Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, The Samurai That Night, The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky, Beautiful World Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Ikaruga IdealThis week I started with a trailer for World War Z which looks like it will be a botched adaptation of the wonderful source novel. I then posted a rather late report about my experiences at the 56th BFI London Film Festival and I posted a review of The Wolf Children on Thursday after watching The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. Here’s a short version of my review of The Wolf Children – one of the best animated films I have ever seen. The reviews for the other films I saw at the festival will appear over the next week before I start off a new season.

What do the Japanese movie charts look like this week?

  1. The Floating Castle
  2. Lesson of the Evil
  3. A Chorus of Angels
  4. Smile Precure!
  5. Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
  6. Fly with the Gold
  7. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  8. Paranormal Activity 4
  9. The Expendables 2
  10. Tsunagu

The Floating Castle remains at number one for its second week and Takashi Miike menaces the charts with his latest him, The Lesson of Evil hitting number two after being released last week. Interestingly Tsunagu hangs on in the top ten after six weeks and rakes in the money. I did not think it would have the staying power…

What Japanese films are released today?

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo                       Evangelion 3 Film Poster

Japanese Title: ヴァンゲリ新 新劇場版:Q Quickening

Romaji: Evangelion Shin Gekijoban: Kyu

Release Date:  17th November 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hideaki Anno, Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Mahiro Maeda

Writer:  Hideaki Anno

Starring: Megumi Hayashibara, Megumi Ogata, Akira Ishida, Yuko Miyamura, Kotono Mitsuishi, Takehito Koyasu, Fumihiko Tachiki, Yuriko Yamaguchi, Motomu Kiyokawa, Hiro Yuuki, Miki Nagasawa, Maaya Sakamoto

Neon Genesis Evangelion makes an impact on the Japanese charts today! This seminal 90’s anime re-wrote the rules for the mecha genre as it was a post-modern take that combined mecha tropes with crazed religion, science and the twisted imagination and state of near depression of anime veteran Hideaki Anno. With Evangelion he did what Lars von Trier did with Melancholia and gave us a devastating visual view of depression and other psychological maladies. Watching the teen pilots navigate the hell that is adolescence and deal with the psycho-sexual nightmarish monsters and emotionally complex adults was gripping, disturbing but ultimately uplifting (although very apocalyptic).

Hideaki Anno claimed he was not happy with the way the series developed and released a number of films which tried to retell the ending of the show, ending on an even darker note. Since then Evangelion has been a merchandise machine and has retained its popularity which is why Anno has been given a chance to remake the TV series into a number of film which offer what he considers to be his ultimate vision. The first two films in the four-part series have been released in the west to rapturous reviews, this is the third. To celebrate the release of the film, numerous videos have been released including a music video for Hikaru Utada.

While the six-minute preview is not flashy it looks promising. The cast has the familiar seiyuu from the television shows including major stars like the prolific and wonderful voice actress Megumi Hayashibara (Paprika in Paprika – she also turned up in The Wolf Children) who voices Rei Ayanami and Pen Pen, Megumi Ogata who plays Shinji Ikari, Akira Ishida (Keiju Tabuki in Mawaru Penguindrum), Yuko Miyamura (Casca in Berserk – the girl in the training video in Battle Royale), Hiro Yuuki (Takaomi in Mysterious Girlfriend X), Miki Nagasawa (Mutio in Blue Submarine No.6), Maaya Sakamoto (Hitomi in Escaflowne). All of these anime listed I love which is just more reason to love the film.

The Samurai That Night                                    The Samurai That Night Movie Poster

Japanese Title: その よる の 侍

Romaji: Sono Yoru no Samurai

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director: Masaaki Akahori

Writer: Masaaki Akahori

Starring: Masato Sakai, Takayuki Yamada, Hirofumi Arai, Gou Ayano, Maki Sakai, Tomorowo Taguchi, Haruka Kinami, Tsutomu Takahashi, Mitsuki Tanimura, Sakura Ando, Denden

Stage actor Masaaki Akahori makes his debut film by adapting one of his plays for the screen. It screened at this year’s BFI London Film Festival. The trailer looks good and it stars familiar names like Sakura Ando (Our Homeland, Love Exposure, For Love’s Sake), Denden (Cure, Cold Fish, Himizu), Hirofumi Arai (Blazing Famiglia, Helter Skelter), Takayuki Yamada (Thirteen Assassins, The Cat Returns, The Seaside Motel), Gou Ayano (Gantz, A Man with Style) and Masato Sakai who stars in Key of Life and I will have a review of that film ready for Monday!

Kenichi Nakamura (Masato Sakai) is the manager of a small ironworks who lost his wife (Maki Sakai) in a hit-and-run incident five years ago. Since then his life has become mundane. After the loutish driver Kijima (Yamada) who committed the crime is released from prison he receives threatening letters daily which state that both he and the anonymous writer will die on the anniversary of the incident. Kenichi’s friends and relatives try to stop him from embarking on his path of revenge but he is determined to avenge his wife.

 

The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky                     The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky Movie Poster

Japanese Title: ふがいない 僕 は 空 を 見た

Romaji: Fugainai Boku wa Sora wo Mita

Release Date: 17th November 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 142 mins.

Director: Yuki Tanada

Writer: Kosuke Mukai, Misumi Kubo (Novel)

Starring: Tomoko Tabata, Kento Nagayama, Masataka Kubota, Mieko Harada, Takahiro Miura, Miharu Tanaka Takashi Yamanaka

The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky is based on a novel written by Misumi Kubo. It played at this year’s Toronto Film Festival and from this trailer and a review on the Japan Times it looks quite dramatic. It stars the beautiful Tomoko Tabata (Blood and Bones,The Hidden Blade), the handsome Kento Nagayama (Crime or Punishment?!?), the young Masataka Kubota (13 Assassins), Takahiro Miura (Tokyo Playboy Club), and Mieko Harada (Helter Skelter). This looks like a good realist drama.

Anzu (Tabata) is a depressed housewife who lives with a nagging mother-in-law and indifferent husband. When she attends an anime convention in cosplay she meets a teenager named Takumi (Nagayama). The two start an affair at Anzu’s home. At this point, those already in Takumi’s life go through emotional upheaval of their own as a classmate (Tanaka) confesses her love for him and his friend Fukuda (Kubota) finds himself at the mercy of a loan shark who has come to collect his mother’s debts. This is just the start of the emotional turmoil for all characters involved.

 

Beautiful World                                Beautiful World Film Poster

Japanese Title:任侠 ヘルパー

Romaji: Ninkyo Herupa-

Release Date: 17th November 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 134 mins.

Director: Hiroshi Nishitani

Writer: N/A

Starring: Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Narumi Yasuda, Teruyuki Kagawa, Meisa Kuroki, Rei Akimoto, Ayane Omori, Kaho, Shunsuke Kazama, Ryudo Uzaki, Tetta Sugimoto, Masaaki Sakai

When I saw the title Beautiful World I immediately thought of Kino’s Journey and I smiled… Then I read the details and my heart broke a little bit. Alas, this has no connection to the wonderful anime. This is a drama set in the real world and it is directed by Hiroshi Nishitani who has had a varied career but his most interesting film, for me, is Suspect X based on the decent crime thriller The Devotion of Suspect X written by Keigo Higashino. For Beautiful World, he adapts a TV series which stars SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi who was last seen on the big screen in Dearest. Tsuyoshi is supported by Teruyuki Kagawa (Key of Life, Tokyo Sonata), Narumi Yasuda (Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time), Kaho (Funky Forest: The First Contact), Meisa Kuroki (Who’s Camus Anyway, Vexille), Shunsuke Kazama (From Up on Poppy Hill), and Tetta Sugimoto (Outrage, Departures). The trailer seems to be leaning towards the sentimental but Tsuyoshi looks like he might be capable of giving a great performance.

Former gangster Hikoichi (Kusanagi) is trying to live a straight life and takes up work at a convenience store. One day an old man named Yuzo (Sakai) robs the store but when the police arrest Yuzo they also arrest Hikoichi. Yuzo tells him that when he is in trouble he should see a man named Asahina (Uzaki). When Hikoichi is released from prison he travels to Taikai city to meet Asahina where a local government official named Teruo Yashiro (Kagawa) is running a welfare project that will cause problems for a community. The paths of these men will collide as Hikoichi comes to the aid of the community. 

Smile PreCure! The Movie: Everyone is All Mixed Up Inside the Picture Book! Trailer

A trailer for Eiga Smile! PreCure: ehon no Naka Minna Chiguhagu (Smile PreCure!  The Movie: Everyone is All Mixed Up Inside the Picture Book!) has been released ahead of its theatrical debut on the 27th of October.

Synopsis

The five legendary PreCure girls find themselves transported into a picture book and are guided in their journey out by Niko, a girl who lives in fairy tales.

The PreCure anime is popular amongst girls in Japan where it is a massive franchise. The film is directed by Narumi Kuroda who has acted as a directoron the differenttelevision series. Shoji Yonemura (Glass Fleet, Fairy Tale, Smile PreCure!) is writing the script for the film and characters designs come from PreCure franchise veteran Toshie Kawamura.  Kozue Komatsu is also aiding Kawamura in character design as well as fulfilling the role of animation director. Chie Satou, another PreCure franchise familiar is handling the art direction.

Voice actors from the PreCure franchise are also reprising their roles and they are joined by Megumi Hayashibara (Rei Ayaname in Evangelion).

Voice Actors: Asami Tano (Akane Hino/Cure Sunny),Chinami Nishimura (Reika Precure Picture Book HeaderAoki/Cure Beauty), Hisako Kanemoto (Yayoi Kise/Cure Peace), Marina Inoue (Nao Midorikawa/Cure March), Misato Fukuen (Miyuki Hoshizora/Cure Happy), Daisuke Sakaguchi (Pop), Ikue Ohtani (Candy), Megumi Hayashibara (Niko)

Staff: Narumi Kuroda (Director), Shoji Yonemura (Script), Kozue Komatsu, Toshie Kawamura (Character Design), Kozue Komatsu (Animation Director), Chie Satou (Art Director)

Studio: Toei Animation

Helter Skelter, Drudgery Train, Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts, Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd, Pokemon Best Wishes! The Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sacred Swordsman Keldeo Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box-Office Charts

This week I posted a review for 2 Days in New York and trailers for the forthcoming big screen anime adaptation of Asura and the latest Naruto movie.

What’s does the Japanese movie box-office chart look like this week?

  1.  The Amazing Spider-Man
  2.  Snow White and the Huntsman
  3.  Rinjo
  4.  Soreike! Anpanman Yomigaere Bananajima
  5.  Man on a Ledge
  6.  Hotaru: It’s Only a Little Light in my Life
  7. Guskou Budori no Denki
  8. Thermae Romae
  9. Men in Black III
  10.  Go, Masao!

The Amazing Spider-Man, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Rinjo remain in the top three – Snow White is actually pretty decent even if I found the Princess Mononoke section awful.  Two of last week’s releases, Soreike! Anpanman Yomigaere Bananajima and Guskou Budori enter at four and seven respectively. Thermae Romae spends yet another week in the top ten. It must be seriously funny!

What Japanese films are released today (and yesterday)?  Well it’s pretty busy but we see Erika Sawajiri back on the big screen!

Helter Skelter                                                            Helter Skelter Poster

Japanese Title: Heruta Sukeruta

Release Date: 14th November 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Mika Nanigawa

Writer: Arisa Kaneko (Script), Kyoko Okazaki (manga)  

Starring: Erika Sawajiri, Nao Omori, Shinobu Terajima, Gou Ayano, Yosuke Kubozuka, Mieko Harada, Sho Aikawa, Junki Tozuka, Anne Suzuki, Hirofumi Arai

Lead actress Erika Sawajiri (Ghost Train) makes her movie comeback with Helter Skelter a stunning looking movie with a great cast. The director is Mika Ninagawa, an art/fashion photographer who made her directorial debut with Sakuran. The film adapts Kyoko Okazaki’s psychological manga which was originally released in 2003.

 

Ririko (Sawajiri) is a vision of perfect beauty. What the public does not know is that her beauty is derived from multiple cosmetic surgeries and a lot of medication. To maintain her beauty and position she needs to keep taking medication and getting surgery but when the clinic that performs her surgery comes under investigation for medical ethics from authorities led by Prosecutor Asada (Omori) Ririko finds her career on the brink of calamity. With pressure mounting, Ririko’s body begins to suffer and her emotions and career, and sanity begin to fall apart.

Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts                                Brave Hearts Umizaru

Romaji: Brave Hearts Umizaru

Japanese Title: Brave Hearts  海猿

Release Date: 13th July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hasumi Eiichiro

Writer: N/A

Starring: Hideaki ito, Ai Kato, Riisa Naka, Ryuta Sato, Shohei Miura, Hiroyuki Hirayama, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Saburo Tokito

Another big-screen adaptation of a popular television series only this one focusses on the Japanese Coast Guard. Taking to the high seas are an interesting cast list including Hideaki Ito (Sukiyaki Western Django) and Riisa Naka (Mitsuko Delivers), Ai Kato (Another), and Tsuyoshi Ihara (13 Assassins, Retribution).

When a plane due to land at Haneda Airport begins to suffer engine failure, Sea Marshal Daisuke  Senzaki (Hideaki Ito) is on the case. He better hurry because one of the flight attendants is Riisa Naka!

 

Drudgery Train                                             Drudgery Train Movie Poster

Romaji: Kueki Ressha

Japanese Title: 苦役 列車

Release Date: 14th July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 112 mins.

Director: Nobuhiro Yamashita

Writer: Kenta Nishimura (Novel)

Starring: Mirai Moriyama, Kengo Kora, Atsuko Maeda

Drudgery Train comes from Nobuhiro Yamashita (Linda, Linda, Linda), and is based on Kenta Nishimura’s Akutagawa Prize-winning novel Kueki Ressha. This character-study stars Mirai Moriyama (Fish on Land, Fish Story), Kengo Kora (The Woodsman and the Rain, Norwegian Wood), and Atsuko Maeda (The Suicide Song), a member of Team A in AKB48 and has got some great reviews. This has to be my favourite trailer from today.

Kitamichi (Moriyama) is a 19-year-old junior high drop out with alcohol problems. He works as a labourer in a warehouse and he has no friends and wastes his days doing very little apart from reading mystery novels. Then he meets Kusakabe (Kora), a new hire at the warehouse. The two become friends and Kusakabe brings Kitamichi into his circle of friends which includes Yasuko (Maeda) who works in a book store. Kitamichi falls for her. The problem is that Kusakabe is also in love with Yasuko and Kitamichi gets jealous. Can his new-found friendships last?

  Continue reading “Helter Skelter, Drudgery Train, Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts, Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd, Pokemon Best Wishes! The Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sacred Swordsman Keldeo Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box-Office Charts”

Asura Movie Trailer

Toei animation have been working at making the movie adaptation of George Akiyama’s manga Asura (1970 – 1971) since they announced its start back in 2010. Now that its release is nearing there are trailers, images, and staff details being released.

Mid-15th Century Japan, the country is suffering war and gripped by drought and famine. When a young child named Asura is born he is plunged into a harsh world of violence and desperation which turns him into a beast that roams the hills. After provoking the rage of a local lord, Asura finds himself being hunted but a young girl named Wakasa comes to his aid. Can Wakasa help rehabilitate him and bring him back to civilisation amidst the suffering and chaos that surrounds them?

Highly controversial at the time of its publication, Asura was an amoral tale that focussed on the will to live but it drew criticism in Japan due to its depiction of violence¹ which got it banned in some prefectures of Japan during its original publication. The film is directed by Keiichi Sato (Tiger & Bunny) with a theme song by Yasuha Kominami.

The voice acting cast is strong with Masako Nozawa (Goku in Dragon Ball and Tetsuro in Adieu Galaxy Express 999) voicing Asura and Megumi Hayashibara (Rei Ayanami in Evangelion) voicing Wakasa. Also in the cast are Hiroaki Hirata (Akihiko in Mōryō no Hako, Sanji in One Piece) and Kaori Yamagata (Chacha in Legend of Basara).

The film gets a theatrical release on the 29th of September.                                        Asura Poster

Staff: Keiichi Sato (Director), Yasuha Kominami (Theme Song Performance)

Voice Actors: Masako Nozawa, Megumi Hayashibara, Yuu Mizushima, Kinya Kitaōji, Tessho Genda, Kaori Yamagata, Hiroaki Hirata, Bin Shimada, Kappei Yamaguchi,

Studio: Toei

¹ Spoiler/ the manga opens with Asura’s mother starved into madness and throwing Asura onto a fire so she can cook and eat him!