Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 2015 Line-Up

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival takes place in Wales later this month in Cardiff and again at the end of October in Aberystwyth. It is the only film event in Wales to show anime on the big screen and takes place over the course of a day in the two locations. The programming team has brought out a selection of classics and some newer titles that show some of the best modern animated films from Japan.

This year’s events once again take place in the Chapter Arts Centre  and the Aberystwyth Arts Centre and there are titles from Madhouse and Production I.G with the psycho-thriller Perfect Blue (directed by the genius auteur Satoshi Kon) and Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, the film which launched studio Gainax, being two highlights.

I’ll be travelling to the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff to see the festival there.

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Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2015 Preview

The Japan Foundation has announced their Touring Film Programme for 2015 and for the 12th festival the title is, “It Only Happens in the Movies?”

Japan Foundation It Only Happens in the Movies


The festival runs from January 30th to March 26th and it aims to provide “an exciting programme of films under the narrative framework of ‘encounters’.” Each film has characters who experience “unusual meetings, plunge into unexpected circumstances and new environments, as well as collide with different generations, ideals and ideas.”

The film line-up has a huge variety of styles, genres, and tones covered from comedy to serious drama and films from various eras with an adult drama set in1950s Japan all the way to one about teens in uni falling in love in contemporary Japan.

Here are the films, scroll down for trailers and more details (the English titles are the links to the pages so click on them for more info):

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Films I Wish I Had Seen in 2013 and will Hopefully see in 2014

Genki Fuse Best of 2013 Header Banner

2013 has ended and I haven’t published my best ofs yet. I better start now. I have to admit that 2013 year has been rather excellent in terms of my experience with Japanese films considering I saw so many in their year of release, played a small part in helping bring one over to the UK and interviewed a few directors and yet, and yet… There were a few releases that I wish I had seen. Every trailer post always brings up a few titles I wish I could see in a cinema and so here’s a list of 14 Japanese films released in 2013 I hope I get to see in 2014!

Shin Shin Shin                               Shin Shin Shin Film Poster

Japanese Title: しんしんしん

Romaji: Shin Shin Shin

Running Time: 135 mins.

Release Date: January 12th 2013 (Japan)

Director: Kouhei Sanada

Writer: Kouhei Sanada

Starring: Ikeda Houshi, Miwako Wagatsuma, Kazuhiro Sano, Yuya Okutsu. Megumi Kagurazaka

Shin Shing Shin is a film which was directed by Kouhei Sanada who was mentored by Kiyoshi Kurosawa at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. That same university played a massive part in another title below, Fairy Tale. The film’s title comes from a song of the same name by the folk rock band Happy End who hail from the 70’s. Is this it and it is a road movie which stars Miwako Wagatsuma who was in Sentimental Yasuko and End of Puberty and Megumi Kagurazaka who was in Cold Fish and The Land of Hope.


Tomoyuki (Ishida) is a high school student who lives with the Tekiya family, a group of strangers with no other place to go. A girl named named Yuki (Wagatsuma) joins the group but when their home is demolished they head off on a journey that leads them from town to town with no particular destination in mind.



A Fairy Tale        Yuki Sasaki Film Poster

Japanese Title: あるいは佐々木ユキ

Romaji: Aruiwa Sasaki Yuki

Running Time: 79 mins.

Release Date: January 12th 2013 (Japan)

Director: Kenji Fukuma

Writer: Keiko Fukuma (Screenplay),

Starring: Saori Kohara, Akira Yoshino, Hideyo Sengoku, Makiko Kawano, Yumi Fuzuki

This was a victim of my bad translation skills… The first in a long line of victims… Anyway this is written and directed by the poet Kenji Fukuma, a man with two other directorial efforts to his name – Summer for the Living (2011), which starred Saori Kohara, and My Dear Daughter of Okayama (2008). He reunites with the actress Kohara for this fantasy drama about the emotions of a 20-year-old Tokyoite which interweaves interviews, poetry and dances so that the film blurs dreams and reality.


Watashi wa Sasaki Yuki. Hatachi desu. 

20-year-old Yuki Sasaki who lives by herself in Tokyo. One day she chances upon a poetry reading by poetess Yumi Fuzuki and the experiences makes her lose sight of her purpose in life. In the process, another Yuki (Kawano) appears before her. We see her reality and dreams in a series of interviews and performances like dancing and poetry that are captured on film. 


  Continue reading “Films I Wish I Had Seen in 2013 and will Hopefully see in 2014”

The Flower of Shanidar, Fuan no Tane, Seeds of Anxiety, The Wind Rises, Kaze Tachi Nu, GARO Side Story: Whistle of the Phantom Peach, CULT, Children of Soleil, Things Left Behind/Those Who Were Bereaved by Hiroshima, Short Peace and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Only God Forgives Ryan GoslingAh! Summer. Although I hate the heat I feel the potential of life now more than ever before. This week has been quite a good one. Nice weather, eating out and work has been fun because I met Japanese and Spanish people during/after work and babbled about films in Japanese and Spanish while I was all dressed up kind of like Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives, white shirt, black trousers, tie and all). Speaking of work (and getting back to films), I joined the film club and have managed to talk the organisers into screening anime and Japanese short films! Potential!

Shonan Story 3It’s weeks like these I appreciate life and what I have so I’ll try and up the work rate. I managed a good rate of anime with Sunday Without God episode 2, Attack on Titan episode 14 and It’s Not My Fault I’m Unpopular episode 2. I watched some indie Japanese flicks and Source Code. Even better and I even got to watch Pacific Rim which was fun and appealed to the mecha fan in me and it reminded me that Rinko Kikuchi is a great actress and a goddess. Expect more first impressions and film reviews as I round-up reviews from the Terracotta Far East Film Festival (at the insistence of someone important) and start covering newer Japanese films and doramas. This week I posted about Gatchaman Crowds which is awesome and did a spring 2013 anime round-up.

What’s released today in Japan? J-HORROR!!!!

Pet Peeve (English Title) / Seeds of Anxiety (Literal Title)The Seeds of Anxiety Film Poster

Japanese Title: 不安の種

Romaji: Fuan no Tane

Release Date: July 20th, 2013

Running Time: 87 mins.

Director: Toshikazu Nagae

Writer: Masaaki Nakayama (Original Manga), Toshikazu Nagae (Screenplay)

Starring: Anna Ishibashi, Kenta Suga Koudai Asaka, Kanji Tsuda

J-HORROR! This looks so damn awesome! Ah, a horror manga adaptation! This omnibus movie comes from Toshikazu Nagae (Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night) who is adapting Masaaki Nakayama’s horror manga collection which is full of creepy tales. How do I know? I actually remember some of them, so they must have been effective. It stars Anna Ishibashi (Milocrorze – A Love Story), Koudai Asaka (The Kirishima Thing, Lesson of the Evil) and Kanji Tsuda who has worked with great directors like Beat Takeshi, Takeshi Miike and SABU.

When a motorbike accident occurs it unleashes a series of strange phenomenon which Yoko (Ishibashi) can see.


The Flower of Shanidar                            The Flower of Shanidaru Film Poster

Japanese Title: シャニダール の 花

Romaji: Shanidaru no Hana

Release Date: July 20th, 2013

Running Time: 87 mins.

Director: Gakuryu Ishii

Writer: Gakuryu Ishii, Hiroaki Jinno, Tomoaki Tanaka (Screenplay)

Starring: Gou Ayano, Haru Kuroki, Kanji Furutachi, Ayumi Ito, Rio Yamashita, Yuiko Kariya

I have reviewed two films by Gakuryu Ishii and they were both hugely different. Isn’t Anyone Alive? Was a slow moving quiet Armageddon film while Angel Dust was a deliciously twisting serial killer thriller. Unlike someone like Kiyoshi Kurosawa who is quite easy to identify from his visuals, Ishii’s diverse range of films are hard to categorise. This one is even more different than expected, a quiet sci-fi romance. It stars Gou Ayano (A Story of Yonosuke), Haru Kuroki (Tokyo Oasis, The Great Passage, The Wolf Children), Kanji Furutachi (The Woodsman and the Rain), Ayumi Ito (Penance)

The Shanidar Institute is is home to a strange process where a beautiful flower blooms on a selected woman’s body. These flowers go under the name Shanidar  and when they are n full bloom they are harvested and sold to drugs companies for high costs. A rookie botanist named Otaki (Ayano) and his colleague Kyoko (Kuroki), who is a therapist, both work for the Shanidaru Institute. They come to question their employer when it comes to light that constantly harvesting these flowers causes great strain on and even the death of the women hosting these plants.

Continue reading “The Flower of Shanidar, Fuan no Tane, Seeds of Anxiety, The Wind Rises, Kaze Tachi Nu, GARO Side Story: Whistle of the Phantom Peach, CULT, Children of Soleil, Things Left Behind/Those Who Were Bereaved by Hiroshima, Short Peace and Other Japanese Film Trailers”