This week I wrote a number of reviews for a Korean movie season with A Bittersweet Life, Kick the Moon, and Duelist. As my reviews show I enjoyed them all and I highly recommend them. I watched my first modern Japanese TV drama in the form of the police mystery show Keizoku and indulged in an some insanely OTT (so offensive it turns into a parody) old school anime named Mad Bull 34 which has some of that brilliant Manga dubbing (back from when Manga was a UK company and went to town with dubs full of swearing and crazy but perfect accents). I picked up a Korean action-thriller named The Man from Nowhere and Takeshi Kitano’s Sonatine and I’m continuing the キノ の 旅 (Kino’s Journey) simulwatch over at Anime UK News. Cue picture of Kino and Hermes.
What’s happening with the Japanese movie box-office chart this week?
- Snow White and the Huntsman
- Hotaru: It’s Only a Little Light in my Life
- Men in Black III
- Thermae Romae
- Dark Shadows
Of all the Japanese films released last week only Library Wars broke into the top ten while Snow White and the Huntsman snatches the top spot.
What’s released in Japan today?
Love, Masao-Kun Ga Iku
Japanese Title: Love、まさお君 が 行く！
Romaji: Love, Masao-Kun Ga Iku
Release Date: 23rd June 2012 (Japan)
Running Time: 109 mins.
Director: Kentaro Otani
Writer: Izumi Takahashi
Starring: Shingo Katori, Ryoko Hirosue, Ken Mitsuishi, Riko Narumi, Takayuki Kinoshita, Kazuyuki Asano,
This film is based on the Japanese TV show “Itinerant Dog Masao’s Trip” – full marks for using the word itinerant! – which featured a comedian named Matsumoto and his Labrador Masao. Director Otani has a long list of relationship dramas to his name including the adaptations of the Nana manga. SMAP’s Shingo Katori (Sukiyaki Western Django), Ryoko Hirosue (Departures), Riko Narumi (Crime or Punishment?!?) , Ken Mitsuishi (Himizu, Rent-a-Cat, Noriko’s Dinner Table) while Atsuko Maeda (AKB48) sings the movie’s theme song.
Hideki Matsumoto (Katori) is a struggling comedian who is selected to star in a travel segment for an animal variety program on TV Tokyo. At first he is overjoyed at getting work even if he plays second fiddle to a Labrador Retriever named Masao-kun. Unfortunately Masao knows he is the boss and makes handling him difficult but things get even worse for Hideki when his girlfriend (Hirosue) leaves him. Down in the dumps but things change when Masao rushes to his aid after an accident and after that the two get along better than ever.
Berserk Golden Age Arc II: The Battle for Doldrey
Japanese Title: ベルセルク 黄金時代篇 II ドルドレイ攻略
Romaji: Berserk Ogon Jidai-Hen II: Doldrey Koryaku
Running Time: 100 mins.
Director: Toshiyuki Kubooka
Writer: Ichiro Ohkuchi (script), Kentarō Miura (original manga)
Starring: Hiroaki Iwanaga (Guts), Takahiro Sakurai (Griffith), Toa Yukinaru (Casca), Aki Toyosaki (Charlotte), Kenta Miyake (Nosferatu Zodd), Takahiro Fujiwara (Pippin)
Berserk Golden Age Arc II: The Battle for Doldrey is the second films from a trilogy of movies that has adapted The Golden Age Arc of Kentarō Miura’s original manga and animated by Studio 4°C. It is directed by Toshiyuki Kubooka who has worked as animation director on notable titles like Gankutsuou, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. Electronic artist Hirasawa Susumu (Paprika, Paranoia Agent) who created the distinctive music for the original TV anime adaptation created the main theme “Aria” for the movie while Shiro Sagisu is handling the rest of the soundtrack.
The saga follows Guts a strong mercenary with a huge sword and little direction in life. All of that changes after he meets Griffith, leader of a group of mercenaries named Band of the Hawk who are working for the Kingdom of Midland. Guts decides to throw his lot in with them and finds himself developing a deep relationship with Griffith but also finds that Casca, a commander in the Band of the Hawk, is jealous that Griffith returns his feelings. The two find themselves swept along in Griffith’s rise to power.
The second film will focus on a pivotal point in the war between Midland and Chuder as the Band of the Hawk launch an epic battle to seize Doldrey Castle, a place thought impregnable and home to an elite band of knights in the service of the Chuder Empire.
Staff: Toshiyuki Kubooka (Director), Ichiro Ohkouchi (Script writer), Kentarou Miura (Original Creator), Naoyuki Onda (Character Design/Chief Animation Director), Yusuke Takeda, Goki Nakamura (Art Director), Susumu Hirasawa (Theme Song), Shiro Sagisu (Music)
Studio: Studio 4°C