Apr 22 2016

Sadako vs. Kayako (Trailer)


Kadokawa Films has revealed the trailer for the upcoming ghost-on-ghost-battle, Sadako vs. Kayako.

Japanese horror buffs are bound to lose their minds just hearing the concept alone: the ghost of The Ring (Ringu) vs. the ghost of The Grudge (Ju-on). The modern geek equivalent of Godzilla vs King Kong…? Maybe.

The film’s producers are encouraging everyone to have fun with this concept, with special novelty goods (like cup decorations), goofy Instagram shots, and even a special introduction video from Sekima II, who provides appropriately evil-ish music for the film, due for release in June.

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Feb 21 2016

Princess Jellyfish (Film Review)

Princess Jellyfish
Review by Jen Wang

Very rarely do female geeks get the same treatment as their male counterparts. They may be obsessive and awkward, but their quirks are endearing and adaptable to modern society. That’s what makes Princess Jellyfish so appealing. The geeks of this live-action adaptation are full on 40-Year-Old Virgin awkward, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tsukimi Kurashita (Rena Nouen) and her Amamizukan flat mates, known collectively as the “Amars”, spend their time avoiding men and fashionable women. Instead they pursue their one interest, be it trains or kimonos. Tsukimi’s obsession is jellyfish, and a chance encounter at the pet store with the cross-dressing son of a politician, Kuranosuke Koibuchi (Masaki Suda), couldn’t come at a better time. He brings her out of her shell and helps the Amars take a stand against developers trying to tear down their safe haven.


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Feb 15 2016

Atelier (Series Review)

Series Review by David Cirone


Netflix Japan’s premiere original series Atelier (titled “Underwear” for its Japanese release) is an infuriatingly weak attempt to showcase the provocative world of lingerie. Cardboard characters, illogical plot twists, and episode-after-episode of junior-high-school idealistic speeches made this series a real challenge to finish. In truth, the story is over by episode 9, but the 13-episode commitment stretched this thin plot even thinner. It would have been much more fashionable for this series to leave the party early.

A self-described “fabric geek” Mayuko (Mirei Kiritani) comes to the big city to pursue her dreams of joining the fashion industry. All wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, she lands an intern job at Emotion, a small boutique shop in Tokyo’s Ginza district, with the lingerie world’s most renowned designer, Mayumi Nanjo (Mao Daichi). It’s not long before Mayuko starts making changes and making speeches about how Nanjo and her team of designers should view the concept of feminine beauty and change what’s been working for them so many years. She disobeys orders and causes trouble for the shop, jeopardizing Najo’s business and reputation so often that there wasn’t one single episode where I didn’t shout “You’re fired!” out loud at the screen.


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Dec 06 2015

Flying Colors (Film Review)

Flying Colors
Review by David Cirone


The magic of Flying Colors is also its weakness. You know what you’re getting from the very first moments — it’s the kind of feel-good, predictable fast-food film that modern Japanese cinema and film excel at. It’s the strength of the actors and the simplicity of execution that make it worthwhile nonetheless.

A top-notch cast, led by Kasumi Arimura as under-achieving student Sayaka Kudo and Atsushi Ito as her dedicated cram-school tutor, manage earnest performances that surpass the candy-coated script, and I found myself rooting for Sayaka as she pushes herself relentlessly toward her dream of attending the prestigious Keio University.

Sayaka’s childhood dream was to make friends, and by all accounts she’s been successful. Staying out all night with her BFFs is a regular routine, even if it comes at the expense of her studies. She’s ranked among the lowest in her high school class and has no hope of passing college entrance exams.

When Sayaka meets Yoshitaka Tsubota (Ito), the head of Seito cram school, he praises her imagination (“genius level”) and urges her to believe in herself. “Keio boys sound hot,” so she picks top-ranked Keio University as her target.

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Sep 22 2015

Outrage (Film Review)

Review by David Cirone


In Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage, violence comes suddenly and at full force, often preceded by brief, polite conversation. A successful character study disguised as a standard yakuza crime drama, Kitano returns to the his signature gangster genre (there’s a ten-year gap between this release and 2000’s Brother), stacking the film with great actors like Jun Kinimura as Ikemoto, Kitano’s benefactor turned enemy, and Kippei Shiina as Kitano’s right-hand man. Kitano himself (performing as alter-ego Beat Takeshi) is typically grounded and realistic, fitting right into his role as underworld boss Otomo, who gets caught in a battle for power between his superiors.

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