Another World, Fortuna’s Eye, Smiles Leading to Happiness, Tiger: My Life as a Cat, Dynamite Wolf, Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System – Case.2 First Guardian, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of the Orion, The Royal Tutor Film Version, FIGHTERS THE MOVIE Challenge with Dream, Bon Uta A Song From Home, Memories of a Dead End, Iron Girl Final Wars, Shota Sometani Films, Kiyosumi, Blank, Similar But Different, LAPSE, Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!Charisma Yabuki (Yakusho) at the Bus stop

I hope you are all well!

The next few weekend posts are going to be really brief and probably lacklustre because I am super busy. I have had my time packed with all sorts of things like proofing friend’s works, finishing a game script and trying to practice Japanese. Fortunately, I have a stack of reviews good to go for the next month and a bit so that takes the pressure off. This week’s review was for Destiny a Tale of Kamakura (2017) and there was news about Shinya Tsukamoto who will receive the Nippon Honor Award at the 19th Nippon Connection Film Festival in May.

What is released this weekend?

Another World   Half the World Film Poster

半世界 Hansekai

Running Time: 120 mins.

Release Date: February 15th, 2019

Director:  Junji Sakamoto

Writer: Junji Sakamoto (Screenplay),

Starring: Goro Inagaki, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Hiroki Hasegawa, Chizuru Ikewaki, Miyako Takeuchi, Aki Sugawara, Keisuke Horibe, Renji Ishibashi,

Website IMDB

This one was at the 2018 Tokyo International Film Festival and it took the Audience Award. It is by veteran director Junji Sakamoto (Face, The Projects) and has a good cast especially Chizuru Ikewaki who is great in Being Good and The Light Shines Only There. She is partnered with Hiroki Hasegawa who is so good in Love and Peace, Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and Double Life as well as Before We Vanish. They support Goro Inagaki, a former member of SMAP.

Synopsis: Hiroshi (Goro Inagaki) listlessly lives his life in a small town in Japan after taking over his father’s charcoal kiln. He uses it as an excuse to ignore his wife (Chizuru Ikewaki) and his teenage son who is going through a rebellious phase. To take his mind off things, he goes drinking with childhood friend Mitsuhiko (Kiyohiko Shibukawa), a laidback guy who sometimes tells Hiroshi off for ignoring his gamily. One day, Hiroshi’s ex-friend Eisuke (Hiroki Hasegawa) comes back to his hometown after a long time in the self-defense force. Eisuke brings a truckload of old wounds back for Hiroshi but he has worries about the soundness of his own mind following his job which makes Hiroshi look at his life again…

Fortuna’s Eye    Fortuna’s Eye Film Poster

フォルトゥナの瞳 Fortuna no Hitomi

Running Time: 110 mins.

Release Date: February 15th, 2019

Director:  Takahiro Miki

Writer: Riko Sakaguchi (Screenplay), Naoki Hyakuta (Original Novel)

Starring: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Kasumi Arimura, Jun Shison, Airi Matsui, Daigo, Yuki Saito, Yukiya Kitamura,

Website IMDB

Takahiro Miki, an expert at adapting manga and novels for the big screen – he of the mega-hit We Were There films – gets a dream duo for this film in the form of super-handsome Ryunosuke Kamiki (The Kirishima Thing, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno) and super-beautiful Kasumi Arimura (I Am a Hero).

Synopsis: Shinichiro Kiyama (Ryunosuke Kamiki) lost his family in a plane accident when he was young and since then, he has lived a lonely existence and becomes even more isolated when, one day, he develops the ability to see through the body of people who are about to die. That changes when he meets Aoi Kiryu (Kasumi Arimura) and the two fall in love. It looks like life will become fun for Shinichiro but just when things are getting good, he is able to see through Aoi’s body…

Smiles Leading to Happiness    Smiles Leading to Happiness Film Poster

笑顔の向こうに Egao no Muko ni

Running Time: 84 mins.

Release Date: February 15th, 2019

Director:  Jiro Enomoto

Writer: Ryota Kawasaki (Screenplay),

Starring: Mahiro Takasugi, Seia Yasuda, Ryo Nishikata, Eri Hama, Tomoko Fujita, Chieko Matsubara, Kumiko Akiyoshi,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Daichi is a dental technician who has good looks and skills with the drills. He is also the son of an expert dentist. Father and son do not get along because, despite Daichi’s skill and handsome appearance, the father doesn’t believe Daichi is skilled enough. Conflict arises when Daichi receives a complaint from a patient. Could his father be right?

Tiger: My Life as a Cat   Tiger My Life as a Cat Film Poster

トラさん 僕が猫になったワケ Tora san: Boku ga Neko ni Natta Wake

Running Time: 91 mins.

Release Date: February 15th, 2019

Director:  Masaya Kakei

Writer: Toshiya Ono (Screenplay), Mina Itaba (Original Manga)

Starring: Hiromitsu Kitayama, Mikako Tabe, Kokoro Hirasawa, Jun Kaname,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: What do you do if your manga isn’t that popular? You’re earning a pittance and stressed all of the time. Well Suzuo Takahata (Hiromitsu Kitayama) gambles and goes drinking all the time. That is fine when you’re single but Suzuo is married to a fine lady like Natsuko (Mikako Tabe) and they have a daughter, Miyu (Kokoro Hirasawa). He is a completely selfish jerk and so when he dies in a traffic accident it is natural for Suzuo to conclude he is going to Hell, but no! He is reincarnated as a cat because he is given one month to reflect on his life and his family.

Dynamite Wolf   Dynamite Wolf Film Poster

おっさんのケーフェイ 「Ossan no Ke-fei

Running Time: 71 mins.

Release Date: February 15th, 2019

Director: Kohei Taniguchi

Writer: Natsu Hashimoto (Screenplay),

Starring: Yota Kawase, Yusuke Matsuda, Haruto Kobayashi, Susumu Noda, Shuriya Jinbo,

IMDB 

I saw this one at the Osaka Asian Film Festival as well and had a good time. It’s an easily accessible story that involves adults and children who dream of nothing but wrestling as a way of making sense of the world and it was filmed with support from the Dotonbori Pro Wrestling League – so real wrestlers and the real feel of pro-wrestling are on the screen. Solidly shot, easily accessible in terms of story, and with entertaining performances from the cast (especially the children – the one kid from Tokyo kept me laughing) this is an easy one to recommend.

Synopsis: Hiroto lives in the quiet city of Izumi in Osaka prefecture. He has no particular hopes or dreams unlike his classmates and this causes him to feel a deep sense of crisis. Consider the crisis over when he sees a wrestling match with popular masked fighter named Dynamite Wolf. Hiroto becomes a mega-fan and discovers that even Dynamite Wolf has failed dreams and he can help out.

Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System – Case.2 First Guardian   Psycho-Pass Sinners of the System – Case.2 First Guardian Film Poster

PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス Sinners of the System Case.2 First Guardian PSYCHO-PASS Saikopasu Sinners of the System Case.2 First Guardian

Release Date: February 15th, 2019

Running Time: 60 mins.

Director: Naoyoshi Shiotani

Writer: Makoto Fukami (Screenplay), Gen Urobuchi (Original Concept)

Starring: Kinryuu Arimoto (Tomomi Masaoka), Hiroki Touchi (Teppei Sugo), Kenji Nojima (Nobuchika Ginoza), Tomokazu Seki (Shinya Kogami), Risa Aoyonagi (Masumi Asano),

Animation Production: Production I.G

ANN MAL Website

Synopsis: The story follows Teppei Sugo, one of the characters in the second season of Psycho-Pass. In 2112, he was still something of a model citizen but we meet him just as he hits a crisis.

Teppei is a drone pilot in the Self-Defense Force and works with a squad of marines on the ground. One mission goes badly wrong and Teppei is left feeling guilty because he was ordered to abandon his squad. They are listed as MIA but presumed killed. Three months later, an unmanned combat drone opens fire on the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo and Teppei is questioned by none other than enforcer Tomomi Masaoka and inspector Risa Aoyonagi.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of the Orion    Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Arrow of the Orion Film Poster

劇場版 ダンジョンに出会いを求めるのは間違っているだろうか オリオンの矢

Gekijouban Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka: Orion no Ya

Release Date: February 15th, 2019

Running Time: 82 mins.

Director: Katsushi Sakurabi

Writer: Fujino Omori (Screenplay),

Starring: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Bell Cranell), Inori Minase (Hestia), Maaya Sakamoto (Artemis), Maaya Uchida (Liliruca Arde), Soma Saito (Hermes),

Animation Production: J.C. Staff

ANN MAL Website

Synopsis: This is a new adventurer in the dungeon beneath Orario and further afield as Hestia, Bell, Liliruca and the others find new places to explore.

The Royal Tutor Film Version    The Royal Tutor Film Poster

劇場版 王室教師ハイネ 「Gekijouban Oshitsu kyoshi haine

Release Date: February 16th, 2019

Running Time: 61 mins.

Director: Katsuya Kikuchi

Writer: Kimiko Ueno (Screenplay), Higasa Akai (Original Creator)

Starring: Keisuke Ueda (Heine Wittgenstein), Daisuke Hirose (Leonhard von Grannzreich), Shouta Aoi (Licht von Grannzreich), Yuto Adachi (Bruno von Grannzreich), Yuya Asato (Kai von Grannzreich), Shogo Sakamoto (Eugene Aleksandrovich Romano), Shohei Hashimoto (Ivan Aleksandrovich Romano),

Animation Production: Tear

ANN MAL Website

Synopsis: Heine Wittgenstein is the Royal Tutor at the court of the king of Grannzreich, and his job is to whip the four princes into material fit for the throne. The little man has his work cut out because each of the princes his a wildcard but just as he is getting to grips with the guys, he is introduced to the twin princes from the Kingdom of Romano and beneath the polite exteriors are sadists…

FIGHTERS THE MOVIE Challenge with Dream    FIGHTERS THE MOVIE Challenge with Dream Film Poster

Running Time: 118 mins.

Release Date: February 15th, 2019

Director:  N/A

Writer: N/A

Website

Synopsis: The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters get documentary about themselves.

Bon Uta A Song From Home   Bon Uta Film Poster

盆唄 Bon Uta

Running Time: 134 mins.

Release Date: February 15th, 2019

Director: Yuji Nakae

Writer: N/A

Voices: Miko Yoki, Akira Emoto, Jun Murakami, Soko Wada, Rina Sakuraba, Ryota Koshiba,

Website

Synopsis: This documentary looks at the links between Futaba Town, Fukushima Prefecture and Nikkei in Hawaii, two places tied by “Bon no Uta”. It is a link that stretches back over 100 years when bon dancers were among those who moved from Fukushima to Hawaii and their descendants carry on with the tradition, still performing the dances and music. This was shot over three years and takes in people in both Hawaii and Japan as well as the Fukushima crisis.

Memories of a Dead End   Memories of a Dead End Film Poster

デッドエンドの思い出 Deddo Endo no Omoide

Running Time: 90 mins.

Release Date: February 16th, 2019

Director:  Hyun-Young Choi

Writer: Hyun-Young Choi (Screenplay), Banana Yoshimoto (Original Novel)

Starring: Soo-young Choi, Shunsuke Tanaka, Noo-Ri Bae, Ahn Bo-Hyun, Hyeon-bae Dong,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Yumi is a 29-year-old civil servant in a long-distance relationship with her fiancé in Japan. She hasn’t seen him for a while and so travels to Nagoya to meet him but when she rocks up at his door she meets his new girlfriend. The two want to get married. Yumi walks away from the situation and wanders around Nagoya. She ends up at a guest house at the end of a street and meets a handsome young man named Nishiyama and other guests who will hopefully help Yumi overcome her ordeal and give her the energy to start again.

Iron Girl Final Wars   Iron Girl Final Wars Film Poster

アイアンガール Final Wars Aian Garu Final Wars

Release Date: February 16th, 2019

Running Time: 90 mins.

Director: Kenichi Fujiwara

Writer: Yasutoshi Murakawa (Screenplay), Kon Kimura (Original Manga),

Starring: Kirara Asuka, Saki Akai, Takaya Aoyagi, Jun Amaki, Asami, Shjimi,

Website

Synopsis: Kurisu Saotome (Asuka) is a bounty hunter who wears an armoured suit. Her skills and appearance have earned her the moniker “Iron Girl”. In this instalment in the franchise, cyborgs have bended into daily life but a war is coming between humanity and technology as an AI system designed for defending the Earth determines that humans are the greatest threat. Kurisu has lost her memories and caught up in the struggle but an encounter with human resistance members will put her on the right path again.

Three of Shota Sometani’s directorial works will be screened in Shibuya’s Eurospace Cinema (February 16-22). We know him as an actor from Himizu but he has also been active behind the camera with Similar But Different (2013) and Kiyosumi (2015) and Blank (2017) as he explores links between directing and acting.

Similar But Different                                              Similar But Different Film Poster

シミラーバットデイファレント 「Shimira- Batto Deifarento」

Release Date: December 20th, 2013

Running Time: 25 mins.

Director: Shota Sometani

Writer: Shota Sometani, Natsuki Seta

Starring: Shota Sometani, Rei Hirano

An old synopsis from a weekend long ago: Shota Sometani is a great actor as can be seen in Himizu. Many critics have singled him out as one of the best of his generation. He always picks interesting roles and now he’s forging some for himself with this short film he has directed and co-written. The trailer is a low-key affair with a smooth jazz soundtrack and slice-of-life stuff happening and the synopsis reads thusly:  a man and woman who share the same time and space. One day in the morning, they go their separate ways. The woman meets an old friend, but she looks annoyed. The man meets an old friend but his thoughts are elsewhere.

Kiyosumi

清澄 Kiyosumi

Running Time: 10 mins.

Release Date: 2015

Director:  Shota Sometani

Writer: Shota Sometani (Screenplay),

Starring: Shota Sometani, Yota Kawase,

Kiyosumi Film Image

Synopsis: A middle-aged man and a younger man walk alongside the Sumida river in Tokyo and talk.

Blank VR    Blank VR Film Poster

ブランク Buranku

Running Time: 26 mins.

Release Date: 2017

Director: Shota Sometani

Writer: Rinko Kikuchi (Screenplay),

Starring: Shota Sometani, Takashi Yamamoto

Synopsis (information taken from here): This one takes place in Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media and follows two security guards at the place. It was written by Rinko Kikuchi, Sometani’s wife and a talented actor herself (see Norwegian Wood) and filmed with a 360-degree camera so people who wear a head-mounted display can enjoy a feeling as if being right there at the set, and ultimately understand the relationship between performance in and direction of a movie, through the integrated on-the-spot experience of the direction and production processes.

LAPSE    LAPSE Film Poster

LAPSE ラプス LAPSE RAPUSU

Running Time: 105 mins.

Release Date: February 15th, 2019

Director:  Kentaro Shima, Hidenobu Abera, HAVIT ART STUDIO

Writer: N/A

Starring: Shuntaro Yanagi, Chika Uchida, Rino Higa, Toru Tezuka, Hidenobu Abera, Kurumi Shimizu, Takuji Negishi, Motoki Fuukami, An Ogawa, Yurika Nakamura, SUMIRE,

Website

Synopsis: An omnibus movie set in the near future where three tales look at advanced technology like VR, cloning and human relations with AI gone awry.

2 thoughts on “Another World, Fortuna’s Eye, Smiles Leading to Happiness, Tiger: My Life as a Cat, Dynamite Wolf, Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System – Case.2 First Guardian, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of the Orion, The Royal Tutor Film Version, FIGHTERS THE MOVIE Challenge with Dream, Bon Uta A Song From Home, Memories of a Dead End, Iron Girl Final Wars, Shota Sometani Films, Kiyosumi, Blank, Similar But Different, LAPSE, Japanese Film Trailers

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