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Feeling lazy today. Just one of those days! Lack of sleep due to marathoning 「花ざかりの君たちへ イケメン♂パラダイス」 (Hanazakari no Kimitachi e: Ikemen ♂ paradaisu/For You in Full Blossom better known as Hana Kimi, 2007) until, umm, daylight hours, is not helping the matter. Hana Kimi is a fun dorama, but, be warned, totally of the whacky, way-out-there, manga-kind – it is in fact based on a manga. Just the final couple episodes feel a little deflated. Still, for the most part it is – once you suspend all and any expectations of normality – crackingly funny and all the familiar faces (Oguri, Okada, Mizushiro, etc.) also warmed my heart.

The trailers this week? An almost exclusively Japanese affair.

  • White on Rice (USA, 2009) – A comedy that looks hilarious. Made and set in the US, but it’s a middle-aged Japanese guy – still growing up and often rather too forthright – that makes this film tick!
  • 河童のクゥと夏休み」 (Kappa no Kū to Natsuyasumi/Summer Days with Coo, Japan, 2007) – It has been a while since I posted an animated film in a Trailer Weekly. Good quality animated films seem somewhat harder to come by and I don’t simply want to list the ones that everyone already knows about (the Studio Ghibli back catalogue or the works of Satoshi Ken, Hosoda Mamoru, Shinkai Makoto and the like). I only had one animated film in my bookmarks, Kappa no Kū to Natsuyasumi (directed by Hara Keiichi)which received a fair to middling review on japancinema.net but I’m still curious about it. I did briefly mention Kappa no Kū to Natsuyasumi previously in Trailer Weekly #8 when featuring Hara’s カラフル (Karafuru/Colorful, 2010) – which, disappointingly, I still haven’t managed to see.
  • 天使のたまご」 (Tenshi no Tamago/Angel’s Egg, Japan, 1985) – The Kū to Natsuyasumi review led me to Tenshi no Tamago, which is more than 25 years old but looks ever so gorgeous. Miguel Douglas of Isugoi writes “perhaps one of the finest in experimental animation” and Japancinema.net gives it an A score, but does warn that the film has almost no dialogue, plus “a lack of plot and an atmospheric quality”. I would say this translates as “not for everyone”, but it’s definitely for me! And before I forget: Oshii Mamoru, of 攻殻機動隊 (Gōsuto In Za Sheru – Kōkaku Kidōtai/Ghost in the Shell), directed. I just wonder how (where) in the world I’m going to track this film down…
  • 天使の卵」 (Tenshi no Tamago/Angel’s Egg, Japan, 2006) – While searching for information on Tenshi no Tamago, I came across another, non-animated film with the same title. It’s spelled differently in Japanese (using the Kanji for Tamago rather than writing it in Hiragana), it’s live-action and the story isn’t the same either. Whether there are any connections between 「天使のたまご」 and 「天使の卵」, I’m not too sure, but I have got them both down so as to hopefully find out!
  • からっぽ」(Karappo/Empty, Japan, 2012) – I thought I might have featured this film already, which opened in Japanese cinemas last week, however, it didn’t pop up when I typed it into the SEARCH box on Otherwhere. Anyhow, it’s a weird story, about a teen, Kato Coban, that has the ability to teleport. Which is all fine and dandy, except that Kato leaves behind his clothes when he goes from one place to another (yeah, that makes the whole trick a wee bit more troublesome!). Instant nudity would make for comic fodder, but both synopsis and trailer make clear this isn’t a straight-out comedy: Kato, so puny that he looks like he needs a big ol’ hug (and food), gets kicked out of his house and meets Sheena, an equally homeless and lonely teen, projecting reflective bleakie elements within a comedic framework. Although I suspect this is going to be one of those tiny, underwatched films, there is something in the 1:38 min snippet of the film that mightily tugs at my heartstrings.
  • フィッシュストーリー」 (Fisshu Sutori/Fish Story, Japan, 2009) – Apparently a whacky comedy, very much of the Japanese kind. Meaning a punk rock song called Fisshu Sutori, written by the ahead-of-their-times punk band Gekirin (“Wrath”) in 1975, is set to save the apocalypse-headed world in 2012. 1982 and 2009 are other important years in the film, but we’ll have to watch Fisshu Sutori to figure out all the connections. Very uninspiring film poster however!
  •  まほろ駅前多田便利軒」(Mahoro ekimae Tada benriken/Tada’s Do-It-All House, Japan, 2011) – This is a find from the Nippon Connection Festival in Germany – I will feature more films from the fest in future Trailer Weeklies and keep fingers crossed that some will make it to UK cine-events soon. Based on an award-winning novel by Miura Shion, Mahoro ekimae Tada benriken is, as the German synopsis beautifully articulates, “eine Geschichte von Licht- und Schattenseiten des Lebens, die virtuos zwischen ironischer Verspieltheit und bitterem Ernst pendelt” (literally: “a story of the light and shadow sides of life, which masterly oscillates between ironic playfulness and bitter seriousness”). Focal point is the solidarity and friendship between Keisuke and Haruhiko, childhood buddies now in their early 30s, who are struggling through life – bromance heavy it’ll be oh yeah. 🙂

Bonus Bits:

  • UK (European) readers (or readers elsewhere, if you own a multi-region DVD player), you can now pre-order the Blu-Ray disc for 「愛のむきだし」 (Ai no mukidashi/Love Exposure, 2008) as well as a Blu-ray/DVD disc for 「ヒミズ」 (Himizu/Himizu, 2012) from Third Window Films via amazon.co.uk, which will be released on August 6th. This bit of news actually prompted me into looking how to play blu ray discs on a Mac and although options exist (Blu Ray player plus Macblurayplayer software) I think I will stick to DVD format for now until the process becomes more seamless. Linkedy link: Himizu review on Otherwhere.

P.S. I’m going to aim for another make-up Trailer Weekly for coming Wednesday.

「天使のたまご」 (Tenshu no Tamago/Angel’s Egg) – so intrigued by this film.