The Day of Destruction, KUSHINA, what will you be, On the Edge of Their Seats, Zero As You Are, The Confidence Man JP: Episode of the Princess, Miyuki Nakajima Nightclub VOL.20 “Little Tokyo” Movie Version, Secret x Warrior Phantomage! It will be a movie, Shukatsu 4 Wolfman Interview, Stand Strong, A Man in Love, Documentary Battle of Okinawa: Memory of Unknown Sadness, Forgotten Japanese: Japanese lingering in the Philippines and China Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

The Day of Destruction Film Image 2

I hope you are all well.

Recently, I’ve been watching lots of non Japanese films with lashing of 70s, 80s and 90s horror movies (Slumber Party Massacre trilogy, some David Cronenberg stuff) and some German films by Werner Herzog. Also catching up on or re-experiencing Hollywood movies I have seen like Inception and The Cabin in the Woods, thanks to Amazon Prime. I did watch The Day of Destruction by Toshiaki Toyoda as part of Japan Cuts 2020.

Later today will be the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival showcase of films by women. I’ll be helping to moderate the chat. This week I posted my reviews for It Feels So Good (2019) and Sacrifice (2019), both of which are playing at Japan Cuts 2020. I’ll be finishing up reviews for that next week.

What is released this weekend?

The Day of Destruction    The Day of Destruction Film Poster

破壊の日Hakai no Hi

Release Date: July 24th, 2020

Duration: 57 mins.

Director: Toshiaki Toyoda

Writer: Toshiaki Toyoda (Script),

Starring: Kiyohiko Shibukawa, MahiToThePeople (of the band GEZAN in his debut film role), Issey Ogata, Yosuke Kubozuka, Ryuhei Matsuda, Itsuki Nagasawa, Shima Onishi, Misa Wada,

Website IMDB

Toshiaki Toyoda (Blue Spring, Porno Star, The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan) teams up with loyal actors Kiyohiko Shibukawa (Porno Star) and Ryuhei Matsuda (The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan) along with MahiToThePeople (of the band GEZAN in his debut film role), Issey Ogata (Tony Takitani), and Yosuke Kubozuka (Giri/Haji), to make a “state of the nation” type of film which would have been the opening of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. Corruption and indifference are in the air and Toyoda exhorts people to stand up to it.

Synopsis: After a mysterious monster is found deep in a rural coal mine, rumours of a plague spread across the country and people experience an unexplainable mental illnesses. A young Shugendo practitioner named Kenichi (MahiToThePeople) is determined to exorcise the monster in all of its forms. 

KUSHINA, what will you be    Kushina Film Poster

クシナ Kushina

Running Time: 68 mins.

Release Date: 2018

Director: Moët Hayami

Writer: Moët Hayami (Screenplay),

Starring: Miyuki Ono, Tomona Hirota, Yayoi Inamoto, Ikumi Satake, Suguru Onuma,

Website    IMDB   Website (2020)

Director Moët Hayami’s Kushina received its world premiere at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018 where it won the Japan Cuts award, an accolade given to films that display a unique vision. It is now playing at the Uplink Shibuya theatre.

Here is my review

Here is the interview I did with Moët Hayami

Synopsis: Deep in the mountains, hidden in a forest, there is a village where only women live. This village is protected by Onikuma (Miyuki Ono), the stern and strong headwoman who fled to the place with her daughter Kagu (Tomona Hirota) who was 14-years-old and pregnant with the titular Kushina at the time. 14 years on and Kushina (Ikumi Satake) is the youngest person in the village which is made up of mostly ageing ladies who have discarded their old lives and names and survive off the land, harvesting cannabis to sell to the outside world. All is seemingly well until an anthropologist named Soko Kazano (Yayoi Inamoto) and her male assistant Keita Harada (Suguru Onuma) discover this concealed community…

On the Edge of Their Seats    On the Edge of Their Seats Film Poster

アルプススタンドのはしの方Arupusu sutando no hashi no hou

Release Date: June 19th, 2020

Duration: 89 mins.

Director: Hideo Jojo

Writer: Tetsuya Okumura (Script), Hiroaki Yabu Hyogo Prefectural Higashiharima High School Drama Club (Original Stageplay)

Starring: Rina Ono, Amon Hirai, Marin Nishimoto, Shuri Nakamura, Rikki Metsugi,

OAFF Website

Hideo Jojo has made everything from pink films to V-Cinema dramas and he turns in a wonderfully charming clean-cut coming of age drama with On the Edge of Their Seats which flies by with sharp dialogue and performances allowing audiences to get to know the disappointments and desires of a selection of high school students watching a baseball game.

Here is my review

Here is my interview with Hideo Jojo

Synopsis: We are at East Iruma High School and the stands are full of people cheering on the school team in the first round of the national baseball tournament on a sweltering summer day. Up at the back, in the furthest seats away (the veritable alps of the stands), are students who are not feeling the carnival atmosphere. Two members of the theatre group, Asuha (Rina Ono) and Hikaru (Marin Nishimoto), are nursing their disappointment over a cancelled play. A former player on the baseball team named Fujio (Amon Hirai) has come to cheer despite feeling overlooked. Then there is Megumi Miyashita (Shuri Nakamura), once the smartest person in her grade but now the centre of unwanted attention as her position has been usurped by the captain of the brass band, Tomoka (Hikari Kuroki), a beautiful girl who just happens to be dating the baseball team’s star player who Miyashita has a crush on. Roving around the stands is Mr. Atsugi (Rikki Metsugi), the English teacher who is trying to boost the crowd and team with chants. As the game progresses, we get to know these characters…

Zero As You Are        Zero As You Are Film Poster

ぼくが性別「ゼロ」に戻るとき 空と木の実の9年間Boku ga seibetsu `zero’ ni modoru toki sora to konomi no 9-nenkan

Release Date: July 24th, 2020

Duration: 77 mins.

Director: Miyuki Tokoi

Writer: N/A

Starring: Sora Kobayashi, Miyuki Yashiro, Jun Nakajima

Website

Synopsis: Originally broadcast on NHK, this is an extended version where director Miyuki Tokoi spent nine years following Sora Kobayashi, someone who was born as a woman and, at the age of 13, was diagnosed as having “Gender Identity Disorder”. Tokoi follows Kobayashi through gender reassignment surgery, legal changes and the realisation that identifying as a man might not be the perfect fit and gender binarism is too constrictive.

The Confidence Man JP: Episode of the Princess    The Confidence Man JP Episode of the Princess Film Poster

コンフィデンスマンJP プリンセス編 Konfidensu Man JP Purinsesu Hen

Release Date: July 23rd, 2020

Duration: 124 mins.

Director: Ryo Tanaka

Writer: Ryota Kosawa (Script), 

Starring: Masami Nagasawa, Masahiro Higashide, Fumiyo Kohinata, Haruma Miura, Yuko Takeuchi, Mari Hamada, Vivian Hsu, Atsuko Maeda,

Website

Synopsis: Our team of con artists, Dako (Masami Nagasawa), Boku-chan (Masahiro Higashide), and Richard (Fumiyo Kohinata) head to Langkawi, Malaysia, to fleece the Fuu Family after the patriarch passes away and leaves  behind 10 trillion yen in an inheritance.

Miyuki Nakajima Nightclub VOL.20 “Little Tokyo” Movie Version    Miyuki Nakajima Nightclub VOL 20 Little Tokyo Movie Version Film Poster

中島みゆき 夜会VOL.20「リトル・トーキョー」劇場版Nakajima Miyuki yakai VOL. 20 `Ritoru Toukyou’ gekijouban

Release Date: July 23rd, 2020

Duration: 113 mins.

Director: N/A

Writer: Miyuki Nakajima (Original Story)

Starring: Miyuki Nakajima

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Another movie edition of Miyuki Nakajima’s concerts. She orchestrates the story, songs, direction and performs on stage the musical drama “Yogai” that was performed last year. The story concerns a traditional inn, “Little Tokyo”, in the rugged mountains of Hokkaido. In one corner of this establishment, the story of sisters, who are at the mercy of human despair and love and an unbearable destiny, is depicted in 32 songs.

Theatrical version Secret x Warrior Phantomage! It will be a movie    Theatrical version Secret x Warrior Phantomage! It will be a movie Film Poster

劇場版 ひみつ×戦士 ファントミラージュ! 映画になってちょーだいしますGekijō-ban himitsu × senshi fantomirāju! Eiga ni natte cho ̄ dai shimasu

Release Date: July 23rd, 2020

Duration: 78 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Yoichi Kato (Script), Takara Tomy (OLM)

Starring: Minami Hishida, Kira Yamaguchi, Toa Harada, Ran Ishii, Nicole Ishida, Takumi Saitoh,

Website

Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer, The Bird People of China) directed a live-action TV series mixing a tokusatsu sensibility with magical girl aesthetics and now brings it to the big screen.

Synopsis: Kokomi Sakurai is a cherry tomato loving first year middle schooler who must save her father and friends when the Reverse Police, a group of bad cops who use the Reverse Jewels to reverse arrest “cool people” by turning them into “Ikenaiers”, an evil polarised versions of themselves, strike her town. Kokomi and her friends are chosen by the Phantomi Wristy to transform into Phantomirage. Becoming mass media sensations the Phantomirage are warned to conceal their identities from the public or something bad will happen.

Shukatsu 4 Wolfman Interview    Shukatsu 4 Jinroh Mensetsu Film Poster

シュウカツ4 人狼面接 Shukatsu 4 Jinroh Mensetsu

Running Time: 43 mins.

Release Date: July 24th, 2020

Director: Seiji Chiba

Writer: Seiji Chiba (Screenplay/Original Story),

Starring: Yuya Asato, Masahiro Ito, Mizuki Umetsu, Masaki Ota, Hideaki Kabumoto, 

Website

No trailer

Synopsis: Another Shu-katsu film by Seiji Chiba (Alien vs Ninja) which depicts the psychological warfare used in job interviews faced by young job hunters. A group interview changes into a Ji-roh game or “werewolf interview”, where nobody can trust the other people… 

Stand Strong    Stand Strong Film poster

Release Date: July 24th, 2020

Duration: 77 mins.

Director: Hisashi Kikuchi

Writer: Hisashi Kikuchi (Script), Susumu Okada (Original Novel)

Starring: Kaito Nakata, Ryo Sagawa, Takashi Matsumoto, Rei Hidaka Daisaku, Cypress Ueno

Website

Synopsis: Four male models get their first movie roles in this film about skateboarders. They are a team called “CRASHER” and their skills travel the world via SNS but when a big skate brand named “ELEMNT” only selects two for their next promotion, the relationship between the four gradually breaks down. 

A Man in Love    A Man in Love Film Poster   

恋する男Koisuru Otoko

Release Date: July 25th, 2020

Duration: 84 mins.

Director: Nobuo Murata

Writer: Nobuo Murata, Dai Sako (Script),

Starring: Shigemitsu Ogi, Kokone Sasaki, Arisa Deguchi, Erika Kuroki, Yumi Akamatsu, Yumika,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: A romantic comedy about a middle-aged man named Mitsuo Oda who loses his job and leaves his wife and decides to start a new career. At this time, he meets two women, a hostess named Masami who has shown greeat kindness, and his assistant in his new plans… 

Documentary Battle of Okinawa: Memory of Unknown Sadness    Documentary Battle of Okinawa Memory of Unknown Sadness Film Poster

ドキュメンタリー沖縄戦 知られざる悲しみの記憶Dokyumentari- Okinawa-sen shirarezaru kanashimi no kioku

Release Date: July 25th, 2020

Duration: 105 mins.

Director: Takafumi Ohta

Writer: N/A

Starring: Yasumasa Uezo, Haruo Chibana, Michiko Uehara,

Website

Synopsis: A documentary depicting the tragedy of the Battle of Okinawa, which was the only part of Japan to be turned into a battleground during World War II. At that time, Okinawa was abandoned and civilians were given the order to fight or commit suicide, all to buy time for the mainland to prepare for the American invasion. The documentary charts the battle, from initial American landings to the final surrender of Japanese forces, and does so with footage recorded by the US military as well as through Japanese sources and experts. 

Forgotten Japanese: Japanese lingering in the Philippines and China  Forgotten Japanese - Japanese lingering in the Philippines and China Film Poster

日本人の忘れもの フィリピンと中国の残留邦人Nihonjin no Wasuremono Firipin to Chuugoku no Zanryuu Houjin

Release Date: July 25th, 2020

Duration: 98 mins.

Director: Hiroyasu Obara

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

Website

Synopsis: A documentary that looks at the Japanese people left behind during the Pacific War, whether as immigrants in foreign lands, or as returnees who suffered discrimination because they were born outside of Japan. The crew travelled to the Philippines and China as well as across Japan and looked for the remnants of these immigrant communities…

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