Paradise Next, Beach Memory, Kisu wa inochigake!, Yakusoku no Jikan, A Girl Missing, The Great War of Archimedes, Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger the Movie: Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!!, Kamen Rider Zi-O: Over Quartzer, Athlete: Ore ga kare ni oboreta hibi, Fujino Kids theater presents – Indigo Children -, Xu Fook 〜Looking for Eternal Life〜, A Journey Following the Model Masako / Masako mon ange, Amanojaku Shishunki, Kyokasho ni nai! 5, Kyokasho ni nai! 6, Hama no kioku Japanese Film Trailers

Welcome to the weekend, everyone.

I hope everyone is safe and well.

We’ll start the post with some sad news: Dutch actor Rutger Hauer has died. I came to know of his work through his roles in Blade Runner and The Hitcher when I was a teen and I can quote lines from both movies. It is as Roy Batty that I’ll always remember him as he gave his replicant character a fierce humanity and a black sense of humour and played him so hard he ended up being more human than the humans. 

A week has passed since the deadly fire at Kyoto Animation and I’m trying to arrange a special screening of some kind for the anime fest I work for to pay tribute to the studio and those harmed on that awful day. I’ve also donated to one of the funds set up to help Kyoto Animation heal after the disaster – here are two links, one to Anime News Network and a report on a way to do direct bank transfers to Kyoto Animation and another to Sentai’s GoFundMe campaign.

In terms of films, I published a post about the two Japanese films at the Locarno Film Festival and reviews for films at Japan Cuts 2019, all of them made in 2018 – The Kamagasaki Cauldron War and The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan on this blog and my reviews for And Your Bird Can Sing, Orphan’s Blues, A Japanese Boy Who Draws and the New Directions in Japanese Cinema films which were published on V-Cinema.

Festival coverage will continue for both  Japan Cuts and the New York Asian Film Festival and that will take me into the autumn festival season. Expect a post about Venice, and the Open City Documentary Festival rather soonish.

What is released in Japan this weekend? 

Paradise Next    Paradise Next Film Poster

パラダイス・ネクスト  Paradaisu Nekusuto

Release Date: June 27th, 2019

Duration: 100 mins.

Director: Yoshihiro Hanno

Writer: Wei-Yen Yu (Screenplay),

Starring: Etsushi Toyokawa, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Kaiser Chuang, Nikki Hsieh, Sean Huang, Akira Ohtaka,

Website     IMDB

Satoshi Tsumabuki is a great actor, just see his roles in The World of KanakoGukoroku and Rage to understand. He’s in Taiwan with Etsushi Toyokawa, another fine actor, and the two play hitmen on a roadtrip. The project was announced at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and is finally released.

Synopsis: The story follows two Japanese hitmen, Makino (Tsumabuki) and Shima (Toyokawa), who are in exile in Taiwan. Makino know’s Shima’s past for some reason and secrets emerge when they travel together.  

A Girl Missing        A Girl Missing Film Poster

よこがお  Yokogao

Release Date: July 26th, 2019

Duration: 111 mins.

Director: Koji Fukada

Writer: Koji Fukada, Kazumasa Yonemitsu (Screenplay),

Starring: Mariko Tsutsui, Mikako Ichikawa, Sosuke Ikematsu, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Hisako Okata, Ren Sudo, Miyu Ogawa,

Website     IMDB

Back in March when I was in Japan I posted a clutch of reviews for Koji Fukada’s films:

Human Comedy Tokyo (2008)

Hospitalite (2010)

Au revoir l’ete (2013)

Sayonara (2015)

Harmonium (2016)

The latter won the Prix du Jury in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival of that year. It stars Mariko Tsutsui who has been doing stellar work as seen in Jam (2018) and Antiporno (2016) and she returns here with a bonkers cast including Mikako Ichikawa (Rent-a-cat (2012)), Mitsuru Fukikoshi (Cold Fish (2011)) and two newbies both in NDJC 2019 films, Ren Sudo (Last Judgement) and Miyu Ogawa (Quiet Hide-and-Seek). This has awards potential as it lets Tsutsui off the leash and looks like it has decent direction but Fukada will have to present a reigned-in story! This plays at Locarno next month.

Synopsis: Ichiko (Mariko Tsutsui) is a visiting nurse who has earned the trust of her patients. She has been helping Motoko (Mikako Ichikawa) study for the purpose of becoming a care worker. Ichiko is the only person with whom Motoko is open with. One day, Motoko’s younger sister Saki (Miyu Ogawa) disappears. A week later Saki returns home unharmed, but the person arrested for her kidnapping is an unexpected person and Ichiko is suspected of being involved in the abduction. This causes Ichiko to collapse…

The Great War of Archimedes        The Great War of Archimedes Film Poster

アルキメデスの大戦  Arukimedesu no Taisen

Release Date: June 26th, 2019

Duration: 130 mins.

Director: Takashi Yamazaki

Writer: Takashi Yamazaki (Screenplay), Norifusa Mita (Manga)

Starring: Masaki Suda, Hiroshi Tachi, Minami Hamabe, Tasuku Emoto, Jun Kunimura, Min Tanaka, Fumiyo Kohinata, Tsurube Shofukutei,

Website     IMDB

This war film stars Masaki Suda, a good actor who typically portrays rough characters – Pink and Gray, The Light Shines Only There. He plays a mathematical genius in this war film directed by Takashi Yamazaki, someone who does big-budget special effects stories Destiny: A Tale of Kamakura as well as nostalgia inducing tales like The Eternal Zero. Other actors include Tasuku Emoto (Dynamite Graffiti, And Your Bird Can Sing) and Jun Kunimura (Vital), Tsurube Shofukutei (Dear Doctor).

Synopsis: It is the 1930’s and a confrontation between Japan and the West is brewing. The top brass of the Imperial Japanese Navy set out to build the world’s biggest battleship, Yamato, in order to make a statement about its power. However, Rear Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is opposed to that plan and discovers discrepancies over the cost in building the battleship so he hires Tadashi Kai (Masaki Suda), a genius mathematician, to investigate further…

Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger the Movie: Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!!  Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger the Movie Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!! Film Poster

騎士竜戦隊リュウソウジャー THE MOVIE タイムスリップ!恐竜パニック!!  Kîshiryu Sentai Ryusoruja The Movie Taimu Surippu! Kyoryu Panikku!!

Release Date: June 26th, 2019

Duration: N/A

Director: Kazuya Kamihoriuchi

Writer: Shunpei Yamaoka (Screenplay), Saburo Yatsude (Original Creator)

Starring: Hayato Ichinose, Keito Tsuna, Ichika Osaki, Yuito Obara, Tatsuya Kishida, Rie Kitahara, Shiro Sano,

Website     IMDB

Synopsis: 65 million years ago, the knights of the Ryusoul Tribe battled the Druidon Tribe who sought to rule Earth but that all came to an end thanks to a meteor which wiped out the dinosaurs. The two sides fled into space but the Ryusoul tribe watched over Earth ready to defend it from the Druidon should they ever return. Which they did and now the Ryusoulgers, battle them. In the movie, one Ryusoulger, Kou, slips back 65 million years ago in time to the age of the dinosaurs and meets the Ryusoul ancestor Valma and his daughter Juno, and discovers the secrets of the birth of the Ryusoulgers.


Kamen Rider Zi-O: Over Quartzer  Kamen Rider Zi-O Over Quartzer Film Poster

劇場版 仮面ライダージオウ Over Quartzer  Gekijō-ban Kamen Raidā Jiō Ōvā Kwōts

Release Date: June 26th, 2019

Duration: N/A

Director: Ryuta Tasaki

Writer: Kento Shimoyama (Screenplay), Shotaro Ishinomori (Original Creator)

Starring: So Okuno, Rikiya Koyama, Gaku Oshida, Shieri Ohata, Yu Inaba, Keisuke Watanabe,

Website     IMDB

Synopsis:  “Kamen Rider Giou”, Sougo Tokiwa, slips back in time to 1575, the Sengoku Period, and meets Nobunaga Oda, as he searches for a way to save Kamen Rider Drive from danger. He meets Quartzers, a group of “Time Wardens”. 

Athlete: Ore ga kare ni oboreta hibi  Athlete Ore ga kare ni oboreta hibi Film Poster

アスリート 俺が彼に溺れた日々  Asuri-to Ore ga kare ni oboreta hibi

Release Date: June 26th, 2019

Duration: 85 mins.

Director: Takamasa Ooe

Writer: Yasutoshi Murakawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Joe Nakamura (Jonah Kamura), Yoshiaki Umegaki, Yoji Kondo, Reina Tasaki, Fumihiko Nakamura, Rai Minamoto,

Website     IMDB

Synopsis mostly adapted from IMDB: “I want to live my life being me!”-A pure love story which pictures the world of LGBT. Kohei, a former competitive swimmer, lives an ordinary life with his wife and high school daughter, but one day, his wife suddenly asks him for a divorce. He then has a fateful encounter with a beautiful boy in Shinjuku’s 2-chome district. The boy’s name is Yutaka and he dreams of becoming an animator while working as an online chat boy but he has heartache of his own because he is struggling to tell his father that he is gay. Both Kohei and Yutaka seek solace in each other, become attracted to each other and have sex. Then, the next day they hurt each other. Through these emotional ups and downs, their relationship grows deeper and deeper. But . . . 

Fujino Kids theater presents – Indigo Children –    Fujino Kids theater presents – Indigo Children - Film Poster

アスリート 俺が彼に溺れた日々  Asuri-to Ore ga kare ni oboreta hibi

Release Date: June 26th, 2019

Duration: 130 mins.

Director: Kenji Kurata

Writer: Kenji Kurata (Screenplay),

Starring: Fumihito Endo, Kano Miyake, So Hirosawa, Takashi Yuuki, Sachiko Noda, Masayuki Maekawa,


Synopsis: A film shot in monochrome shows the adventures of two children affected by the disaster in Fukushima in Kanagawa Prefecture during the summer. The kids are sent by a glassworker named Michiru to look for a blue bird and they have the cryptic clue, “A blue bird lives in a smile.” The kids go about town and discover more about it and the resident.

Xu Fook 〜Looking for Eternal Life〜 Jofuku eien no inochi o sagashite  Jofuku eien no inochi o sagashite Film Poster

徐福 永遠の命を探して  Jofuku eien no inochi o sagashite

Release Date: June 26th, 2019

Duration: 130 mins.

Director: Jun Yoriko

Writer: Jun Yoriko (Screenplay),

Starring: Tomomi Itano, Hooleeger, Kosuke Naito,


A Chinese-Japanese co-production featuring talents from both nations. No trailer, however,

Synopsis: About 2300 years ago, Chinese culture was introduced to Yayoi period Japan. This drama plays out the adventure that descendants of the people who brought that culture to Japan, specifically, a university student named Shoko who learns more about her ancestors and the Emperor of China’s search for an elixir that promised immortality. 

A Journey Following the Model Masako / Masako mon ange  Masako mon ange Film Poster

モデル 雅子 を追う旅  Moderu Masako o Ou Tabi

Release Date: June 26th, 2019

Duration: 88 mins.

Director: Daisuke O-oka

Writer: Daisuke O-oka (Screenplay),

Starring: Masako, Anju, Shoko Tamura, Kaori Fujii, Masahiro Takashima, Hideo Nakata, Tamayo Ishii, Naoto Takenaka,


Synopsis: A documentary by Daisuke O-oka that looks into the life of Masako, a model who passed away at the age of 50 after a battle with a rare form of cancer in 2015. To get to know her, O-oka interviews those who worked with her and since Masako debuted as a model at the age of 19 and worked as an actress in movies such as “Ring”, there are many personalities like Naoto Takenaka and Hideo Nakata. Through talking to them and exploring archive material, a picture of Masako as a model, actress and more begins to emerge.

Amanojaku Shishunki    Amanojaku Shishunki Film Poster

アマノジャク・思春期  Amanojaku Shishunki

Release Date: June 27th, 2019

Duration: 31 mins.

Director: Mitsuteru Okakura

Writer: Mitsuteru Okakura (Screenplay),

Starring: Gaku Yamamoto, Ubu Chino, Kentaro Furyama, Tomomi Kono, Chieko Misaka,

Website     IMDB

This short film played at the Kanazawa Film Festival 2017 and went on to screen at other fests where it won numerous awards, including the 18th TAMA NEW WAVE Competition Special Award.

Synopsis: The film examines bullying via the story of a schoolboy who wears a mask to school because of a deformation of the mouth. He and his parents desire the issue be corrected but he has to be 18 for that sort of surgery so his daily life is sometimes plagued by ostracisation over being different.

The next two films play at the “New Director Special vol. 4” in Ikebukuro’s Cinema Rosa in Tokyo. They have been screening indie films over the last couple of weeks and these two are the latest.

Kisu wa inochigake!

キスは命がけ!  Kisu wa inochigake!

Release Date: June 27th, 2019

Duration: 40 mins.

Director: Tatsuya Goto

Writer: Tatsuya Goto (Screenplay),

Starring: Keisuke Aku, Sara Shida, Misato Morita, Rena Shirakawa, Yukako Yabe,

Website     IMDB

Synopsis: It must be great being a handsome high school student. Think of all the girls (and boys, if you’re that way inclined) you’re surrounded by. For Takuya, he gets to live the dream and finds himself with being confessed to by girls who have fallen for him on a daily basis. Alas, the dream is really a nightmare because he has a “kiss allergy” that means he will die when kissed. This strange and rather unfair affliction provokes a conflict in the boy because he is really attracted to high school girl Masami. He wants to kiss her but does not want to die… 

Yakusoku no Jikan

約束の時間  Yakusoku no Jikan

Release Date: June 27th, 2019

Duration: 48 mins.

Director: Tatsuya Goto

Writer: Tatsuya Goto (Screenplay),

Starring: An Ogawa, First Summer Uika, Nana Owada, Momoko Takeuchi, Tomoki Kimura, Manabu Kishi, Shinji Rokaku,

Website     IMDB

Synopsis: A comedy drama depicting in a clever storyline the fuss that arouses from the fact that three pairs of men and women with the same name accidentally meet the wrong people at the same cafe. Junpei Sato, a father will meet his daughter Kyoko for the first time in 15 years. Yusaku Sato has arranged to meet Kyoko through a sugar daddy site for the first time. Kengo Sato, a scout who is meeting with girl, Kyoko, who wants to be an idol. The meeting mix-ups happen and the conversations unfold with multiple misunderstandings… 

Kyokasho ni nai! 5    Kyokasho ni nai! 5 Film Poster

教科書にないッ!5  Kyokasho ni nai! 5

Release Date: June 27th, 2019

Duration: 79 mins.

Director: Shota Sasaki

Writer: Takayuki Imanara (Screenplay), Kazuto Okada (Manga)

Starring: Ayaka Morikawa, Ryoma Baba, Sena Natsuki, Sayuri, Tomoya Ishii,

Website     IMDB

Synopsis: A romantic comedy based on a manga of the same name unfolds at Otome High School where a nerdy teacher named Arahiko Tairaku finds himself cohabiting with a sexy student named Aya. This is potentially illegal on so many levels but she is also the daughter of a yakuza… This is the fifth volume of the series and Arahiko has managed to get the woman he loves, fellow teacher Miss Mayu, to go on a date with him but this upsets Aya…

Kyokasho ni nai! 6    Kyokasho ni nai! 6 Film Poster

教科書にないッ!6  Kyokasho ni nai! 6

Release Date: June 28th, 2019

Duration: 92 mins.

Director: Kazuto Okada

Writer: Takayuki Imanara (Screenplay), Kazuto Okada (Manga)

Starring: Ayaka Morikawa, Ryoma Baba, Sena Natsuki, Sayuri, Tomoya Ishii,

Website     IMDB

Synopsis:A romantic comedy based on a manga of the same name unfolds at Otome High School where a nerdy teacher named Arahiko Tairaku finds himself cohabiting with a sexy student named Aya. This is potentially illegal on so many levels but she is also the daughter of a yakuza… This is the sixth volume of the series and it is a year until Aya graduates and she still likes Arahiko but he has plans to marry fellow teacher Miss Mayu. Aya also faces studying abroad.

Hama no kioku / Beach Memory      Hama no Kioku Film Poster

浜の記憶  Hama no kioku

Release Date: June 27th, 2019

Duration: 52 mins.

Director: Taku Oshima

Writer: Taku Oshima (Screenplay),

Starring: Shigeo Kato, Yuuki Miyazaki, Azusa Watanabe,

Website     IMDB

Synopsis: Actor Shigeo Kato, who has appeared in numerous films such as Akira Kurosawa’s “Ikiru” and “The Seven Samurai” and Shiro Honda’s “Godzilla”, made a movie at the age of 70 in 2018. He plays a 93-year-old fisherman in Kamakura who is also a widower. He has a daughter, Tomoko, who works in Tokyo, who visits him a couple of times a month, but he lives alone. As he gets older, he gets weaker and lonelier but one summer day, a young woman Yuki who is aiming to be a photographer, talks kindly to him. Her late grandfather was a fisherman and so there is a connection which makes her visit him and that makes that particular summer they meet special.

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