Love for Beginners, Chasing Santa Clause, MIS: Human Secret Weapon Trailer and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Skyfall Character BannerLast week I was so busy trying to get a post out so I could attend an anime festival I posted the wrong trailer (Love for Beginners) and missed out the one I had originally intended to post (Inazuma Eleven). I apologise. すみません!This week I was back in work and so I skipped posting anything on Monday so I could concentrate on re-establishing a writing routine because I have a lot of reviews coming up as part of my Genki Christmas season which kicks off on Monday. The week did see some reviews. On Sunday I posted my thoughts on Skyfall (which I found to be awesome) before sitting down for some Chinese food and watching Insidious at home.

What does the Japanese film chart look like this week?

  1. Skyfall
  2. Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
  3. Inazuma Eleven The Movie 2012
  4. Lesson of the Evil
  5. The Floating Castle
  6. Ninkyo Helper: Beautiful World.
  7. A Chorus of Angels
  8. Tug of War
  9. Trouble with the Curve
  10. Crow’s Thumb
  11. Smile Precure!
  12. Lockout
  13. Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
  14. The Woman in Black

Skyfall is at the top spot after its release last week. The latest new Japanese film in the top ten movie box office chart is Inazuma Eleven at two. The Woman in Black was also released and it is at fourteen. The latest Evangelion movie drops down to two and Takashi Miike’s latest film is at four. That’s a strong top ten.

 

What are the most interesting Japanese films released this week?

 

Love for Beginners                                                 Love fo Beginners

Japanese Title: 今日¥、 恋 を はじめます

Romaji: Kyou, Koi wo Hajimemasu

Release Date:  08th December 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Takeshi Furusawa

Writer:  Kanan Minami (Original Manga)

Starring: Emi Takei, Tori Matsuzaka, Rin Takanashi, Fumino Kimura, Sho Aoyagi, Kento Yamazaki, Yua Shinkawa, Erina Dawkins, Reiko Fujiwara, Saki Takaoka, Ayane Sakai, Hiroaki Murakami, Yumi Asou, Hatsunori Hasegawa,

In an example of my ability to be lackdaisical I posted this a trailer a week early. Apologies. Love for Beginners is released today and it stars Emi Takei, who was one of the brilliant stand-out stars of For Love’s Sake, joins forces with an awesome cast of bright young things including Rin Takanashi (Goth: Love of DeathIsn’t Anyone Alive?), Reiko Fujiwara (About the Pink Sky), Kento Yamazaki (Control TowerAnother),  Tori Matsuzaka (The Wings of the Kirin) in an adaptation of Kanan Minami’s popular manga. The film is directed by Takeshi Furusawa who sounds familiar… assistant director to Kiyoshi Kurosawa on Pulse… That’s right! He directed Ghost Train and the recent live-action adaptation of Another! What the heck is he doing here and not on a J-horror? Earning a living, I suppose. Anyway, this is one of those silly films where an extremely beautiful girl dons glasses and everybody considers her plain. Unless everybody else at the school is fantastically beautiful. I have never read the manga. I’m also very unlikely to see the film. The soundtrack has hits by Perfume and Scandal.

Tsubaki Hibino (Takei) is a talented hair stylist with low self-esteem and a taste for old-fashioned clothes. Her fashion sense is the trigger for popular playboy male student Kyota Tsubaki (Matsuzaka) to tease her but then… they fall in love with each other. They will have to overcome his commitment issues first.

MIS: Human Secret Weapon                         MIS Poster

Japanese Title: 二つ の 祖国

Romaji: Futatsu no Sokoku

Release Date:  08th December 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 93 mins.

Director: Junichi Suzuki

Writer:  N/A

Starring: N/A

Junichi Suzuki has made a career out of charting the fortunes of Japanese-Americans who signed up for the US armed forces after Pearl Harbour. His previous film, 442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignits followed the 442nd Regimental Combat Team who fought in Europe. MIS: Human Secret Weapon documents the experiences of nearly 80 Japanese-Americans who speak about their wartime experiences including a soldier who found himself fighting against former class-mates and another soldier who witnessed the surrender of Japan and the aftermath of Hiroshima. This film is getting a limited screening at the Ginza Cine Pathos alongside Suzuki’s other wartime documentaries. Here’s the trailer which looks fascinating.

Chasing Santa Clause                                                      Chasing Santa Clause Poster

Japanese Title: サンタ クロース つかまえて

Romaji: Santa Kuro-su wo Tsukamaete

Release Date:  08th December 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 80 mins.

Director: Hiroki Iwabuchi

Writer:  N/A

Starring: N/A

This documentary charting the recovery of Sendai from the March 11th Earthquake and Tsunami is a personal work from documentarian Hiroki Iwabuchi since he hails from the city. It features footage shot just after the disaster and survivor accounts including Iwabuchi’s own mother! Why chasing Santa Clause for a title Well the title refers to an annual parade full of Santa’s and lights and Christmas magic and how Sendai managed to hold that parade even after being hit by the disaster.

Another, Our Homeland, Japan Lies, Kamen Rider Fourze the Movie: Everyone, Space is Here!, Code Geass: Akito the Exiled Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Charts

Anime Character Guessing Game Entry - EriThis week I posted a review for The Suicide Manual, a trailer the latest PreCure movie (boy are there a lot of those!) and information of Terracotta’s release of the anime adaptation of Junji Ito’s Gyo (which has me very excited!).  I did have another film review on offer but I have been engrossed with the 2012 Olympics (which I love!) and the BBC’s spectacular coverage (second to none!). I have managed to talk to members of Team GB (okay, their support/physios) and I’ve also had the opportunity to test out my Japanese on visiting Japanese fans who have been unfailingly polite (much to my relief because they could have laughed at my pronunciation etc.). Speaking of Japanese people, I wonder…

What’s happening with the Japanese movie box-office chart this week?

  1. Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts
  2. The Dark Knight Rises
  3. Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie
  4. The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki
  5. Pokemon: Best Wishes 2012
  6. Eight Ranger
  7. Helter Skelter
  8. Brave
  9. The Amazing Spider-Man
  10. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd

Two of last week’s newest entries enter the charts in the form of the latest Naruto movie and Eight Rangers at three and six respectively. Uzimaru holds onto the top spot while, The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki drop from second to fourth and Helter Skelter drops from fourth to seventh in its third week. Thermae Romae falls from the top ten. After fourteen weeks and making a lot of money. What an achievement.

What’s released this week? A strong dramatic film, an interesting documentary and a live-action adaptation of a favourite anime of mine.

Another                                              Another (live-action movie) Poster

Japanese Title: Another

Release Date: 04th August 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Takeshi Furusawa

Writer: Sachiko Tanaka,Yukito Ayatsuji (Novel)

Starring: Ai Hashimoto, Kento Yamazaki, Ai Kato, Mika Akizuki, Hiroko Sato, Masaki Miura, Mana Kanno, Takashi Waki, Maya Okano

Yukito Ayatsuji’s supernatural-mystery novel Another has had an anime adaptation (which I liked a lot) and the live-action movie is released today. The director of the movie adaptation is Takeshi Furusawa who acted as assistant director to Kiyoshi Kurosawa on the classic J-horror film Pulse and director of the so-so Ghost Train. Kento Yamazaki (Wings of the Kirin) plays Kouichi while Mei Misaki is played by Ai Hashimoto (Confessions, Sadako 3D). Other cast members include Hiroko Sato (Atsuhimie No.1, Cursed), Masaki Miura (Cold Fish), and Maya Okano (Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time). Two trailers, one featuring Sadako!

 

The story takes place back in the Spring of 1998 at Yomiyama Kita middle school where a transfer student named Kouichi Sakakibara arrives from Tokyo and finds himself in a class under a curse which causes unavoidable death. It seems to be linked to the death of a student in 1972 but a code of silence has developed amongst pupils and teachers past and present. When classmates begin to die Kouichi finds himself drawn into the deadly curse with only the silent and mysterious Mei Misaki seemingly able to give answers.

Our Homeland                             Kazoku no Kuni (Our Homeland) Poster

Romaji: Kazoku no Kuni

Japanese Title: かぞく の くに

Release Date: 04th August 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Yang Yong-Hi

Writer: Yang Yong-Hi

Starring: Sakura Ando, Arata, Yang Ik-June, Kotomi Kyono, Jun Murakami, Taro Suwa,

This movie was one of a strong contingent at this year’s Berlin Film Festival where itwas screened at the Forum section and won the CICAE prize. It is a partly autobiographical story that draws on the director’s life and tells the story of the emigration of over 90,000 Koreans from Japan to North Korea after being promised a better life. An early review shows that it is a strong dramatic film. It stars Sakura Ando (Love Exposure, Crime or Punishment?!?), Arata (After Life), Kotomi Kyono (Takeshi’), Jun Murakami (Himizu, The Land of Hope, Blazing Famiglia), Taro Suwa (Ju-On: The Curse, Reincarnation), Yoshiko Miyazaki (Villain).

 

From 1959 to 1979 the North Korean government implemented a policy to attract Korean living in Japan to the idea of immigrating to North Korea. One of those who went was Son-Ho (Arata) who left his younger sister Rie (Ando) behind in Japan. 25 years later the two meets again when Son-Ho returns to Japan for three months for an operation. The film looks at the clash of feelings and cultures.

 

Japan Lies: The Photojournalism of Kikujiro Fukushima, Age 90

Romaji: Nippon no Uso: Hodo Shashinka Fukushima Kikujiro 90-sai

Japanese Title: ニッポン の 嘘ー報道 写真家 福島 菊次郎 90-歳

Release Date: 04th August 2012 (Japan)Nippon no Uso Hodo Shashinka Fukushima Poster

Running Time: 114 mins.

Director: Saburo Hasegawa

Writer: Saburo Hasegawa

Starring: Ren Osugi

This documentary follows the work of photographer Kikujiro Fukushima, a man who served in the Japanese army and narrowly avoided the atomic bomb and with the end of the war became disillusioned with Japanese state and began documenting its darker aspects. Ren Osugi reads Extracts from Fukushima’s writings. This sounds like a fascinating watch for anybody interested in history and Japan.

Kikujiro Fukushima is a man who has documented controversial aspects/moments in Japanese society such as discrimination against people of Korean ancestry, violent protests against the Japan’s involvement with the Vietnam war and the Japan-U.S. security alliance, and portraits of radiation poisoning following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and his most recent work photographing the farming communities in Fukushima prefecture following the meltdown at the local plant following the March 11th Earthquake and Tsunami. Hasegawa’s documentary tells Fukushima’s story from his early days to now.

Kamen Rider Fourze the Movie: Everyone, Space is Here!Kamen Rider Space is Here

Romaji: Kamen Raida Foze Za Mubi, Minna de Uchuu Kita!

Japanese Title: 仮面 ライダー フォーゼ The Movie みんな で 宇宙 キターツ!

Release Date: 04th August 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 66 mins.

Director: Koichi Sakamoto

Writer: Kazuki Nakashima

Starring: Sota Fukushi, Ryuki Takahashi, Fumika Shimizu, Rikako Sakata, Ryo Yoshizawa, Shiho,

Tokusatsu and super sentai series are not my forte. I do not really watch them but I marvel at their long titles and the mix of Kanji, Katakana, and Hiragana.

 

The Kamen Rider club in Amanogawa High School are fighting a mysterious monster named Zodiatsu while Space Ironmen Gurandain and Sukaidain are putting the finishing touches to a satellite weapon which has enough power to destroy the world. The team clearly have their work cut out if they are going to stop all of that.

 

Code Geass: Akito the Exiled

Romaji: Ko-do Giasu: Boukoku no Akito

Japanese Title: コード ギアス 亡国 の アキト

Release Date: 04th August 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 66 mins.

Director: Kazuki Akane

Writer: Morita Shigeru

Starring: Maaya Sakamoto, Miyu Irino, Ai Kayano, Yuko Kaida, Asami Seto, Marya Seto, Kenta Miyake, Keiji Fujiwara, Masaya Matsukaze

 

Although the concept of Britain ruling the world through mecha is amusing I have yet to watch the anime Code Geass. This trailer is for the first episode of Sunrise studio’s forthcoming four episode spin-off from the Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion TV series from 2006. It is called Code Geass: Akito the Exiled. It is directed by Kazuki Akane (Birdy the Mighty Decode, Vision of Escaflowne), the script has been written by Morita Shigeru (Space Brothers), and Kimura Takahiro (Dirty Pair Flash) is adapting Clamp’s character design and Yasuda Akira (Turn A Gundam) is in charge of mecha design.

Extras: Soundtrack for this post (Olympic Badminton and this video)

Kazoku no Kuni (Our Homeland) Poster 2

Mei Misaki - Another Poster

Live-Action Film Trailer of Another

Another                                              Mei Misaki - Another Poster

Japanese Title: Another

Release Date: 04th August 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Takeshi Furusawa

Writer: Sachiko Tanaka, Yukito Ayatsuji (Novel)

Starring: Ai Hashimoto, Kento Yamazaki

Yukito Ayatsuji’s supernatural-mystery novel Another has sparked an anime adaptation (which I liked a lot) and a live-action movie which is in post-production. The website for the movie has now started to stream a trailer and it looks entertaining.

 

The story takes place back in the Spring of 1998 at Yomiyama Kita middle school where a transfer student named Kouichi Sakakibara arrives from Tokyo and finds himself in a class under a curse which causes unavoidable death. It seems to be linked to the death of a student in 1972 but a code of silence has developed amongst pupils and teachers past and present. When classmates begin to die Kouichi finds himself drawn into the deadly curse with only the silent and mysterious Mei Misaki seemingly able to give answers.

Continue reading “Live-Action Film Trailer of Another”

Ghost Train オトシモノ (2006)

Ghost Train BannerGhost Train InformationInteresting fact: Takeshi Furusawa was the assistant-director on Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s film Pulse. After watching this popcorn flick you might be sceptical but pay attention and you can see a great many similarities to various J-horror films.

A boy named Takashi finds a ticket on a Mizunashi Station train platform and picks it up. He is visited by a menacing woman in a dark robe. Shell-shocked, he makes his way back to the station and encounters his class-mate Noriko and her older sister Nana (Erika Sawajiri). He tells them, “A strange lady came to me and told me I’m going to die because I picked it up.” Nana reassures him that everything will be fine. Noriko takes the ticket from Takashi who boards an empty train still feeling uneasy about his encounter. The mysterious woman reappears just before the train stops in a tunnel. She claims Takashi as a victim. Why did the train stop? The driver, Kuga Shinichi (Shun Oguri) saw a woman on the track but when he investigates there is nobody there. He tells his superiors but finds himself demoted from the role of driver. Meanwhile Kanae (Chinatsu Wakatsuki) and her boyfriend Shigeru are travelling with friends when he finds a bracelet on a seat. He hands it to Kanae as a present and she puts it on her wrist little realising that the object is cursed and she will be visited by horrifying visions. The driver begins uncover the secrets of the tunnel and discovers it is the site of numerous accidents and harbours a dark secret. Nana and Noriko notice Takashi is on a missing person poster but it isn’t until Noriko goes missing that Nana finds herself investigating the disappearances all of which seem to be linked to a woman named Yaeko Aounuma.

Ghost Train Shape Continue reading “Ghost Train オトシモノ (2006)”