The Asadas!, Architecture Time and Kazuyo Sejima, Our Story, Gekijouban BEM BECOME HUMAN, Meishi Game, Love Stage!!, Idol Sniper The Movie, Yokohama Mary, All the Things We Never Said, Share the Pain and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

Creepy Film Image Hidetoshi Nishijima and Yuko Takeuchi

I hope you are all doing well.

I will be recording an episode of the Heroic Purgatory podcast tonight so I spent this week watching pistol operas from John Woo – A Better Tomorrow (1986), Hard Boiled (1990) and The Killer (1989). The last title is the one my co-host John and I will be talking about for the Heroic Purgatory podcast.

Anyway, other Heroic Purgatory podcast episodes covered Police Story (1984) – podcast -,  Battle Royale (2000) – podcast – and A Bittersweet Life (2004) – podcast.

This week I posted reviews for the Kiyoshi Kurosawa thriller Creepy (2016), the experimental documentary Kokutai (2019), and a preview of the next Third Window Film release, The Taste of Tea (2004). My review for the Atsushi Funahashi film Lovers on Borders (2018) was published on V-Cinema on Thursday evening.

What is released this weekend?

The Asadas!    The Asadas! Film Poster

浅田家! Asadake!

Release Date: October 02nd, 2020

Duration: 127 mins.

Director: Ryota Nakano

Writer: Ryota Nakano, Tomoe Kanno (Script),

Starring: Kazunari Ninomiya, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Haru Kuroki, Masaki Suda, Jun Fubuki, Makiko Watanabe, Maho Nonami,

Website IMDB

Ryota Nakano is famous for his films Capturing Dad and Her Love Boils Bathwater. Both are dramas and both have netted him awards, the former Best Director and SKIP CITY AWARD at the 9th Skip City International D-Cinema Festival, and the latter many prizes, including an award for Best Actress for Rie Miyazawa at the 40th Japan Academy Prize. This one has star wattage that could power a city with ex-Arashi member Kazunari Ninomiya, actors union-starter Satoshi Tsumabuki (Judge!, Villain), Makiko Watanabe (Love Exposure), Masaki Suda (The Light Shines Only There), and Haru Kuroki (The Bride of Rip van Winkle).

Synopsis: Masashi Asada (Kazunari Ninomiya) is an aspiring photographer who has an older brother Yukihiro (Satoshi Tsumabuki) and parents. He enters a photography vocational school and chooses to reproduce scenes of memories of his family and wins an award. After graduating, he works in pachislot but decides he wants to return to photographing his family again and starts a professional career. Then, one day, the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami strikes…

Architecture, Time and Kazuyo Sejima    Architecture Time and Kazuyo Sejima Film Poster

建築と時間と妹島和世 Kenchiku to jikan to sejimakazuyo

Release Date: October 03rd, 2020

Duration: 60 mins.

Director: Takashi Honma

Writer: N/A

Starring: Kazuyo Sejima

Website IMDB

This one has shades of the documentary A Room of Her Own – Rei Naito and Light and a great jazz score.

Synopsis: Kazuyo Sejima (Wikipedia page) is a world-famous architect who has worked on a number of buildings including the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (where the Kanazawa Film Festival is held) and she has won the Pritzker Prize, the Nobel Prize in the architectural world. This documentary follows the construction of a building she designed for The Department of Art Science, Osaka University of Arts. Sejima links art, science, and technology to create the new school building that is a “park-like building” on a hill with a good view that anyone could stop by. The documentary recording lasted 3 years and 6 months from the concept to the completion, and was created by Takashi Homma, a photographer who has photographed Sejima architecture since the 1990s.

Our Story      Our Story Film Poster

小説の神様 君としか描けない物語 Shousetsu no Kamisama: Kimi to Shika Egakenai Monogatari

Release Date: October 02nd, 2020

Duration: 106 mins.

Director: Sigeaki Kubo

Writer: Tetsuo Kamata (Script), Sako Aizawa (Original Novel)

Starring: Taiki Sato, Kanna Hashimoto, Ryuji Sato, Kyoka Shibata, Riko, Mirai Yamamoto, Ainosuke Kataoka, Emi Wakui,


Synopsis: High school students Ichiya Chitani (Taiki Sato) and his classmate Shiina Koyurugi (Kanna Hashimoto) are both published writers, but while Ichiya never made a hit, Shiina writes stories everyone loves to read. One day, an editor asks Ichiya and Shiina to collaborate and write a novel together, but these two have very different personalities…


Release Date: October 02nd, 2020

Duration: 63 mins.

Director: Tatsuro Kawano

Writer: Chika Suzumura (Script), Tite Kubu (Original Manga)

Starring: Sasami Tano (Ninny Spangcole), Yuina Yamada (Noel Niihashi), Chikahiro Kobayashi (Bruno Bangnyfe), Rie Hikisaka (Osushi-chan), Saori Hayami (Macy Baljure), Haruka Shimizu (Sullivan Squire)

Animation Production: Studio Colorido, team Yamahitsuji

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: In an alternative reality, dragons roam the world and in Reverse London, the hidden “reverse” side of the city, witches and wizards must work hard to keep them under control.

Two witches are Noel Niihashi and Ninny Spangcole who are protection agents for Wing Bind (WB), an organisation for dragon conservation and management. Their mission is to protect and manage the dragons within London on behalf of the people.

WAVE!! Surfing Yappe!!    WAVE!! Surfing Yappe!! Film Poster

WAVE!!~サーフィンやっぺ!! WAVE!! Sa-fi-n Yappe!!

Release Date: October 02nd, 2020

Duration: 83 mins.

Director: Takaharu Ozaki

Writer: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu (Script), MAGES (Original Creator)

Starring: Jin Ogasawara (Sho Akitsuki), Tomoaki Maeno (Masaki Hinaoka), Nobuhiko Okamoto (Rindo Fuke), Takuya Sato (Kosuke Iwana),

Animation Production: Asahi Production

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: Masaki and Sho are two students in Oorai, Ibaraki prefecture. Sho introduces Masaki to surfing and through the sport, he begins to make friends but he will also drift apart from them as he grows up. What remains constant is his love of surfing.




映画 ギヴン Gekijouban BEM BECOME HUMAN 

Release Date: October 02nd, 2020

Duration: 90 mins.

Director: Hiroshi Ikehata

Writer: Atsuhiro Tomioka (Script), 

Starring: Katsuyuki Konishi (Bem), Kensho Ono (Belo), M.A.O (Bela), Koichi Yamadera (Manstoll), Nana Mizuki (Emma), Shizuka Itou (Greta),

Animation Production: Production I.G

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: The movie version of the 2019 TV anime “BEM”. The story is set in Librati, a city where magnificence and decadence, prosperity and poverty coexist across canals. This is the beat of detective Sonia, who pursues a series of mysterious incidents in the city, including three monster humans, Bem, Bella, and Bello, who work in the shadows helping protect the city from monster threats.

Cinema Kabuki Mitani Kabuki TSUKIAKARI MEZASU FURUSATO Fūunji tachi    Cinema Kabuki Mitani Kabuki TSUKIAKARI MEZASU FURUSATO Fūunji tachi Film Poster     

シネマ歌舞伎 三谷かぶき 月光露針路日本 風雲児たち Shinema kabuki Mitani kabuki TSUKIAKARI MEZASU FURUSATO Fūunji tachi

Release Date: October 02nd, 2020

Duration: 138 mins.

Director: Koki Mitani

Writer: Koki Mitani (Script), Taro Minamoto (Original Manga)

Starring: Koshiro Matsumoto, Ennosuke Ichikawa, Ainosuke Kataoka, Matsuya Onoe, Norito Yashima, Shingo Bando, Omezo Ichikawa, Komazo Ichikawa, Yajuro Bando,

Website Kabuki Web

Comedy specialist Koki Mitani works in film, theatre and kabuki. He adapted a manga by Taro Minamoto for a play that was shown at Tokyo’s Kabuki-za in June last year.

Synopsis from Kabuki Web: In 1782 when Japan pursued a policy of national isolation, the merchant vessel Shinshōmaru sailed out from Ise to Edo (the old name for Tokyo) and was caught in a violent storm, losing its sail and rudder. The crew, 17 men under the captain, Daikokuya’s son Kōdayū, lost control and the vessel was left to drift on the open sea.

After 8 months they land on Amchitka island in the territory of Russia. Kōdayū starts his life there puzzled by the foreign language and culture. Some of the crew dies, but Kōdayū survives and sets sail for the Russian mainland in the vessel they make for themselves.

They go further into Russia to carry out procedures of departure. People help them wherever they go and they finally manage to have an audience with Empress Catherine.

Meishi Game    Meishi GamSe Film Poster

名刺ゲーム Meishi Ge-mu

Release Date: October 02nd, 2020

Duration: 138 mins.

Director: Hisashi Kimura, Yusuke Taki,

Writer: Ryohei Watanabe (Script), Osamu Suzuki (Original Novel)

Starring: Shinichi Tsutsumi, Masaki Okada, Karen Otomo, Aoba Kawai, Motoki Ochiai, Yurina Yanagi, Keisuke Horibe, Tomorowo Taguchi,

Website IMDB

Ryohei Watanabe, director of Shady (2012), adapted a mystery novel into a four-part TV drama for WOWOW. All four episodes of the were broadcast in 2017 and have been packaged up for a limited screening wherein two episodes are put together for A (episodes 1-2) and two for B (episodes 3-4). Another drama was shown in cinemas last week.

There are some really good performers including Shinichi Tsutsumi (Why Don’t You Play in Hell?) who takes the lead.

Synopsis: Kanda (Shinichi Tsutsumi) is a producer for the quiz show “Mystery Spy”. One day, he wakes up in a basement and finds himself wearing a mysterious necklace and surrounded by meishi (business cards) scattered. His daughter Mina (Karen Otomo) is also there and also wearing a necklace. Then, a mysterious man calling himself X (Masaki Okada) appears and informs Kanda that he will play the “Meishi Game” with a 2 hour time limit. The rule of the game is that Kanda has to return to business cards to their owners, but, if Kanda makes a mistake, his daughter’s collar will blow up. Kanda accepts the challenge to save his daughter but…

Love Stage!!  Love Stage!! Film Poster

Release Date: October 02nd, 2020

Duration: 84 mins.

Director: Hiroki Inoue,

Writer: Eiki-Eiki (Script), Taishi Zaou, Eiki-Eiki (Original Manga)

Starring: Mahiro Sugiyama, Hiroki Nakada, Shinichi Wago, DAIGO,

Website IMDB

The latest in the ongoing wave Boy’s Love films, this is the live-action adaptation of a manga which was subject to an anime adaptation in 2010, or so. I remember watching that and finding it entertaining enough.

Synopsis: Izumi Sena comes from a family of famous entertainers but he lives a normal life as a college student studying manga. However, after he stars in a television commercial, he attracts the attention of Ryoma, a super-famous and super-handsome celeb, who begins to pursue him.

Idol Sniper The Movie    Idol Sniper The Movie

アイドルスナイパー THE MOVIE Meishi Ge-mu

Release Date: October 03rd, 2020

Duration: 84 mins.

Director: Tsukasa Inaba

Writer: Tsukasa Inaba (Script), 

Starring: Mitsuki Endo, Yurie Seno, Kee Maeda, Riko Fukuyama, Miyuu Inamori, Nao Torizumi, Honoka Yabuki,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: This is the movie version of “Idol Sniper”, a serialised story where idols work secretly as assassins. Rei, of the underground idol group “Destiny”, must save the day when members of the dark organisation Shigara sneak into a venue full of fans celebrating their group and their live venue becomes a battlefield.

Yokohama Mary    Yokohama Mary Film Poster

ヨコハマメリー Yokohama Meri-

Release Date: October 03rd, 2020

Duration: 92 mins.

Director: Takahiro Nakamura

Writer: N/A

Starring: Michiko Godai, Hideo Mori, Ganjiro Nagato, Setsuko Shimizu, Giho Sugiyama, Yoko Yamazaki,

Website IMDB

A film made in 2005. The info comes from the Viennale website.

Synopsis: The search for Yokohama Mary, an infamous former prostitute who went missing over a decade ago, becomes a journey through Japan’s post-war past. Yokohama Mary was a prostitute in the Japanese port-city during the years following the end of World War II. In the decades since then, she became a Yokohama icon of sorts – an eccentric bag lady in geisha-like face paint – until her disappearance in 1995. Filmmaker Nakamura Takayuki sets out to uncover the story of this mysterious figure. In his attempts to separate fact from mythology and to divulge Yokohama Mary’s eventual fate, he sketches a profile of Japan’s past as a country struggling to reinvent itself in the desperate post-war years.

All the Things We Never Said    All the Things We Never Said Film Poster

生きちゃった Ikichatta

Release Date: October 03rd, 2020

Duration: 91 mins.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii (Script), 

Starring: Taiga Nakano, Yuko Oshima, Ryuya Wakaba, Park Jung-bum, Yuuno Ota, Miyu Yagyu, TOBI,

Website IMDB

According to this review in the Japan Times director Yuya Ishii – The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue (2017), The Great Passage (2013), Mitsuko Delivers (2011), Sawako Decides (2010) – was part of a project created by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society and China’s Heaven Pictures, which “tapped six Asian directors to make “Back to Basics” features on a meagre budget of about ¥15 million each. Taking advantage of some unexpected downtime after a scheduled shoot in South Korea was postponed, Ishii wrote a script in three days and started shooting a couple of months later.”

Synopsis: Atsuhisa, Natsumi, and Takeda have been close friends since high school. Atsuhisa and Natsumi married and have a daughter who is five years old when we enter their lives. Atsuhisa (Taiga Nakano) returns home, one day, to find that Natsumi (Yuko Oshima) is sleeping with another man. Their marriage begins to collapses and Takeda (Ryuya Wakaba) finds himself caught in the middle…

Share the Pain    Share the Pain Film poster

シェア ザ ペイン Shea za Pein

Release Date: October 03rd, 2020

Duration: 49 mins.

Director: Shunsuke Nakajima

Writer: Shunsuke Nakajima, Takeshi Okamoto (Script),

Starring: Chikara Toh, Arisa, Kotaro Kawamura, Yu Kushima, Momoka Kobayashi,

The theatrical film debut of Shunsuke Nakajima who has worked on music videos and commercials. Apparently, this work was created from the director;s experience of having a relationship with someone of the same sex when he was a junior high school student.

Synopsis:  In an alternate reality Japan, the “SP Law Article 1” requires all boys to have sex with an adult man before their first sexual experience. Main protag, Yuki has the hots for Ayako but does not want to get together with a guy. However, when she is being targeted by the playboy Yamada, he is forced to make a decision…

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