Whole, Lupin’s Daughter, Baragaki: Unbroken Samurai, Skeleton Flowers, Bunshi no Neiro A scientist and a Musician, Pretenders, MIRRORLIAR FILMS plus, and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend!

Riona Hazuki in Retribution

I hope you are well.

This week, I have been covering films at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021. My reviews include International Competition winner Inside the Red Brick Wall, Afternoon Landscapes, and Transform!. All of these were fascinating and I am really happy that I got the chance to see them. I have a few more reviews to come from the fest so please stay tuned to this site!

What is released this weekend?

Whole    Whole Film Poster

ホール   「Ho-ru」

Release Date: October 15th, 2021

Duration: 45 mins.

Director: Bilal Kawazoe

Writer: Usman Kawazoe (Screenplay),

Starring: Usman Kawazoe, Aoi Ibuki, Kai Hoshino Sandy,

Website IMDB   OAFF

Bilal Kawazoe’s film, WHOLE looks at as one of the few recent Japanese efforts to look at this issues surrounding being biracial in a homogeneous society. Here’s my review.

Synopsis: There are two protagonists living in the pretty cosmopolitan city of Kobe that make the whole of the movie. The first is Haruki, a biracial student from the suburbs who has quit his overseas college course and returned to Japan to find his identity. Unfortunately, this has been something he has long struggled with and having parents who, judging by the dialogue, are mostly absent even if they are there, don’t take the time to support him, he bottles things up as can be seen on his downhearted face. Haruki then meets Makoto, a construction worker raised in the projects of Kansai who is also biracial. Ostensibly more confident, he has two guys he hangs out with and he shows less fear when travelling in public, laughing off accusations he is a foreigner and joining in with the “banter”. Although Haruki and Makoto are complete opposites in terms of personality and class, they quickly form a friendship full of understanding and sympathy which helps them bridge the gap across the emptiness of being an outsider so they can go from being half a person to a whole.

Lupin’s Daughter      Lupin's Daughter Film Poster

ルパンの娘 劇場版 Lupin no Musume: Gekijouban

Release Date: October 15th, 2021

Duration: 110 mins.

Director: Hideki Takeuchi

Writer: Yuichi Tokunaga (Script), Dai Yokozeki (Original Novel),

Starring: Kyoko Fukada, Koji Seto, Maju Ozawa, Louis Kurihara, Atsuro Watabe, Akaji Maro,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Hana Mikumo is the daughter of a legendary family of thieves but she breaks from tradition to marry Kazuma Sakuraba, the son of a family of police officers. Now with a child together, they live happily despite the odd family conflict but when Hana’s father, Takeru, decides to retire from thievery, he gives Hana and Kazuma a late honeymoon as a gift. What the young’uns don’t know is that the honeymoon is a front as Hana’s family are searching for a treasure…

Baragaki: Unbroken Samurai    Baragaki Unbroken Samurai Film Poster

春燃えよ剣 Moeyo Ken

Release Date: October 15th, 2021

Duration: 148 mins.

Director: Masato Harada

Writer: Masato Harada (Script), Ryotaro Shiba (Original Novel),

Starring: Junichi Okada, Kou Shibasaki, Ryohei Suzuki, Hideaki Ito, Ryosuke Yamada,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: It is the late 19th Century and the end of the Edo period. To stem the tide of the rise of the pro-Emperor faction, the Shogunate creates the Shinsengumi, a special force made up of warriors who weren’t all samurai. The second in command of this group is Hijikata Toshizo (Junichi Okada), a man born from farming stock and a vicious fighter. Aside from a romance with a widow (Kou Shibasaki), Toshizo’s life is filled with fighting.

Skeleton Flowers    Skeleton Flowers Film Poster

かそけきサンカヨウ Kasokeki Sankayou

Release Date: October 15th, 2021

Duration: 105 mins.

Director: Rikiya Imaizumi

Writer: Kaori Sawai (Script), Misumi Kubo (Original Short Story),

Starring: Sara Shida, Arata Iura, Ouji Suzuka, Hikari Ishida, Akiko Kikuchi,


Synopsis: High school student Yo (Sara Shida) lives with her father, Sunao (Arata Iura), after her mother left home when she was a child. When her father remarries, she gains a step-mother, Miko, and step-sister, Hinata. Yo confides in her friend Riku about how confused she feels over this new life and also her developing curiosity about her biological mother. 

Gekijouban Otoppe Papa Don’t Cry      Gekijоouban Otoppe Papa Don't Cry Film Poster

劇場版オトッペ パパ・ドント・クライ Gekijouban Otoppe Papa Donto Kurai

Release Date: October 15th, 2021

Duration: 60 mins

Director: Takashi Iitsuka

Writer: Kunihiko Mukoda (Screenplay),

Starring: Kurumi Inagaki (Lilu), Yuka Iguchi (Windy), Hidetoshi Nishijima (wesy), Misaki Kuno (Sina), Takumi Saitou (Minister Rararatta), Noriko Fujiwara (UtauneXVI),

Animation Production: pH Studio/Robot

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: The NHK E-TV show Otoppe gets a movie version.The story is about a girl who wants to be a DJ and spends her time hanging out with Otoppe, mysterious creatures born from sound. In this show, a baby Otoppe enters the scene and is raised by the characters and then the comet “Utaune” approaches Otoppe Town and causes a big commotion. 

Aruki hajimeru kotoba-tachi hyouryuu posuto 3.11 O tazunete    Aruki hajimeru kotoba-tachi hyouryuu posuto 3.11 O tazunete Film Poster

歩きはじめる言葉たち 漂流ポスト3.11をたずねて Aruki hajimeru kotoba-tachi hyouryuu posuto 3.11 O tazunete

Release Date: October 16th, 2021

Duration: 90 mins.

Director: Nobuyo Nomura

Writer: N/A

Starring: Takeshi Masu, Mitsunori Isaki, Takahiro Miura, Nami Higami, Yuuichi Nakamura, Kiyoshi Sasabe,


Synopsis: A documentary about a “drifting postbox” that continues to receive letters from people who have lost loved ones in an area hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The director found out about this when he was volunteering in the area. It was going to be fictional film but changed to a documentary when it encountered difficulties with funding and content. Director Kiyoshi Sasabe of Love and the Grand Tug-of-War was helping out in this project and brought his cast from that film to this one. 

Bunshi no Neiro A scientist and a Musician    Bunshi no Neiro A scientist and a Musician Film Poster

分子の音色 A scientist and a musician Bunshi no Neiro A scientist and a Musician

Release Date: October 16th, 2021

Duration: 54 mins.

Director: Nobuaki Sugimoto

Writer: N/A

Starring: Kavka Shishido (Narration), Eiichi Nakamura, Yoshio Watanabe,


Synopsis: This documentary follows Eiichi Nakamura, a special professor at the University of Tokyo and an organic chemist, and Yoshio Watanabe, a classical instrumentalist, who were classmates in junior high and high school and are now both 70 year’s old. In August 2020, the two played Bach’s music together for the first time in a small music hall. What connects these two men who have followed different paths in life? This film describes it and shows how they grew up from their school days, through tumultuous times to know… 

Pretenders    Pretenders Film Poster

プリテンダーズ Puritenda-zu

Release Date: October 16th, 2021

Duration: 117 mins.

Director: Izuru Kumasaka

Writer: Izuru Kumasaka (Script), 

Starring: Karin Ono, Ai Mikami, Kanji Furutachi, Eita Okuno, Kaito Yoshimura, Yurina Yanagi, Ryo Sato,


Synopsis: Hanashi and her best friend Fuko try to change society by adding fiction to reality. Calling themselves the “Pretenders,” they create unexpected situations in moments of normality and post the results on social networking sites. So, a flash-mob made up of zombies etc. The two become more popular but they soon face a backlash… 


Release Date: October 15th, 2021

Duration: 110 mins.

Director: Tomo Ikeda, Soh Ideuchi, Yuki Ito, Seiji O’Hara, Haruna Tanaka, Yuto Tamura, Noboru Suzuki, Seki Tsubasa, Keitaro Fujimori, Yutaka Maemichi, Yu Tamura,

Writer: N/A

Starring: Ryota Miura, Akira Endo, Yuki Ito, Natsuko Nagaike, Keisuke Sonoyama, Michiko Yamagata, et al


No Trailer

Synopsis: In 2017, actors Takayuki Yamada, Shinnosuke Abe, and film producer Chikara Ito, set up a short film production project in the form of MIRRORLIAR, a service designed to support people who aspire to become actors, film directors, and so forth. The project aims to take films that transcend the boundaries between indie and mainstream works and a previous edition was put out in September. 407 works were produced and will be released in an omnibus format in four seasons. Stories include interactions between reclusive boys and enigmatic girls, wandering into a forest where the dead can be seen, a documentary deer hunting, and conversations between men and women at coffee shops.

One thought on “Whole, Lupin’s Daughter, Baragaki: Unbroken Samurai, Skeleton Flowers, Bunshi no Neiro A scientist and a Musician, Pretenders, MIRRORLIAR FILMS plus, and Other Japanese Film Trailers

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