SciFi Japan


    ZEBRAMAN and DEVILMAN are coming to DVD from Media Blasters in 2007. English promotional materials courtesy of Toei Co., Ltd. ZEBRAMAN © 2004 Zebraman Partners. DEVILMAN © 2004 Devilman Production Committee

    Upcoming 2006 Titles from the `Tokyo Shock` Label... and Early News on What to Expect in 2007 Author: Keith Aiken Source: Media Blasters, Inc.

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

    Media Blasters has announced the following Tokyo Shock titles for November 2006 through January 2007. Not all details are final, but the following information provides a sneak peek at what will be coming to Region 1 DVD over the next few months. November 7, 2006: 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.

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

    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. November 21, 2006: 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).

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

    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. November 21, 2006: 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. December 5, 2006: 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.

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

    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: 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. December 19, 2006: NEZULLA THE RAT MONSTER (2002) A US-funded company in Japan accidentally creates a mutated humanoid rat creature while experimenting with anti-bacteriological weapons. After the violent beast kills the lab technicians, the facility is condemned and its horrifying experiments kept a secret. However, a strange bacteria leaks from the lab and spreads to the nearby inhabitants. As an epidemic breaks out, a small team is sent into the lab to uncover the source of the contamination… but now they must contend with a bloodthirsty monster beyond their wildest imagination. NEZULLA THE RAT MONSTER runs 90 minutes, and is presented in the original Japanese audio with removable English subtitles. Complete DVD specs tba. SRP $19.95. December 19, 2006: TRAITOR’S RHAPSODY- GUN CRAZY (2002) After her partner is killed in a trap set by the international terrorism group called Galhowk, guilt-ridden detective Aki Fukase disobeys orders and hunts down the terrorists. Running time 70 minutes, in the original Japanese audio with removable English subtitles. Complete DVD specs tba. SRP $19.95. January 9, 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. January 9, 2007: 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. 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 and 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. January 30, 2007: BODYGUARD KIBA 2: APOCALYPSE OF CARNAGE (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: APOCALYPSE OF CARNAGE 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. January 30, 2007: 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 MORE IN 2007 Media Blasters has also revealed that they have acquired US rights for several movies from Toei Company, Ltd for release next year. Look for Takashi Miike’s ZEBRAMAN (Zeburaman, 2004), the live action DEVILMAN (Debiruman, 2004), an anthology of suspense stories by the author Otsuichi entitled ZOO (2005), and the feature film MASKED RIDER THE FIRST (Kamen Raida the First, 2005) on DVD from Tokyo Shock. And-- last but not least-- there will be more Toho titles in 2007! Media Blasters has promised full details once everything is confirmed.

    Media Blasters will also release ZOO and MASKED RIDER THE FIRST in 2007. English promotional materials courtesy of Toei Co., Ltd. ZOO © 2005 Toei Video Co.,Ltd. MASKED RIDER THE FIRST © 2005 Masked Rider the First Production Committee
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