SciFi Japan


    Richard Jaeckel, Akira Takarada, Linda Haynes, Joseph Cotten and Kin Omae in LATITUDE ZERO, coming to DVD in 2007 from Media Blasters. © 1969 Toho Co., Ltd.

    Tokyo Shock Release Schedule Updated for 2007 Author: Keith Aiken Source: Media Blasters, Inc., various Special Thanks to Clay Holden SciFi Japan has learned that Linda Haynes may be recording a brand-new audio commentary for Media Blasters’ Region 1 DVD of LATITUDE ZERO. The former Miss Miami played Dr. Anne Barton in the 1969 Toho science fiction film by director Ishiro Honda and special fx director Eiji Tsuburaya. Her other film credits include COFFY (1973), ROLLING THUNDER (1977), and BRUBAKER (1980). The deal is still in the talking stages, but the actress herself revealed that she had been contacted about providing commentaries for both LATITUDE ZERO and HUMAN EXPERIMENTS, a 1980 American horror film coming to DVD next year from Code Red. We’ll be sure to announce if/when the agreement is approved and confirmed by Media Blasters and Toho. In related news, Media Blasters announced that the company has revamped their scheduling system for upcoming DVDs. To correct a recurring problem of missed release dates, Media Blasters will no longer assign street dates until all elements for a DVD title are in place. This change has necessitated a shift in the release schedule, with several previously announced street dates no longer in effect. Media Blasters has made assurances that all of their 2007 Tokyo Shock DVD titles will be released, with exact on sale dates to be announced. The updated and revised schedule is as follows...

    DVD cover art for the ZEIRAM SPECIAL EDITION. Photo courtesy of Media Blasters. © 1991 Gaga/Crowd Inc.

    Now Available: ZEIRAM Special Edition (Zeiramu, 1991) The vicious space outlaw Zeiram (Mizuho Yoshida) escapes to earth, pursued by an attractive bounty hunter named Iria (Yuko Moriyama) and her assistant Bob, a sentient computer. Iria sets up a dimensional trap called the Zone that will allow her to fight and capture the bio-engineered monster without drawing any outside attention, but two bumbling power company employees, Kamiya and Tepphei (Yukijiro Hotaru, Kunihiko Iida), accidentally stumble into the trap as it is being activated. Iria now has to save the earthmen and defeat Zeiram before the Zone closes in on them all forever. Media Blasters’ new ZEIRAM Special Edition is a 2-disc set featuring 191 minutes of material, a major improvement over the 1993 bare-bones video release from Fox Lorber. The movie will be the original Japanese version with both Japanese and English audio plus removable English subtitles. ZEIRAM is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and is enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Extras include the Japanese trailer, the US version trailer, and a “Making Of” documentary including interviews with writer/director Keita Amemiya (MASKED RIDER ZO, MOON OVER TAO: MAKARAGA, IRON ARMOR MIKAZUKI) and Yuko Moriyama. The ZEIRAM Special Edition has a SRP of $29.95. Now Available: VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE, VOL 2 (1984) From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend... the legend of Voltron: a mighty robot, loved by good, feared by evil. As Voltron`s legend grew, peace settled across the galaxy and a galaxy alliance was formed on planet Earth. Together with the good planets of the solar system, they maintained peace throughout the universe until a new horrible menace threatened the galaxy. Voltron was needed once more. This is the story of the super force of space explorers, specially trained and sent by the Alliance to bring back Voltron: Defender of the Universe.

    Tsui Hark`s horror comedy WE’RE GOING TO EAT YOU. Photo courtesy of Media Blasters. © 1980

    VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE, VOL 2 is a three-disc collection of episodes 16-30 (each with fully restored video and 5.1 sound), original character sketches, designs, promos, TV ads, news footage, and other extra features. VOLTRON will be released on Media Blasters’ Anime Works imprint. Now Available: WE’RE GOING TO EAT YOU (Diyu Wu Men, 1980) Agent 999 (Norman Chu) is sent to a rural Chinese village to arrest a bandit called ‘Rolex’ (Melvin Wong) who sports a tattoo of a fist on his chest. Agent 999 begins to suspect that something is terribly wrong in the village, and soon learns that town is packed with cannibals that are addicted to the flesh of strangers. In order to escape, Agent 999 brings together an unlikely group of good guys to overthrow the evil Chief of the village (Eddy Ko). Also known as KUNG FU CANNIBALS, WE’RE GOING TO EAT YOU was an early directorial effort by acclaimed filmmaker Tsui Hark (ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA, GREEN SNAKE, ZU WARRIORS). The movie is presented in Cantonese with removable English subtitles, 2.35:1 widescreen, and is enhanced for 16X9 televisions. WE’RE GOING TO EAT YOU has a running time of 87 minutes and a SRP of $19.95.

    The Thai film THE MAN-EATER was based on a true story. Photo courtesy of Media Blasters. © 2004 Matching Motion Picture Company Ltd.

    Now Available: THE MAN-EATER (Zee Oui, 2004) Tokyo Shock continues their “cannibalism day” with this terrifying true story. In 1946, a young Chinese man named Zee Oui leaves his native land for Thailand in hopes of finding a better life. But wherever he goes, all he finds is persecution and a general lack of acceptance. Already on shaky mental ground, Zee Oui also suffers physically with severe tuberculosis... and this illness eventually sends him over the edge. Zee Oui believes that in order to relieve his pain and give him strength he must kill children and eat their hearts. THE MAN-EATER is a disturbing portrait of one man`s downward spiral and the mad world that created him. THE MAN-EATER was directed by Buranee Rachjaibun (an assistant director on THE KILLING FIELDS) and Nida Suthat Na Ayutthaya. The film was nominated for eight Thai Academy Awards and was shown at international film festivals in Shanghai and Montreal. THE MAN-EATER is presented in the original Thai language with removable English subtitles, running time: 86 minutes, SRP $19.95.

    Temp cover art design for the Tokyo Shock FLOWER AND SNAKE 2 DVD. Photo courtesy of Media Blasters. © 2005 Toei Co., Ltd.

    December 19, 2006 —Shipping Next Week: FLOWER AND SNAKE 2 (Hana to Hebi 2: Pari/Shizuko, 2005) The beautiful Shizuko (Aya Sugimoto) and her husband Takayoshi Toyama (Jo Shishido) have a loving relationship, but Takayoshi is getting older and isn`t always able to perform. His primary source of gratification involves observing his wife in sadomasochistic scenarios so he commissions a painter (Endo Kenichi) skilled in the arts of bondage to bring these fantasies to life. Soon, Shiziko becomes a willing and submissive participant in fulfilling the S&M fantasies of not only her husband but a slew of rich, lecherous men. Writer Oniroku Dan’s Flower and Snake novels had inspired five films over the past 40 years, but Toei’s 2004 adaptation is considered the definitive version. Director and screenwriter Takashi Iishi (Angel Guts, FREEZE ME) brought together well-known actors and high production values to lift FLOWER AND SNAKE above the usual genre picture. The director and star Aya Sugimoto reunited the following year to continue the story of S&M queen Shizuko Toyama in FLOWER AND SNAKE 2. The 113 minute long movie is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and comes with both Japanese and English audio plus removable English subtitles. Extras include deleted scenes, footage from the premiere, three different promotional digest versions of the film, a 20 image photo gallery, a poster gallery, and a 45 minute “Making Of” documentary. FLOWER AND SNAKE 2 has a SRP of $29.95. December 19, 2006 —Now Shipping: TRAITOR’S RHAPSODY: GUN CRAZY 3 (2002) Aki Fukase is a new detective looking to gain experience. Unfortunately, her inexperience contributes to tragedy when her partner is killed in a trap set by Galhowk, an international terrorist group. Overcome with guilt, Aki is ordered to take some time off until she recovers from her ordeal. However, she`s now more determined than ever. She disobeys her orders and sets out to track down Galhowk in order to clear her conscience and her name. TRAITORS RHAPSODY is the third film in the GUN CRAZY series. (The first two, GUN CRAZY- A WOMAN FROM NOWHERE and GUN CRAZY 2- BEYOND THE LAW, were released on DVD by ADV Films in 2004). Running time 70 minutes, 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, original Japanese audio with removable English subtitles, trailer. SRP $19.95.

    Cover art for NEZULLA THE RAT MONSTER. Photo courtesy of Media Blasters. © 2002 Gaga Communications

    December 19, 2006 —Shipping Next Week: NEZULLA THE RAT MONSTER (2002) Under orders from the U.S. Army, the DN Company conducted tests involving anti-bacteriological weapons. During their experimentation, a rat became infected with a mysterious bacteria, mutating into a hideous rat monster that killed the lab technicians. As a result of this incident, the testing was aborted, the lab was shut down and the whole operation was kept secret. However, the mysterious bacteria leaked anyway resulting in an outbreak of epic proportions in the surrounding area. The Japanese government sent three soldiers to the lab to investigate. What they discover is a massive government conspiracy and a giant bloodthirsty monster beyond their imagination. NEZULLA THE RAT MONSTER runs 90 minutes and is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The original Japanese audio comes with removable English subtitles. Special features include the NEZULLA trailer, a “Making Of” featurette, and trailers for other Tokyo Shock titles. SRP $19.95.

    ZATOICHI VOL 6 collects five episodes of the original television series. Photo courtesy of Media Blasters. © 1974 Saito Entertainment

    January 30, 2007: ZATOICHI TV SERIES, VOL 6 (Zatoichi Monogatari, 1975) A threat is uttered, a blade is drawn, a flash of cold steel and then... A dozen attackers lay dead, dispatched by the lightning sword of one blind man: Zatoichi. A humble masseur and gambler, Zatoichi wanders from town to town plying his trade and rolling the dice. With a kind heart and lethal sword skills, he is a protector of the innocent and the ruin of wicked men. A pop culture icon since 1962, Zatoichi was featured in 26 films starring Japanese film legend Shintaro Katsu, and resurrected in the 2003 update from Takeshi "Beat" Kitano. Katsu brought the character to the small screen in 1974, and 100 episodes of ZATOICHI aired over four seasons through 1979. With ZATOICHI TV SERIES, VOL 6 Media Blasters completes the show’s first season, THE TALE OF ZATOICHI. The 2-disc set contains: Episode 22: SONG OF A FATHER AND SON Episode 23: LOVER’S SUICIDE SONG Episode 24: THE COMING OF SPRING Episode 25: THE YAKUZA WAY Episode 26: TRAVELING ALONE Each episode is in the original full screen format with Japanese mono audio presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital, plus removable English subtitles. The running time is 210 minutes and the SRP is $29.95.

    A murdered woman returns as the DOLL FROM HELL. Photo courtesy of Media Blasters. © 1996 Gaga Communications

    February 13, 2007: DOLL FROM HELL (Ikenie, 1996) This horror thriller from Gaga Communications (ZEIRAM) is also known as SACRIFICE. Out in the middle of nowhere sits a remote mountain villa where an old doll maker and his daughter Erika reside. There`s is a peaceful existence until a gang of ruthless thugs bring about a whole mess of trouble. When the gang thinks Erika witnessed one of their crimes, they attack and kill her and disfigure her father with acid. With the help of a magic spell, the doll maker sacrifices himself in order to bring Erika back as a living, vengeful doll! When the gang returns to take over the villa, the newly reanimated Erika begins eliminating the them one by one. DOLL FROM HELL runs 76 minutes, and is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen. Extras include a “Making Of” featurette and the film’s trailer. February 13, 2007: REQUIEM FOR A BODYGUARD: GUN CRAZY 4 (2003) In Southeast Asia, armed guerillas storm a party being hosted by a major Japanese trading company. They kidnap Eri Enomoto (Rika Uesugi), the director`s daughter, and demand a huge ransom. But company infighting stalls plans to comply with the kidnappers, and Eri`s father collapses from the strain. When Eri`s childhood friend, Miki (Natsuki Katoh), learns of the kidnapping and the company`s reluctance to save her friend, she decides to try and rescue Eri on her own. She enlists the aid of a man named Takagi, well-versed in gun and drug-running, only to be told that there are only two ways to resolve a kidnapping: either pay up or attack. When the ransom money gets stolen, it`s time for Miki and her assembled bodyguards to attack. REQUIEM FOR A BODYGUARD runs 64 minutes. The film is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with the original Japanese audio and removable English subtitles. Comes with the trailer for the movie. SRP $19.95.

    The ONE MISSED CALL Collection includes the first two films in the horror series. DVD cover art courtesy of Media Blasters. © 2004-05 Chakushin- Ari Film Partners

    February 27, 2007: ONE MISSED CALL Collection This box set contains Takashi Miike`s ONE MISSED CALL (Chakushin Ari, 2004) and the sequel ONE MISSED CALL 2 (Chakushin Ari 2, 2005). A group of teenagers start receiving ‘missed call’ messages on their cell phones. When played back the teens hear terrifying voice messages of their own agonizing deaths, with onscreen text giving the exact date and time of their imminent murders. After the first murders occur, the media soon gets hold of the story, and a young woman (Kou Shibasaki) receives her own ‘missed call’. The ONE MISSED CALL DVD is a 2-Disc set presenting the film in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, with the original Japanese audio track in both 5.1 and 2.0 digital surround sound, a 2.0 English dub, and removable English subtitles. Extras on Disc 1 include the original theatrical trailer and previews for several Tokyo Shock titles. Disc 2 has "The Making of ONE MISSED CALL" documentary, an exclusive interview with Miike, interviews with the cast and crew, TV spots, and more. ONE MISSED CALL 2 is also a 2-Disc set with the original Japanese audio track in both 5.1 and 2.0 digital surround sound, a 2.0 English dub, and removable English subtitles. March 27, 2007: ULTIMATE VERSUS (2000) Deep within the mysterious Forest of Resurrection, a spectacular battle between good and evil has gone on since the dawn of time. When Prisoner KSC2-303 escapes from a maximum security jail, he enters the forest believing it will lead him to a safe haven. Instead, he finds himself a pawn in an endless struggle played out against an ever-changing background across multiple temporal planes of existence. His opponent: a mysterious man who seemingly cannot be killed. The battle to be waged: Good versus Evil in the pursuit of a beautiful woman who holds the power to grant eternal life. But what Prisoner KSC2-303 cannot remember is whether he is the personification of good or the very essence of darkness. Originally planned as a sequel to his amateur movie DOWN TO HELL (1996), VERSUS became the breakthrough hit for director Ryuhei Kitamura. The film became a cult favorite in Japan and overseas, giving Kitamura the opportunity to make the science fiction thriller ALIVE (2002), "The Messenger" segment of JAM FILMS (2002), the supernatural tales SKYHIGH (2003) and ARAGAMI (2003), plus Toho`s AZUMI (2003) and GODZILLA: FINAL WARS (2004). The crew of VERSUS also included Kitamura`s film school classmate Ryuichi Takatsu (director of THE MAKING OF VERSUS documentary) and lead actor Tak Sakaguchi; two men who played major roles in the making of GODZILLA: FINAL WARS. Media Blasters’ ULTIMATE VERSUS is an extended cut of the movie with new scenes, new music, and 10 minutes of additional footage. DVD extras include deleted scenes, two audio commentaries, the new “making of” documentary SAKIGAKE! OTOKO VERSUS JYUKU, the making of the intro THE FIRST CONTACT, the original "making of” documentary BEHIND VERSUS PART 1- THE BIRTH OF THE DARK HERO, the new "making of” documentary BEHIND VERSUS PART 2- VERSUS THE LEGEND, the side story NERVOUS 1, the side story NERVOUS 2, the making of NERVOUS 2, the actor profile TAK- A SOLITARY JOURNEY, and more. Complete DVD specs tba. SRP $39.95. Coming Soon: Release Date To Be Announced… FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD aka FRANKENSTEIN VS BARAGON (Furankenshutain tai Chite Kaiju Baragon, 1965) The first Toho kaiju film with an American star, FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD was a co-production with Henry Saperstein`s United productions of America. Nick Adams (REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, MONSTER ZERO) plays James Bowen, a doctor caring for radiation victims in Hiroshima. Bowen and his assistant Sueko (Kumi Mizuno) find an orphaned boy (Koji Furuhata) who soon begins to grow into a giant Frankenstein Monster. The authorities blame Frankenstein for attacks on small villages and mountain resorts until the true culprit-- the giant burrowing dinosaur Baragon-- reveals itself. Media Blasters has reported that FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD has been their most requested Toho title for a Region 1 release. The DVD will include the 94 minute long feature film with Japanese and English audio tracks plus removable English subtitles. Complete DVD specs tba. SRP $19.95

    BODYGUARD KIBA 2 is another early film by Takashi Miike. Photo courtesy of Media Blasters. © 1993 SHS Project Maki Production

    BODYGUARD KIBA 2: COMBAT APOCALYPSE (Bodigaado Kiba: Shura no Mokushiroku, 1994) Top karate student Naoto Kiba works as a bodyguard in order to earn money for the upkeep of his beloved dojo. He takes a job in Hong Kong to protect a beautiful woman, but soon must put his fighting skills to the test against a band of murderous monks. Hisao Maki and Takashi Miike join forces for the sequel to BODYGUARD KIBA, another DVD in the Media Blasters “Maki Collection”. BODYGUARD KIBA 2: COMBAT APOCALYPSE has a running time of 64 minutes and is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen with the original Japanese audio and removable English subtitles. Complete DVD specs tba. SRP $19.95. ICHI THE KILLER Special Edition (Koroshiya 1, 2001) Yakuza boss Anjo disappears with three hundred million yen. His second in command, the brutal Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano), leads Anjo’s loyal gang members in the search, but their violent methods worry the other yakuza gangs run by Fujiwara (Toru Tezuka) and Jijii (Shinya Tsukamoto). A tension mounts; Jijii uses the mysterious Ichi, a psychopathic killer with a dark childhood secret, to pick off members of the other gangs. One of director Takashi Miike’s most famous films, ICHI THE KILLER is being reissued on DVD with a brand-new 1.85:1, 16X9 enhanced transfer. Complete specs to be announced, but the extra features will include an interview with producer Dai Miyazaki and other cast and crew members.

    International sales sheet for KAMEN RIDER FIRST. Photo courtesy of Toei Co., Ltd. © 2005 Masked Rider the First Production Committee

    KAMEN RIDER THE FIRST (Kamen Raida the First, 2005) Takeshi Hongo is a person of extraordinarily keen intellect, a young man with great promise for the future... but that future is snuffed out by a secret society called Shocker. They use cyborgs created in all manner of experiments in an attempt to take over the world. Hongo is made into a cyborg with the abilities of a locust-- Masked Rider 1-- but realizes he is being controlled by evil forces and is able to escape. Shocker views Hongo as a traitor and sends the headstrong cyborg Hayato Ichimonji-- Masked Rider 2-- to assassinate him. Hongo and Ichimonji are evenly matched and fight to a standstill. Shocker grows impatient, and orders the cyborgs Snake and Cobra to kill both Riders. MASKED RIDER first appeared on television screens on April 3, 1971. The two heroes were adored by youngsters and launched a franchise that is still going strong 35 years later. KAMEN RIDER THE FIRST is an adaptation of the original manga by Shotaro Ishinomori. This film is neither a sequel nor a remake, but a new interpretation of Ishinomori`s image of the Masked Rider. Media Blasters` release will be a 2-disc set of the 90 minute long feature film with Japanese audio and removable English subtitles. Complete DVD specs tba. SRP $29.95 LATITUDE ZERO (Ido Zero Daisakusen, 1969) The Alpha, a submarine under the command of Captain Craig McKenzie (Joseph Cotton of CITIZEN KANE), rescues a bathysphere containing oceanographer Ken Tashiro (Akira Takarada, GODZILLA), newspaper reporter Perry Lawton (Richard Jaeckel, THE DIRTY DOZEN), and physicist Jules Masson (Masumi Okada, THE SPACE GIANTS). McKenzie transports the men to Latitude Zero, the home to artists, scientists, and humanists from around the world which is located 11 nautical miles below the surface of the South Pacific. The men learn about the the wonders of Latitude Zero, and assist Capt. McKenzie in his battle against the villainous Malic the Murderer (Caesar Romero, BATMAN). Malic and his henchwoman Lucretia (Patricia Medina) kidnap Dr Okada, a Japanese scientist who has discovered a serum that will protect against atomic radiation. The crew of the Alpha attacks Malic`s base on Blood Rock and battle genetically engineered creatures to rescue the scientist and his granddaughter. Long unavailable due to rights issues, Toho`s LATITUDE ZERO was only recently released on video in Japan and will finally come to DVD in America. The film was the last collaboration between director Ishiro Honda and special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, the duo responsible for the original GODZILLA and most of Toho`s classic monster movies.

    Japanese poster art for LEGEND OF DINOSAURS AND MONSTER BIRDS. © 1977 Toei Co., Ltd

    LEGEND OF DINOSAURS AND MONSTER BIRDS (Kyoryu Kaicho no Densetsu, 1977) A geologist named Setsu Serizawa (Tsunehiko Watase of G.I. SAMURAI and VIRUS) hears rumors of a dinosaur egg discovered in a forest cave at Mt. Fuji. He heads for the cave, but an earthquake interrupts his investigation. Not long after, boaters, musicians, and a horse are attacked by a plesiosaur lurking in the waters of nearby Lake Sai. Serizawa searches for the monster, but he and his girlfriend Akiko Osano (Nobiko Sawa) must take refuge in the cave when depth charges are dropped into the lake. They find the egg, which hatches a rhamphorynchus. The pterosaur flies from the cave and encounters the plesiosaur in the forest. Being Japanese monsters, the two prehistoric reptiles immeditaely engage in a battle to the death. LEGEND OF DINOSAURS AND MONSTER BIRDS was a rare giant monster movie for Toei Co., Ltd., a studio better known to tokusatsu fans for their Masked Rider and sentai TV shows. The film has long held a reputation as one of the worst monster movies ever made in Japan and was featured on Comedy Central`s MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 show. Despite Toei`s announcement that the film was "the highest budgeted production in their 30-year history" and the inclusion of some full-scale props of the creatures, LEGEND OF DINOSAURS AND MONSTER BIRDS has a rather cheap look. In America, it was distributed direct to television by King Features Entertainment as the English dubbed THE "LEGEND OF THE DINOSAURS" in 1987. Media Blasters` DVD release will be the first time the original widescreen Japanese version will be commercially available in the US.

    Japanese poster art for SCRAP HEAVEN. © 2005 Scrap Heaven Film Partners

    SCRAP HEAVEN (2005) Director Lee Sang-il`s drama about disaffected youth in Japan stars Ryo Kase (GMK, CUTIE HONEY), Jo Odagiri (MASKED RIDER KUGA, AZUMI), and Chiaki Kuriyama (BATTLE ROYALE, KILL BILL VOL.1, THE GREAT YOKAI WAR). Unhappy with his day job, a police department clerk named Kasuya (Kase) partners with a janitor named Tetsu (Odagiri) to open a murder for hire business out of bathroom stall. They befriend Saki (Kuriyama), a blind pharmacist who is trying to make a liquid bomb. The 117 minute long feature film comes with Japanese audio and removable English subtitles. DVD specs tba. SRP $29.95 DEVILMAN (Debiruman, 2004) Taken into the care of the Makimura family after the death of his parents, Akira Fudo is a high school student. When demons take possession of people all over the world and launch a wave of wholesale slaughter, Fudo undergoes a process that allows him to fuse with a demon but retain his human spirit. Now Devilman, Fudo battles alone to protect Miki, the girl he loves, and save humanity from demonic forces.

    The anthology ZOO features five tales of suspense. English promotional materials courtesy of Toei Co., Ltd. © 2005 Toei Video Co.,Ltd.

    ZOO (2005) ZOO is the first screen adaptation of works by the popular author Otsuichi... an anthology of five stories of fear, suspense, sadness, and pain by five directors. KAZARI AND YOKO: Kazari and Yoko are identical twins, but only Kazari receives love from their mother. When Yoko tries to change the situation, things take an unexpected turn. Directed by Ryu Kaneda. SEVEN ROOMS: A brother and sister are imprisoned in one of seven cells, with only a small drainage pipe connecting the rooms. Directed by Masanori Adachi. SO-FAR: A boy realizes that he is the only connection between his parents, both of which think the other is dead. Directed by Masaaki Komiya and starring Ryunosuke Kamiki (THE GREAT YOKAI WAR). WHEN THE SUN SHINES: A CG animated story about the truth found on the edge of death. Directed by Junpei Mizusaki and Kamikaze Suzuki. ZOO: A man murders a woman at an abandoned zoo. Each day he returns to photograph the woman`s decaying body, but soon his photos begin to reveal things not visible to the naked eye.

    International publicity material for ZEBRAMAN. Photo courtesy of Toei Co., Ltd. © 2004 Zebraman Partners

    ZEBRAMAN (Zeburaman, 2004) In 2010, bizarre incidents begin to occur near Yachiyo Ward in Yokohama, rumored to be the site of a UFO crash. The town is also the home of Shinichi Ichikawa (Sho Aikawa), a down on his luck elementary school teacher. Ichikawa`s life is a mess; his wife is having an affair, his teenager daughter has become a prostitute, and his son is bullied each day at school. The only thing that makes life worth living is ZEBRAMAN, a TV show from Ichikawa`s childhood that was cancelled after 7 episodes due to low ratings. The teacher makes his own Zebraman costume and begins to prowl the streets at night. He regularly encounters a number of strange individuals and soon realizes they are the vanguard of an alien invasion. Can Ichikawa live up to the mantle of Zebraman and save the world? ZEBRAMAN was directed by Takashi Miike and stars Sho Aikawa in his 100th film role. For more about ZEBRAMAN, please see the earlier coverage here on SciFi Japan. KISARAZU CAT’S EYE- THE MOVIE (2003) In September 2002, the television series KISARAZU CAT’S EYE premiered on the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS). The show was the story of Bussan, a twenty-one year old former high school baseball player who learns that he only has six months to live. Bussan wants to fill his remaining days with risk and adventure, so he asks five former teammates to form a ring of cat burglars that would steal from other criminals. His friends think it`s an odd request, but feel they cannot turn down the wish of a dying man. What followed was a series of hillarious, touching, and bizarre events. KISARAZU CAT’S EYE soon grew into a cult hit with a devoted fanbase so the cast returned in November 2003 for the full-length feature film KISARAZU CAT’S EYE- THE MOVIE (marketed internationally as KISARAZU CAT’S EYE: GO MAJOR!). In the movie Bussan is told for the third time that he has six months to live. Sick of his inaccurate prognoses from his doctor, he decides to get on with his life. KISARAZU CAT’S EYE- THE MOVIE was a box office hit, attracting over 1.2 million fans and earning $15 million nationwide. A second film, KISARAZU CAT’S EYE: SAYONARA GAME was released in Japan last month. DVD specs tba.

    Japanese poster art for BLACK KISS. © 2004 Uplink

    BLACK KISS (Shinkuronishiti, 2004) A young woman named Asuka moves to Tokyo to pursue a modeling career and finds herself in the middle of a murder case. A serial killer called "The Black Kiss" is mutilating women, and each murder brings him closer to Asuka and her roommate Kasumi. BLACK KISS premiered at the 2004 Tokyo International Film Festival under the title SYNCHRONICITY. It was directed by Makoto Tezuka, son of anime legend Osamu Tezuka (ASTRO BOY, METROPOLIS). TALES OF TERROR FROM TOKYO VOLUME 3- PART 1 (Suiyo Puremia: Sekai Saikyo J-Hora SP Nihon-no Kowai Yoru, 2004) Just because the gates to the spirit world are usually kept shut does not mean that they cannot suddenly open, that the dead cannot reach out for your throat, that its denizens cannot prowl in abandoned office buildings, or haunt high school video projects. The dark realm is with you, and within you, its emotions calling to yours in shades of horror, of fear, of terror. Writers Kihara Hirokatsu and Nakayama Ichiro have collected these Tales of Terror from accounts told to them as true all over Japan. These anthologies by the Tokyo Broadcasting Services feature supposedly "true stories of the unexplained" told as 5 minute long vignettes by some of Japan’s top horror directors. TALES OF TERROR FROM TOKYO VOLUME 3 runs 75 minutes and is in the original full screen format with Japanese audio and removable English subtitles. SRP $29.95

    DVD cover art for Takashi Miike’s FAMILY 2. Photo courtesy of Media Blasters. © 2001 Family Production Committee

    FAMILY 2 (2001) Acclaimed director Takashi Miike explores a different type of family dynamic with FAMILY; the tale of rival yakuza families constantly at war with each other. Based on the serialized Weekly True Stories manga by Hisao Maki, FAMILY is part of Media Blasters’ “Maki Collection” of collaborations between Maki and Miike… the line also includes BODYGUARD KIBA (Bodigaado Kiba, 1993) and SILVER (Silver: Shirubaa, 1999). In FAMILY 2, it is discovered that the order to assassinate the Mitsumikai Boss was given by the one and only Boss of the Japan Mafia: Mr. Nishiwaki. Hideshi finds something odd about the killing and launches and investigation that uncovers the true motives behind this murder. The FAMILY saga continues with a sequel packed with harrowing boat chases, big explosions, beautiful women, sex, and drugs. Running time 80 minutes, 1.85:1 widescreen, in the original Japanese audio with removable English subtitles. Complete DVD specs tba. SRP $29.95. TALES OF TERROR FROM TOKYO VOLUME 3- PART 2 (Suiyo Puremia: Sekai Saikyo J-Hora SP Nihon-no Kowai Yoru, 2004) Picking up where the January 30 DVD left off, VOLUME 3- PART 2 features more true horror stories from all over Japan. In the original full screen format with Japanese audio and removable English subtitles.

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