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Recently in psychological Category

Executive Koala
[Koara Kacho]

Genre: Bruce-Lee-Martial-Arts Musical involving an Axe-Wielding-Psycho-Killer Salaryman who happens to be a 6- Foot Tall Koala.

review in one breath

Tamura is a highly successful and functional business manager at his beloved pickle company. Everything he touches in the realm of business turns into success to the company's great delight. The only things he seems to have going against him are (1) he is a huge, towering fuzzy Koala in an otherwise wholly human world, and (2) he suffers from frequent memory lapses. Oh, and every time his memory fails, a grisly murder occurs. Just a coincidence, right?



The Neighbor No. Thirteen
[Rinjin Juusan Gou]

Genre: Jekyll and Hyde meets Friday the 13th

review in one breath

After years of being bullied, Murazaki Juzo's harbored anger now manifests itself as a self-conscious personality deep within him. As if driven by forces he cannot control, he finds himself precariously close decades later to his worst bully. As Juzo watches on in increasing horror, his alter ego gradually comes violently to the fore in what increasingly appears to be a highly orchestrated vengeance. This is a riveting psycho-revenge film with a superb soundtrack and plenty of eye candy.



MPD: Psycho 3
[Multiple Personality Detective 3]

Genre: Psychotic Thriller

review in one breath

These are the final two episodes of director Miike Takashi's truly bizarre and engaging psychotic thriller. Here the mind-bending nature of the detective Amamiya's schizophrenia and its relation to the Lucy Monostone Seven is finally divulged. This is a satisfying and eery finale to the very unique MPD Psycho series.



MPD: Psycho 2
[Multiple Personality Detective 2]

Genre: Psychotic Thriller

review in one breath

The mind-boggling bizarre murders continue as Amamiya Kazuhiko inches closer toward the psychically elusive masochist Nishizono Shinji. In this second of three installments of director Miike Takashi's visually hypnotic sci-fi crime thriller, we gain further insight into the past of Amamiya and his early relationship with his now nemesis Nishizono. The pace, visuals and pure intrigue of this series remains as high as ever, as does its completely baffling storyline.



MPD: Psycho 1
[Multiple Personality Detective 1]

Genre: Psychotic Thriller

review in one breath

Truly STRANGE goings-on permeate Tokyo in this eerily beautiful yet mind-numbingly mysterious psychotic thriller. By the deservedly notorious director Miike Takashi, this tale will undoubtedly capture both your intellect and imagination from the very start.



Yurika-chan

Genre: Psycho-babble Action Thriller

review in one breath

For starters we have to talk about the director's name. The kanji making up the name Saishu Kyoshi was more than a little difficult to decipher. Even my (college prof) Japanese friend couldn't read it. After spending about an hour trying to crack the Kanji mystery which is Saishu Kyoshi, I was startled by the results.



Yogen
[Premonition]

Genre: Psychological Supernaturalism

review in one breath

Caught in a perpetual re-living of the tragic death of his daughter, Tachihara follows increasingly mind-bending clues until his entire world turns upside down. What first appears to be simple deja vu quickly turns into a supernatural cascade where the distinction among life, death and delusions quickly disappears.



Shibito No Koiwazurai
[LoveSick Dead]

Genre: Supernatural / Psychological Horror

review in one breath

Based on an Ito Junji manga, Shibito no Koiwazurai drops you once again into a sleepy rural village populated with high schools students and permeated with folk superstitions. There have been many attempts to successfully recreate Ito Junji's manga worlds into cinematic expressions, but very few succeeded, whether visually or popularly. Uzumaki set the standard for such attempts, and most fans agreed that the film was both visually stunning and dramatically compelling. I'm happy to announce that Shibito no Koiwazurai comes in as a close second and likewise successfully creates a visual ambiance and narrative force able to carry the audience into the nightmarish world intended by Ito.



Perfect Blue
[Yume Nara Samete]

Genre: Estrogen-Centric Psycho Babble Snooze Fest

review in one breath

First there was the 1997 novel Perfect Blue by author Takeuchi Yoshikazu. Then there was the 1998 anime version of Perfect Blue by director Kon Satoshi whose progressive style of anime caught both audiences and critics by surprise. And then there was this, a 2002 live-action version of the same. The general storyline of all these versions consists of a budding young starlet and a crazed, psychotic stalker. The 1998 anime version really took this general premise to extremes resulting in a mature and rather violent (and sexy) full-length anime feature. When rumor of a possible live-action version of Perfect Blue emerged, it was assumed that it would somehow attempt to mimic or expand upon its very popular anime predecessor. Such assumptions, however, proved utterly mistaken when Sato Toshiki, a director otherwise widely known for rather risque Pink films, unveiled this violence and nudity free rendition of Perfect Blue.



Nagai Yume
[Long Dream]

Genre: Low-budget Sci-Fi/Psycho Horror

review in one breath

One expects a sort of "double-whammy" from Long Dream. On the one hand it is based on an Ito Junji manga, and on the other hand, Long Dream is directed by Higuchinsky (aka Higuchi Akihiro), who is otherwise held in great reverence for his unparalleled recreation of another Ito manga, Uzumaki.



Kourei
[Seance]

Genre: Supernatural Psychological Suspense

review in one breath

Kourei ("Seance" in English) is directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, also responsible for the likes of Cure (1997), "Hebi no Michi" (Serpent's Path, 1997), Charisma (1999), and Kairo (2001) among others. Kurosawa is increasingly recognized as a premier director able to deliver significant impact. His films are characterized by his willingness and patience to allow audiences to arrive at an understanding without being spoon-fed or merely told. In other words, this Kurosawa enjoys watching your mind interact with his film, and his relish of this interaction causes him to refrain from spelling out every detail and nuance he wishes you to catch.



Kaosu
[Chaos]

Genre: Psychological Thriller

review in one breath

Kaosu (English title Chaos) is a mind-spinning psychological suspense directed by Nakata Hideo whose other works include the trend-setting Ringu (1998), Ringu 2 (1999), and Dark Water (2002). This film is indeed a suspense story rather than of the horror genre for which Nakata has recently become so well known in the West. The movie is based on a work written by Saito Hisashi and employs a shifting timeline which provides dramatic incremental clues into the unfolding complex plot. Nakata fans will enjoy Kaosu for its most endearing characteristic: pure psychological manipulation of the viewer without recourse to special effects or blood and gore. This, of course, is precisely what makes Nakata's horror films so effective and internationally appealing.



Kamen Gakuen
[Persona]

Genre: Supernatural Psychological Mystery

review in one breath

Into the bully-infested home room class struts a fearless, ceramic-masked student. Squarely confronting a gang of ruffians, it is soon discovered that behind the mask is none other than Danta, an otherwise weakling student who has heretofore been picked on relentlessly by these same bullies. Donned with his mask, however, Danta exhibits a totally other personality, lacking fear and intimidation. The other students, looking on, soon experiment with the power of masks and find to their glee that behind a facade of anonymity, they experience an overwhelming power to act without the confines of self-consciousness.



Suicide Circle
[Jisatsu Sakuru]

Genre: Blood-Bathed Social Commentary

review in one breath

Suicide Circle packs many cultural nuances which are very prevalent in the contemporary Japanese psyche but which are either quite taboo or completely bizarre in American culture. This discrepancy undoubtedly creates significantly different attitudes and impressions of this film between its intended Japanese audience and the rest of us who look longingly into Japanese cinema.



ISOLA
[ISOLA: Tajuu jinkaku shojo]

Genre: Supernatural Psycho-babble Horror

review in one breath

As I sit down to write this review, the phrase "Sigmund Freud's Psychedelic Nightmare" keeps running through my head. This is because ISOLA packs more bizarre psycho-babble per square inch than most films would dream of attempting. You have your cute, young psychic whose ESP is so rampant that only strong medication makes life bearable. Then you have your cute, young schizophrenic whose multiple personalities make Sybil look well-adjusted. And then you have your cute, young and nude psychology student whose sensory deprivation experiments result in a classic case of astral projection gone awry. AND THEN you have your cute, not-quite-as-young high school counselor turned self-appointed psychoanalyst sticking her nose into everyone's psychopathology. Throw a young, brooding (and single!) male doctor into this mix of psychotic babes and you've got the recipe for the mother of all (psychological) cat fights! (woo hoo!)



Doppelganger
[Dopperugenga]

Genre: Quasi-supernatural Psychological Suspense

review in one breath

In Doppelganger director Kurosawa Kiyoshi continues his fascination with the notion of human individuality. The exploration of this theme can be found in most of his major films (including Cure (1997), Kourei (2000), Charisma (2000), and Akarui Mirai (2003)) and generally involves the evolution of the main characters' moral standing in the face of strange and difficult experiences. In Doppelganger, Kurosawa's exploration takes an entirely new approach and involves the impact upon individuality when the main character confronts potential madness and the sudden appearance of an evil twin ("doppelganger").



Cure
[Kyua]

Genre: Quasi-supernatural Psychological Suspense

review in one breath

Cure is the first theatrical film directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who later went on to direct many popular thriller/horror films including "Hebi no Michi" (Serpent's Path, 1997), Charisma (1999), Kourei (Seance, 1999) and "Ka�iro" (2001).



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