Director: Takashi Miike
Starring: Takuya Kimura, Hana Sugisaki, Sota Fukushi, Hayato Ichihara. Japan. 2h 20m
Miike’s career has turned into a long line of massive remakes of Japanese Classic cinema for some time now. I’ve been racking my brain why, but I’m still unsure what he’s trying to achieve, but it’s working out for him and I wonder what’s next? He’s making some solid and faithful remakes but I do wonder if we really need them all despite their powerful impact? This just seems to be another one, however even while watching the series after the film.. I found it’s expressionary style and character depth on a different planet entirely, and yet each are ridiculously impressive but in their own way.
Continue reading Blade of the Immortal (2017)
Director: Yō Moriyama
Japan. 6h 30m ish
This epic mini series was made in honour of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Manga Ashita no Joe. It closely follows the often tragic story of Junk Dog, a young fighter who has been picked up by a trainer, Gansaku Nanbu who has fallen from grace and uses the kid to fix fights to raise money to pay off his debts.
In this future era there’s a classic sci fi set up, there are two distinct classes, citizens and non citizens, Junk Dog is of the lower cast, a non citizen who fights in the outskirts of a mega city but he dreams of making it into the Megloboxing ring as a citizen to fight the number one ranked fighter, Yūri. Who, through a series of unfortunate events turns up in Junk’s ring and the two battle it out, Junk Dog gets his ass handed to him but the young kid never gives up and this intrigues Yūri, who leaves the fight but urges the “Stray Dog” to com and fight him in the big ring. This really awakens something and soon he encourages Nanbu to help him fight in Meglabox. Nanbu is pretty useless but he strikes an all or nothing bargain with the man he already owes money to, the pair arrange for a fake citizen card for Junk Dog who renames himself Joe, and they enter him into the games. Continue reading Meglobox (2018)
Director:Yoshiaki Kawajiri .
Characters: Master Rai, Rebi Ra, Earth Demon, Mephisto, Rapist, Hag, Yin, Chibi, Water Demon, Genichiro, Rama . Japan. 1h 25m
The makers of this slightly underpowered Anime are responsible for much more adored favourites such as Ninja Scroll (1993) and Wicked City (1987), so it’s got a high standard to live up to. The story is somewhere between Supernatural adventure and a Romantic horror, and at times seems to be a missing link between the two.
Opening mid way through a battle between good and evil, two men, former friends Rebi Ra and short lived hero Genichirou are doing cool battle shit when one hits a limit break and kinda sparks off a huge explosion which opens a gateway to hell and this envelopes the Shinjuku area.(as you do) Cut to the modern day and only a few years after this “event” and the city has been become a no go area. The military had tried to control the nasty creatures that reside there but failed miserably but despite this an underground of people still live in their beloved district. Continue reading Demon City Shinjuku (1988)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Starring: Jinpachi Nezu,Mako Hyōdō . Japan . 1h 15m
This avant grade collaboration between Yoshitaka Amano and director Mamoru Oshii is like a waking dream, the film has very little dialogue and what is said is as fragmented as the action within the film. The sparse plot, while linear, doesn’t really suggest a solid straight forward narrative but, but instead has a hazy, “make of it as you will” atmosphere. It’s very easy to sum this up as “Animated Art House” rather than a film with direct meaning and purpose, but it continues to inspire with its unfamiliar themes and dark visuals.
There are two main characters, a young girl who lives in an abandoned building near an abandoned town, a man appears on the shore watching a temple like orb raise from the ocean, and he descends silently into the town. Meanwhile the girl collects her giant egg, an object she protects each day by stuffing it under her dress, and heads into the eerie neo gothic town to scavenge for food and bottles to collect water in. She wanders around looking through windows and only gets startled when the man arrives on a biotechnical tank their silent glare results in the girl running away and the man slowly following after her. Continue reading Tenshi no Tamago / Angel’s Egg (1985)
Director: Osamu Dezaki. Japan . 1h 31m
I’ve never really been swept off my feet by Bond movies, although I did get sweaty palms over some of the wonderful toys and gadgets. But the actual bond character changed with every incarnation and while everyone brought their own twist I couldn’t really find him all that believable. In contrast we have Rambo (stay with me here) Rambo is the toughest man alive (no question about it) a tough hombre who little kids wanted to be when they were all growed up, but then I discovered Riki-O (1991) a amazing invincible tough guy who makes Rambo look like a pussy. In the same vein Golgo 13 makes Bond looks equally pussified. He’s an assassin who is always one step ahead of the game, women falling over themselves willing to die just for one night with him, no shot if ever off and he’s like teflon in hand to hand combat. There really isn’t anyone better than Golgo 13.
With that mighty introduction, what else is left to say? You now have the opportunity to see the toughest man alive do bossanova things.. Get going.
Continue reading ゴルゴ13 / The Professional : Golgo 13 (1983)
Director : Takashi Anno, Tomomi Mochizuki
Writer: Daijiro Morohoshi
Starring : Nozomu Sasaki, Alan Marriott, Mizuho Suzuki. Japan. 1h 40m
When I first started getting in Anime Akira (1988) probably kicked things off for me, and I dug deep in powerful fast pace cyber and horror films. But one film really stood out on a few trailers. Its pale colours, still images and traditional soundtrack make it stand apart from the rest of the 90’s Manga collection.
Having a deep love of folklore and being totally mystified by the demonic creatures in the advert I was sure to get a copy ASAP and i fell in love with animated films all over again, but for very different reasons than before. Continue reading Ankoku Shinwa / Dark Myth (1990)
Day 3 of 31
Director: Satoshi Kon
Writers : Yoshikazu Takeuchi, Lia Sargent
Starring: Junko Iwao Rica Matsumoto Shinpachi Tsuji Masaaki Ōkura . Japan. 1h 21m
Hitchcock meets Manga! At a time when Manga was hitting the UK in major ways it was seeming be a torrid landscapes of futuristic fighting, cybernetic hacking, blood violence and tits, a few unexpecting films managed to squeeze their way through the gaps, really defining that manga wasn’t going to be defined. Taking a leaf out of the book of Hitchcock it dabbles with a violent stalker as Mima struggles to keep her sanity.
Mima is a young and beautiful J-pop singer, who makes the life changing decision to go solo and shifts into the nerve racking world of sitcom acting, despite the anger and disappointment from her fans her loving agent stands by her side. Everything is going well for Mima despite her nerves and the alien environment, until the stalking starts, anonymous phone calls, soon turns into sinister dealing that reach a little closer to home and it’s all too much for the timid girl who’s already feeling out of her depth.
Creepy stalkers are in their hundreds as the ex pop idol was a no.1 commodity, but one in particular stands out, a deformed man who absolutely idolises Mima but is it too obvious to assume he’s the culprit. Mima herself slowly dissolves into the multiple possibilities that surround her as this Giallo action climaxes into a chase to the death.
Basically a Manga Noire really stands out from the crowd but sadly it didn’t inspire many other movies to made in this style. the astonishing factor that really stunned me was how cute and sunny the film remains despite all of the maiming starts, the breakdown of reality is also subtle and doesn’t follow those over dramatic hollywood steps so it does actually catch you off guard.Everything about the animation is perfect around the era when Manga was still blinding us with it’s brilliance and before computers took over the delicate art of animation, this really does break conjure up so many emotive scenes and with the fluid motion it’s like watching a film at times. The writing is complex and deep and the thrills build up until a slashing and dashing ending. It’s interesting how the film outlines the issues of teen idols and the pressures and dangers they have to endure also outlining various issues of how women are viewed and treated in Japan, it offers no suggestions on making things better but it does pinpoint where things are so totally fucked up.
Hitchcock may have been the influence of this intense thriller, the main character going through this hell ride not knowing what’s real or not, but the director most influenced by this film would be Darren Aronofsky, who admits that Requiem for a Dream (2000) and Black Swan (2010) both pull great influence from this pioneering and daring animation.
Flirting around with the advancements of Japanese lifestyle while repulsing anyone from actually wanting to live there with the amount of psycho’s that are roaming free in the sunny pleasant atmosphere literally drawn on the screen but the darker aspects of the film are terrifying. The terror that is built up by this unknown vicious stalker are mindblowing. The chases are exhilarating and the penultimate ending is sublime. I don’t want to go into details but it’s trippy rush..
Rating – 8/10
R – Audition (1999), Opera (1987), Requiem for a Dream (2000), Memories of Murder (2003)
L- A-Z of Manga, Selected Japanese movies, A-Z of Japanese films,
A – When I got hit in the face by Manga
And here is a clue for tomorrow’s film.. More than just a cut..