Cinema of Japan

Children of the Sea, The Garden Apartment, Almost a Miracle, Erica 38, Rent A Friend, Saint Young Men Second Century, Voice Actor Bowling Grand Prix 3, 99-sai haha to kuraseba, Mangetsu no yoru ni wa omoidashite, Bad Women Good Job Japanese Film Trailers

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Happy weekend!

We made it to another one!

I’m starting the post with a great AMV. I used to make those, once upon a time.

We had big news at the start of the week with the marriage of Yu Aoi to the comedian Ryota Yamasato. It caught everyone off-guard because their dates went under the radar but they’ve known each other for a long time. Her smiles say a lot so let’s hope they continue to be happy.

In terms of this blog, I wrote about the Japanese films at this year’s Annecy International Animation Festival and the Edinburgh International Film Festival. I also wrote about the Japan Foundation’s Pre-Summer Explorer’s film event where a selection of great titles including The Night is Short, Walk on Girl, Getting Any? and Fuku-chan of Fukufuku Flats are going to be screened.

What is released this weekend?

Children of the Sea

海獣の子供  「Kaijuu no Kodomo」

Release Date: May 19th, 2019

Duration: 111 mins.

Director: Ayumu Watanabe

Writer: Daisuke Igarashi (Screenplay/Original Creator),

Starring: Mana Ashida (Ruka Azumi), Hiiro Ishibashi (Umi), Seishuu Uragami (Sora), Goro Inagaki (Masaaki Azumi), Yuu Aoi (Kanako Azumi), Win Morisaki (Anglade),

Music: Joe Hisaishi

Animation Production: Studio 4°C

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis from ANN: Ruka is a young girl whose parents are separated and whose father works in an aquarium. When two boys, Umi and Sora, who were raised in the sea by dugongs, are brought to the aquarium, Ruka feels drawn to them and begins to realize that she has the same sort of supernatural connection to the ocean that they do. Umi and Sora’s special power seems to be connected to strange events that have been occurring more and more frequently, such as the appearance of sea creatures far from their home territory and the disappearance of aquarium animals around the world. However, the exact nature of the boys’ power and of the abnormal events is unknown, and Ruka gets drawn into investigating the mystery that surrounds her new friends.

The Garden Apartment garden apartment film poster

ガーデンアパート 「Ga-den Apa-to」

Release Date: June 07th, 2019

Duration: 77 mins.

Director: Umi Ishihara

Writer: Umi Ishihara (Screenplay),

Starring: Yukari Shinomiya, Kaori Takeshita, Kiyoshiro Ishida, Yu Suzumura,

Website IMDB

Umi Ishihara is an artist whose award-winning work has been featured around the world from Brazil to Australia and Japan. Some words straight from her website:

“The major themes of her work centre around love, personal memories and society. Her work adopts a mix of documentary and fiction, muddying the waters of believability.”

This one was at last year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival in the Indie Forum section.

Synopsis: Hikari has just gotten pregnant with Taro who is cohabiting with her. Their relationship seems to be floundering because, since both have graduated from university, they have had trouble finding employment. As financial problems emerge, so do further relationship problems. Taro has a secret. He relies on his “aunt” Kyoko who has been acting strangely since she lost her husband at a young age. When Hikari meets her for the first time, it seems they may not get along but Hikari starts to visit Kyoko in secret and is introduced to a world where lost young people are free to act out their wild side. This could spell doom for her relationship with Taro as Hikari attracts the attention of Kyoko’s young boyfriend…

Almost a Miracle Almost a Miracle Film Poster

町田くんの世界  「Machidakun no Sekai」

Release Date: June 07th, 2019

Duration: 119 mins.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii, Sho Kataoka (Screenplay), Yuki Ando (Manga)

Starring: Kanata Hosoda, Nagisa Sekimizu, Takanori Iwata, Mitsuki Takahata, Atsuko Maeda, Taiga, Sosuke Ikematsu, Erika Toda, Koichi Sato,

Website IMDB

This is a super-amazing cast of talents and actors. Sosuke Ikematsu, Mitsuki Takahata and Taiga (both great in Japanese Girls Never Die), Atsuko Maeda (Seventh Code), Koichi Sato, and Erika Toda. They have all been assembled by Yuya Ishii (The Great Passage, The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue).

Synopsis: High school student Hajime Machida (Kanata Hosoda) is a bit flaky when it comes to studies and sports but he’s a lovable guy who gets along well with other people. His polar opposite is classmate Nana Inohara (Nagisa Sekimizu) who doesn’t like people. Opposites attract as they begin to have feelings for for each other.

Erica 38 Erica 38 Film Poster

エリカ38  「Erika 38」

Release Date: June 07th, 2019

Duration: 103 mins.

Director: Yuichi Hibi

Writer: Yuichi Hibi (Screenplay),

Starring: Miyoko Asada, Miu Suzuki, Kirin Kiki, Nahana, Juri Manase, Hajime Yamazaki, Shizuo Yamazaki, Hinako Saeki, Takehiro Hira,

Website IMDB

This, I believe, is the last role we will see Kirin Kiki after her passing and it’s an interesting looking drama.

Synopsis: Satoko Watabe (Miyoko Asada), a 60-year-old con woman, and her new lover Ikuo Hirasawa (Takehiro Hira) defraud people in an investment scam and make a lot of money but the deceiver is deceived when she discovers that her boyfriend has other girlfriends. Satoko Watabe ups and leaves with the cash and goes to Thailand and passes herself off as a 38-year-old woman named Erica before returning to Japan where she cons an elderly man out of a large house and calls her mother (Kirin Kiki) at a nursing home to live with her but Erica cannot continue her crooked ways…

Rent A Friend Rent A Friend Film Poster

月極オトコトモダチ  「Tsukigime Otoko Tomodachi」

Release Date: June 08th, 2019

Duration: 78 mins.

Director: Mayu Akiyama

Writer: Mayu Akiyama (Screenplay),

Starring: Eri Tokunaga, Atsushi Hashimoto, Sumire Ashina, Tomoko Nozaki, Hiroaki Morooka, Kana Yamada,

Website

There are a slew of Moosic Lab 2018 dramas and they all look good. I only saw one, this year, Sayounara, and it was okay. The others that have been released like Life Finds a Way, Hitori no Dansu, and this one, look more interesting to someone of my nature.

Synopsis: Nasa Mochizuki (Eri Tokunaga) works as an editor for a web magazine. One night, at a bar, she meets Sota Yanase (Atsushi Hashimoto), who tells her that he makes a living by renting himself out as a friend and refuses to have romantic relationships. In order to test his claim, Nasa rents Sota Yanase as a friend.

Saint Young Men Second Century Saint Young Men Second Century Live Action Film Poster

聖☆おにいさん 第II紀  「Sei oniisan dai II nori」

Release Date: June 06th, 2019

Duration: N/A

Director: Yuichi Fukuda

Writer: Yuichi Fukuda (Screenplay), Hikaru Nakamura (Manga)

Starring: Kenichi Matsuyama, Shota Sometani, Yuuki Yamada, Umi Yamano,

Website

The live-action adaptation of Hikaru Nakamura’s popular manga Saint Young Men gets a movie instalment executive produced by Takayuki Yamada (actor in 13 Assassins). It stars, Kenichi Matsuyama (Shindo, Detroit Metal City) and Shota Sometani (Himizu) who play Jesus and Buddha respectively. The manga has already been subject to an anime movie adaptation.

Synopsis: In this slice-of-super-saintly-life comedy, the dynamic duo, who share a room in Tachikawa, Tokyo, go to Akihabara, a sacred place for otaku and somewhere “computer-geek” Jesus has always wanted to visit. Miracles happen and comedy ensues.

Voice Actor Bowling Grand Prix 3 Voice Actor Bowling Grand Prix 3 Film Poster

声優ボウリングランプリ 3 「Seiyuu Bouringu Guran Puri 3」

Release Date: June 07th, 2019

Duration: 70 mins.

Director: N/A

Writer: N/A

Starring: Atsushi Abe, Tsubasa Yonaga, Kento Hama, Takuya Sato, Yuki Iwai,

Synopsis: Voice actors do some competitive bowling with punishment games involved in the third bowling grand prix of this type. This is a limited release ahead of a DVD.

99-sai haha to kuraseba 99-sai haha to kuraseba Film Poster

99歳 母と暮らせば  「99-sai haha to kuraseba」

Release Date: June 08th, 2019

Duration: 92 mins.

Director: Akira Tanimitsu

Writer: N/A

Starring: Chieko Tanimitsu, Ken Tanimitsu, Akira Tanimitsu, Ikuko Tanimitsu,

Website

Synopsis: This documentary was made to capture the final days between Chieko Tanimitsu, a 99-year-old woman who has dementia. She lives with her son, Akira (a documentarian last featured here in 2014), who takes care of her and we see the hardships as well as the good times, love and care between them.

Mangetsu no yoru ni wa omoidashite Mangetsu no yoru ni wa omoidashite Film Poster

満月の夜には思い出して  「Mangetsu no yoru ni wa omoidashite」

Release Date: June 08th, 2019

Duration: 68 mins.

Director: Yumeki Kawakita

Writer: Yumeki Kawakita (Screenplay),

Starring: Erika Tokiyoshi, Momoko Takeuchi, Kenya Nojima, Tomomi Shindo, Mina Otsuki, Tomoki Kimura,

Website

This is another work from MOOSIC LAB 2018 and it comes from Yumeki Kawakita whose previous work, Kawaranai de. Hyakunichisou, was at the Kanazawa Film Festival 2017.

Synopsis: Three university kids and their friends who are part of the film club, theatre club and music club are making a final film before graduation but face the decision of whether to chase their dreams or face reality and get a normal career.

Bad Women Good Job Warui onna wa yoku kasegu Film Poster

悪い女はよく稼ぐ  「Warui onna wa yoku kasegu」

Release Date: June 08th, 2019

Duration: 89 mins.

Director: Takahito Hara

Writer: Kanako Kizaki, Hiroshi Kashiwabara (Screenplay),

Starring: Naomi Hase, Asami Kumakiri, Haruyuki Mizuguchi, Koji Nishiyama, Ooshiba Ru, Emi Aoki,

Website

Synopsis: Naomi Hase and Asami Kumakiri play international con-artists who find themselves back in Japan and forced to work together to defraud another con-artist.

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