Labyrinth of Cinema, #HandballStrive, Take Over Zone, The 12 Day Tale of the Monster that Died in 8’: Little beasts battle COVID-19 online, and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

The Day of Destruction Film Image 2

I hope you are all safe and well.

This week I went to work. Lots of Covid-19 infection prevention material has been left, waiting to be installed. Other than that, I visited relative and did gardening.

I finished off the novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami and watched a whole load of horror movies like Black Christmas, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Night Killer. I also re-watched Columbus and Frankenstein.

I posted the last of my reviews for Japan Cuts with Kinta and Ginji (2019) and The Day of Destruction (2020).

What is released this weekend?

Labyrinth of Cinema      Labyrinth of Cinema Film Poster

Labyrinth of Cinema=海辺の映画館 キネマの玉手箱Labyrinth of Cinema = umibe no eigakan kinema no tamatebako

Release Date: July 31st, 2020

Duration: 179 mins.

Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi

Writer: Nobuhiko Obayashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Takuro Atsuki, Takahito Hosoyamada, Yoshihiko Hosoda,

Website IMDB

Nobuhiko Obayashi recently passed away but two films involving him are on the festival circuit. Both were at the Tokyo International Film Festival, the documentary hasn’t reached Europe yet, as far as I know, whereas this one has played at Rotterdam. Labyrinth of Cinema is an anti-war film that mixes in a love of cinema, a subject mix which Obayashi relished with so many of his projects. 

Synopsis: Three young people at a soon-to-be-shuttered cinema are enjoying the final screening: a marathon of old war films. The three become so immersed in the action that they find themselves time-slipping through the screen to various historical events connected to cinema and war such as witnessing death during the Sengoku period and on a battlefront in China, being in Hiroshima just before the Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bombing of the city. This was shot in Obayashi’s hometown in Onomichi and has an anti-war message.

Take Over Zone      Take Over Zone Film Poster

テイクオーバーゾーン  Teiku O-ba- Zo-n

Release Date: July 31st, 2020

Duration: 90 mins.

Director: Shinpei Yamasaki

Writer: Tomomi Iwashima (Screenplay), 

Starring: Riku Yoshina, Chika Uchida, Yota Kawase, Masashi Gouda, Aki Moriyama, Nanaha Itose,

Website IMDB

Originally screened at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival.

Synopsis: A talented 14-year-old female sprinter named Sari lives in Nara with her slovenly father after her family breaks up. Her mother took her beloved brother to live elsewhere and Sari finds herself unable to take part in track and field activities because her father cannot afford to pay club fees. One day, Sari sees her brother and mother and another girl who sprints, Yukina, out as a family in a supermarket. Sari is shocked…

#HandballStrive    #HandballStrive Film Poster#HandballStrive Film Poster

#ハンド全力「#handozenryoku」

Release Date: July 31st, 2020

Duration: 108 mins.

Director: Daigo Matsui

Writer: Daigo Matsui, Dai Sato (Script), 

Starring: Seishiro Kato, Kotaro Daigo, Aju Makita, Haruka Imou, Himi Sato, Ryota Bando,

Website

The director is Daigo Matsui of How Selfish I Am, Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops, and Japanese Girls Never Die. The writer is Dai Sato of anime fame like Eureka Seven, Ergo Proxy and Eden of the East.

Synopsis: High school boy Masao lives a lethargic life in Kumamoto but when he uploads a photo of himself playing handball with his best friend Taichi who had been separated from him due to the earthquake, in front of the temporary housing to SNS, he starts getting nice comments (hence the #handballstrive). He gets a little giddy with all the new attention from across Japan and as it increases, he loves the fame and keeps posting but it drags him into getting off his butt and helping to rebuild a men’s handball team…

The 12 Day Tale of the Monster that Died in 8’: Little beasts battle COVID-19 online  The 12 Day Tale of the Monster that Died in 8 Little beasts battle COVID-19 online Film Poster

8日で死んだ怪獣の12日の物語 劇場版8-Nichi de shinda kaijuu no 12-nichi no monogatari gekijouban

Release Date: July 31st, 2020

Duration: 88 mins.

Director: Shunji Iwai

Writer: Shunji Iwai (Script), Shinji Higuchi (Original Novel)

Starring: Takumi Saito, Non, Sou Takei, Moeka Hoshi, Shinji Higuchi,

Website

Synopsis: Back in April, Shin Godzilla co-director Shinji Higuchi launched a project called Kaiju Defeat Covid, where people could post a video selfie with their favorite kaijuu which would take part in the fight to defeat Covid-19. It was a relay video that roped in the likes of Shinya Tsukamoto and even the director Shunji Iwai, all of whom would make a video like a relay.

Iwai has taken Higuchi’s idea and made it into a a 12-part series of short films titled The 12 Day Tale of the Monster that Died in 8 that has now been brought to the big screen. The series stars Takumi Saitoh as his real-life self in isolation after receiving three tiny “capsule kaijuu” by mail and raises them with the help of Higuchi to turn them into monster battlers.

My Name is Yours    My Name is Yours Film Poster

君が世界のはじまりKimi ga Sekai no Hajimari

Release Date: July 31st, 2020

Duration: 115 mins.

Director: Momoko Fukuda

Writer: Kosuke Mukai (Script), Momoko Fukuda (Original Novel)

Starring: Honoka Matsumoto, Seina Nakata, Yuki Katayama, Daichi Kaneko, Shouma Kai, Noriko Eguchi, Natsuki Oku, Kanji Furutachi,

Website

Director Momoko Fukuda (SlowlyMy Father, the Bride) brings her novel to the screen with the help of prolific screenwriter Kosuke Mukai.

Synopsis: At midnight, in a residential area of Osaka, a high schooler is arrested for the murder of a middle aged man is murdered. 

We are introduced to two sets of teens.

High school girl Yukari is a bright kid but she spends her time slumming it with the more wild friend Kotoko. When the two skip class, one day, they discover fellow student Narihira crying by himself. For Kotoko, it is love at first sight but he is more interested in Yukari

Meanwhile, their classmate Jun finds her family falling apart when her mother dumps her father and her. She tries to avoid the old man, who is beginning to act strange, by hanging out at the mall which is here she spies on a recent transfer student named Io getting a little too close with his stepmother. Jun and Io soon make their own connection and hang out…

 

Ike ike! Baka onna wagamichi o ike    Ike ike Baka onna wagamichi o ike Film Poster

いけいけ!バカオンナ 我が道を行けIke ike! Baka onna wagamichi o ike

Release Date: July 31st, 2020

Duration: 100 mins.

Director: Koto Nagata

Writer: Ayako Kitagawa (Script), Yumiko Suzuki (Original Manga)

Starring: Ayane, Nicole Ishida, Mao, Hayato Anozuka, Masato Hanazawa, Tomu Fujita,

Website

Synopsis: A live-action film adaptation of an autobiographical comic by manga artist Yumiko Suzuki known for Kanna’s Big Success! aka 200 Pounds Beauty. The period setting is moved from the bubble era of the 80s to the present day, and comically depicts the struggles of women with various problems such as love, work, and friendship. 

Do You Like Big Girls?    

大きい女の子は好きですか?Ookii Onnanoko wa Suki desu ka?

Release Date: August 01st, 2020

Duration: 78 mins.

Director: Takashi Ohashi

Writer: Takeo Mataki, Toru Yanagisawa (Script), Goro Aizome (Original Manga)

Starring: Sena Natsuki, Rena Takei, Ken Aoyama, Aika Mizuka, Moa Hirabayashi,

Website

Synopsis: Tachibana Souta, a multi-talented freeter, finds his lazy days spiked by some big girls when his older sister asks him to “serve” the college volleyball team she plays in. Suddenly, he is surrounded by 6 and 1/2 ft. tall Amozonesses and they kind of take a shine in Souta.

Ganbare iwa! ! Robokon Urara ~! Koisuru shiru nashi tantanmen! ! No maki    Ganbare iwa! ! Robokon Urara ~! Koisuru shiru nashi tantanmen! ! No maki Film Poster

がんばれいわ!!ロボコン ウララ~!恋する汁なしタンタンメン!!の巻Ganbare iwa! ! Robokon Urara ~! Koisuru shiru nashi tantanmen! ! No Maki

Release Date: July 31st, 2020

Duration: 100 mins.

Director: Hidenori Ishida

Writer: Yoshio Urasawa (Script), Shotaro Ishinomori (Original Manga)

Starring: Chiwa Saito, Kino Tsuchiya, Masashi Ebara, Kenichi Suzumura

Website

The late manga creator and writer Shotaro Ishinomori is credited with creating the original concept of Robocon abd the franchise began with the live-action tokusatsu series Ganbare!! Robocon, which ran from 1974 to 1977 and was revivedwith the Moero!! Robocon series, which ran from 1999 to 2000.

Synopsis: Robocon, a helper robot from a robot school in a Chinese restaurant in the town, is out on a delivery to Auntie Tornado but the order gets a little mixed up and some ingredients go missing… 

Jintai no Survival    Jintai no Survival Film Poster

人体のサバイバル!Jintai no Sabaibaru!

Release Date: July 31st, 2020

Duration: 100 mins.

Director: Hidenori Ishida

Writer: Yoshio Urasawa (Script), Shotaro Ishinomori (Original Manga)

Starring: Akira Ishida (Kei), Megumi Han (Pipi), Satsumi Matsuda (Geo), Hiroshi Iwasaki (Dr. Brain), Hiroki Touchi (Narrator)

Animation Production: Toei Animation

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: A theatrical animation of the “Scientific Manga Survival” series. Dr. Geo and Dr. Know board the “Hippocrates,” a human body probe that can be reduced to the size of nanometers, and get swallowed by Pipi inadvertently. While desperately trying to avoid destruction, they aim to leave Phi’s body through the stomach to the intestines but it proves more difficult than thought.

Sprin’ Pan: Mae e Susumou!    Sprin' Pan Mae e Susumou! Film Poster

スプリンパン まえへすすもう!Sprin’ Pan: Mae e Susumou!

Release Date: July 31st, 2020

Duration: 5 mins.

Director: Jet Inoue

Writer: Jet Inoue (Script), Shotaro Ishinomori (Original Manga)

Starring: Kokoro Noda (Sprin Pan), Junya Yoshida (Yama-don), Ai Taniuchi (Ringo Leader, Mother, Snoomi Mei),

Animation Production: CGCG Studio

Website MAL

Synopsis: It is an adventure story about a 12-year-old girl who aspires to be Peter Pan and it will be told using 3DCG and motion capture to incorporate various performing art elements such as musicals, ballet, Irish dance, and gimmick stage, and is a short animation full of songs and dances throughout. 

Joriku!    Joriku! Film Poster

じょりく!Joriku!

Release Date: July 31st, 2020

Duration: 66 mins.

Director: Takashi Ohashi

Writer: Makoto Yangaisawa (Script), Hideto Kakka (Original Manga)

Starring: Mizuki Saiba, Ryohei Kawano, Meiri, COCO, Umi Shinonome, Hotaro Komori, Erika Shidara,

Website

Synopsis: Musashi Kaneda was once a hot prospect as an Olympic runner but now he will become the coach of the Tsukimi University Women’s Track and Field Club where he will try to overcome traditional training methods and his virgin horniness to train a bevy of beautiul athletes. This group contains Misaki Tono , a 100m ace there, who is faltering in her training because her breasts are becoming too big and she is a little embarrassed… With a competition with a rival school approaching, Musashi has the chance to coach them to success and grab the hearts of his female students!

5 thoughts on “Labyrinth of Cinema, #HandballStrive, Take Over Zone, The 12 Day Tale of the Monster that Died in 8’: Little beasts battle COVID-19 online, and Other Japanese Film Trailers

  1. The last movie of Ôbayashi… I still avoid movie theaters because of the Covid-19… Too bad. I’ll have to wait.

    Thanks for all the news. There a some strange movies there, ahahah.

    1. The situation is increasingly bad in Japan, so I don’t blame you. We face the same problems (or worse) in Europe. I am game for going back to the cinema, so long as I have a mask and there is some social distancing and I imagine not many people will want to a cinema.

      I want to see Tenet!!!

      Stay safe!

  2. Part of me can’t wait for Japanese cinema to start portraying women with less lasciviousness, yet the part of me that succumbs to cute Japanese girls makes me guilty that they keep ignoring it… :-/

    And I’m 6’2 but I fear those basketball girls could put me in my place! 😮

    Thanks as ever for sharing these trailers with us! Stay safe!

    1. Nothing to feel guilty about so long as everything is above board and in the making of these films. It’s hardly edifying as cinematic output. It looks like a low-brow comedy like a Carry On movie.

      The reality is that these get limited releases in a mini theatre somewhere and then head straight for DVD, so they’re just drops of rain in the media deluge. I wonder how profitable they are, even if they have an in-built fan-base thanks to the manga.

      As far as portrayals of women go, I suspect real change will come when the media ecosystem has to contend with a squeeze in profits and looks outside of its traditional markets/cuts unprofitable output. That, and a change in who the “taste-makers” are, which comes when a generational shift occurs. The increase in mainstreaming of feminist ideas can be a positive thing, as well.

      Thanks for the comment and stay safe!

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