I Am a Hero is the best zombie film to have come out in a long, long time or at least since 28 Days Later (2002) when Danny Boyle sent fast-running infected across the streets of London. Much like the aforementioned title, I Am a Hero has zed-heads that tear across the screen and they are very scary to behold and much like the classic titles of the zombie genre such as George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978) it features some social commentary. Also, unlike tongue-in-cheek J-horror zom-comedies like Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies(2008) and Big Tits Zombie(2010), I Am a Hero is serious and rooted in our world and gleefully slaps it sideways in a gory horror film that does justice to its source.
As a fan of the manga I Am a Hero I had been cautious in getting my hopes up for this one since the horror genre has been in the doldrums in Japan with a mixture of dumb low-budget, badly-made schlock and funny but low-budget badly-made schlock dominating the output (as I have been discovering over a long summer/autumn/winter of splatter films). When there is something other than monsters and zombies its pretty idol girls getting chased around by ghosts or psychos.
Zombie films in particular are pretty bad. The list of good Japanese zombie is a pretty short one as far as I’m concerned. Perhaps it’s a good thing that this is based on a best-selling manga and the approach to the film is to turn it into A-grade survival panic horror” movie as Anime News Network reports. Continue reading “I Am a Hero Live-Action Trailer”→
Well this week saw me start off my Genki Christmas Season with my look into the haunted girl’s school franchise with a review of the classic Whispering Corridors followed by (my personal favourite) Memento Mori. I had meant to post the third instalment yesterday but a combination of commuter nightmares (train delays meant I lost two vital hours) and a looming appointment at a Japanese restaurant with my class for a Christmas meal meant that I had to miss it out. I might have been disappointed but the Christmas meal had great food, great company and great conversation. It was wonderful. There is one Christmas party for work some time next week but I am actually ahead in reviews… which means I should be able to beef up my drafts and just hit post. I suspect that the reviews might pile up towards the end of the month if I want to keep reviewing Korean horror.
Kamen Rider X Kamen Rider Wizard & Fourze: Movie War Ultimatum
Love for Beginners
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
Inazuma Eleven The Movie 2012
Lesson of the Evil
The Floating Castle
Ninkyo Helper: Beautiful World.
A Chorus of Angels
Trouble with the Curve
This happens too often… I ignore a Kamen Rider film one week and it tops the charts the next. It has happened again. Last week Kamen Rider X Kamen Rider Wizard & Fourze: Movie War Ultimatum was released and now it reigns supreme. I don’t watch these super sentai shows and have never liked them so I’m totally bemused by them and their popularity but kids love them. Anyway my prediction that Skyfall would still remain at the top was wrong as it falls to two and my prediction that Love for Beginners would hit the charts was right as it enters at three.
What are some of the Japanese movies released in Japanese cinemas today?
One Piece Film Z
Japanese Title: Wan Pi-su Firumu Z
Romaji: ワンピースフィルム Z
Release Date: 15th December 2012 (Japan)
Running Time: N/A
Director: Tatsuya Nagamine
Writer: Osamu Suzuki (Script),Eiichiro Oda (original manga)
Starring: Mayumi Tanaka (Monkey D. Luffy), Cho (Brook), Kazuya Nakai (Roronoa Zoro), Akemi Okamura (Nami), Yuriko Yamaguchi (Nico Robin), Hiroaki Hirata (Sanji), Ikue Ohtani (Tony Tony Chopper), Kazuki Yao (Franky), Kappei Yamaguchi (Usopp), Teruyuki Kagawa (Bins)
Everybody go home, the latest big screen adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece is released today so expect it to dominate the charts for the next month or so. The film will cover the “Saigo no Umi Shinsekai Hen” or New World Saga arc of the manga which was launched in October 2010. The film has been written by Eiichiro Oda, the creator of the original manga who is also producing the film. He has been helped with the screenplay by Osamu Suzuki. It is directed by Tatsuya Nagamine who has worked on massive franchise movies like Dragonball and the Pretty Cure.
The familiar One Piece seiyuu are back with Mayumi Tanaka (Krilin in Dragonball) voicing Monkey D. Luffy, Akemi Okamura (Asuka Kaminogi in Noein) voicing the sexy Nami and Hiroaki Hirata (Tatsuji in Another, Benny in Black Lagoon, Wild Tiger in Tiger and Bunny) voicing the suave Sanji. They are joined by live-action actor Teruyuki Kagawa (Tokyo Sonata, Key of Life) and the singer Ryoko Shinohara (Kamikaze Girls, Summer of Ubume).
With the Straw Hat Pirates in the New World they face having to save it and pirates everywhere since a legendary ex-Navy admiral named Zetto is leading a group who want to destroy all pirates. Monkey D. Luffy will have to rally his crew to defeat their most powerful enemy yet!
Starring: Suzuka Morita, Misaki Momose, Kimito Totani, Mika Hijii, Mayu Sugano, Sayuri Otomo, Kensuke Ikeda, Yuichiro Hirose, Akiho Ohtsubo
This movie is based on a 2010 novel Ima, Yari no Yukimasu: RE-DUX Kyofu Jitsuwashū by Yumeaki Hirayama. Said novel was a collection of five horror tales. I have heard of some of the actors – Akiho Ohtsubo appeared in Vanished, Yuichiro Hirose appeared in Love Exposure – and some of Seiji Chiba’s works are familiar but for the most part I cannot judge it apart from what I read in the synopsis and it reads like something you would find on Japanese television, Tales of Terror for instance. It looks pretty awful.
Watashi no Shishuu
High school student Nao (Morita) buys a collection of poems from a homeless man which touches her. Despite warnings from her boyfriend Satoru (Totani), she tells the homeless man. Bad move because this homeless guy soon appears to be stalking Nao.
Orie (Momose) leads a normal life with her boyfriend Tomoki (Ikeda) until she buys a photobook with a DVD in the back. When she plays it on her television, she sees something horrific.
When Chie (Hijii) receives a call about a lost pencil case from a stranger (Hirose) she is confused until she remembers that she once lost one all the way back in elementary school. Who might this caller be? Is it Ōtomo, a former classmate? This being a horror tale, she should probably duck collecting the pencil case.
Natsumi (Sugano) is desperately in need of a public rest room and just as she finds one a girl (Ohtsubo) warns her that the place is dangerous. Natsumi ignores her…
Ima, Yari ni Yukimasu
Misuzu (Sugano) js threatened by a strange man but manages to escape. When she gets ome she reeives a call and hears a man telling her “now, I’m going to kill”.
Starring: Kumiko Aso, Yo Oizumi, Ayaka Miyoshi, Akira Takemura
This is the most promising film released today and it stars Kumiko Aso (Pulse, The Wolf Children, Kaidan, License to Live, Ayaka Miyoshi (Confessions), Yo Oizumi, a man who has turned up in a number of Ghibli movies like Spirited Away, The Cat Returns and Howl’s Moving Castle as well as the lead role in Phone Call to the Bar)
Aki (Aso) was once a guitarist in a punk band until she became pregnant at the age of 17 and became a single-mother to a daughter named Hatsuki (Miyoshi). The two of them live happily together until a man named Yagu (Oizumi) enters their lives. It turns out that he was once in the same band as Aki and he still has feelings for her.
Humanoid Monster Bem
Japanese Title:映画 妖怪 人間 ベム
Romaji: Eiga Yōkai Ningen Bemu
Release Date: 15th December 2012 (Japan)
Running Time: N/A
Director: Shunsuke Kariyama
Starring: Kazuya Kamenashi, Anne Watanabe, Akira Emoto, Anna Ishibashi, Fuku Suzuki, Arisa Muzuki
This is the latest adaptation of the popular Humanoid Monster Bem anime (1968-69). It follows the 2011 television series and stars Kazuya Kamenashi (Member of Kat-Tun), Anne Watanabe (Ninja Kids!!!), and Akira Emoto (Villain, Starfish Hotel).
Bem (Kamenashi) is a monster with a good heart. He and Bela (Watanabe) and Belo (Suzuki) are all monsters disguised as humans but their disguise drops when they get extremely excited or sad. They live to protect against a fearsome villain known as the Man with No Name (Emoto).