The Complex, Maruyama, The Middle Schooler, Buddha Burning Human, Proof of the Child, Leaving on the 15th Spring, Peach Festival Films and Other Trailers and the Movie Box Office Chart

Saturday Touhou StreetAku no Hana/Flowers of Evil was the only post this week but I wanted to let this one have the spotlight for a couple of days because I think the anime is very, very brilliant. I also had to revise for my Japanese test on Wednesday. I think I passed this course but I’m not happy with the way my study habits floundered at points. There is definite room for improvement. No films watched but plenty of anime like Attack on Titan, My Youth RomcomAku no Hana and Red Data Girl. Next Saturday I will be attending a Japan Day Festival, which I posted on AUKN.

What does the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart look like for the weekend May 11th-12th?

  1. Detective Conan Private Eye in the Distant Sea
  2. Phone Call to the Bar 2
  3. Iron Man 3
  4. Prefecture’s Government Hospitality Division
  5. Library Wars
  6. Shield of Straw
  7. Crayon Shin Chan! Gourmet Food Survival
  8. Kamen Rider X Super Sentai X Space Sheriff: Super Hero Taisen Z
  9. Saint Young Men
  10. Steins;Gate: The Movie

Major changes in this week’s movie box office standings with three new entries in the top ten from last week’s crop. Saint Young Men comes in at nine, Prefecture’s Government Hospitality Division at four and Phone Call to the Bar 2 resting at two. Detective Conan continue to reign supreme at one for the fourth week in a row while Steins;Gate claws its way back into the top ten at ten.

What is released this week? I say this week because there is a film festival going on in Japan at the moment and they released some titles on the 16th and 18th. There are lots of cool trailers.

Peach Festival Films

Female filmmakers have been on the rise in Japan as well regarded films like Dreams for Sale, End of Puberty and Just Pretended to Hear reveal. To get a better taste of what other young female directors are doing we get a whole festival dedicated to showing the freshest works coming from them. The theme for this year is ‘Tears’. Here are three short films that will be on the big screen.

Peach Festival Presents Tears “Sayonara Mermaid”       Peach Film Festival Poster

Japanese Title: 桃まつり presents なみだ “サヨナラ人魚”

Romaji: Momo Matsuri Presents Namida “Sayonara Ningyo”

Release Date: May 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 48 mins.

Director: Ayaka Kato

Writer: Ayaka Kato (Screenplay)                                                Sayonara Mermaid Film Image

Starring: Kazuha Komiya, Yuta Toda, Katsunori Teraoka, Minori Hagiwara

This is the debut of Ayaka Kato and it has a title which sounds like it could be strange. The trailer is intriguing. Two guys approach a mysterious woman previously seen on a beach. Is she a mermaid? Is she simply suicidal and disturbed? Guys, you better watch out! Mermaids can’t be trusted! Even foxy ones!

Actually this is a film where a woman named Sammy, who is attending a prep school, is in all sorts of relationships with instructors and fellow students and feels emptiness. We then follow a series of encounters with different people. Is this a riff on the Little Mermaid fairy tale and does she go through similar things? Well this short has 48 minutes to develop this story. If Ayaka Kato is skilled enough, it should be enough.


Peach Festival Presents Tears “Itai no Itai no Tonde Ike”Peach Film Festival Poster

Japanese Title: 桃まつり presents “なみだ “いたいのいたいのとんでいけ”

Romaji: Matsuri Presents Namida Itai no Itai no Tonde Ike

Release Date: May 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 30 mins.

Director: Miwa Paku

Writer: N/A

Starring: Haruna Okawa, Mari Hayashida, Shioi Kasahara

Pain Fly Away Film Image

I am totally unsure about this title. It looks like Pain of the Pain Fly Away but it sounds totally wrong… Arrgh. Frustration. Anyway, this film comes from Park Miwa who worked on the 3.11 shot-film compilation Tomorrow which gathered together staff originating from the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The story follows Kana, a young girl who is trying to get her parents to reconcile their differences during a domestic conflict. The biggest name for me is Mari Hayashida who was in Cold Bloom. No trailer.

Leaving on the 15th Spring                               Tabidachi no Shima Uta Film Poster

Japanese Title: 旅立ちの島唄 十五の春

Romaji: Tabidachi no Shima Uta – 15 no Aru

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 114 mins.

Director: Yasuhiro Yoshida

Writer: Yasuhiro Yoshida (Screenplay),

Starring: Ayaka Miyoshi, Shinobu Otake, Karou Kobayashi, Saori Koide, Ryuya Wakaba, Jyo Hyuga,

I listed this one with the incorrect release date of April 17th. Apologies. I was suspicious because the website I got the info from didn’t tally up with another, much more reliable one. Anyway the film trailer didn’t impress me that much on the first run but a review from the Japan Times film review site chalks this up as an impressive feature citing the fact that director, “Yoshida can universalize from the real without turning his people into case studies or stereotypes… Yoshida prefers to speak volumes with nonviolent, emotionally charged suggestion. That is, he brings an understated lyricism to what an ordinary documentary might have reduced to just-the-facts prose.” Ayaka Miyoshi, one of the stars of Good Morning Everyone, last year’s rock film which starred Kumiko Aso, takes the lead in this family drama which examines the lives of a family who are separated from each other due to geographical circumstances.

Minamidaito Island does not have a high school and so when teenagers hit 15 they must head to mainland Japan. Yuna Nakazato (Miyoshi) is about to make the same trip as her two older siblings leaving her father Toshiharu (Kobayashi) behind. She worries about him being left alone but she will be joining her mother Akemi (Otake), sister Mina (Koide) and brother in Naha. With her date of departure looming Yuna feels unease about her future but also has a curiosity about the wider world.

The Complex                                              The Complex Film Poster 2

Japanese Title: クロユリ 団

Romaji: Kuroyuri Danchi

Running Time: 106 mins.

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Director: Hideo Nakata

Writer: Hideo Nakata, Junya Kato, Ryuta Miyake

Starring: Atsuka Maeda, Hiroki Narimiya, Masanobu Katsumura, Naomi Nishida, The Complex PosterSosei Tanaka, Masaya Takahashi, Satomi Tezuka, Taro Suwa, Yurei Yanagi, Megumi Sato, Mayumi Asaka

Hideo Nakata, the director of J-horror classic Ringu and Dark Water returns with another urban supernatural chiller with The Complex which premiered at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival. Reviews suggest this is a return to horror form for the director and the trailer strikes all the right notes for me! It stars the beautiful Atsuka Maeda who is a former member of AKB48 and starred in The Drudgery Train, one of the more interesting titles released in Japan last year.  Hiroki Narimiya, Tooru in Mirror Hell part of Rampo Noir and the titular character in the Phoenix Wright movie Ace Attorney is her male co-star. The supporting cast include Naomi Nishida (Library Wars, Swing Girls) and Megumi Sato (Cyborg She, Exte). First trailer of the week! Go J-hora!

Asuka (Maeda) has moved into the Kuroyuri apartment complex. It is a place with a chequered history as mysterious deaths occurred there 13 years ago. It isn’t long before she starts hearing the sound “garigarigari” from the apartment next door where an old man lives and it isn’t long before he is found dead! This is the start of a series of horrifying events that strike the apartment. Asuka calls upon Sasahara (Narimiya), a man who cleans up the homes of the recently deceased, to help solve the mystery.


Maruyama, The Middle Schooler          Maruyama the Middleschooler

Japanese Title: 中学生 円山

Romaji: Chuugakusei Maruyama

Release Date: May 18th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 199 mins.

Director: Kankuro Kudo

Writer: Kankuro Kudo (Screenplay)

Starring: Hiroaki Takuma, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Yang Ik-June, Maki Sakai, Toru Nakamura, Nanami Nabemoto, Yuiko Kariya,You, Fumina Hara,Kenji Endo, Tomorowo Taguchi, Maho Nonami

This one is my second trailer of the week. It premiered at the 15th Udine Far East Film Festival last month where it got this review and this more recent Japan Times review makes the film sound really, really funny. Hiraoka Takuma (The Wolf Children) takes the lead in this comedy with Yang Ik-June (Breathless, Our Homeland), Maki Sakai (Paris Tokyo Paysage, The Samurai That Night), You (Nobody Knows, Still Walking), Maho Nonami (2LDK), Tomorowo Taguchi (Tetsuo: The Iron Man) and Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, member of J-pop group SMAP and star of Beautiful World. It’s directed by Kankuro Kuda, actor in Memories of Matsuko and Instant Swamp. The trailer is short and reading my synopsis is long but I like the look of this one!

Katsuya Maruyama (Hiraoka) is 14, an age where a boys thoughts are consumed by carnal desires. Only his are strange. He wants to “to touch his own weeny with his tongue.” Perhaps his strangeness is a result of living a mundane life in a housing complex with his mother Mizuki (sakai)), a woman obsessed with Korean dramas, his fitness obsessed father Katsuyuki (Nakamura) and sharing his room with his sister Akane (Nabemoto). There are other, stranger characters around like Tatsuo Shimoi (Kusanagi), a single father who wheels his infant son in a buggy around everywhere and prying into his neighbours lives and irritating housewives and a Korean electrician named Park Hyeon-Hun (Yang Ik-June) who attracts the attention of Mizuki. When bodies start turning up in the apartment complex Maruyama begins to draw a manga about a superhero named Captain Fruit (based on his father) who comes to the rescue. He shares his crazy tales with Shimoi and the line between fantasy and reality become blurred.

   Continue reading “The Complex, Maruyama, The Middle Schooler, Buddha Burning Human, Proof of the Child, Leaving on the 15th Spring, Peach Festival Films and Other Trailers and the Movie Box Office Chart”

Saint Young Men, Home, Prefecture Government’s Hospitality Division, Phone Call to the Bar 2, Peach Film Festival Films Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Saturday Touhou FaceWhat did I do this week? Well I’ll tell you whether you’re interested or not. A post for the release of For Love’s Sake and a Competition to go to Hong Kong thanks to the lovely folks at the Terracotta Far East Film Festival. I took part in an interview with fellow cineblogger Lost in the Miso and I watched a lot of anime (more first impressions next week). No films. I am gearing up for the Terracotta Far East Film Festival with four films (three Japanese and one Korean) on the cards. I need to write a preview for this festival. I still need to write to reviews from the last film festival I attended. There are a lot of things I need to do and all of that will have to wait until I pass my Japanese exam next week.

What does the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart look like for the weekend May 04th-05th.

  1. Detective Conan Private Eye in the Distant Sea
  2. Iron Man 3
  3. Library Wars
  4. Shield of Straw
  5. Crayon Shin Chan! Gourmet Food Survival
  6. Kamen Rider X Super Sentai X Space Sheriff: Super Hero Taisen Z
  7. Dragon Ball Z Battle of the Gods
  8. Lincoln
  9. Wreck-It Ralph
  10. The Great Passage

No new entries in the top ten but it is encouraging to see The Great Passage hanging in the top ten. Detective Conan retains the top spot for the third week in a row, Library Wars and Shield of Straw round out the top five in their second week out.

What is released this week? A lot more than the paltry two titles of last week!

Saint Young Men                          Saint Young Men Film Poster

Japanese Title: 聖☆おにいさん

Romaji: Sei  聖☆Onīsan

Release Date: May 10th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Noriko Takao

Writer: Rika Nezu

Starring: Mirai Moriyama, Gen Hoshino, Reiko Suzuki, Ryoko Kinomiya

Imagine if Buddha and Jesus shared an apartment in the Tachikawa area of Saint Young Men Manga Hikaru NakamuraTokyo and experienced life as humans in Japan. This is the concept of Hikaru Nakamura’s manga and it sounds amusing enough and it now has an anime film. The staff are experienced. Noriko Takao has worked as an episode director on gag anime K-ON! And Lucky Star. The screenplay comes from Rika Nezu who wrote for the live-action Kimi ni Todoke. There are great actors fulfilling the roles of seiyuu. Mirai Moriyama (The Drudgery Train) voices Jesus and Gen Hoshino (Why Don’t You Play in Hell?) voices Buddha. The animation is very gorgeous and detailed and the character designs are great, check out the trailer.

Home                               Home Film Poster

Japanese Title:

Romaji: Ie

Release Date: May 11th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 80 mins.

Director: Masatoshi Akihara

Writer: Shimizaki Fujimura (Original Novel)

Starring: Tomomi Nishimura, Yoji Matsuda, Anri Ban, Yuki Kimoto, Takuya Nakayama, Mitsuho Otani, Ichiro Ogura

Masatoshi Akihara, director of the rather amusing looking Lupin no Kiganjo (2011) is directing an adaptation of Shimizaki Fujimura’s novel of the same name which charts the fortunes of members of two families in the Kiso area of Nagano prefecture, one of which runs a brewery which will pass to a daughter and the other which is more humble and consists of teachers. It stars Tomomi Matsuda (Life on the Longboard), Yoji Matsuda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, The Hidden Blade), and Anri Ban (Go, Tokyo Rhapsody). To be quite honest the trailer didn’t interest me in the least but I am thankful I did the research because that Lupin film (ルパンの奇巌城) looks very amusing!

Prefecture Government’s Hospitality Division    Prefecture Government Hospitality Division

Japanese Title: 県庁おもてなし課

Romaji: Kenchou Omotenashi Ka

Release Date: May 11th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Yoshinage Miyake,

Writer: Hiro Arikawa (Original Light Novel), Yoshikazu Okada (Screenplay)

Starring: Kengo Kora, Ryo Nishikido, Mari Horikita, Eiichiro Funakoshi, Megumi Seki, Masahiro Komoto, Satoru Matsuo

Anime fans will know that prefectures in Japan are falling over themselves to use anime to promote their regions. Well here’s an example of a film doing it. The film trailer looks dull, like an advertisement for the locations (it was shot mostly in Koichi prefecture) with some light drama thrown in and so I was eager to get to the end of it and watch something else. Script comes courtesy of Yoshikazu Okada who wrote Space Travelers. The cast looks pretty, the ones of note for me are Mari Horikita who was one of the brighter aspects in the J-horror films The Locker 1 and 2 and One Missed Call Final, Kengo Kora who was in Norwegian Wood, The Woodsman & the Rain and The Drudgery Train and Megumi Seki (The Foreign Duck, Christmas in August). It’s nice to see Horikita moving on to better films with bigger bugets.

Koichi prefecture needs to promote itself for tourism purposes so who are they gonna call? The hospitality division, that’s who.

Or so you might think but there’s a strict rule banning advertisements so a popular writer from Koichi named Kyosuke Yoshikado (Kora) is appointed as the special envoy for tourism in the area and has the help of hospitality division employees Fumitaka (Nishikido) and Taki (Horikita).

So what’s the plan? Well Kyosuke is pointed in the direction of Seien, a former employee of Koichi Prefecture who was fired when his plan to import pandas fell apart. When Fumitaka and Taki visit Seien they get a frosty welcome (more like a bucket of water thrown at them) from Seien’s daughter Sawa (Seki). Can this group work together?


Phone Call to the Bar 2                    Phone Call to the Bar 2 Film Poster

Japanese Title: 探偵はBARにいる2

Romaji: Tantei wa Bar ni Iru 2

Release Date: May 11th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director: Hajime Hashimoto,

Writer: Naomi Azuma (Original Novel), Ryota Kosawa (Screenplay)

Starring: Yo Oizumi, Ryuhei Matsuda, Machiko Ono, Atsuro Watabe, Gori, Tomorowo Taguchi, Eisuke Sasai, Kazuki Namioka, Koen Kondo, Mariko Tsutsui, Yutaka MAtsushige, Kenichi Yajima

The sequel to the popular and, according to a friend who saw it on a flight from Japan, rather entertaining Phone Call to the Bar! This is based on Naomi Azuma’s 2001 novel and it has quite the cast. Yo Oizumi, Ratman in the Gegege no Kitaro films, the impossibly handsome Ryuhei Matsuda, star of The Foreign Duck and Nightmare Detective, Yutaka Matsushige, the scary killer in The Guard from the Underground, Mariko Tsutsui who was in One Missed Call, Atsuro Watabe who looked effortlessly cool in Heat After Dark, Machiko Ono who was in Eureka and Tomorowo Taguchi who was the eponymous protag in Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man. This trailer looks pretty damn awesome actually wth Ryuhei Matsuda mixing it up in the action department and Atsuro Watabe looking like a political slickster. Some pretty good humour emerges as well. Trailer of the week.

Masako (Gori) is a magician at a Japanese pub and s friends with a Private Detective (Oizumi). When Masako dies at a magic show convention, private detective and Takada (Matsuda) begins investigating and find that Gori may have been involved with political figures. As this rumbles on, a woman who has been following the private detective consults him with a mystery of her own.

Continue reading “Saint Young Men, Home, Prefecture Government’s Hospitality Division, Phone Call to the Bar 2, Peach Film Festival Films Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart”

Return to Iitate Village of Radiation, Innervision Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Devil Survivor Come with me if you want to liveA new week a new dorama. With xxxHOLiC ending on a nice note I have picked up Shinya Shokudo, a recommendation from fellow Japanese dorama fan Tired Paul. So far it reminds me of Bartender. Expect a review in the coming weeks. I was also impressed with episode 4 of Attack on Titan (WHAT AN ENDING!) and My Youth Rom-Com. This season has been the best in terms of shows since Autumn 2011. The highlight of my week in film had to be two titles, A Woman Named Abe Sada, an awesome 1975 Roman Porno and Bakumatsu Taiyo-den, a 1957 comedy set in a cat house. Expect reviews of them as well.

This week in terms of blogging began with a God-tier teaser trailer for Sion Sono’s latest film, Why Don’t You Play in Hell? Awesome title! To say that it made my day would be an understatement. I felt so damn refreshed! I also posted my answers to a Liebster Blog Award and my first Impressions for Devil Survivor 2 The Animation. I’m going to try and finish my First Impressions up next week and get back to films.

Anyway… What do the Japanese film charts look like this week (April 27th-28st)?

  1. Detective Conan Private Eye in the Distant Sea
  2. Iron Man 3
  3. Crayon Shin Chan! Gourmet Food Survival
  4. Lincoln
  5. Dragon Ball Z Battle of the Gods
  6. The Last Stand
  7. Steins;Gate Fuka Ryoiki no Deja Vu
  8. The Great Passage
  9. Wreck-It Ralph
  10. Killing Them Softly

Last week’s number one, Detective Conan remains at the top while everything else drops down a place to make way for Iron Man 3. I’m not really a fan of superhero movies andrpefer things like Steins;Gate and The Great Passage which remain in the top ten at seventh and eighth respectively.

What Japanese films are released in Japan this weekend? Only two???

Return to Iitate Village of Radiation           Return to Iitate Village Film Poster

Japanese Title: 飯舘村 放射能 と 帰村

Romaji: Ītatemura Hōshano to Kison

Release Date: May 06th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director: Doi Toshikuni

My Japanese isn’t all that great so my translations can be wrong as I suspect they are in this case because it sounds very melodramatic and the trailer is rather undramatic with a lot of talking head interviews and observation. This documentary comes from Doi Toshikuni who released one earlier this year about Burmese in Japan. This documentary records the travails of two families in Iitate village, Fukushima Prefecture, which suffers the consequences of the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Rain, snow and wind all carry radiation and both the Shiga and Hasegawa families are forced to leave. The Shiga family, dairy farmers by trade, find themselves in a new town and working in factories while the Hasegawa family split up.

Innervision                                                             Innervision Film Poster

Japanese Title: Innervisionインナーヴィジョン

Romaji: Innervision inna-vuijon

Release Date: May 06th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 45 mins.

Director: Makoto Sasaki

Writer: N/A

Starring: Hideyuki Kato, Kiyoshi Yaamoto, Hirotoshi Kobayashi, Masanori Kobayashi, Robert Harris

Innervision is another documentary but this one follows Hideyuki Kato, a musician who is visually impaired, who supervises the creation his own science fiction movie using equipment and digital technology James Cameron developed for Avatar. The main character looks to be an interesting chap and the short running time should ensure that the film does not outstay its welcome.

That’s it for this week. There are more films released next week. I also have a Japanese test but thankfully I have finished posts early and have the scheduled. The final video for this post is a cool AMV.

Shield of Straw, A Woman and War, Jellyfish Eyes, Library Wars, Monster and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Attack on Titan Mikasa PunchThis week started with a look at the Japanese films playing at the Cannes Film Festival 2013. There are two films from two great directors – Miike and Koreeda – and the trailer for Miike’s film gets me hyped up! I followed this with First Impressions of the Attack on Titan and My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected, two of the new titles from the Spring 2013 Season Anime. After three episodes from each I find these two of the best TV anime titles I have seen since Mawaru Penguindrum back in 2011. A bit quiet on the film front. A Japanese essay (finished at the last minute just before the lesson started!) took up most of my time but I did get Bakumatsu Taiyou-den in the post, a film that was shown at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival. I’m going to watch it tonight! Sooo excited!

What do the Japanese film charts look like this week (April 20th-21st)?

  1. Detective Conan Private Eye in the Distant Sea
  2. Crayon Shin Chan! Gourmet Food Survival
  3. Lincoln
  4. Dragon Ball Z Battle of the Gods
  5. Wreck-It Ralph
  6. Steins;Gate Fuka Ryoiki no Deja Vu
  7. The Great Passage
  8. Platina Data
  9. Chinese Zodiac
  10. Doraemon Nobita’s Dinosaur

Well the children’s anime Detective Conan and Crayon Shin-chan zoom out of their release slots last week to take the top two spots on the film chart. Another anime released last week, Steins;Gate, does good business on its opening weekend with $931,275 earned from just eighteen screens. The Great Passage remains in the top ten at seven and Platina Data takes eighth position. Definitely an interesting top ten!

What is released this weekend?

Shield of Straw                                         Shield of Straw Film Poster

Japanese Title: 藁 の 楯

Romaji: Wara no Tate

Release Date: April 26th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 124 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Kazuhiro Kiuchi (Original Novel), Tamio Hayashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Takao Osawa, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Nanako Matsushima, Kimiko Yo, Kento Nagayama, Goro Kishitani, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Hirotaro Honda, Masata Ibu

Takashi Miike is great. Fact. He is going to be at the Cannes Film Festival with his latest film Shield of Straw, an action title/crime-thriller based on a novel by Kazuhiro Kiuchi. The review at the Japan Times scores it as a 3 out of 5 which doesn’t sound spectacular but reviewer Mark Schilling describes it as

“A high-concept entertainment of a type beloved by the local industry, with a hyped-to-the-max plot that features death-defying heroics, the film pushes beyond its own cliches to an existential knife’s edge where the cop hero (Takao Osawa) is tested to the moral core of his being.”

Do we get a sense of that from the trailers?

Can we say f*ck yeah!?!?! TRAILER OF THE WEEK. This is what I want to see!

Kunihide Kiyomaru (Fujiwara) is a murderer. His victim is the granddaughter of a power-player in the political and financial world named Takaoki Ninagawa (Yamazaki).Three months elapse and Kiyomaru thinks he is in the clear until he sees that Ninagawa has placed full page ads in three of the biggest newspapers in Japan offering a 1 billion yen reward to the person who can kill Kiyomaru. Fearing for his life, he turns himself in to Fukuoka Prefectural Police.

This case is highly explosive so five elite detectives from the security section (SP) of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department travel to Fukuoka to escort Kiyomaru back. The distance between Fukuoka and Tokyo is 1,200 km and there are a lot of people who want to collect that reward including rogue police officers. The pressure is on and one of the SP officers, Mekari Kazuki (Takao) begins to show doubts about whether they should protect Kiyomaru but fellow officer Atsuko Shiraiwa (Matsushima) is determined to get the job done.

When I first started reviewing Japanese films properly Miike’s Audition was one of the first titles I looked to because it demonstrated that beyond the attention-grabbing shocks of extreme cinema there was a lot of technical skill on the screen. Little did I realise that I would be seeing most of his latest films in a cinema and heaping further high praise! The reviews range from his remake of the classic 13 Assassins, the amusing kids film Ninja Kids!!! and the cracked musical For Love’s Sake. I hope that Shield of Straw also gets a screening. It stars Takao Osawa (Aragami, Ichi), Nanako Matsushima (Reiko Asakawa in Ringu), Tatsuya Fujiwara (Battle Royale, Death Note), Tsutomu Yamazaki (The Woodsman & the Rain, Tampopo), Kento Nagayama (Crime or Punishment?!?), Kimiko Yo (Departures, For Love’s Sake) and Hirotaro Honda (Zero Focus).


Jellyfish Eyes                                         Jellyfish Eyes Film Poster

Japanese Title: めめめのくらげ

Romaji: Mememe no Kurage

Release Date: April 26th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Takashi Murakami

Writer: Takashi Murakami (Screenplay),

Starring: Takuto Sueoka, Himeka Asami, Masataka Kubota. Shota Sometani, Takumi Saito, Asuka Kurosawa, Kanji Tsuda, Mayu Tsuruta

Takashi Murakami is one of the biggest contemporary artists in the world with his “superflat” style which merges Japanese pop-culture (anime, J-pop) into a colourful representation of what Otaku adore about Japan. When he has exhibited his work in the UK he tends to get column inches in newspapers and some TV air time. He is bringing his unique vision to cinema screens in a film which mixes live-action and animation with magical creatures that look like Pokemon and some family drama. The film’s theme tune sounds awful but the trailer looks kind of good with a mix of comedy and angst and cute and a narrative that manages to weave in the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (another film for the list). According to a feature on the Japan Times website it is also a bit of an existential tale and pretty damn awesome.

9-year-old Masashi (Sueoka) lost his father on March 11th and moves to a new town with his mother. He starts at a new school and is the target of bullies. He also gains a friend in his class, Saki (Asami). When unpacking things at home, Masashi finds a strange creature like a jellyfish appears from one of the boxes. He names the creature Kurage Bo and takes him to school where he discovers that everyone in his class have similar “friends” which only children can see and control by remote control. These creatures seem cute and adorable but there is a dark corporate entity controlling them so they can harvest negative energy.

The film stars Takuto Sueoka (Welcome Home, Hayabusa) in the lead role and Himeka Asami (Yellow Elephant) as his friend Saki. Masataka Kubota (13 Assassins, The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky), Shota Sometani (Himizu), Takumi Saito (For Love’s Sake, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl) and the spectacular Asuka Kurosawa (A Snake of June, Dead Waves, Cold Fish).

Continue reading “Shield of Straw, A Woman and War, Jellyfish Eyes, Library Wars, Monster and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

Steins;Gate The Movie, Petal Dance, Crayon Shin Chan! Gourmet Food Survival, Detective Conan Private Eye in the Distant Sea, Secret Love, Hear Mother’s Song Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Abara Tsutomu Nihei White GaunaThis week I posted a tribute to Abara, a manga full of awesome images which reminded me of why I love reading Tsutomu Nihei’s works, and clips  of Sion Sono’s currently airing dorama All Esper Dayo!

As far as viewing stuff goes it was one totally dominated by anime as I watched the opening two or three episodes from the five shows I picked from the Spring Season and I stack up reviews for the next two or three weeks. The spring season has got off to a cracking start for me with Attack on Titan and the My Youth Romantic Comedy Failed as Expected providing me a lot of entertainment as my over-enthusiastic reviews will reveal. I have a ton of film reviews still to go through but my time has to be re-allocated to studying Japanese because I have an essay to hand in next week and a test in a months time. Keigo (honourifics) is scaring me at the minute and I haven’t touched it since my last lesson more than a month ago so I have to get going with it. Without further ado, let’s get straight to the charts and trailers!

What do the Japanese film charts look like this week (April 13th-14th)?

  1. Dragon Ball Z Battle of the Gods
  2. Wreck-It Ralph
  3. The Great Passage
  4. Platina Data
  5. Chinese Zodiac
  6. Doraemon Nobita’s Dinosaur
  7. Aibou Series X Day
  8. Oz the Great and Powerful
  9. Precure All Stars New Stage 2
  10. Jack the Giant Slayer

Wow, The Great Passage has entered at number three after its release last weekend! Has Yuya Ishii’s time arrived? Is he about to transition into the big league directors with a film that appeals to critics. We’ll see how long the film stays in the charts. Platina Data remains at number four in its fifth week and it has earned over $24 million. My teacher has read the book and she said it’s great. I hope I can see the film soon and confirm how good it is. Anyway…

What’s released this weekend?

Steins;Gate The Movie    Steins;Gate Movie Poster 2                                                                     

Japanese Title: 劇場版 シュタインズ・ゲート 負荷領域のデジャヴ

Romaji: Shutainzu Ge-to: Fuka Ryouiki no Deja Bu

Release Date:  April 20th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Kanji Wakabayashi (Director), Hiroshi Hamasaki, Takuya Satō (Chief Directors),Steins;Gate Movie Poster

Writer: Jukki Hanada

Starring: Mamoru Miyano (Rintarou Okabe), Asami Imai (Kurisu Makise) Kana Hanazawa (Mayuri Shiina), Halko Momoi (Faris Nyannyan), Tomokazu Seki (Itaru Hashida), Yu Kobayashi (Ruka Urushibara), Yukari Tamura (Suzuha Amane), Saori Goto (Moeka Kiryuu)


I can definitely say that this would be my film of the week without having to look at trailers. Steins;Gate was my second favourite anime of 2011 and I think I am about ready to revisit Okabe and Makise… Alright, I just want to see Mayuri-chan. The film has the vocal talents of Mamoru Miyano (Fuse: A Gun Girl’s Detective Story) and Kana Hanazawa who has the sweetest voice that makes me just want to hug her… Okay, that was creepy. They are supported by Halko Momoi who composed and performed the awesome song Mail Me which was used in Suicide Club. If you have not watched the anime then the trailer might be a little underwhelming.




Petal Dance            Petal Dance Film Poster

Japanese Title: ペタル ダンス

Romaji: Petaru Dansu

Release Date: April 20th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 90 mins.

Director: Hiroshi Ishikawa

Writer: Hiroshi Ishikawa

Starring: Kazue Fukiishi, Sakura Ando, Aoi Miyazaki, Shiori Kutsuna, Shunsuke Petal Dance Film Poster 2Kazama, Mariko Goto, Hanae Kan, Masanobu Ando, Tsutomu Takahashi

Hiroshi Ishikawa, writer and director of films Tokyo Sora and Su-ki-da, actually has a day job as a CM director but as the aforementioned films show he is able to do high-quality drama. I haven’t seen any of them but I have seen a lot of the actors and actresses at work.

The four friends are played by four major actresses:

Aoi Miyazaki who starred in Su-ki-da and has been heard and seen in major titles like Wolf Children, Eureka and The Great Passage, is the big star here but there are more interesting actresses. First and foremost is Sakura Ando, a woman with a distinctive look who has been in films like the fun and exciting Love Exposure, Crime or Punishment and For Love’s Sake to the dark and psychological Penance and Our Homeland. Kazue Fukiishi I have burned into my memory from a brilliant performance in Noriko’s Dinner Table and had a minor roles in Thirteen Assassin and One Missed Call, how she does with drama is a mystery to me but Petal Dance has gotten a good review at the Japan Times with particular attention being paid to Kazue Fukiishi. Shiori Kutsuna is the fourth actress and her biggest films to date have been My Back Page and Tsuya’s Night.

As for the men, Shunsuke Kazama was in From up on Poppy Hill and Masanobu Ando was in Takeshi Kitano’s Kids Return, Shinya Tsukamoto’s Nightmare Detective and he was Kiriyama in Battle Royale. He was also in Space Travelers but it has been years since I saw that… What a lovely and intriguing trailer. After watching the very emotional and powerful drama Rebirth I am more willing to give titles like this a chance. This would be my live-action film pick of the week.

Four women who have suffered sorrow in life are on a road trip lasting one night and two days and full of memories and hope of a new start. Jinko (Miyazaki) and Motoko (Ando) have been friends since they attended the same university and it is they who start this road road trip when they hear that a former classmate named Miki (Fukiishi) ran into the sea. The rumour ends with Miki getting out safely but is that all there is to it? Haraki (Kutsuna) met Jinko at the library she works at and joins the trip as a driver.

Continue reading “Steins;Gate The Movie, Petal Dance, Crayon Shin Chan! Gourmet Food Survival, Detective Conan Private Eye in the Distant Sea, Secret Love, Hear Mother’s Song Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart”

Cold Bloom, The Great Passage, HK Hentai Kamen, Travellers: Dimensional Police, Samurai Dash and Other Movie Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Kiki's Delivery ServiceAnother week stuffed full of anime as I try and finish off the winter season and get into my first impressions of the spring selections I made. That written I did write about films! I made a longer than expected review Mushishi which is based on a manga and anime. I loved the film and found it a beautiful and relaxing watch which I can keep indulging in. I also posted about the trailer for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s film Real. I went way overboard compared to my usual trailer posts and indulged my love of Kiyoshi Kurosawa films!

The majority of my film-watching time was spent with Film4 and its Studio Ghibli season which draws to a close later today with the screening of Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind. It capped a wonderful fortnight where I managed to watch nearly all of the titles. I re-watched The Cat Returns, Only Yesterday, Howl’s Moving Castle and Laputa: Castle in the Sky while doing Japanese homework and made a point of watching The Little Norse Prince and I enjoyed them all.

In terms of other anime I finished Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan in preparation for a review while the Anime UK News Serial Experiments Lain simul-watch has ground to a halt because it seems the participants are either too busy or too confused (the former for me). Level E surprised me with its 4th episode which the comedy is toned down to miniscule proportions and the drama turned up and it works really effectively because I was engaged with the story right until (SPOILER) its ironic ending where I burst out into a fit of laughter. It showed the creativity of the creators. I finally finished Maoyu (review coming soon!). 

What do the Japanese film charts look like this week (April 06th-07th)?

  1. Dragon Ball Z Battle of the Gods
  2. Wreck-It Ralph
  3. Doraemon Nobita’s Dinosaur
  4. Platina Data
  5. Aibou Series X Day
  6. Precure All Stars New Stage 2
  7. Oz the Great and Powerful
  8. Jack the Giant Slayer
  9. Himawari and Her Puppies
  10. My Diary of Our Exchange

No real change in the top ten although Orpheus’ Lyre, one of last week’s big dramas starring Ryoko Hiosue, opens at 15 with a modest $178,145 earned from 109 screens.

What’s released this weekend?

Cold Bloom                                                            Cold Bloom Film Poster

Japanese Title: 桜並木の満開の下に

Romaji: Sakura Namiki no Mankai no Shita ni

Release Date: April 13th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 120 mins.

Director: Atsushi Funahari

Writer: Atsushi Funahari, Murakoshi Shigery

Starring: Asami Usuda, Takahiro Miura, Yurei Yanagi, Taro Suwa, You Takahashi

Atsushi Funahari premiered this at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. It is a film with the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami as its subject matter much like his previous film, the documentary Nuclear Nation which looked at nuclear power after the disaster in 2011. This drama looks at the economic and emotional impact as felt by a group of workers at a factory. It stars a collection of new and old actors like Asami Usuda (The Woodsman & the Rain), Takahiro Miura (Ninja Kids!!!), Yurei Yanagi (Boiling PointRing) and Taro Suwa (Cold FishHimizu). A review on the Japan Times Website makes this sound good, a tough watch with some limited but focussed performances that make it emotionally rewarding. The first film of the week I want to watch.

Ever since the tsunami struck the workers of a metal factory in the industrial town of Hitachi have been in something of a malaise, the only thing keeping them afloat being a skilled worker named Kenji (Takahashi) who has secured them a contract. Then he dies on the first day at the client’s site. His colleague Takumi (Miura) is responsible and the factory worker turn on him, taking sides with Kenji’s widow Shiori (Usuda) but her hatred turns to love. 


The Great Passage                We Knit Ship Film Poster

Japanese Title: 舟を編む

Romaji: Fune wo Amu

Release Date: April 13th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 133 mins.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Shion Miura (Original Novel), Kensaku Watanabe (Screenplay),

Starring: Ryuhei Matsuda, Aoi Miyazaki, Joe Odagiri, Haru Kuroki, Misako Watanabe, Kumiko Aso, Shingo Tsurumi, Chizuru Ikewaki, Hiroko Isayama, Kaouru Kobayashi, Go Kato, Kaoru Yachigusa, Ryu Morioka, Shohei Uno, Kazuki Namioka

After watching Sawako Decides I was ready to join the Yuya Ishii fan-club. Then I watched Mitsuko Delivers, a stolid film hampered with a frustratingly docile story and wooden comedy. I was genuinely bewildered that he could have come out with something like that. Then I saw the trailer for The Great Passage when it was featured over at Otherwhere in one of Alua’s trailer weeklies. I was moderately interested in it as it seemed a return to form for Yuya Ishii. A lack of a genki girls and wooden comedy and a return to the low-key observational and character-based humour that marked Sawako Decides. Anyway…

The literal title is Fune wo Amu – Fune = Ship and Amu = knit so the Japanese title is We Knit Ship but the English title is The Great Passage. The film looks like a really smart intellectual rom-com  where a talented man of letters cannot find the words to say “I love you” to the girl of his dreams.

Mitsuya Majime (Matsuda) is has the talent to comprehend different languages and is the most important member of the editorial team of a dictionary but he struggles to tell Kaguya Hayashi (Miyazaki), a cook and the granddaughter o the owner of Majime’s boarding home, how he feels about her.

It is based on Shion Miura’s novel. She’s a pretty big deal considering she’s had mega successes with her scripts for Tada’s Do-It-All House and its dorama spin-off Mahoro Eki Mae Bangaichi. It has a cast list which is full of stars: Ryuhei Matsuda (Nightmare Detective), Aoi Miyazaki (Eureka), Joe Odagiri (Mushishi, Adrift in Tokyo), Haru Kuroki (The Wolf Children), Kumiko Aso (Pulse), Kazuki Namioka (Thirteen Assassins), Chizuru Ikewaki (Josee, the Tiger and the Fish, The Cat Returns) and Shohei Uno (The Drudgery Train).

I like the concept, I like the talent, I like the trailer – I want to watch this film!

HK Hentai Kamen                                         Hentai Kamen Film Poster

Japanese Title: HK 変態仮面

Romaji: HK Hentai Kamen

Release Date: April 13th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Yuichi Fukuda

Writer: Yuichi Fukuda, Shun Oguri (Screenplay), Keishu Ando (Original Manga)

Starring: Ryohei Suzuki, Fumika Shimizu, Ken Yasuda, Tsuyoshi Muro, Jiro Sato Narushi Ikeda, Takashi Tsukamoto, Yoshinori Okada

Yuichi Fukuda had his Child Police film released a few weeks back and he continues with Hentai Kamen Mangahis comic film form with this film he co-wrote with Shun Oguri (The Woodsman & the Rain). The two have adapted Keishu Ando’s manga “Kyukyuko!! Hentai Kamen” which I have not read but seems like a male version of Go Nagai’s Mask the Kekkou Reborn which had a live-action film adaptation which was released last year and starred AV star Aino Kishi. I must admit that when I first saw the trailer I almost spat my coffee out from laughing so hard. I think I would see this at a cinema regardless of whether I had friends with me or not. Chalk this up as another film I would watch because it looks fun!

Anyway Ryohei Suzuki is ballsy enough to display his well-sculpted body on screen. Some may have seen him in Train Brain Express. Fumoika Shimizu, stars of many Kamen Rider films, is the love interest. Ken Yasuda (The Cat Returns, Rakugo the Movie), Tsuyoshi Muro (After School, A Story of Yonosuke) Takashi Tsukamoto (Battle Royale) and Yoshinori Okada (Fine, Totally Fine) also co-star. Check the trailer and admit that you laughed as well!

Kyosuke Shikijo (Suzuki) is a high school student and the most talented member of his school’s martial arts club. His late father was a detective and has passé on his sense of justice. On top of being a detective Kyosuke’s father was a masochist while his mother was a sadist which partly explains why Kyosuke love of wearing women’s underwear! When he does wear panties and what not he transforms into his alter ego “Pervert Mask” and gains superhuman powers. Said superpowers come in handy when he has to protect Aiko Himeno (Shimizu) from their dirty and evil teacher (Yasuda). Fortunately Aiko’s underwear gives Kyosuke super pervert techniques.

I’m not making this up! Someone else beat me to it! Here’s HK Hentai Kamen’s take on cinema etiquette:

  Continue reading “Cold Bloom, The Great Passage, HK Hentai Kamen, Travellers: Dimensional Police, Samurai Dash and Other Movie Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart”

Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home, Let’s Dig for Dinosaurs, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Love and Eros Cinema Collection, Love Whirlpool, In the Seaside Town, The Sunshine Does Not Stop and Other Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Spirited Away Bathhouse ChihiroWe are in the middle of Studio Ghibli Season here in the UK and I have managed to watch Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and The Cat Returns and a little of Kiki’s Delivery Service. My Neighbour Totoro is just starting! I am still doing the Serial Experiments Lain simulwatch over at AUKN where many participants are scratching their heads in puzzlement over what is going on. I love the twisting and obfuscating narrative! This week began with a joint-review of Detroit Metal City with Novroz. The film is a simple and enjoyable comedy starring Kenichi Matsuyama with great music and even better comedy. I then followed it with news about Sion Sono’s latest film project which has a great open audition process on YouTube. A short working week thanks to Good Friday meant that I had a some time free at the end. Next week begins with Easter Monday so another short week. I’ll try and get some reviews completed in that time.

What does the Japanese movie box office look like this week (March 23rd – 24th)?

  1. Wreck-It Ralph
  2. Doraemon Nobita’s Dinosaur
  3. Platina Data
  4. Aibou Series X Day
  5. Precure All Stars New Stage 2
  6. Oz the Great and Powerful
  7. Jack the Giant Slayer
  8. Himawari and Her Puppies
  9. My Diary of Our Exchange
  10. Nobody’s Perfect

Colour me surprised. Doraemon has been deposed from the top and Disney is on top with Wreck-It Ralph. I always underestimate how popular Disney is with Japanese people and lazily assume that all they watch is anime, anime, anime. No they don’t. The other entries into the top ten from last week are Aibou Series X Day, a movie sequel to a popular TV franchise, Nobody’s Perfect and My Diary of Our Exchange which are both based on books.

What is released this week?

Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home      Hanasaku Irohana Film Poster      

Japanese Title: 花咲くいろは Home Sweet Home

Romaji: Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home

Release Date: March 30th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 66 mins.

Director: Masahiro Ando

Writer: Mari Okada (Screenplay),

Voice Actors: Kanae Itō (Ohana), Aki Toyosaki (Nako), Ayumi Tsunematsu (Takako), Chiaki Omigawa (Minko), Cho (Denroku), Haruka Tomatsu (Yuina), Junichi Sawabe (Tarō), Junji Majima (Tōru)

Hanasaku Iroha – Blossoms is the sequel to the popular slice of life anime Haasaku Iroha Hanasaku Iroha Home Sweet Home Poster 2which follows a girl named Ohana who has to live with her grandmother in a hot springs after her single mother runs off with a boyfriend to skip out on a debt. Said grandmother is strict and requires Ohana to work hard and despite her initial dislike over her circumstances and all of the hard work Ohana begins to find life isn’t as bad as she thought. Ohana has grown accustomed to living in the hot springs inn her grandmother manages, Kissuisou. One day, the daughter of a manager for Kissuisou’s rival inn, Yuina, comes to Kissuisou for training to become a landlady herself. As Ohana is observing her training, she finds “a certain item” in the storeroom while cleaning.

The anime movie sees the return of staff and cast from the TV series with Kanae Itō taking the lead role of Ohana and Aki Toyosaki voicing Nako. It is directed by Masahiro Ando, a chap who has worked on Production I.G. titles Jin-Roh, Patlabor The Movie, and Ghost in the Shell in the key animation department. He also directed Sword of the Stranger and CANAAN. He is working from a screenplay from Mari Okada who is one of the hardest working writers/head writers in anime. She has written scripts for things like Toradora!, Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Red Garden and Aria the Natural. More importantly the two worked on the TV series for Hanasaku Iroha. It’s a slow week for releases so I would settle for seeing this and two or three of the short films below.


Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods                                Dragon Ball Z Battle of the Gods

Japanese Title: ドラゴンボールZ 神と神

Romaji: Doragon Bo-ru Z Kami to Kami

Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 85 mins.

Director: Masahiro Hosoda

Writer: Akira Toriyama (Original Creator/Screenplay), Yusuke Watanabe (Screenplay)

Voice Actors: Masako Nozawa, Kōichi Yamadera, Masakazu Morita, Hiromi Tsuru, Mayumi Tanaka, Masaharu Satō

The massively popular Dragon Ball franchise gets a moie edition in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (Dragon Ball Z: Kami to Kami) which is theatrically released today and I would be interested in seeing if it dominates the chart like Doraemon and One Piece have. It is set between the 517th and 518th volumes of Akira Toriyama’s original long-running manga after the end of the epic battle with the pink terror Majin Buu. It introduces new characters named Birusu – the God of Destruction – and his attendant Wisu who just love fighting. They should fit in perfectly, then.

The film is directed by Masahiro Hosoda, who was assistant director on the blood-thirsty movie version Fist of the North Star and other anime titles like Hell Girl, Kobato, Naruto Shippūden and Street Fighter Alpha. Most importantly he was episode director on Dragon Ball Z during the Cell Games Saga which I have watched and can confirm were rather action-packed with Gohan beating the stuffing out of the green freak Cell. Anyway… The screenplay was written by Yusuke Watanabe with involvement from Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragon Ball Z. Watanabe has a lot of experience transferring manga and anime to the big screen considering he is the screen writer for the live action film versions of GANTZ, Twentieth Century Boys, as well as the TV drama Future Diary. Tadayoshi Yamamuro is the lead animator and he has worked on three Dragon Ball movies and One Piece film Strong World…. Just watched the trailer and I’m rocking out to the updated them tune Chala Head Chala! Nothing will quite beat the Lucky Star Version. Yes the trailer makes the film look awesome but I am not really a fan of DBZ.

Birusu, the god of destruction who has maintained the balance of the universe, has awakened from a 39-year slumber to destroy everything. Hearing rumours of a Saiyan named Goku who defeated the evil Freeza, Birusu seeks Goku out and challenges him to a fight. Goku is excited at getting the chance to fight a strong opponent and ignores King Kai’s advice to avoid the battle which leads to Goku being beaten. Birusu leaves after uttering an ominous message, “Is there anyone on Earth more worthy to destroy?” Can Goku and the others stop the God of Destruction before he destroys everything?


Living in a Foreign Country: Burmese in Japan                   Burmese Living in Japan Film Poster

Japanese Title: 異国 に 生きる 日本の中のビルマ人

Romaji: Ikoku ni Ikiru Nihon no Naka no Biruma Jin

Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Doi Toshikuni 

Documentarian Doi Toshikuni freedom of speech in Japanese schools to the Israeli/Palestinian situation and later this year he has one that tackles the Great East Japan Earthquake. Here He has made a documentary which recrods the lives of people who fled from the military junta in Burma/Myanmar and ended up as political refugees in Japan. Expect moving tales as ties severed and taken up again are examined. One man opened a restaurant who reunites with his wife in Thailand.


Let’s Dig for Dinosaurs                   Lets Dig for Dinosaurs Film Poster

Japanese Title: 恐竜を掘ろう

Romaji: Kyouryuu wo Horou

Release Date: March 30th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 117 mins.

Director: Shinya Owada

Writer: Shinya Owada, Kensuke Owada (Screenplay)

Starring: Hiroki Matsukata, Rina Uchiyama, Jingi Irie, Karin Ono, Sawa Suzuki, Hikaru Yamamoto, Ai Takahashi, Emi Hashino, Taro Yabe, Sumiko Yamada,

Actor Shinya Owada and his… son? Kensuke Owada (The Millenial Rapture, Brain Man, Tokyo Nameless Girl’s Story) unite behind the taking up the directing and writing credits camera to make a human drama. This is a film starring Hiroki Matsukata (Ninja Kids!!!, Thirteen Assassins, Tajomaru) and Sawa Suzuki (Space Travellers, Loft, Dreams for Sale). The trailer does not set my world alight as it seems to be a solid drama mixing a coming of age tale and one examining memories.

Sosuke (Matsukata) owns an art shop and is lonely but when he meets a girl looking for meaning in life he comes into contact with the girl’s mother and through his involvement with these people Sosuke finds himself facing his past.

Continue reading “Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home, Let’s Dig for Dinosaurs, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Love and Eros Cinema Collection, Love Whirlpool, In the Seaside Town, The Sunshine Does Not Stop and Other Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart”

Child Police, Extend Hands From Darkness, Aibou Series X DAY, Nobody’s Perfect, My Diary of Our Exchange, Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Whisper of the HeartAh, I started the week with a first-impression post on xxxHOLiC. I followed it up by watching the anime Level E and engaging on a new simulwatch over at Anime UK News with Serial Experiment’s Lain. I am hooked on these two anime already, the former because it is very funny and the latter because it’s a rigorous and intelligent and mysterious series which reminds me of the control and intelligence to be found in Kiyoshi Kurosawa films.

I am so psyched for next week because Film4 are going to start screening lots of Ghibli films which made up my second post. There will be 19 films shown in total and they run from The Little Norse Prince all the way through to Arrietty. I love Ghibli films and I’ll do my best to watch some of them with Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ocean Waves and The Cat Returns being priority.

I am also psyched about next week because I get paid which means a shipment of films will be ordered! Tonight I watch Vulgaria.

What does the Japanese movie chart look like this week (March 16th-17th)?

  1.  Doraemon Nobita’s Dinosaur
  2.  Platina Data
  3.  Precure All Stars New Stage 2
  4.  Oz the Great and Powerful
  5.  Himawari and Her Puppies
  6.  Flight
  7.  Ted
  8.  A Good Day to Die Hard
  9.  Cloud Atlas
  10.  Les Miserables
  11.  Toaru Majutsu no Index
  12.  Django Unchained
  13.  The Brain Man
  14.  Reunion

Doraemon continues his reign over the chart for a third week but there are a few of last week’s releases piping in with detective thriller Platina Data hitting second, the Precure anime movie grabbing third and Himawari and Her Puppies taking fifth.

What Japanese films are released this week?

Child Police                                        Kodomo Keisatsu Film Poster

Japanese Title: コドモ警察

Romaji: Kodomo Keisatsu

Release Date: March 20th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Yuichi Fukuda

Writer: Yuichi Fukuda (Screenplay),

Starring: Mikako Komatsu, Fuku Suzuki, Miyu Honda, Michiko Kichise, Keito Aoki, Kaichi Kaburagi, Yuga Aizawa

This film was released on Wednesday and is based on a ten episode TBS show directed by Yuichi Fukuda who has another film released this year called HK Hentai Kamen (adapted for the screen by Shun Oguri) which looks funny. Unlike this.

Hmm. Part of me dislikes it based on the poster and concept alone – elementary school kids as police… I’m not engaged with the concept and the kid holding the shotgun looks to be in bad taste to my western eyes (too many shootings in the US – I know it’s a weak excuse but my first reaction was to shudder). BUT! The trailer made me chuckle because of lead actor Fuku Suzuki’s outrage behind his desk. なに!!? and the 70’s vibe which reminded me of older Yakuza films I have seen.

Detective Dekachou (Suzuki) is the leader of the special investigation team in Kanagawa who are locked in an investigation of a criminal organisation called Red Venius. While pursuing the gang they are turned into children due to exposure to a special gas but they remain on the case because Red Venius threaten to assassinate the President of Tadhikistan in Japan.

Miffy the MovieMiffy the Movie Film Poster

Japanese Title: 劇場版ミッフィー どうぶつえん で たからさがし

Romaji: Gekijouban Miffi- Doubutsuende Sagashi

Release Date: March 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hans Perk

Voice Actors: Ikumi Nakagami, Noriko Hidaka, Hidemistu Shimizu, Masayo Hosono

Miffy… Hello Kitty… I thought they were connected but they are not. To be honest the only Hello Kitty thing I ever read was a parody called Hello Cthulhu. Miffy isn’t even Japanese. She’s Dutch! She’s the creation of a chap named Dick Bruna who has appeared in 30 books which have sold over 35 million copies around the world since her debut in 1955. So she’s not to be sniffed at. Furthermore she’s popular in Japan where she’s known as Usako-chan. Anyway in this children’s animation, Miffy and her friends go treasure hunting!

Yasuko Nagamine Barefoot Flamenco        Yasuko NAgamine Barefoot Flamenco Film Poster

Japanese Title: 長嶺ヤス子 裸足のフラメンコ

Romaji: Nagamine Yasuko Hidashi no Furamenko

Release Date: March 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 85 mins.

Director: Koichi Omiya

Starring: Yasuko Nagamine

Yasuko Nagamine is an internationally famous dancer who studied flamenco in Spain, pioneering the dance in Japan and combining it with other dance forms and music. This is a documentary from her birth in Fukushima in 1936 to her recent years beating cancer.  The director is Koichi Omiya, the documentarian behind Sketch of Mujo, the first film that captured the affected areas after the Great East Japan Earthquake and one of many I put in a list last week.

BOOWY 1224 The Movie           Boowy Film Poster

Japanese Title: BOOWY 1224 The Movie

Release Date: March 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: N/A

Starring: Kyosuke Himuro, Tomoyasu Hotei, Tsunematsu Matsui, Makoto Takahashi

This is a documentary about the rock band BOOWY which records performances at Shibuya Public Hall in Tokyo where they announced their break up.


Continue reading “Child Police, Extend Hands From Darkness, Aibou Series X DAY, Nobody’s Perfect, My Diary of Our Exchange, Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart”

Platina Data, Flower of Absolution, Bozo, Case of High Treason (Echo) is a 100 Year Echo, Precure All Stars New Stage 2: Kokoro no Tomodachi, I Can See From Heaven and Other Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

The week started off with March 11th, a date which will be forever associated with the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami which hit eastern Japan back in 2011. I posted about Third Window Films release of Vulgaria and then posted about Tohoku on Film, two films screening this weekend at the Japan Foundation. The films show Fukushima before and after the disaster. Roll on Wednesday and I started a list of films which deal directly with the aftermath of the disaster in a post called Great East Japan Earthquake Aftermath on Film and it contains details of some of the films that cover the aftermath of the disaster. I will update it as more films become available.

Film has been a key medium in keeping alive the memory of the disaster and those who suffered in it. Through film we can see the horror of the day, the effects on the people and the strength of the human spirit as survivors fight their way back from disaster. Whatever the genre, it will serve to remind the audience of that day.

Himizu is one such example. Sion Sono, former wild-man of the Japanese film industry channelled his creative talents to create a film so powerful thanks to its anger and life that it scorches itself on the memory. It was a powerful story about an individual but it also applied to Japan as a whole.



Himizu Sometani and Nikaidou

What does the Japanese film chart look like this week ( March 09th-10th).

  1.   Doraemon Nobita’s Dinosaur
  2.   Oz the Great and Powerful
  3.   Flight
  4.   A Good Day to Die Hard
  5.   Ted
  6.   Les Miserables
  7.   Toaru Majutsu no Index
  8.   Django Unchained
  9.   The Brain Man
  10.   Reunion
  11.   Argo
  12.   Strawberry Night

Did I predict Doraemon would dominate the charts last week or did I predict it would dominate the charts? It was never a question of how well it would do because Doraemon is one of the biggest characters in Japan, Asia… The world even. His fans will keep this at number one for a while now. The other new entry is Oz the Great and Powerful. March 11th drama Reunion sits at ten and Strawberry Night is at twelve.

What’s released in Japan this weekend?

Platina Data                                            Platina Data Film Poster

Japanese Title: プラチナデータ

Romaji:  Puratina De-ta

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 133 mins.

Director: Keishi Ohtomo

Writer: Keigo Higashino (Original Book), Hideya Hamada (Screenplay),Cool Platina Data Film Poster

Starring: Kazunari Ninomiya, Etsushi Toyokawa, Anne Watanabe, Kiko Mizuhara, Honami Suzuki, Katsuhisa Namase

Ha, when I was last in London I picked up the book as a present for my teacher. When I read that it was written by Keigo Higashino I figured it would be an excellent thriller because that’s how Higashino’s books roll! Turns out the movie is genuinely good according to the Japan Times Film Review and it’s the biggest movie released this week. It is directed by Keishi Ohtomo who had a hit last year with Rurouni Kenshin. The cast is full of big names like the Arashi singer Kazunari Ninomiya (Gantz, Letters from Iwo Jima, Tekkonkinkurito) and Anne Watanabe (Ninja Kids!!!, XXXHOLiC) as well as rising star Kiko Mizuhara (Norwegian Wood). My film of the week!

It is the year 2017 and the Japanese government attempts to secretly control the DNA of everybody in the country. When a scientist named Ryuhei Kagura (Ninomiya) who works at the National Police Agency is accused of murdering the DNA analysis system he helps run he goes on the run with veteran detective Reiji Asama on his trail! 

Flower of Absolution              Shamen Hana Film Poster

Japanese Title: 赦免花

Romaji:  Shamen Bana

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 107 mins.

Director: Shinichi Karube

Writer: Yu Orihara (Screenplay/Original Book)

Starring: Yaeko Mizutani (Narrator), Misaki Saijo, Hidekazu Ichinose, Naoto Takenaka, Taro Kawano, Natsuo Ishido, Monica Takano, Mariko Yasui,

Shinichi Karube, producer of Fly with the Gold, brings together quite the cast for a period drama set at the end of the Edo period in which a samurai named Kengo (Ichinose) is exiled to Sado island on the charge of disobeying the Shogunate. On the island he meets a former prostitute named Yuki (Misaki) and the two fall in love with each other. The two conceive a child but with Kengo being offered a pardon Yuki is faced with raising the child alone or attempting an abortion… Hidekazu Ichinose has a few films to his name (Snakes and Earrings) but Misaki Saijo appears to be an AV actress… a pretty hot one. If I were Kengo I’d tell the Shogun to stuff his pardon but then I’d make a rubbish samurai 😉

Bozo                                                      Bozo Film Poster

Japanese Title: ぼつちゃん

Romaji:  Botsu-Chan

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 130 mins.

Director: Tatsushi Ōmori

Writer: Hidemori Tsuchiya, Tatsushi Ōmori (Screenplay)

Starring: Shingo Mizusawa, Shohei Uno, Ai Tamura, Shinsuke Suzuki, Fuchigami Yasushi, Mayumi Takahashi, Asako Ogawa, Yasushi Fuchikami, Masashi Endo, Emiko Imaizumi

Tatsushi Omori is an actor/director/screenwriter who has worked on Our Homeland (actor), Tada’s Do-It-All House (director/screenwriter) and this is his latest film. It looks miserable and funny, the main character physically divorced from reality and mentally drifting off the map to boot. It also looks like a pretty strong psychological drama full of everyday horror that pushes people to the edge. It draws inspiration from a real life criminal case where Tomohiro Kato indiscriminately killed people in Akihabara in 2008. Shingo Mizusawa (Roadside Fugitive) takes the lead role alongside Shohei Uno (The Drudgery Train, Toilet and Women) and Ai Tamura (Asakusa Daydreams) and Masashi Endo (Sawako Decides). I would want to see this one as well.

Tomoyuki Kaji (Mizusawa) is a temporary worker at a factory in Nagano Prefecture and spends his free time writing about his loneliness on an internet forum. He meets Tanaka (Uno), another lonely guy and they both become friends but Tomoyuki suffers a series of misfortunes like being fired, betrayed by his friend and having unfulfilled love. At the edge of an abyss, he goes to Akihabara…

Case of High Treason (Echo) is a 100 Year Echo                    High Treason 100 Years On Film Poster

Japanese Title: 100年の谺(こだま) 大逆事件は生きている

Romaji: 100-Nen no kodama (Kodama) dai gyaku jiken wa ikite iru

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 90 mins.

Director: Kei Tanaka

Writer: Tomoko Fujiwara

A documentary that raises the historical case 12 people who were hanged and another 12 who were given a sentence of life imprisonment in 1911 for what the government deemed “high treason”. It brings together studies and research that aims to prove that the people condemned were done under false accusations and the sentences were passed to silence socialists and anarchists in Japan. It looks fascinating.

Precure All Stars New Stage 2: Kokoro no TomodachiPrecure All Stars New Stage 2 Kokoro no Tomodachi Film Poster

Japanese Title: プリキュアオールスターズ New Stage こころのともだち

Romaji:  Puri Kyua O-ru Suta-zu New Stage 2 Kokoro no Tomodachi

Release Date: March 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 90 mins.

Director: Kōji Ogawa

Writer: Yoshimi Narita (Screenplay)

Starring: Ai Nagano, Aya Hisakawa, Eri Kitamura, Hisako Kanemoto, Fumie Mizusawa, Akiko Nakagawa, Asami Tano, Rie Tanaka, Kanako Miyamoto,

Another year another Pretty Cure film. The director is Kōji Ogawa and it is his first big directorial job although he has worked on a number of awesome titles like Moldiver, Noein and Azumanga Daioh. The screenplay is from a Pretty Cure veteran, Yoshimi Narita, who has written for a number of the other films and television series. Feel the magic!

In this adventure the PreCure girls get a party invitation from the school fairy at a time when items are being stolen and suspicious shadows are emerging. Can the PreCure girls stop the shadows, solve the mysterious thefts and get to the party?

Continue reading “Platina Data, Flower of Absolution, Bozo, Case of High Treason (Echo) is a 100 Year Echo, Precure All Stars New Stage 2: Kokoro no Tomodachi, I Can See From Heaven and Other Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart”

Day of Flying Ants, Since Then, The Millennial Rapture, Doraemon: Nobita’s Dinosaur, Club Jason the Movie, I’m Back Jacqueline Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Devil Survivor 2 Anime Image 3There were fewer posts this week despite me watching more films and anime like Aragami and Blue Exorcist. Part of the reason was the fact that I wrote a Spring Anime Preview for Anime UK News which took up a weekend plus I was at work longer than normal because a gallery is opening with a new exhibition of abstract art. What I did do was make my own picks from the spring season and prepped myself for more reviews of anime, games, films and first impressions of doramas. Enough about me, what’s happening with the Japanese film releases and…

What does the Japanese movie box office look like this week (March 02nd-03)?

  1.  Flight
  2.  A Good Day to Die Hard
  3.  Ted
  4.  Les Miserables
  5.  Django Unchained
  6.  The Brain Man
  7.  Toaru Majutsu no Index
  8.  Life of Pi
  9.  Strawberry Night
  10.  Zero Dark Thirty
  11.  Argo
  12.  Reunion
  13.  Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship
  14.  Chair of the Grasslands
  15.  Story of Yonosuke
  16.  Skyfall

Well film distributors were quite right to hold off from making major releases because Hollywood came to town in a big way with the release of Flight and Django Unchained. The only release to survive last week’s deployment is Sue, Mai & Sawa and that was at number thirteen. Interesting titles in the top ten include A Certain Magical Index at seven, Story of Yonosuke and Skyfall at fifteen and sixteen respectively. Why interesting? The Toaru franchise gets a new series on Japanese TV screens next month, Skyfall has been in the Japanese charts for 14 weeks (thanks to Sony’s cinema’s in Tokyo) and Third Window Films is releasing Story of Yonosuke in the UK later this year. One of the western films released this weekend in Japan is The Cabin in the Woods which is simply called Cabin. Japanese film fans are in for a treat!

Day of Flying Ants                                     The Day of Flying Ants Film Poster

Japanese Title: 蟻が空を飛ぶ日

Romaji: Ari ga Sorawoto bu-bi

Release Date: March 09th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 116 mins.

Director: Akira Nobi

Writer: Akira Nobi (Screenplay)

Starring: Kohei Kuroda, Rei Orihara, Satomi Yakehiro, Takumi Hasuo, Yoshiki Kondo, Yūki Okamoto

This is Akira Nobi’s first film in about 15 years… since 1996 with Secret Waltz actually. It is a story about people living double lives, passing themselves off as normal when they are actually assassins. It stars Kohei Kuroda (Crows Zero II) and Rei Orihara. Despite parts of the trailer having a similar vibe to a David Lynch film and a cool jazz soundtrack I am not convinced that I would enjoy this too much.

To most Kenji (Kuroda) is a student attending Tokyo University but he is actually part of a four-man team of covert assassins. When the target of his team is killed by a woman named Maki (Orihara) the team take her prisoner. Despite Maki trying to kill Kenji the two fall in love. Can they be together in their world of violence?

Since Then                               Since Then Film Poster

Japanese Title: あれから

Romaji: Are Kara

Release Date: March 09th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 63 mins.

Director: Makoto Shinozaki

Writer: Makoto Shinozaki (Screenplay)

Starring: Aya Takekō, Yasuhiro Isobe, Mie Ohta

Makoto Shinozaki has led a life I’d try and emulate if I had the guts and determination. After graduating from Rikkyo University (Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s old university and the place he returns to every so often teach), Shinozaki then worked as a writer for film magazines and saved up enough money to make films which he took on the festival circuit. Since this is my year of doing stuff I can still do it! Anyway… the films… Shinozaki might be familiar to Japanese film fans with titles ike Tokyo Island (2010) and Die! Directors, Die! Which was at last year’s Yubari Fantastic Film Festival. He is back with Since Then which is described as a human drama. The subject matter is the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011 but the focus is on Tokyo. It stars Aya Takekō (Lonely Planet), Yasuhiro Isobe (11:25: The Day Mishima Decided His Own Fate), and Mie Ohta (Kamikaze Girls).

Sachiko (Takekō) lives in Tokyo. When the quake strikes and she sees the devastation in eastern Japan she is concerned about her lover Masashi (Isobe) who lived in an affected area. She tracks him down in a hospital but his family refuse her permission to see him.

The Millennial Rapture                          Millenial Rapture Film Poster

Japanese Title: 千 年 の 愉楽

Romaji: Sennen no Yuraku

Release Date: March 09th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 118 mins.

Director: Koji Wakamatsu

Writer: Koji Wakamatsu(Screenplay), Kenji Nakagami (Original Novel)

Starring: Shinobu Terajima, Kengo Kora, Shota Sometani, ShirThe Millenial Rapture Film Postero Sano, Arata, Taro Yamamoto, Mayu Harada, Sousuke Takaoka

The Millennial Rapture was the last film of Koji Wakamatsu and it was screened at the Venice Film Festival 2013 and Pusan 2013 just before he died following a traffic accident. It stars Shinobu Teraima (Helter Skelter11:25, The Day He Decided His Own Fate), Shota Sometani (Himizu), Shiro Sano (VanishedUnited Red Army), and Kengo Kora (Norwegian WoodThe Woodsman and the Rain, The Drudgery TrainSignal).

 This collection of stories is set in Shingu in the Wakayama Prefecture and focusses on the lives of various people of the Burakumin minority group. These people include a womaniser and a yakuza.

Continue reading “Day of Flying Ants, Since Then, The Millennial Rapture, Doraemon: Nobita’s Dinosaur, Club Jason the Movie, I’m Back Jacqueline Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart”