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Miyamoto 宮本から君へ Dir: Tetsuya Mariko (2019)

Miyamoto   From Miyamoto To You Film Poster

宮本から君へ Miyamoto kara Kimi e

Release Date: September 27th, 2019

Duration: 129 mins.

Director: Tetsuya Mariko

Writer: Tetsuya Mariko, Takehiko Minato (Screenplay), Hideki Arai (Manga)

Starring: Sosuke Ikematsu, Yu Aoi, Arata Iura, Kenichi Matsuyama, Tokio Emoto, Kanji Furutachi, Jiro Sato, Pierre Taki,

Website IMDB

Miyamoto is based on a seinen manga by Hideki Arai that ran from 1990 to 1994 in the magazine Weekly Morning. This slice-of-life story, based somewhat on Arai’s background, detailed the maturation of Hiroshi Miyamoto, a young man Miyamoto 宮本から君へ Mangafrom Yokohama who is uncertain of himself as he is fresh out of college and new to living life in Tokyo. Scenes of work and romance are tied to his struggle to establish himself as a man and start a family and everything is given the gaman/gambarimasu treatment with some shocking moments of violence and lots of hot-blooded emotions as he holds true to ideals of love and honour even if it puts him in a world of hurt.

For many international audiences, this 2019 movie adaptation will be their first contact with the franchise. It is a direct continuation of a 2018 drama. Both the drama and film were written and directed by Tetsuya Mariko, the man who helmed the absolutely bleak portrait of lost youth Destruction Babies (2016). Indeed the movie version of Miyamoto was filmed from September 09th to October 30th after the TV show finished airing in the summer of 2018, and so, a director with a strong vision reunites with a cast of great actors as they adapt the middle part of the manga and the main character, the titular Miyamoto, moves on to romancing a new woman, Yasuko.

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Japanese Girls Never Die  「アズミ・ハルコは行方不」Dir: Daigo Matsui 2016

Japanese Girls Never Die  

japanese-girls-never-die-film-poster
japanese-girls-never-die-film-poster

アズミ・ハルコは行方不  Azumi Haruko wa yukue fumei

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Daigo Matsui

Writer: Mariko Yamauchi (Original Novel), Misaki Setoyama (Screenplay)

Starring: Yu Aoi, Mitsuki Takahata, Maho Yamada, Shono Hayama, Taiga, Kanon Hanakage, Ryo Kase, Motoki Ochiai, Tomiyuki Kunihiro, Akiko Kikuchi,

IMDB Website

In this film, Japanese girls are mad. Justifiably so if you look at reality. Despite Japan being a country on the bleeding edge of culture and cool, the way women are treated leaves a lot to be desired. Shinzo Abe, the current Prime Minister of Japan (I’m dating this review with a reference to him), has pledged to make Japan’s economy boom again and one of his methods is to get more women into the workplace and not just in menial positions but in leadership roles – womenomics. Rather contradictorily, he wants this whilst also trying to persuade women to boost the birthrate of a country with workplace environments that often penalise people for taking time off to look after family matters. Unfortunately, his grand plans have faltered and women still find themselves trapped in lowly positions never mind other issues such as stalkers and whatnot. Japanese Girls Never Die, based on the novel Haruko Azumi Is Missing by Misaki Setoyama, manages to tackle many issues of that women face in a bright neon blaze of righteous anger and anime-inspired visuals that will drive home the injustices that women endure.

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Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends Released Tomorrow in UK Cinemas

As an itinerant anime and Asian film writer I have been reporting about the theatrical release of various movies for quite a while on this blog and another site in particular. One long-running project has been the  Rurouni Kenshin movies which I have been tracking since back in 2011 (on this very blog) and 2012 (like here) and keeping track of the BBFC website I was able to spot that the first would be playing at select theatres in the UK. I was pleased when the first Rurouni Kenshin film appeared in my local cinema back in 2013 and I was soon helping spread the word about  Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno when it was released last year. This year it’s all coming to a close with Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. The day of that film’s release has nearly arrived! It’s so close! It’s released tomorrow on April 17th! I have booked the day off work to savour the experience and possibly re-watch Kyoto Inferno which I now have on DVD!

Here are the UK theatrical release details for the third and final Rurouni Kenshin film…

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Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno るろうに剣心京都大火編 (2014)

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno    RUROUNI KENSHIN 2_Poster

Japanese Title: るろうに剣心京都大火編

Romaji: Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Taika Hen

Release Date: August 01st, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 139 mins.

Director: Keishi Ohtomo

Writer: Watsuki Nobuhiro (Original Manga), Kiyomi Fujii, Keishi Ohtomo (Screenplay)

Starring: Takeru Sato, Emi Takei, Munetaka Aoki, Yu Aoi, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Yosuke Eguchi, Kaito Oyagi, Yosuke Eguchi, Yusuke Iseya, Tao Tsuchiya, Maryjun Takahashi,

History is never as clean or as clear cut as the books make it out to be and for the survivors’ of the Boshin War and the pivotal Battle of Toba-Fushimi the scars run deep and the old hatreds have simmered. It is to be expected that the consequences of this battle are messier and farther reaching than many would like considering the conflict between the Tokugawa Shogunate and the eventually victorious Imperial forces decided the fate of Japan and set in motion the end of samurai era and ushered in the modernisation and westernisation of Japan. Many who fought on both sides found themselves cast adrift in a new world that does not require their deadly skills but these people who fought to change the future of their nation will find history can never be escaped.

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Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends UK Release Information

Well the hype train has now set off from its station because I got news about the UK release of the third and final part of the Rurouni Kenshin film trilogy. Last week Monday I reported on Anime UK News about the release of Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends which will hit UK cinemas on April 17th (it was originallt pencilled in for March 06th but it was pushed back and a new trailer was produced) thanks to Warner Bros. UK. Today I got a bit more information including a poster (which looks like a good way of selling it to a UK audience who may not be familiar with the cast) and so I’m posting some news about it here with trailer and synopsis and everything. Poster first:

Rurouni Kenshin The Legend Ends UK Poster

 

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Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken (The Case of Hana & Alice) Trailers

The Case of Hana & AliceHana and Alice Anime Movie Poster 

Japanese Title: 花とアリス 殺人事件

Romaji: Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken

Release Date: February 20th, 2015

Running Time: N/A

Director: Shunji Iwai

Writer: Shunji Iwai (Screenplay/Original Creator),

Starring: Yu Aoi (Tetsuko Arisugawa), Anne Suzuki (Hana Arai), Ryou Kazuji (Kotaro Yuda – a man who holds the key to the murder mystery), Haru Kuroki (Satomi Hagino-sensei – Hana and Alice’s homeroom teacher), Tae Kimura (Yuki Tsutsumi – the ballet classroom teacher), Shouko Aida (Kayo Arisugawa – Alice’s mother), Sei Hiraizumi (Kenji Kuroyanagi – Alice’s father), Ranran Suzuki (Tomomi Mutsu – Hana’s classmate), Tomohiro Kaku (Asanaga-sensei), Midoriko Kimura (Tomomi Arai – Hana’s mother),

I write for a few websites and one of them is Anime UK News which is where I publish anime season previews. I have written about a lot of TV anime but there is one special anime film I want to share with users and that is Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken which is in the first part of my season preview.

This is the prequel movie to Shunji Iwai’s wonderful 2004 coming-of-age film Hana & Alice, the film which was the break-out title for two totally talented actors Yu Aoi and Anne Suzuki who respectively starred as Alice and Hana, two school girls in an intense friendship who both experience love for the first time. Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken tells the story of how the girls first met and it is apparently through the world’s smallest murder case.

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Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno UK Release Info

I am really excited because Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno is going to Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno Film Posterbe released in my local cinema! This is the follow-up to 2012’s Rurouni Kenshin film which I really liked. Kyoto Inferno is actually the second part in a trilogy and was released in Japan back in August. It is now making its way to the UK courtesy of Warner Bros and will be in the following cinemas from next Friday:

Cineworld Enfield, Crawley, Sheffield, West India Quay, Glasgow RS, Cardiff, Stevenage, Bolton and Vue Piccadilly

I have booked the day off work and my family are coming along for this one because they liked the first film as well!

Here’s some info and the UK trailer and poster:

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Rurouni Kenshin るろうに剣心 (2012)

Rurouni Kenshin                                              るろうに剣心 Poster

Romaji: Rurouni Kenshin

Japanese Title: るろうに剣心

Release Date: August, 25th 2012 (Japan)

UK Release Date: August 2013 (UK)

Running Time: 134 mins.

Director: Keishi Ohtomo

Writer: Watsuki Nobuhrio (Original Manga), Kiyomi Fujii, Keishi Ohtomo (Screenplay)るろうに剣心 Poter

Starring: Takeru Sato, Emi Takei, Yu Aoi, Teruyuki Kagawa, Taketo Tanaka, Munetaka Aoki, Yosuke Eguchi, Koji Kikkawa,

The live-action adaptation of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s classic chanbara manga Rurouni Kenshin is the latest release from Warner Bros. Japan. The company is building a large portfolio of live-action adaptations of anime and manga for the big screen. Previous projects from the Warner Bros. include releases like Wild 7, Ninja Kids!!!, the Death Note films and the Berserk anime. These are titles which are popular in and outside of Japan, safe properties which come with an in-built fan-base. A safe bet if you will and it seems to have payed off because Rurouni Kenshin was one of the highest grossing film in Japan in 2012 and not without reason because it is one of the best adaptations of an anime or manga that I have seen in a while. This post is full of Gifs so apologies for slow loading times.

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Penance Shokuzai 贖罪 (2012)

Penance Eiko Koike Banner

Penance                   Shokuzai Drama Poster

Romaji: Shokuzai

Japanese Title: 贖罪

Running Time: 300 mins.

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Script), Kanae Minato (Original Novel)

Starring: Kyoko Koizumi, Eiko Koike, Sakura Ando, Chizuru Ikewaki, Yu Aoi, Mirai Moriyama, Ryo Kase, Teruyuki Kagawa, Hirofumi Arai

For the last few years I have reviewed a J-horror film or something twisted for this blog for Halloween. Well, I was reviewing lots of J-horror anyway but I would only write about something really good, usually from my favourite directors like Nightmare Detective (Shinya Tsukamoto) and Strange Circus (Sion Sono). This year I will review Penance directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

kurosawa-penance

It was originally broadcast on the Japanese TV station WOWOW in five parts. A shorter version running at 270 minutes toured western film festivals like Venice and the East End Film Festival so it could be watched in one go. It has picked up for distribution by Music Box Films for release in the UK/Canada and US some time next year. I have watched the original episodes made for Japanese TV.

Penance is a five-episode TV drama based on Kanae Minato’s 317 page novel of the same name (Minato also wrote the novel which the film Confessions is based on) and is Kurosawa’s follow-up to the magnificent Tokyo Sonata.

Penance Emiri in School

Emiri Aachi is an elementary school student whose family have moved from urban Tokyo to sleepy Ueda due to her father’s work. She makes friends with four girls named Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuka. Emiri is the fashionable one who has all of the latest things and she brings some excitement into the lives of the girls but strange things are going on including the theft of French dolls. One day when the five girls are playing volleyball at school they are approached by a man dressed in work-clothes. He has been watching them intently and asks for their help in repairing the ventilation system in the school gym.

Penance Inciting Incident  Continue reading “Penance Shokuzai 贖罪 (2012)”

Mushishi 蟲師 (2007)

Mushishi Genki Review Banner Genki Jason

Mushishi                                                                   Mushishi Film Poster

Japanese Title: 蟲師

Romaji: Mushishi

Release Date: March 24th, 2007 (Japan)

Running Time: 131 mins.

Director: Katsuhiro Otomo

Writer: Yuki Urushibara (Original Manga/Screenplay), Sadayuki Murai (Screenplay),

Starring: Joe Odagiri, Yu Aoi, Makiko Esumi, Nao Omori, Reia Moriyama, Reisen Ri, Lily, Hideyuki Inada,

Mushishi is based on Yuki Urushibara’s award-winning manga. It is a title which has captured imaginations because it was quickly adapted into a highly regarded award-winning anime in 2005-06. To cap it all off we get a live-action version.

Mushishi Ginko Manga Anime Live Action Comparison

This story of an itinerant spiritualist wandering through a Japan just entering the meiji era is beautiful and poignant with bits of human drama and nostalgia. This combined with the visuals formed a wonderful film which is a visual and aural feast that submerges the viewer in a narrative that evokes wonder.

Mushishi begins with long-held wide-angle shots of rain-soaked tree-covered mountains wreathed with mist. It feels like a scene from a primordial time before man has trod on the earth and a time where spirits could be lingering in this natural world.

Mushishi Landscape 2

The film then cuts to a shot of two people trudging along a muddy road that clings to the Mushishi Ginko and His Motherside of the mountain. The smallest figure, Yoki, is a boy moving from town to town with his mother who carries a heavy pack with all of their belongings. All talk about spirits lingering proves right as Yoki can see wisps of spirits emanating from the landscape. These are mushi (bugs), the phantom soul of nature which breathes through the living and the dead. Think of them like magical presences which can affect people in various, mostly negative, ways such as causing the growth of horns and sucking souls. Few people can see them but it seems that Yoki (Inada) is one of them. They fascinate Yoki who lags behind his mother on the road. Perhaps this is what saves him as a landslip causes trees and earth to careen down the side of the mountain and engulf the road he and his mother are on. His mother yells at him to run before she is swept away. When the smoke clears all we see is Yoki clawing through rocks trying to find his mother while an enigmatic figure with white hair steps into high angle shot and watches his futile effort. Her name is Nui (Esumi) and she will play a pivotal role in his future.

Mushishi Nui (Esumi) Watches

Mushishi Snowbound VillageCut to a snowy landscape and Yoki has grown up into Ginko (Odagiri), a humble mushi-shi (bug master) who travels around Japan with his huge chest of medicines and tools helping people beset with mushi problems by trying to solve, or at the very least, lessen the problems mushi cause. The film tracks a selection of his adventures such as his first where he wanders into a snow-bound village and discovers that the inhabitants have been infected by mushi who make the villagers deaf in one ear. By following Ginko we see that mushi are everywhere and affect people in various ways but he is not alone in tracking the mushi of the world as he reunites with a woman named Tanyu (Aoi) who chornicles the different mushi in Japan to tackle a fierce mushi which may be linked to his past.

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