By Jasper Sharp.
Ishiro Honda is an easy filmmaker to ridicule. Here is a man whose name, more by accident than design, looks set to be forever identified with a certain giant fire-breathing lizard, and by extension Japan’s entire home-grown strain of giant monster movies that followed in its wake, featuring men in rubber suits laying waste to scale-model replicas of the country’s urban centres.
Indeed, rather than “the director of Godzilla”, it might be more apt to refer to him as “Godzilla’s director.” Japan’s most celebrated cinematic offspring pretty much owned him for the latter half of his career. Perhaps it is inevitable that Honda has avoided the kind of meticulous in-depth scrutiny afforded to contemporaries such as Ozu, Naruse and Kurosawa, even though his films have reached far wider global audiences. Continue Reading
By Andrew Osmond.
This April, an eye-poppingly extraordinary article about Japan appeared, not in a specialist otaku magazine, but in that august English-language journal, The New Yorker. Its opening line looks like it should start a science-fiction story, like Orwell’s clocks striking thirteen or Ballard’s protagonist eating dog in High Rise. The article, written by Elif Batuman, begins:“Two years ago, Kazushige Nishida, a Tokyo salaryman in his sixties, started renting a part-time wife and daughter.”
It’s not science-fiction. It’s a non-fiction story about what is described as “Japan’s rent-a-family phenomenon,” about Japanese agencies which rent out actors to paying clients, for a wide range of reasons. In the case of Mr Nishida, his real wife had died, his daughter had moved out, and he was lonely. So he paid forty thousand yen (about £270) to a rental company, Family Romance, and met two female actors supplied by the company, ready to behave as his wife and daughter.
Batuman writes, “The (rental) wife cooked okonomiyaki, a kind of pancake that Nishida’s late wife had made, while Nishida chatted with the daughter. Then they ate dinner together and watched television.” You can almost see the ghost of Philip K. Dick standing over the happy family, applauding. Continue Reading
By Jasper Sharp.
Ninko is a zealous young Buddhist monk of the Edo era. The cause of his suffering, his cross to bear so to speak, is that he is catnip to the ladies. And oh, how he suffers! A simple trip into town on his daily alms round runs the risk of him being overrun by the local lovelies. He is no safer from lascivious eyes back in the cloistered all-male confines of his temple, either. Continue Reading
By Jasper Sharp.
Stephanie DeBoer’s scholarly study Coproducing Asia: Locating Japanese-Chinese Regional Film and Media is not the general overview of Asian co-productions that its title might suggest. Its focus is more on the construction of a new cinematic and televisual idea of “Asia” in the post-war and post-colonial era. It details how forces within the Far East have attempted to overcome national borders and the legacies of conflict to create regional networks independent from Hollywood and the West. Continue Reading
We're under two weeks away from our release of a film we know a lot of you have been excited about, Lu Over the Wall! Today we're delighted to bring you an unboxing of our Ltd Collector's Ed. set that will be available from 30th July!
Read on below for all the details.
Studio: Science SARU
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Director Masaaki Yuasa delivers a colourful and striking tale of the power of love, friendship and music in this fun-filled family film.
Synopsis: After the divorce of his parents sees him move to a sleepy rural village, middle school student Kai is left lonely and bored aside from his sole passion for creating and uploading music online. Even when two of his classmates invite him to join their fledgling band, Kai is reluctant to get involved, but when he’s dragged to a practice session on a deserted island he finds himself coming face-to-face with Hinashi Town’s most feared legend – a mermaid, shunned by the populace as a siren of despair responsible for the loss of many fisherman in years gone by.
However, the fun-loving and curious Lu couldn’t be more different than the mermaids spoken of in legend, and her infectious love of music and dancing might just be the key to not only unlocking Kai’s heart, but also saving Hinashi Town from danger.
You can watch a trailer for the film below
Our Ltd Collector's Ed. Blu-ray+DVD set comes packed in a rigid case that houses a digipack to store the two discs (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD). Also included is a 52 page artbook.
On the discs themselves you get the main feature with options to watch it with the original Japanese audio (with English subtitles) as well as the English language audio. (Both of those options being in 5.1) Also on the discs are trailers for the film plus a 28 minute interview with the director of the film, Masaaki Yuasa.
Focusing on the 52-page art book for a moment, that is divided into multiple sections:
But that’s not all! In addition to three sections of art there are also two more sections:
As you can tell, there’s a lot packed into this release!
You can pre-order your copy ahead of its release on 30th July from retailers including:
And now it's time for photos of the finished product itself. As a note, you can click on them enlarge them too if you want. Continue Reading