Josee the Tiger and the Fish, Poupelle of Chimney Town, Pocket Monster Koko, HoneyWorks 10th Anniversary “LIP×LIP FILM×LIVE”, World Trigger 2nd Season, AWAKE, Hong Kong-Ga, Tokyo Breed, The Rise of One, Japanese Film Trailers

Merry Christmas

Hold Your Breath Like a Lover Film Image Ran Taniguchi, Yusuke Inaba, Goichi Mine

I hope you are all well and full of festive cheer.

I’ve had the good fortune to have been given lots of Japan and writing-related gifts from my mother and sister with a collection of books about Japanese cinema (like the phenomenal first edition of Tom Mes’s Agitator. The Cinema of Takashi Miike), a bonsai tree and more. During this week I posted reviews of Hold Your Breath Like a LoverGFP Bunny and also a news article about the Himeji Cinema Club’s annual festival Animation Runs! which I’ve updated with videos that will last until the end of this week.

What are the final theatrical releases of 2020?

Josee, the Tiger and the Fish   

Josee The Tiger and the Fish Film Poster

ジョゼと虎と魚たち Josee to Tora to Sakana-tachi

Release Date: December 25th, 2020

Duration: 90 mins.

Director: Kotaro Tamura

Writer: Sayaka Kuwamura (Script), Seiko Tanabe (Original Short Story)

Starring: Kaya Kiyohara (Josee), Taishi Nakagawa (Tsuneo Suzukawa), Chiemi Matsutera (Chizu Yamamura), Kazuyuki Okitsu (Hayato Matsura), Lynn (Kana Kishimoto), Yume Miyamoto (Mai Ninomiya),

Animation Production: BONES

Website ANN MAL

This is an anime adaptation of Seiko Tanabe’s novel of the same name, which was made into a live-action movie by director Isshin Inudo in 2003.

Synopsis: Tsuneo is a university student studying marine biology and working part time. His dream is to see a phantom fish that lives in Mexico. One day, he sees a young woman in a wheelchair plunge down a slope. When he goes to check on her, he discovers she is named Josee and she has rarely gone out of the house by herself due to her being unable to walk. She spends most of her days reading and painting and occasionally going out with her grandmother Chizu but her encounter with Tsuneo is the catalyst for her to face the real world. It also helps that Chizu offers Tsuneo a part-time job as a helper!


Poupelle of Chimney Town    Poupelle of Chimney Town Film Poster    

えんとつ町のプペル Entotsu-chō no Poupelle

Release Date: December 25th, 2020

Duration: 100 mins.

Director: Yusuke Hirota

Writer: Akihiro Nishino (Script/Original Creator),

Starring: Mana Ashida (Lubicchi), Masataka Kubota (Poupelle), Eiko Koike (Lola), Sairi Ito (Anonio), Jun Kunimura (Dan),

Animation Production: Studio 4°C

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: In a walled town full of chimneys and trash, the air is always full of smoke so no one knows what the sky looks like. One night, during the town’s Halloween festival, a deliveryman accidentally drops the heart he is supposed to deliver and he cannot find the heart in the smoke. The heart continues to beat where it fell in a trash pile and a new creature is born, Trashman. An orphan named Poupelle meets him…

Pocket Monster Koko    Pocket Monster Koko Film Poster

劇場版ポケットモンスター ココ Gekijouban Poketto Monsuta- Koko

Release Date: December 25th, 2020

Duration: 99 mins.

Director: Tetsuo Yajima

Writer: Atsuhiro Tomioka, Tetsuo Yajima (Script/Original Creator),

Starring: Ikue Otani (Pikachu), Moka Kamishiraishi (Koko), Rica Matsumoto (Satoshi), Inuko Inuyama (Meowth), Shoko Nakagawa (Karen),

Animation Production: OLM

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis from Anime News Network: While on their adventures, Ash and Pikachu encounter a human child named Koko in Okoya Forest, a Pokémon paradise that outsiders are forbidden from entering. Koko was raised by Pokémon and so he considers himself one and treats the Mythical Pokémon Zarude as his father. 

HoneyWorks 10th Anniversary “LIP×LIP FILM×LIVE”    HoneyWorks 10th Anniversary “LIP×LIP FILM×LIVE” Film Poster

劇場版ポケットモンスター ココ Gekijouban Poketto Monsuta- Koko

Release Date: December 25th, 2020

Duration: 99 mins.

Director: Fumie Muroi

Writer: Yoshimi Narita (Script), HoneyWorks (Original Creator),

Starring: Nobunaga Shimazaki (Aizou), Koki Uchiyama (Yuujirou), Soma Saito (Yui), Tetsuya Kakihara (Megu), Yuma Uchida (Rio),

Animation Production: CLAP

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: An anime movie based on HoneyWorks’ LIPxLIP virtual idol unit. It was made to commemorating the group’s 10th anniversary. The anime’s story will cover the meeting of LIPxLIP members Yujiro and Aizo, as well as the formation of their group.


World Trigger 2nd Season    World Trigger 2nd Season Film Poster

特別上映版 ワールドトリガー 2ndシーズン Tokubetsu jōei-ban wārudotorigā 2 nd shīzun

Release Date: December 25th, 2020

Duration: 45 mins.

Director: Fumie Muroi

Writer: Hiroyuki Yoshino, Toshihisa Kaiya, Kenji Kawai (Script), Daisuke Ashihara (Original Creator),

Starring: Tomo Muranaka (Yuma Kuga), Yuuki Kaji (Osamu Mikumo), Nao Tamura (Chika Amatori), Yuichi Nakamura (Yuichi Jin), Nobunaga Shimazaki (Hyuse),

Animation Production: Toei Animation

Website ANN MAL

The new season of World Trigger starts next yera and the first two episodes will have a special screening run with exclusive footage in 12 theatrws in Japan from December 25 to January 7.

Synopsis from Wikipedia: In Mikado City, a “gate” to a different world suddenly opens one day and creatures called “Neighbours” invade. Humans struggle to resist this invasion until a mysterious organization called the National Defense Agency, or “Border” appears. They use Neighbour technology called “Triggers”, which allows the user to channel a special energy called Trion to create a stronger body, a weapon or tool. Eventually, life in Mikado City settles down apart from the occasional battles and Border has become popular. However, a mysterious white-haired student named Yuma Kuga transfers to a local school and it turns out that he is a strong humanoid Neighbour, a fact that he wants to hide from Border. In the school he meets another student, Osamu Mikumo, who is secretly a C-class Border trainee. Since Kuga is completely oblivious about life in Mikado City, it falls to Mikumo to guide him through it, and to prevent him from being discovered by Border.

AWAKE  Awake Film Poster

アウェイク Aweiku

Release Date: December 25th, 2020

Duration: 119 mins.

Director: Atsuhiro Yamada

Writer: Atsuhiro Yamada (Script),

Starring: Ryo Yoshizawa, Ryuya Wakaba, Fumika Baba, Motoki Ochiai, Kanichiro, Kanna Moriya,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Eiichi (Ryo Yoshizawa) aimed be a top shogi player and so he forsook normal school, and friendships to enroll at a shogi training centre run by the Japan Shogi Association. However, despite his determination, he could never beat Riku (Ryuya Wakaba). Eeiichi eventually quit and enrolled at a computing course in a university. It was tough adjusting to campus life after so much time playing shogi but while there, he develops an artificial intelligence that plays shogi and this program will be put up against Riku…

Tokyo Breed, The Rise of One    Tokyo Breed The Rise of One Film Poster

その男、東京につき Sono Otoko, Tokyo ni tsuki

Release Date: December 25th, 2020

Duration: 119 mins.

Director: Ryusuke Okajima

Writer: N/A

Starring: Hanya, Zeebra, t-Ace, BAKU, T-Pablow, DJ Fumiratch

Website IMDB

Synopsis: A documentary about the rapper Hanya, who rose to influence not stop despite many difficulties such as a fierce bullying. The film details his struggle as well as shows a one-man live performance at the Budokan and features appearances from other Hip-Hop figures. 

Hong Kong-Ga    Hong Kong-Ga Film Poster

香港画 Hon Kon Ga

Release Date: December 25th, 2020

Duration: 28 mins.

Director: Ikumo Horii

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A


Synopsis: A short documentary recording the 2019 Hong Kong democracy protests from February 2019, right after the Hong Kong government announced the submission of amendments to the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance. At their height, the protests saw 1.03 million citizens marching against the proposed changes in June. In October of the same year, director Horii, who was staying in Hong Kong for work, was surprised at the amount of young people participating and decided to record some of the protestors, to capture their voices and see their confrontations with the police. His desire was to show why young people in Hong Kong are fighting and to challenge media portrayals.

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