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The World Sinks Except Japan
[Nihon igai zenbu chinbotsu]

Genre: Cornball Parody and Political Satire

review in one breath

Due to sudden tectonic shifts which only the half-crazy Dr. Tadokoro can explain, all of earth's land masses have sunk into the sea with the exception (of course) of JAPAN turning the island nation into the global relief center for the world's population. How will Japan handle its new role as the earth's only government? Directed by Kawasaki Minoru, this film is a parody of the widely popular "Japan Sinks" novel and films.

Calamari Wrestler
[Ika Resuraa]

Genre: Pro-Wrestling Seafood Love Story

review in one breath

The Japanese pro-wrestling championship match is suddenly interrupted by a large Squid whose unrivaled wrestling skills make him an overnight wrestling sensation -- Squid Wrestler!. But then formidable contenders emerge including a large Octopus and a huge Shrimp with a killer punch! Tune in as Squid Wrestler attempts to hold onto his title and get the girl! A truly strange film, this one.

Giants and Toys
[Kyojin to Gangu]

Genre: Satire of Capitalism Run Amuck

review in one breath

As three rival Caramel companies prepare for their annual promotional campaigns, the corporate backstabbing begins. But when the PR director of World Caramel discovers Kyoko, a cute but rather unpolished girl to star as the new face of the campaign, the competitive tide seems to turn in their favor. Until, that is, Kyoko becomes such a wild sensation that the entire campaign implodes. Director Masumura here explores the non-ceasing battle between pursuit of profits and business ethics in Japan's increasingly cut-throat corporate world.

Be-Bop High School: Elegy
[Koko Yotaro Aika - Erijii]

Genre: Outrageously Over-The-Top Brawl Comedy

review in one breath

Based on the popular manga of the same name, Be-Bop High School drops you into the middle of brawling rival high school gangs who do little else than chase each other around with knives and baseball bats. Using local yakuza ruffians as their role models, these high school hooligans pound themselves senseless as fawning girls adore them from the sidelines. Not much plot here; Just a WHOLE LOTTA fighting!

Stereo Future

Genre: Utopian Love Story

review in one breath

First off, this is a love story. And if you're familiar with the type of films I prefer to review, you'll have noticed that the only love stories dealt with here involve unfortunate demises, tragic karmic fates, or general spousal "conflict" leading to the psychotic haunting of one by the other. Thus my reviewing Stereo Future here might suggest to some of you the possible presence of formidable malice or weapons of mass destruction. But, I would like you all to know, I have a much softer side which is able to enjoy cuddling on the sofa basking in the warm glow of a romance..... heh.

Shudan Satsujin Kurabu
[Group Murder Club]

Genre: Slasher / Supernatural Horror (Comedic)

review in one breath

I've watched quite a few Japanese films and TV dramas, but I must confess that I have not seen anything from Japan that quite resembles Shudan Satsujin Club. This is part schlocky slasher and part bizarre comedy. In some respects Shudan Satsujin Club strongly alludes to the comedic horror style of Evil Dead.

Red Shadow

Genre: Ninja Drama (Comedic)

review in one breath

Here is a light-hearted ninja adventure filled with techno music, strobe lights and acrobatics. The title Akakage refers to the name of the lead character who, along with his childhood companions Aokage and Asuka, fight myriad evil forces threatening Japan. Our dynamic ninja trio consists of two often goofy guys and one always sexy gal. The name Akakage means Red Shadow and Aokage means "Blue Shadow". Asuka, the name of the ninjess means, well, nothing. From a very early age, all three have been strictly trained in the Kage (Shadow) School of Ninja-ry under the auspices of the Master Ninja Shirokage ("White Shadow"). Now as young adults, both their friendship and skills are strong but (both) will soon be tested.

The Pornographers
[Jinruigaku nyumon / Introduction to Anthropology]

Genre: Existential Quest for Fulfillment

review in one breath

The Japanese title of this film is simply "Introduction to Anthropology". Only in the West was the prefix "The Pornographers" (or "The Amorists") added. The concise Japanese title is a much more accurate reflection of the content and message of this movie by Shohei Imamura. Although the story's three main characters are in the business of producing and selling underground pornography, their occupation merely sets the backdrop for an exploration of the larger human themes of love, money and fulfillment in life. This was actually a rather complex story which probably needs to be seen more than once to adequately unpack.

Dai-Nipponjin [Dai Nippon Jin]

Genre: Traditional Kaijuu Deconstruction
Director: Matsumoto Hitoshi (2007)

review in one breath

Masaru Daisato is a 4th generation Japanese superhero. His father, Grand Father and Great-Grand Father before him had protected the Japanese Islands from ultimate destruction at the hands of various monsters (kaijuu) rising from both land and sea. Unlike his ancestors, however, who were nationally heralded as beloved heroes and were often invited into the Imperial Palace, Masaru's personal life is in shambles. He is divorced, has little income, and in the eyes of many contemporary Japanese is far less spectacular than the historical hype suggests. The film Dai-Nipponjin is a documentary following Masaru's mundane daily life and superhero responsibilities in an effort to understand the man behind the legend.

NIN x NIN : Ninja Hattori-Kun - The Movie [Ninja Star]

Genre: Comedic Contemporary Ninja Tale

review in one breath

This light-hearted and comedic story places Ninja Hattori-kun in a final "training mission" smack in the middle of contemporary Tokyo. A well-established and beloved character in children's books and anime, the adventures of pure-hearted Hattori will appeal to younger audiences and those interested in a good-natured and frequently funny humanitarian tale which packs a whole lot of ninja action and antics.

Oboreru Sakana
[Drowning Fish]

Genre: Ultra-Hip Crime Thriller

review in one breath

When corporate executives are blackmailed into public displays of nudity on the busy streets of Shinjuku, the big guns are called out to locate "Oboreru Sakana". The "big guns" are a misfit duo of ethically questionable characters who must infiltrate a gay nightclub and "fit in" while they search for clues. What ensues is both hilarious and action-packed.

GTO : Great Teacher Onizuka (live action)

Genre: Full-Blast Live Action Version of an Exemplar Anime Series

review in one breath

This is the live-action movie based on the wildly popular manga, TV anime series, and TV live-action series, all by the same name, based on the creative manga by artist Fujisawa Tooru. This series has SUCH great appeal both emotionally and intellectually that I simply feel compelled to mention it. I wholeheartedly recommend you experience the rebellious yet wholly good-natured character Onizuka.

A Weather Woman
[Otenki Oneesan]

Genre: Boobie-Filled Weather Woman Catfight Extraordinaire

review in one breath

When sexually-charged and highly ambitious Keiko finally gets her chance to make her TV debut, her flirtatious and unorthodox methods soon make her the most popular weather woman in all of Japan. As her ratings soar and her boldness increases, a plot by a rival femme fatale soon turns into a full-blown extravaganza of dueling beauties. For there can be only one... Weather Woman.

Cutie Honey [Kyuti Hani]

Genre: Cleavage-Filled SuperHero Story of Love

review in one breath

Based on the popular manga, this live-action version follows the CUTIE superhero as she tries to save Tokyo from the formidable Queen of Darkness and her strange minions. This film effectively pulls together comedy, sexiness, CG effects and a really good narrative. This was totally entertaining, and yes I LOVE CUTIE HONEY!!

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