Category Archives: Movies/TV

Keanu Reeves in Japan

Keanu Reeves, a leading exponent of scruff chic, put in the effort to look dapper for his fans in Japan on Sunday as he signed autographs for his adoring acolytes in the Land of the Rising Sun. In his new movie, The 47 Ronin, he plays a half Japanese half British swordsman.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bNyB2vTok4k

Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki Retires from Anime

Leading Japanese animation film director Hayao Miyazaki will retire from movie production, it was learned Sunday.

According to participants in the ongoing Venice International Film Festival, Studio Ghibli Inc. President Koji Hoshino told a press conference in the Italian city that Miyazaki, 72, will retire with the latest full-length film, “The Wind Rises” (Kaze Tachinu), released on July 20. The movie, which features the chief engineer of the Zero fighter plane used in World War II, has become a box office hit drawing an audience of over 6.49 million as of last Monday.

After producing the “Future Boy Conan” (Mirai Shonen Konan) television animation series in the late 1970s, Miyazaki started his career as a movie director with “Lupin the Third: Castle of Cagliostro.” Later, he launched Studio Ghibli and released many animated features.

With Ghibli, Miyazaki helmed the feature films Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, and finally, The Wind Rises. He also co-produced Takahata’s directorial efforts and directed smaller projects such as the “experimental film” On Your Mark and Ghibli Museum Shorts such as Mei and the Kitten Bus and Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess.

Spirited Away remains the highest earning film ever at the Japanese box office, 12 years after it opened in 2001. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2003.

Police seek father of TV celebrity Rola

The Metropolitan Police Department has obtained an arrest warrant for the father of television personality Rola on suspicion of fraud, it was learned Tuesday.

Jurip ASA Al, 53, from Bangladesh, is suspected of conspiring with a compatriot to receive about 875,000 yen in benefits under Japan’s national health insurance system in December 2009 by submitting a fake medical certificate from the accomplice, according to the police. They allegedly abused the system’s program of paying some overseas medical costs borne by the insured.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kIFufbjHckk

Jackie Chan the Japanese Drunken Master with Kirin Beer

The beloved master of Kung Fu and action-packed films, Jackie Chan is known for insanely crazy stunts and the strange kid cartoon. However, Japanese beermaker Kirin has made Jackie Chan look hilarious for a 7 minute short film involving beer and Tokyo. It’s Drunken Master all over again!

Here’s something not all Jackie Chan fans see every day. Japanese beer maker, Kirin instils the help of martial artist Jackie Chan and Shoko Nakagawa for a short film. Interestingly enough, all this was to promote and advertise Kirn’s Nogodoshi Draft Beer.

Probably the best part of the short film is the typical one liner from the guy holding a fan. Of course, Jackie Chan comes in to save the day in his iconic Drunken Master style with a staff causing the villain to explode after being launched in the air.

The short film might not be enough to bring on the urge to drink Kirin’s special Nogodoshi Draft Beer but the direction and choreography definitely did the short justice. Fans of Chan will certainly remember him as the Drunken Master and commemorate it with a Kirin beer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aecV7oQGx8w

Fans of Chan might as well thank Kirin’s ordinary 34-year old office worker, Kazuo Ishida, for the idea. The seven minute video was done all thanks to a 39-item checklist by Ishida in hopes for his dream to come true. The original checklist is as follows.

  • Dream 1: I want to be a kung fu action star…
  • Dream 2: …and work with Jackie Chan.
  • Dream 3: The leading lady should be Shoko Nakagawa (Shokotan)…
  • Dream 4: …the main villain: my buddy from university.
  • Dream 5: I want a scene where Jackie, Shokotan, and I are eating together.
  • Dream 6: Jackie is drinking tea.
  • Dream 7: I want to use like a chair or something in a fight.
  • Dream 8: And I’ll hit a bunch of guys with it like bam, bam, bam!
  • Dream 9: Then I want break that chair.
  • Dream 10: I want Jackie Chan to do something cool in the end scene. Ummmm….
  • Dream 11: I want the bad guys to come to kidnap Shokotan.
  • Dream 12: I throw narutomaki at someone.
  • Dream 13: Hmm, I definitely want to use a chair to fight.
  • Dream 14: And I want to break a table.
  • Dream 15: A bad guy should say “I’ll remember this!” as he runs away.
  • Dream 16: Of course, they come back to get revenge.
  • Dream 17: I want that same bad guy to say “Boss! It’s him!”
  • Dream 18: Then we go outside and there’s like 100 enemies.
  • Dream 19: Before fighting I flick my button off like a badass.
  • Dream 20: I don’t want to be good with nunchaku… for comedy. Annnnnnd….
  • Dream 21: Something should fall all over one of the bad guys.
  • Dream 22: I do some cool kicks.
  • Dream 23: Then I knock one guy into a huge group of enemies.
  • Dream 24: A guy comes out with, like, knives for hands.
  • Dream 25: I fight him with vegetables, you know, for comedy.
  • Dream 26: I do some team work with Jackie.
  • Dream 27: Shotokan makes a cute face.
  • Dream 28: Oh, and I definitely want to do something with wires.
  • Dream 29: I’d like to throw a guy off a roof.
  • Dream 30: I want to do a real stunt. Let’s see….
  • Dream 31: A bunch of old-timey pots should break.
  • Dream 32: Then I give a “thumbs-up.”
  • Dream 33: Then I want to do that pose, you know, the one from that movie [Drunken Master].
  • Dream 34: I want to train on one of those wooden men things.
  • Dream 35: And do sword practice in front of a sunset.
  • Dream 36: But get this! Then I lose…
  • Dream 37: and say “Duì bù qǐ” to Jackie.
  • Dream 38: In the end Jackie finishes off the head bad guy.
  • Dream 39: Then there’s and explosion and… That should do it.

Japanese Film Festival at San Francisco: From ‘Helter Skelter’ to ‘Lesson of the Evil’

Japanese films don’t only air in Japan alone. In fact, Japanese and fans of J- films are in for a treat at the first ever upcoming Japanese Film Festival held in San Francisco. So what should fans look forward to at the nine day J-Fest in Bay Area?

The J-Film fest is the first of its kind to happen in Bay Area of the greater north of California. This is slated to be part of the J-POP Summit Festival that showcases J-music and culture.  Fans of J-cinema are sure to enjoy nine days of full-length features at the inaugural JFFSF or Japan Film Festival of San Francisco.

Curtains will go up at the San Francisco New People Cinema for the screening on July 27. Both live action and anime flicks will be shown every day until August 4. The hit sword swinging, “Rurouni Kenshin” is included in the J-cinema spectrum.

Other notable titles set for screening at the event include Mika Ninagawa’s thriller, “Helter Skelter” featuring the sexy and talented, Erika Sawajiri. Psycho-thriller, “Lesson of the Evil” starring Hideaki Ito is also included in the J-fest films.

Lesson of the Evil

As for anime otakus, better get those tickets early for the US premiere of “Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower”, “Hunter X Hunter: Phantom Rouge”, “Summer Wars”, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” and “Wolf Children.”

Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower

If you are a J-film lover or Japanese in San Francisco, better be in the Bay Area in celebration of Japanese cinema.

Shoujo-filled Anime Week in Review: From Nisekoi to Infinite Stratos

Fans of the manga, Nisekoi (ニセコイ, False Love), will be delighted to hear that an anime adaptation is slated for the works. Written by Naoshi Komi (古味 直志), Nisekoi is the usual shoujo manga with the harem plot. The story revolves around the high school boy, Raku Ichijou, who is set to become the heir of Yakuza group. In come Chitoge Kirisaki, daughter of rival gang and a confusing yet hilarious love triangle involved.

Around 6 volumes with over 75 chapters have already been released among various manga platforms. There have been no other details regarding the debut of the anime.

Next up is Infinite Stratos slated for a second season this Fall. In the announcement on the official website, second season of TV Anime Infinite Stratos will start airing on October 2013. The broadcast of a second season was made just last month and new heroines have already been mentioned. The latest new heroine has already been aired on the website namely Tatenashi Sarashiki (更識 楯無). It’s another harem in the works but still worth the watch with cute girls plus Charlotte back on track.

A quick synopsis of Infinite Stratos is as follows: “Japan engineered an armed powered exoskeleton “Infinite Stratos” (IS) and it became the mainstream of weapons. Orimura Ichika is a 15 year old boy and accidentally touches an IS placed in the IS pilot training school. He is found to be the only man who can operate IS and forced to enter the training school. Ichika’s busy school life surrounded by girls has begun.”

stratos

Last but not the least is Henneko: The “Hentai” Prince and the Stony Cat. With twelve episodes slated, episode five has already been released. Staying true to classic manga perverse humour, the story is that of a typical high school student who wishes away his tendency to lie. The hilarity begins when the mysterious cat statue instead forces him to say everything on his mind in pure honesty. Of course, a girl comes along to heighten the fun.

It’s the usual harem/ service filled-moe plus comedy that Japan anime never runs short of.

ku

Two Weeks Countdown to One Piece’s Oda Eiichiro’s Return

Fans of the high profile manga, One Pirece, are quite used to the hiatus but this time around it’ll be a longer wait. Oda Eiichiro, the renowned creator of One Piece, has taken a break due to his health. Earlier this year, Oda had been hospitalized due to peritonsillar abscess, a complication of tonsillitis.

The series is set to resume by June 10th and counting down the days on the calendar, it’ll be a two week wait more. The official announcement was made on Shonen Jump’s website. As for One Piece, Shonen Jump issues will continue to ship by May 27 to June 3 without any action scenes from Monkey D Luffy.

While Japanese fans have June 10th to wait for, western shores will have a taste of Oda Eiichiro’s animation with the debut of One Piece on Cartoon Network. Monkey D Luffy and his gang are set to hit Toonami’s line-up. The show had already garnered a whopping 995,000 views. Hopefully, One Piece on Toonami is set to bring in more anime to the small-screen.

“Higurashi no Ki” to star Yakusho Koji & Okada Junichi

Yakusho Koji and Okada Junichi will be teaming up in the period movie “Higurashi no Ki” based on the 146th Naoki Award winner novel by Hamuro Rin which sold 200,000 copies to date. They will be joined by co-stars Harada Mieko and Horikita Maki who plays Yakusho’s wife and daughter respectively. This is the first time Yakusho and Okada are working together and they both commented that they are looking forward to the filming. As for Horikita and Okada, they last worked together in the 2003 movie “COSMIC RESCUE” which also happens to be her debut movie.

The movie is set in the later part of the Edo era where Okada plays the character Danno Shozaburo who had been involved in a bloodshed incident with his longtime friend but was left off the hook and did not get punished. In return, a minister of the feudal lord orders Danno to keep tabs on Toda Shuukoku (Yakusho), a man who had been ordered to kill himself three years later after he was caught committing adultery with a nobleman’s concubine seven years ago. As Shuukoku used to be a feudal lord and had been tasked to finish the family register of the aristocrats, Shozaburo’s mission is to make sure Shuukoku doesn’t run away with the secrets he knows and he has to kill him and his wife Orie (Harada), son Ikutarou and daughter Kaoru (Horikita) if Shuukoku tries to escape. While living in confinement with Shuukoku’s family, Shozaburo happens to see Shuukoku’s diary i.e. Higurashi no Ki and is touched by the latter’s dedication to finishing the family register despite being on death row so he decides to find out the truth behind the adultery case 7 years ago.

Filming is scheduled to be done from late April to late June at 10 different places in Iwate and Nagano Prefectures. The filming of the other scenes will be completed by end September and the movie is due to be released in 2014.

‘Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo’ Wins “Picture of the Year”, “Director of the Year” and More

On March 8, the awarding ceremony for the “36th Japan Academy Prize” was held at Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa, Tokyo, and Kamiki Ryunosuke’s starring movie “Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo” was the big winner, being selected for the “Picture of the Year”, “Director of the Year”, and “Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing.”

The movie also received the popularity award (for the picture category), and Hashimoto Ai and Higashide Masahiro who both appeared in the film, have been chosen as two of the winners for the “Newcomer of the Year.”

The director of the film Yoshida Daihachi shared his delight, “Thank you. I’m really surprised at this since I never expected to receive this much. I was able to film it freely with the way I wanted, and first of all, I would like to thank the producer for that. Then the young actors, as well as the staff members who let those young actors have the place to work to their complete satisfaction. I feel gratitude toward all of them from bottom of my heart.”

When the announcement for the Picture of the Year was made, Hashimoto Ai shed tears, and said, “I’m happy to see the director’s joyful face.” Higashide who made his acting debut with the film, also said, “Kamiki-kun, the lead of this movie, could not attend today because of his work. It would have been great if all of us were here, but our hearts are one, so we will have a dinner party at my place later.”

“Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo” is based on Asai Ryo’s award-winning novel of the same name, and the story starts where the most popular student at the school, and the captain of the school volleyball team, “Kirishima” suddenly quits the team. This news about Kirishima shocks the entire school, and it also causes distortion among students which brings a disruption of the hierarchy at the high school.

Kyu Sakamoto’s “Sukiyaki” DVD of 1963 U.S. visit footage available

Rare 1963 video footage of singer Kyu Sakamoto, known outside Japan for his U.S. hit song “Sukiyaki,” will be released on DVD.

The footage was taken during the singer’s trip to the United States in 1963 when the song, whose Japanese title is “Ue o Muite Aruko” (“Let’s Walk Looking Up”), topped the U.S. charts, sources said Thursday.

The footage, missing for many years, turned up last fall in the vault of Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc.

The two-disc set titled “1963 Ue o Muite Aruko,” to be released by TBS on April 24, also includes rare footage, including a Japanese drama featuring the singer that was previously unavailable in DVD format.

Read the rest of the story: “Sukiyaki” singer’s 1963 U.S. visit footage now on DVD.