The musicians are stage right in eerie soft lighting. The shamisen begins to strum wildly and drums pound in a musical interlude to set the scene, which in kabuki is everything. After a minute of what seem interminable solos, the curtain at the entrance of the hanamichi opens with a whoosh! and Wankyû scurries down the runway, a kerchief over his long black locks and a woman’s kimono draped over one shoulder, two signs in kabuki language that the character is off-kilter. He stops short, weeping, looking for his lover, caressing her robe, the only vestige of pleasures past. He mimes being scolded by his parents and, unrepentant, he relives his life in the pleasure dome in a sensuous dance. He glides center stage and settles into a nap under a tree. As he wakes, Matsuyama appears through a trap door in the floor upstage. She is the quintessential grand courtesan: gilded robes, small red pout and ornate hairstyle with tortoiseshell pins arranged in spidery spokes. Waking, Wankyû is overjoyed by the vision before him. They dance together, first in a slow, Noh-speed eroticism, and work up to a swirling, joyous celebration of love and hope. Using a mere fan as a prop, they revisit childhood, write love letters, praise the virtues of a good massage. The music intensifies into an improvisational drone that heightens the madness of Wankyû’s delusions until we get to a shock ending.

4 thoughts on “Ito-kun A to E, Evil and the Mask, Our House, Watashitachi no Ie, Hopeiro no Yuutsu, Left Fly, Legend of the Stardust Brothers, Brand New Legend of Stardust Brothers, Hoshikuzu kyodai no aratana densetsu, Mazinger Z Infinity, Full Metal Panic! One Night Stand, Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 3: Kakusei no Houkou, Cinema Kabuki Kyouganoko Musume Gonin Doujouji / The Dancing Girl at the Dojoji Temple, Cinema Kabuki Ninin Wankyu Japanese Film Trailers

  1. Nice to see Evil and the Mask listed here, it’s on my never-ending to-watch list, although as usual it’s not gonna be screened where I am. I read the novel and found it interesting, I hope the film will be able to properly capture the essence of it. I’m happy to know that you have a good impression of Tamaki Hiroshi, he’s one of my favourite Japanese actors. Which dorama of his did you watch? Nodame Cantabile?

    1. Evil and the Mask looks like a solid film about secrets and lies and Tamaki does make a good impression based on the trailer. Is the novel complex?

      The drama I watched was Watashi no Kirai na Tantei during a bit of an Ayame Gouriki phase. It was mildly amusing and Tamaki and Gouriki worked together okay.

      1. The novel is not terribly complex, and does offer some interesting ideas about evil and how it affects people. In that sense, it’s more philosophical and introspective, and not quite a traditional crime thriller. Tamaki does reference it as a “love story” in the interviews he’s done (if I understood him right). Although it was the lead character’s love for his sister that made him do the things he did, I feel the love story was very secondary and mostly one-sided, so I hope the film doesn’t go down the usual path.

        As for Tamaki’s dramas, I do recommend Nodame Cantabile (drama, 2 specials, 2 films) and Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi. Tamaki had excellent chemistry with Ueno Juri in Nodame and they were really memorable in their roles. Shikaotoko starts off slow but comes together beautifully. I saw Watashi no Kirai na Tantei and it was silly fun. He did a similar role in Career, which was mediocre. If you are interested in asadora, he was in Asa ga Kita with Haru.

      2. Thanks for the dorama recommendations and telling me about the novel!

        I’ve got a couple of Japanese-language books I need to get through first so I doubt I’ll read Evil and the Mask any time soon.

        I must admit that the last dorama I watched was Shinya Shokudo a while back but I do intend to watch something else and Nodame Cantabile is always highly rated so seeing that and the films will be good. It will be interesting to see Tamaki’s evolution as an actor because he has a lot of depth to him.

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