The Life of Guskou Budori, Soup, Soreike! Anpanman Yomigaere Bananajima Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

This week saw me initiate a new Sion Sono Season with a focus on Suicide Circle and Noriko’s Dinner Table with a podcast I recorded with Goregirl due tomorrow.

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.  Hotaru: It’s Only a Little Light in my Life
  5.  Thermae Romae

The Amazing Spider-Man takes number one while Japanese crime drama Rinjo enters at three. Thermae Romae spends a tenth week in the top five. Two major anime titles have taken a tumble with the latest Berserk film down at fourteen while Library War is performing better as it rests at thirteen.

What are the latest Japanese films released in Japan today? Well for me the highlight has to be a certain cat and his magical adventure.

The Life of Guskou Budori                      The Life of Guskou Budori Poster

Release Date: 07th July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Gisaburo Sugii

Writer: Kenji Miyazawa (original novel), Gisaburo Sugii

Starring: Shun Oguri, Shiori Kutsuna, Akira Emoto, Kuranosuke Sasaki Tamiyo Kusakari, Ryuzo Hayashi

This is the anime movie adaptation of Kenji Miyazawa ‘s 1932 fairy tale The Life of Guskou Budori. As mentioned previously it stars Shun Oguri (Ghost Tunnel) in the lead vocal role with Shiori Kutsuna (My Back Pages) and Akira Emoto (Villain, Starfish Hotel) providing support.

Guskou is a cat who lives in the Tohoku forests in north eastern Japan in the 1920’s. A series of droughts and natural disasters forces Guskou to leave hoe ad search for a new place to live. He soon falls in with a group of scientists at the Ihatov Volcano Department and discovers that they are dealing with the same natural disasters that have altered Guskou’s life.

Soup                                                                                       Soup Movie Poster

Romaji: Supu Umarekawari no Monogatari

Japanese Title: スープ 生まれ変わり の 物語

Release Date: 07th July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 117 mins.

Director: Yuki Otsuka

Writer: Yuki Otsuka

Starring: Katsuhisa Namase, Manami Konishi, Yuiko Kariya, Shuhei Nomura, Alice Hirose, Ai Hashimoto, Suzuka Ohgo, Ayumi Ito, Arata Furuta, Hiroki Matsukata

Soup Rebirth Story…  This looks like the debut of Yuki Otsuka and a very heart-felt story (not the first reincarnation story of this year though) It stars Katsuhia Namase (Kamikaze Girls), Yuiko Kariya (Confessions), Manami Konishi (Tokyo Park), Ai Hashimoto (Another, Control Tower) Ayumi Ito (Vanished, All About Lily Chou-Chou), Arata Furuta (Tokyo Zombie, 13 Assassins), Hiroki Matsukata (Tajomaru, 13 Assassins).


Kenichi Shibuya (Namase) is a fifty-year-old recently divorced salaryman with a rocky relationship with his daughter Mika (Kariya). One day, he and his boss Yumi (Konishi) are both struck by lightning, die and head off to the afterlife where they head of a legendary soup that will allow a person who consumes it to be reborn. There’s just one catch, that person will lose their memories of their prior life. Shibuya wants to be reborn but he doesn’t want to lose his memories of Mika. Can he figure out the soup’s recipe and beat the catch?

Soreike! Anpanman Yomigaere Bananajima                   Soreike! Anpanman Yomigaere Bananajima Movie Poster

Romaji: Soreike! Anpanman Yomigaere Bananajima

Japanese Title: それいけ! アンパンマン よみがえれ バナナ島

Release Date: 07th July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hiroyuki Yano

Writer: Tomoko Komparu (Screenplay), Takashi Yanase (Original Creator)

Starring: Keiko Toda, Ryusei Nakao, Yoshino Kimura, Yuuki Himura

A kid’s film based on Takashi Yanase’s massively popular and long running picture book series which was, according to Wikipedia, inspired by Yanase’s struggles to survive as a soldier during World War II, when he was faced with starvation and dreamed of eating anpan (a bean-jam filled pastry). This is the 24th movie adaptation and it stars the voices of Keiko Toda (Osono in Kiki’s Delivery Service, Kitarou in GeGeGe no Kitarou… she also dubbed Scully in the X-Files) and Ryusei Nakao (Genkei in Mononoke), Yoshino Kimura (Fine, Totally Fine, Sukiyaki Western Django).


Banana Island is located in the topics and shaped like a banana. On this island delicious bananas grow but cold weather threatens them and it looks like Baikinman (Bacteria Man), a villain from the “Germ World”, is behind this problem. Enter Anpanman, a character whose head is an anpan to save the island.

Fine, Totally Fine 全然大丈夫 (2008)

Fine, Totally Fine Review Banner

Fine, Totally Fine                                       Zenzen Daijobu Poster

Romaji: Zenzen Daijobu

Japanese: 全然大丈夫

Release Date: 26th February 2008 (Japan),

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Yosuke Fujita

Writer: Yosuke Fujita

Starring: YosiYosi Arakawa, Yoshino Kimura, Yoshinori Okada, Noriko Eguchi, Naoki Tanaka, Keizo Kanie, Shima Ise, Kitaro

For a title Fine, Totally Fine sounds like damning with faint praise but don’t be fooled because the film is a relaxing and charming tale of people forced to grow that will have you recognising much of yourself in the characters and feeling refreshed.

Teruo (Arakawa) lives at home with his heart-sick used bookstore owner father named Eitaro (Kanie). Teruo is nearing his 30th birthday and when not working as a part time gardener he spends his days aimlessly dreams of building a haunted house which he hopes will be able to “scare people to death” and secure him riches. His childhood friend Hisanobu (Okada) may have a respectable job as a hospital administrator but he still helps Teruo in his childish schemes, however his enthusiasm is waning since he feels his life is stuck in a rut. He is not the only one as Eitaro ups and leaves Tokyo so he can roam the country which leaves Teruo and his sister stunned. Enter clumsy artist Akari (Kimura). She has a love for fish paste sausages and painting but she also has a ‘negative aura’ which results in self-injury. When she attends a job interview at the hospital Hisanobu works at he falls in love with her and when her accident-prone nature forces her to quit Hisanobu snags her a job at Teruo’s bookstore while trying to channel Akari’s artistic talents. Unfortunately for Hisanobu, Teruo falls for Akari, regarding her as his future wife and looking for a way to woo her but life is not that simple.

Yosuke Fujita’s is a writer and theatre director and this is his movie debut. The time spent on stage and script seems to have armed him perfectly for his debut film because the insights into human nature are sharp and delivered amid moments of gentle but highly amusing humour.

Arakawa as Teruo in Fine, Totally Fine Continue reading “Fine, Totally Fine 全然大丈夫 (2008)”