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    Source: Toei Co., Ltd. Official Site: mienaimokugekisha.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Toei Co. has provided information and photos from the new thriller THE WITNESS (???????, Mienai Mokugeki-sha). The movie is a remake of the 2011 Korean film BLIND (????, Beulraindeu), the story reworked to take into account the nature of Japanese society. Junichi Mori of the LITTLE FOREST (?????????, Ritoru Foresuto, 2014-15) film series directs. STORY Once an outstanding policewoman, Natsume Hamanaka (Riho Yoshioka) is in the pit of despair after losing her sight and her younger brother to a blunder of her own doing. One night she has a near collision with a car from which she could hear the voice a small girl. She reports this to the police who turn a deaf ear so she begins her own investigation and tracks down another witness at the scene, Haruma (Mahiro Takasugi).

    Source: Toei Co., Ltd. Official Site: heisabyoto.com (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Toei Co. has provided information and photos from CLOSED WARD (????????????, Heisa By?t? ?Sorezore no Asa?), aka FAMILY OF STRANGERS. The film is adapted from the prize-winning novel of the same name by psychiatrist Hosei Hahakigi, which has sold more than 850,000 copies in Japan. CLOSED WARD is directed by Hideyuki Hirayama (BEGGING FOR LOVE, EVEREST: THE SUMMIT OF THE GODS). STORY This film takes places in a psychiatric hospital in Komoro, Nagano Prefecture, where all the patients are dealing with their pasts. Hidemaru Kajiki (played by comedian Tsurube Shofukutei) was sentenced to death for killing his mother and wife, but a mistake was made during the execution, and he survived. Chu (Go Ayano) was once an ordinary office worker, but started hearing voices and acting violently, and is now

    Source: Toei Co., Ltd. Official Site: katsuben.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Toei Co. has provided information and photos from TALKING THE PICTURES (?????, Katsuben!). The film is set roughly 100 years ago, when motion pictures were still silent and in monochrome. Silent film narrators, or "katsuben" (Katsudo Benshi) were a huge thing; they created a unique world with their narrative to draw the audience into the film and captivate them. Here, everything begins when a young boy who dreams of becoming a silent film narrator, ends up at a theater of a small town. TALKING THE PICTURES is directed by Masayuki Suo, who has received many awards with SUMO DO, SUMO DON`T (????????? Shiko Funjatta, 1992) including Best Film at the Japan Academy Prize. SHALL WE DANCE (Shall We ????, Shall We Dansu?, 1996) was awarded in 13 categories at the

    Source: Kadokawa Pictures Official Site: chiwawa-movie.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Kadokawa Pictures has provided information and pics for CHIWAWA (??????, Chiwawa-chan), the live-action adaptation of the short work published in 1994 by manga artist Kyoko Okazaki. The film is directed by Ken Ninomiya, who made his feature film debut with THE LIMIT OF SLEEPING BEAUTY (????????????????????? , Rimitto Obu Suripingu Byuti, 2017). STORY When a dead girl found in Tokyo Bay is identified as Yoshiko Chiwaki—a 20-year-old nursing student—Miki is unaware that it`s her friend Chiwawa. After all their time together, Miki didn`t even know Chiwawa`s real name. Miki first met Chiwawa when she was having fun with a group of friends at their favorite bar where Yoshida brought along Chiwawa as his new girl. Miki had once dated Yoshida so she wasn`t all that happy about Chiwawa turning up. Later on in the

    Source: Shochiku Co., Ltd. Official Site: hikkoshi-movie.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Shochiku has provided information and large, high-res photos from SAMURAI SHIFTERS (???????, Hikkoshi Daimy?!), the new film from the creator and producers of the SAMURAI HUSTLE series. THE FLOATING CASTLE director Isshin Inudo adapts the novel Hikkoshi Daimyo by Akihiro Dobashi, which is based on an anecdote about the true-life feudal lord, Naonori Matsudairai. STORY In the Edo period, it cost an absolute fortune for a lord to transfer from one fief to another, and if the shogunate reduced their stipend as well, numerous samurai had to be released from service and rendered masterless, making it a cruel fate for all involved. One day, Naonori Matsudaira, the lord of Himeji fiefdom, is ordered to relocate to Oita by the shogunate. The strain of these repeated relocations takes its toll on

    Source: Toei Co., Ltd. Official Site: gokudorus.toeiad.co.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Toei Co. has provided information and promotional art for BACK STREET GIRLS: GOKUDOLS (???????????? ?????, Bakku Sutor?to G?ruzu Gokudoruzu), the live-action adaptation of the controversial comedy manga Back Street Girls serialized in Weekly Young Magazine. Fledgling yakuza members Kentaro (Jin Shirasu), Ryo (Reiya Masaki) and Kazuhiko (Masato Hanazawa) screw up on the job. On a whim, their boss sends them to Thailand for sex change operations and head-to-toe plastic surgery, and they are ordered to make money in the entertainment industry as Airi (Natsumi Okamoto), Mari (Ruka Matsuda) and Chika (Akane Sakanoue) in the idol group Gokudols. However, this extraordinary plan achieves unexpected success. BACK STREET GIRLS: GOKUDOLS is directed by Keinosuke Hara of OGAWACHO SERENADE. STORY “In our hearts, we will always be yakuza! Men among men! Please accept

    Source: Toei Co., Ltd. Official Site: aiuta-movie.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Toei Co. has provided information and large, high-res photos from AIUTA –MY PROMISE TO NAKUHITO- (??????????, Ai Uta – Yakusoku no Nakuhito), a fantastical coming-of-age drama inspired by a hit song from the Japanese pop music group, GReeeeN. The film stars the young actor Ryusei Yokohama who played the GReeeeN member Navi in the movie KISEKI -SOBITO OF THAT DAY- (??? ?????????, Kiseki -Ano Nitsu no Sobito-, 2017). Two years from the blockbuster success of KISEKI -SOBITO OF THAT DAY-, GReeeeN’s very first song, "Aiuta" (i.e. "Love Song") is transformed into a love story. STORY Aiuta: a song of love and destiny for 3 people... Toru has lived a rather bland life. One day he is told that he has only 3 months to live. Wracked with despair, Toru stumbles

    Source: Toei Co., Ltd. Official Site: mahjongg2020.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Toei Co. has provided information and large, high-res photos from A GAMBLER`S ODYSSEY 2020 (?????2020, M?jang H?r?ki 2020), a sci-fi comedy from director Kazuya Shiraishi (THE DEVIL’S PATH, TWISTED JUSTICE, THE BLOOD OF WOLVES) and actor Takumi Saito (SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO (???????, Sup?su Batorushippu Yamato, 2010), SHIN GODZILLA, YO-KAI WATCH THE MOVIE 2016 (?? ?????? ?????????????????????, Eiga Y?kai Uotchi Soratobu Kujira to Daburu Sekai no Daib?ken da Nyan!), FUKUSHIMA 50 (?????????, Fukushima Fifuti, 2020). Saito plays Boyatetsu, a surly mahjong ace living in the chaos of post-World War II Tokyo. After being struck by lightning, he awakens in the year 2020 to find Tokyo dominated by AI. Boyatetsu uses his gambling skills to survive while searching for a way home. A GAMBLER`S ODYSSEY 2020 is promoted as "a wildly imaginative

    Source: Shochiku Co., Ltd. Official Site: tora-san.jp/movie50 (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Japan`s most prominent and popular comedy film series celebrates its 50th anniversary with its 50th film. Tora-san is back on the screen! Shochiku has provided information and large, high-res photos from TORA-SAN, WISH YOU WERE HERE (?????? ??? ???, Otoko wa Tsuraiyo Okaeri Torasan), the new film commemorating the 50th anniversary of director Yoji Yamada`s humanistic comedy series Tora-san. The movie revives the series after a 22-year hiatus, and brings one of Japan`s most beloved characters back to the big screen through a combination of new footage and 4K restored images of marquee actor Atsumi wKiyoshi, who passed away in 1996. Chieko Baisho, Gin Maeda, Hidetaka Yoshioka and Kumiko Goto return to reprise their roles from the earlier films. TORA-SAN, WISH YOU WERE HERE was the opening film for the

    Source: Kadokawa Pictures Official Site: rakuen-movie.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Kadokawa Pictures has provided information and pics for THE PROMISED LAND (??, Rakuen), based on Yoshida Shuichi`s short story compilation Crime Novel Collection (Hanzai Shosetsu-shu). Takahisa Zeze, who scored a smash hit in 2016 with his 2-part adaptation of 64 (SIX FOUR), returns to write and direct this socially relevant thriller. STORY 12 years ago, a young girl named Aika was kidnapped at the junction of a Y-shaped road. The case remains unsolved. Tsumugi (Hana Sugisaki), a close friend of the victim, has been deeply emotionally scarred by the incident. Tsumugi can`t forgive herself as she was with Aika minutes before she was abducted. A local festival is held, and while it helping out, Tsugumi meets Tsuyoshi (Go Ayano), the town loner who lives with his mom and refurbishes used items

    Source: Shochiku Co., Ltd. Official Site: chushingura-movie.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Shochiku has provided information and large, high-res photos from the comedy THE 47 RONIN IN DEBT (??????, Kessan! Chushingura). The film is based on Hirofumi Yamamoto`s Chushingura`s Financial Statements that detailed samurai Kuranosuke Oishi`s records of the attack on Kozunosuke Kira during the Edo Period. THE 47 RONIN IN DEBT is directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura, who has helmed numerous period works including MUMON: THE LAND OF STEALTH. STORY The Ako retainers` vassal lord Asano Takumi no Kami was forced to commit harakiri for attacking Kozunosuke Kira with his sword. Chief retainer Kuranosuke Oishi (Shinichi Tsutsumi) aims to restore the feudal domain with accountant Chosuke Yato (Takashi Okamura), but the public demand revenge on Kira. However, the attack requires a huge sum of money. CREDITS Japanese Theatrical Release: November 22, 2019

    Source: Shochiku Co., Ltd. Official Site: special-actors.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Shochiku has provided information and large, high-res photos from the new comedy SPECIAL ACTORS (??????????, Supesharu Akut?zu), the second feature film from ONE CUT OF THE DEAD director Shinichiro Ueda. Ueda has taken a concept he has been incubating for many years and cast 15 unknown actors for this multiple protagonist movie. The seventh project produced under Shochiku Broadcasting`s original film banner, SPECIAL ACTORS leads the viewer down a mysterious road where nothing is what it appears to be... STORY Real actors acting fake...? Fake actors acting real...? Kazuto (Kazuhito Osawa) is not a typical actor...actually, he`s not an actor at all! He`s just a timid young guy who regularly faints from stress, hopelessly impressed with the psychic strength of the hero from the B-movie RESCUEMAN. Kazuto`s younger brother invites

    Stream A New Horror Movie Each Day In October For Free With No Ads, Commercials or Contracts on movieSPREE Apps and Website! Source: Mill Creek Entertainment press release Official Site: moviespree.com/fright Special Thanks to Barrett Evans The recently launched transaction-based streaming service movieSPREE,is thrilled to announce a spook-tacular promotion for the entire month of October. The 31 Nights of Frightwill offer a daily ‘Freebie Jeebie’- a free horror movie a day to stream without any interruptions, commitments and best of all, NO ADS! The entire bundle of 31 movies can be added to your movieSPREElibrary for a special, discounted price of only $10.31.

    Source: Well Go USA, ddPR press release Official Site: hatsukoi-movie.jp (Japan), firstlovemovie.com (US) Special Thanks to Leif Helland Well Go USA Entertainment has acquired the North American rights to acclaimed cult director Takashi Miike’s FIRST LOVE (??, Hatsukoi) following the world premiere in Director’s Fortnight at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The deal was negotiated by Doris Pfardrescher on behalf of Well Go USA and HanWay Films with ICM Partners on behalf of the filmmakers. It will be released in select theaters later this year, with the digital and home entertainment release scheduled for first quarter 2020. HanWay Films has also closed deals with Haut et Court (France), Eurovideo (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), Nonstop (Scandinavia), Odeon (Greece), Mars (Turkey), Discovery (Former-Yugoslavia), Paradise (CIS, Baltics) and Frontrow (Middle East). FIRST LOVE marks the fourth collaboration between Academy Award winning producer Jeremy Thomas (THE LAST EMPEROR) and Takashi Miike

    Source: NYAFF press release Official Site: hatsukoi-movie.jp (Japan), firstlovemovie.com (US) Hang with NYAFF next Tuesday, September 17th at 7pm to catch FIRST LOVE (??, Hatsukoi) at the Angelika Film Center where the man himself, director Takashi Miike, will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A! Purchase tickets at angelikafilmcenter.com/nyc. Synopsis The film is the prolific auteur, Takashi Miike, at his most fun and anarchic, a noir-tinged yakuza film blending genres in the story of a young boxer and a call girl, who fall passionately in love while getting innocently caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme over the course of one night in Tokyo. FIRST LOVE will be released in select theaters by Well Go USA Entertainment on September 27th.

    Source: Toei Co., Ltd. Official Site: l-dk.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Toei Co. has provided information and large, high-res photos from L?DK: TWO LOVES UNDER ONE ROOF (L?DK ?????????????????, L?DK Hitotsu Yane no Shita, (Suki) ga Futatsu). The movie is based on Ayu Watanabe’s 10 million-selling manga and a sequel to 2014’s live action film L?DK – LIVING TOGETHER (L?DK ????, L?DK Rabu D?kyo). Aoi lives together with the most handsome guy in high school, Shusei; however, his cousin, who joins them to live under the same roof, plots all sorts of nasty things to ruin their relationship. STORY High school third-year student Aoi Nishimori has a secret that she keeps from everyone in her school: she lives with Shusei Kugayama, the most handsome guy on campus, who other students call “Prince.” They initially met under awful circumstances, but gradually began

    Source: Shochiku Co., Ltd. Official Site: iwane-movie.jp (Japan) A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE Shochiku has provided information and large, high-res photos from IWANE: SWORD OF SERENITY (?????, Inemuri Iwane). This is the first movie based on the Inemuri Iwane Edo Zoshi novels by Yasuhide Saeki, which have sold more than 65 million copies. STORY This samurai has virtues that many of us have forgotten. Iwane Sakazaki returns to his homeland and gets caught in the middle of an incident that results in the tragic death of two of his best friends from childhood. He decides to leave his domain, parting with his fiancée Nao, and becomes a vagrant masterless samurai with nothing more to lose. Iwane begins living in a row house in Edo, filleting eels during the day and working as a bodyguard at night for Imazuya, a reputable money exchanger.

    Japanese media loves its tropes. While some of the worst tropes in Japanese anime shows are parents who`ve disappeared, predictable villain redemption arcs, and characters who become powerful by following secret training methods, there are others that viewers love to see. One of these is gambling. The gambling trope provides lots of potential storylines for characters, from big wins at the casino that translate into whirlwind adventures to gambling losses that mean the protagonist has to scramble to pay back debts, viewers are hugely entertained by gambling themes. What Are the Best Gambling Anime? Gambling is featured in many Japanese animes but some stand out more than others. One of these is TOHAI DENSETSU AKAGI: YAM NI MAIORITA TENSEI, also known as MAHJONG LEGEND AKAGI: THE GENIUS WHO DESCENDED INTO DARKNESS. The title of this anime is a bit of misnomer

    FlynnPictureCo. will produce the pop culture icon’s global feature debut, to be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures Source: Warner Bros. Pictures press release New Line Cinema, Sanrio and FlynnPictureCo. announced that they will be teaming up to develop an English language HELLO KITTY film for a worldwide audience for the first time in her 45-year history. The partnership marks the only time Sanrio has granted film rights to Hello Kitty and other popular characters -- including Gudetama, My Melody, Little Twin Stars and more from its expansive universe -- to a major film studio, giving audiences outside of Japan the opportunity to experience Hello Kitty as a feature film. Hello Kitty’s debut under the partnership will be produced by Beau Flynn and executive produced by Wendy Jacobson for FlynnPictureCo. in the culmination of a passionate, nearly five-year journey to secure the rights to develop Hello Kitty

    12 Months of Exclusive Content Direct From Studios and Distributors! Author: Keith Aiken SciFi Japan is proud to remain the one and ONLY English language website devoted to Japanese fantasy films and TV that is officially press registered with all five major Japanese studios (Toho, Toei, Shochiku, Nikkatsu and Kadokawa), several Japanese production companies, plus their distributors and licensees. While other sites will run information and images taken from Japanese news sources and publications, SciFi Japan regularly posts content provided directly to us by the companies and people making and releasing Japanese movies, programs and merchandise. This allows us to present our readers with accurate, verified information rather than rumors and speculation, and also run larger and higher quality photos and artwork than can be found elsewhere. Thanks to all our writers, contributors, sources and readers for your support! Be sure to check

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