Cinema of Japan

RANDEN: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram, Violence Voyager, Monchan, Aircraft Carrier Ibuki, Musashi, Sadako, Little Love Song, Tannisho wo Hiraku, Promare, Seiyuu yururi tabi ~ Furukawa Makoto no ki nasse! Kumamoto, Portrait of Brothers, Sakubee-san to Nihon o horu, Hitori no Dansu Japanese Film Trailers

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Happy weekend!

I hope everyone is fine!

I’m in the middle of a 12 day week after going back to doing fun overtime in work but I managed to do a lot of writing as well. I posted about a special screening of animated documentaries by female directors – World Animation Theatre 2019 – and also a preview for Nippon Connection 2019.

A real mixed bag of trailers this week.

RANDEN: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto TramRANDEN The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram Film Poster

嵐電 「Randen」

Running Time: 114 mins.

Release Date: Summer 2019

Director: Takuji Suzuki

Writer: Takuji Suzuki, Hiroshi Asari, (Screenplay),

Starring: Arata Iura, Ayaka Onishi, Tamaki Kubose, Satoko Abe, Kenta Ishida, Hiroto Kanai,

Website IMDB

I saw this at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019 and interviewed the director. I enjoyed it a lot as my review shows and I hope others enjoy it as well.

Synopsis: A writer from Kamakura named Eisei Hiraoka (Arata Iura) is researching supernatural stories but finds himself revisiting memories from a previous visit to his wife’s home town. Kako Ogura (Ayaka Onishi), a shy local woman, is asked to help an actor from Tokyo practice speaking with Kyoto intonation and after the lesson, he asks her to show him around Arashiyama. Nanten Kitakado (Tamaki Kubose), a high school girl from Aomori, shows a one-track mind when she falls for a train nerd who sees nothing but trams. The love of three couples is carried along together by the famous trams and a little of Kyoto’s special magic and folklore. The course of true love rarely runs smooth but if fate places you on a Randen tram, then you will at least get a scenic ride amidst the history and wonderful sights of the city in this charming fairy-tale film that breathes the culture and atmosphere of the city.

Violence Voyager Violence Voyager Film Poster 2

バイオレンス・ボイジャー 「Baiorensu Boijya-」

Release Date: 2019 (Japan)

Running Time: 84 mins.

Director: Ujicha

Writer: Ujicha (Screenplay)

Starring: Aoi Yuki, Naoki Tanaka, Shigeo Takahashi, Tomorowo Taguchi, Daisuke Ono, Saki Fujita,

Kyoto Saga Art University graduate Uji Cha is a talented animator. His last work was The Burning Buddha Man (2012) which I wrote about back in 2013. It went on a festival tour because of its impressive creation. Ujicha used hand-made and painted paper cutouts, animated by hand, to tell a horror story. He has dubbed it “Geki-mation” and directs, writes, draws, edits, his own work and it is clear to see his skill is undeniable. It’s good to have him back with Violence Voyager. This played at Japan Cuts last year.

Synopsis: An American boy named Bobby and his friend Akkun head to the mountains to build a secret base but when they encounter a group of scared kids stuck in a mysterious amusement park called Violence Voyager, they soon find themselves under attack by robot-like humanoids!

Aircraft Carrier Ibuki Aircraft Carrier Ibuki Film Poster

空母いぶき  Kuubo Ibuki

Running Time: 134 mins.

Release Date: May 24th, 2019

Director: Setsuro Wakamatsu

Writer: Yasuo Hasegawa, Kazunori Ito (Screenplay), Kaiji Kawaguchi (Manga)

Starring: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Kuranosuke Sasaki, Tatsuya Fuji, Jun Murakami, Hiroshi Tamaki, Koichi Sato, Tsubasa Honda, Mai Fukagawa,

Website IMDB

It doesn’t happen so much these days but in the past Chinese fishing fleets would often act as a vanguard for a military force or as a “militia” operating on behalf of the government (link). This manga may have been inspired by that. It does look very jingoistic and it looks kind of bad on the basis of the trailer…

Synopsis: The Japanese government has ordered Aircraft Carrier Ibuki to head to the southernmost islands of Japan after a coastguard crew are detained by the owners of fishing boats who have occupied some land.

Musashi Musashi Film Poster

武蔵 むさし  Musashi

Running Time: 120 mins.

Release Date: May 25th, 2019

Director: Yasuo Mikami

Writer: Yasuo Mikami (Screenplay),

Starring: Yoshihiko Hosoda, Ken Matsudaira, Maki Mizuno,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: The story of Musashi Miyamoto and his rivalry with Kojiro Sasaki.

Sadako Sadako Film Poster

貞子  Sadako

Running Time: 120 mins.

Release Date: May 24th, 2019

Director: Hideo Nakata

Writer: Noriaki Sugihara (Screenplay), Koji Suzuki (Novel)

Starring: Elaiza Ikeda, Takashi Tsukamoto, Hiroya Shimizu, Himeka Himejima, Ren Kiriyama, Rie Tomosaka,

Website IMDB

It has been six years since films had Sadako crawling out of screens. The monster, once so terrifying, has lost her edge but has she been rehabilitated? The cast doesn’t look like it’s made up of serious actors, the plot has been updated to give a nod towards current viewing habits of teens and the poster is awful. However, Hideo Nakata is back on board! Although it has been a while since he made a good film… What does the trailer say? I’m not in any hurry to see this one.

Synopsis: A girl with amnesia (Himeka Himejima) is being treated by a psychologist named Mayu (Elaiza Ikeda) who is trying to find out more about her background. Mayu’s younger brother Kazuma (Hiroya Shimizu) is a YouTuber eager for views who, on the advice of a friend, heads to a burnt out apartment where 5 people died which is the scene of psychic trauma and he accidentally catches Sadako. Mayu must stop a new curse from breaking out.

Little Love Song Little Love Song Film Poster

小さな恋のうた  Chiisana Koi no Uta

Running Time: 123 mins.

Release Date: May 24th, 2019

Director: Kojiro Hashimoto

Writer: Kenya Hirata (Screenplay),

Starring: Hayato Sano, Yuki Morinaga, Anna Yamada, Gordon Maeda, Jin Suzuki, Claire Tomiko, Misa Shimizu, Hiroko Nakajima, Kozo Sato, Kazuhiko Kanayama,

Website IMDB

Japan’s fascination with high school films produces the occasional good title but speaks to a myopia amongst creatives and their financial backers. The only thing that makes this stand out is the setting of Okinawa and the presence of a mixed-race actor which broadens things out.

Synopsis: A high school band from a small town in Okinawa are having a good time charming their neighbours with their music and things only get better when they get a record deal with a major label based in Tokyo but a car accident causes a tragedy. When a girl from the nearby US military base appears with a demo tape of a song, things change for the better…

Promare Promare Film Poster

プロメア 「Puromea」

Release Date: May 24th, 2019

Running Time: 111 mins.

Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Writer: Kazuki Nakashima (Screenplay/Original Work),

Starring: Ayane Sakura (Aina Ardebit), Kenichi Matsuyama (Galo Thymos), Taichi Saotome (Lio Fotia), Ami Koshimizu (Ellis Ardebit), Arata Furuta (Deus Prometh), Mayumi Shintani (Lucia Fex),

Animation Production: Trigger

ANN MAL Website

Synopsis: The anime’s protagonist is Galo, a new recruit in a rescue team. The anime will have mechs called “Matoi-Tech,” named after the “matoi” banners that Edo-period firefighting units used.

Tannisho wo Hiraku Tannisho wo Hiraku Film Poster

歎異抄をひらく 「Tannishou wo Hiraku」

Release Date: May 24th, 2019

Running Time: 98 mins.

Director: Kazuhisa Ouno

Writer: Kiyoto Wada (Screenplay), (Original Work),

Starring: Koji Ishizaki (Shinran), Toshiki Masuda (Yuien), Kentaro Ito (Meihobo), Mitsuhiro Ichiki (Gonpachi), Rina Honnizumi (Asa),

Animation Production: Paradise Cafe

ANN MAL Website

Synopsis from My Anime List: An official website launched for an anime movie adaptation of Tannishou wo Hiraku (Tannisho). The movie will premiere in Japanese theaters on May 24. This is the second movie in the Naze Ikiru Series, following Naze Ikiru: Rennyo Shounin to Yoshizaki Enjou which premiered in May 2016.

Tannishou wo Hiraku is a buddhist reference book by Tenritsu Takamori published in 2008. It is based on Tannishou, which was written in the Kamakura period, happening between 1185 and 1333, and follows Yuinen as he contemplates why bad people are spared more often than good people. He studies under the Buddhist monk Shinran and records his teachings. Since then people from around the world have followed Tannishou, Takamori included. He details Tannishou in Tannishou wo Hiraku, which is separated into three parts; The first includes original text and translation, the second is explanation, and the third is original text only.

Monchan

もんちゃん 「Monchan」

Running Time: 30 mins.

Release Date: February 24th, 2018

Director: Jinhong Kim

Writer: Jinhong Kim (Screenplay)

Starring: Yuuki Ito, Tsuyoshi Ito, Yuuki Sato, Mami Hashimoto,

Website

Synopsis: A young boy is picked up by his father’s lover when he falls ill in school. When he slips out of the house, he encounters strange girls.

Seiyuu yururi tabi ~ Furukawa Makoto no ki nasse! Kumamoto Seiyuu yururi tabi ~ Furukawa Makoto no ki nasse! Kumamoto Film Poster

声優ゆるり旅 古川慎の来なっせ!熊本  Seiyuu yururi tabi ~ Furukawa Makoto no ki nasse! Kumamoto

Running Time: 61 mins.

Release Date: May 24th, 2019

Director: Kojiro Hashimoto

Writer: Kenya Hirata (Screenplay),

Starring: Makoto Furukawa, Daiki Kobayashi,

Website

Synopsis: Makoto Furukawa invites voice actor Daiki Kobayashi from Osaka to take a trip around Kumamoto, his hometown. The two voice actors see famous places such as Kumamoto Castle and Mt. Aso as well as eat local cuisine and visit hot springs. A DVD version of this journey is released in a month’s time.

Portrait of Brothers Portrait of Brothers Film Poster

兄消える  Ani Kieru

Running Time: 104 mins.

Release Date: May 25th, 2019

Director: Nobuhiro Nishikawa

Writer: Akito Inui (Screenplay),

Starring: Shinichi Yanagisawa, Choei Takahashi, Takako Tsuchiya, Toru Emori,

Website

Synopsis: Tetsuo (Choei Takahashi) is a 76-year-old man and single who has just buried his father. Then, one day, his older brother Kinnosuke (Shinichi Yanagisawa) returns home out of the blue and with a younger woman Juri (Takako Tsuchiya) and they live together…

Sakubee-san to Nihon o horu Sakubee-san to Nihon o horu Film Poster

作兵衛さんと日本を掘る  Sakubee-san to Nihon o horu

Running Time: 111 mins.

Release Date: May 25th, 2019

Director: Hiroko Kumagai

Writer: Akito Inui (Screenplay),

Starring: Fumi Inoue, Tadatoshi Inoue, Emi Ogata, Kazue Morisaki,

Website

Synopsis: Fukuoka has a strong coal-mining tradition and Sakubei Yamamoto comes from a mining family who worked in the pits at the height of the industry. He later turned to art after a career underground and his art depicted the lives of workers even after Japan weaned itself off coal and onto other energy source. You can see more about him, the subject of this documentary, in this UNESCO webpage.

Hitori no Dansu Hitori no Dansu Film Poster

1人のダンス  Hitori no Dansu

Running Time: 58 mins.

Release Date: May 25th, 2019

Director: Ryo Anraku

Writer: Ryo Katayama (Screenplay),

Starring: Ryo Anraku, RYUICHI, Shunsuke Idekura, Mutsumi Sato, Mizuho Osu, Ryo Katayama, Masashi Omiya,

Website

Synopsis: The story depicts the clash between friends, both creatives, but one of whom is an MV director who has lost sight of what he wants to do in life and his own creativity.

Ira Ligar
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