Little Maestro, Documentary of AKB8: No Flower Without Rain, Berserk: Golden Age Arc III: Descent, Love Bombs, Ibitsu, Yellow Elephant, It’s Shaking, Workers, Women’s Fiction Prize R 18 vol.1: Self Bondage, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Revenge of the Earth Sandayu, Banana, Glove and Whale Shark, Come Give, A Man Named Guo Maolin, Architect to Open Up the Sky, Long Day of Stars,Trailers and the Japanese Film Box Office Chart

Little Maestro MangaThis week has been spent preparing for the Japan Foundation’s Touring Film Programme in London… which is where I am right now! This is a scheduled post! Exclamation mark! Anyway this week I posted a trailer for the forthcoming film adaptation of Star Driver and reviews for Poetry, The Woodsman & the Rain, both of which scored a 5.

What does the Japanese film chart look like for this week (January 26/27)

  1. Ted
  2. Life of Pi
  3. Strawberry Night
  4. Les Miserables
  5. Tokyo Family
  6. One Piece Film Z
  7. Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs. Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: The Movie
  8. Gekijouban Hunter x Hunter
  9. Looper
  10. Evangelion 3.0

Two of the Japanese films released last week break into the top 15. At 3 is Strawberry Night and Tsuya’s Night enters at 12.

What are some of the Japanese films released in Japan today? And yesterday… Brace yourself for a wide range of films in terms of quality…

Documentary of AKB8: No Flower Without RainDocumentary of AKB48 Film Poster

Japanese Title: Documentary of AKB8: No Flower Without Rain 少女たちは涙の後に何を見る?

Romaji: Documentary of AKB8: No Flower Without Rain Shojo tachi wa Namida no Ato ni Nani o Miru?

Release Date: February 01st, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 131 mins.

Director: Eiki Takahashi

Writer: N/A

Starring: AKB48

That sure is a dramatic poster! This is Eiki Takahashi’s third documentary film about the idol group AKB48. I actually like one or two of their songs (but they’ll never beat Morning Musume circa Renai Revolution!) and I actually had one particular song on repeat for a week. It focusses on the group after Atsuko Maeda announces her retirement from the group and we get an inside look at the restructuring of the groups and the competition for centre position as well as the edict that bans members from having love lives. We also get interviews and scenes from shows.

Little Maestro                                            Little Maestro Film Poster

Japanese Title: リトル マエストラ

Romaji: Ritoru Maesutora

Release Date: February 01st, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 108 mins.

Director: Toshiro Saiga

Writer: Hiroko Sakaguchi (Screenplay), Shohei Manabe (Manga)

Starring: Kasumi Arimura, Yumiko Shaku, Keizo Kanie, Matsu, Eisuke Sasai

Little Mestro is based on the manga of the same name written by … and stars Kasumi Arimura (SPEC: Heaven), Yumiko Shaku (The Princess Blade), and Keizo Kanie (Fine, Totally Fine).

A quiet seaside village with a predominantly elderly population has an orchestra which gives great pleasure to the residents. When the conductor dies the orchestra is faced with a crisis but when the conductor’s 17-year-old granddaughter, Misaki (Arimura) appears, a member of the orchestra, Midori (Shaku), tries to persuade her to stay and take over the orchestra. A seventeen-year-old girl conducting an orchestra? It’s not as crazy as it sounds because Misaki conducts an orchestra in America!

 

Berserk: Golden Age Arc III: Descent                       Berserk Movie III Descent Poster

Japanese Title: ベルセルク 黄金時代 篇 III: 降臨 

Romaji: Berserk Ōgon Jidai-Hen III: Kōrin

Release Date: February 01st, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 113 mins.

Director: Toshiyuki Kubooka

Writer: Ichiro Okouchi (Script),Kentarō Miura (original manga)

Starring: Hiroaki Iwanaga (Guts), Takahiro Sakurai (Griffith), Toa Yukinaru (Casca), Aki Toyosaki (Charlotte), Kenta Miyake (Nosferatu Zodd)

This is the third and final Berserk feature film in the trilogy that adapts the Golden Age Arc. It takes us to the eclipse ceremony which is where the story becomes a full-blown horror movie. I found it genuinely disturbing what with the horrific landscape and human suffering.  Honestly, after finding the first film thrilling and compelling, I am sort of dreading this because it is a tough, tough part of the story.

 

After Guts leaves the employ of the Band of the Hawk it all goes very wrong for Griffith and company. Casca does her best to hold the remnants of the mercenary army together but with Midland’s soldiers closing in on them their days seem numbered. Until Guts steps back into the picture. This, however, will lead him to the Eclipse Ceremony and the horror that will unleash Femto.

 

Love Bombs                         Love Bombs Film Poster

Japanese Title: さまよう 獣

Romaji: Samayou Kemono

Release Date: February 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 94 mins.

Director: Nobuteru Uchida

Writer: Nobuteru Uchida, Teruo Noguchi (Screenplay)

Starring: Mami Yamasaki, Kazuki Namioka, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Mondo Yamagishi, Koko Mori, Kanji Tsuda, Yoji Tanaka

Nobuteru Uchida is on the festival circuit with Odayaka which was at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival. It was only released at the end of last year and he is back with this rural drama which is released today. It stars a diverse cast including Mami Yamasaki (The Seaside Motel), Kazuki Namioka (Thirteen Assassins), Kiyohiko Shibukawa (Isn’t Anyone Alive?), Kanji Tsuda (Tokyo Sonata, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl) and Yoji Tanaka (Swing Girls, Ju-On: The Grudge).

Kiyomi (Yamasaki) has left city and ended up in a small town where she meets an elderly woman named Kinu (Mori) and a man named Masaru (Namioka) who Kinu views as a grandchild. Kiyomi finds herself lodging with them and this stirs up feelings amongst local farmers Shinji (Yamagishi) and Tatsuya (Shibukawa) as well as Masaru. Things might have gotten raunchy but Kinu collapses…

 

Yellow Elephant                             Yellow Elephant Film Poster

Japanese Title: きいろいゾウ

Romaji: Kiiroi Zou

Release Date: February 02nd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 131 mins.

Director: Ryuichi Hiroki

Writer: Hisako Kurosawa, Sho Kataoka (Screenplay), Kanako Nishi (Original Novel)

Starring: Aoi Miyazaki, Osamu Mukai, Akira Emoto, Lily Franki, Tamaki Ogawa, Ren Osugi, Sakura Ando, Kengo Kora, Chieko Matsubara

Ryuichi Hiroki (River, April Bride, Vibrator) has assembled an awesome cast to adapt Kanako Nishi’s best-selling novel. I have not read the novel but I am very familiar with some of the actors. Aoi Miyazaki (Eureka, The Wolf Children), Kengo Kora (Norwegian Wood, The Woodsman & the Rain, The Drudgery Train), Sakura Ando (For Love’s Sake, Love Exposure) and Ren Osugi who stole EXTE and made a great yakuza in many Takeshi Kitano films.

Aiko (Miyazaki) and Ayumu (Mukai) are a happily married couple. Aiko is naïve while Ayumu is a struggling novelist. When a letter for Ayumu arrives it sparks an estrangement between the couple.

Continue reading “Little Maestro, Documentary of AKB8: No Flower Without Rain, Berserk: Golden Age Arc III: Descent, Love Bombs, Ibitsu, Yellow Elephant, It’s Shaking, Workers, Women’s Fiction Prize R 18 vol.1: Self Bondage, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Revenge of the Earth Sandayu, Banana, Glove and Whale Shark, Come Give, A Man Named Guo Maolin, Architect to Open Up the Sky, Long Day of Stars,Trailers and the Japanese Film Box Office Chart”

New Berserk: Golden Age Arc III: Descent Trailer and Poster

Berserk: Golden Age Arc III: Descent                       Berserk III Movie Poster

Japanese Title: Berserk Ōgon Jidai-Hen III: Kōrin

Romaji: ベルセルク 黄金時代 篇 III: 降臨 

Release Date: 4th February 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Toshiyuki Kubooka

Writer: Ichiro Okouchi (Script),Kentarō Miura (original manga)

Starring: Hiroaki Iwanaga (Guts), Takahiro Sakurai (Griffith), Toa Yukinaru (Casca), Aki Toyosaki (Charlotte), Kenta Miyake (Nosferatu Zodd)

A new trailer for the third Berserk feature film has been released and it shows us part of the eclipse ceremony that comes at the very end of the Golden Age Arc. This is where the story becomes a full-blown horror movie. I found it genuinely disturbing what with the horrific landscape and human suffering. The trailer shows that all of the mayhem and carnage is present and correct and given the full CGI treatment – just a few glimpses made me remember the horrible feelings I went through at the end of the Berserk TV anime. Also released was a new poster for the film which can be seen above (the old one below). The first two films have played at UK film festivals like Scotland Loves Anime and are all guaranteed a UK DVD release at some point. Stay tuned for more information!

After Guts leaves the employ of the Band of the Hawk it all goes very wrong for Griffith and company. Casca does her best to hold the remnants of the mercenary army together but with Midland’s soldiers closing in on them their days seem numbered. Until Guts steps back into the picture. This, however, will lead him to the Eclipse Ceremony and the horror that will unleash Femto.

Berserk Movie III Descent Poster

Berserk Golden Age Arc III: Descent Trailer

Berserk Golden Age Arc III: Descent           Berserk Movie III Descent Poster

Japanese Title: Berserk Ōgon Jidai-Hen III: Kōrin

Romaji: ベルセルク 黄金時代 篇 III: 降臨 

Release Date: 4th February 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Toshiyuki Kubooka

Writer: Ichiro Okouchi (Script), Kentarō Miura (original manga)

Starring: Hiroaki Iwanaga (Guts), Takahiro Sakurai (Griffith), Toa Yukinaru (Casca), Aki Toyosaki (Charlotte), Kenta Miyake (Nosferatu Zodd)

Possible spoilers ahead. This is a new teaser trailer for the third Berserk feature and it gives us a glimpse into the mayhem, carnage and trauma that comes at the very end of the Golden Age Arc. This is where the story goes from conventional medieval combat to full on supernatural horror and I was left pretty horrified at the end which just reinforced how swept up in the Berserk saga I was. It is directed by Toshiyuki Kubooka who was the director of the previous two instalments and Studio 4°C look to have continued with their excellent animation.

After Guts leaves the employ of the Band of the Hawk it all goes very wrong for Griffith and The Band of the Hawk. Casca does her best to hold the remnants of the mercenary army together but with Midland’s soldiers closing in on them their days seem numbered. Until Guts steps back into the picture. This, however, will lead him to the Eclipse Ceremony and the horrific  creation of Femto.