SciFi Japan

    Japanese Movies at American Film Market 2008

    A small sampling of the many Japanese films promoted at this year`s American Film Market.

    K-20, MONSTER X STRIKES BACK, 20TH CENTURY BOYS, IKIGAMI, GOD`S PUZZLE and more screened in California Author: Keith Aiken Source: AFM, Shochiku Co., Ltd., NTV, Gold View Co., Ltd., TBS, Toei Co., Ltd.

    Advertisement for Nikkatsu’s movie lineup at AFM. © 2008 Nikkatsu Corporation

    Since 1981, the Independent Film and Television Alliance has hosted an annual motion picture trade show in Santa Monica, CA called the American Film Market (AFM). The 29th American Film Market started on November 5 and concludes November 12. The event has drawn more than 400 motion picture companies and over 8,000 acquisition and development execs, producers, distributors, agents, attorneys, buyers, and film financiers from around the globe. For the past eight days, all 23 theater screens on and surrounding Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade have been used for more than 900 screenings of 513 different films, including 102 world premieres. Titles shown at AFM range from high budget releases by the big US studios, to major foreign films, to lower budget art, independent, and genre movies. While AFM is one of the few— if not the only— places these movies are shown in the US, it is not a traditional film festival and is not open to the general public. The event was created for film companies to introduce and hopefully sell their movies to a wide range of international buyers and distributors. For that reason, only industry personnel and invited guests can attend most screenings. Once again, Japanese films were well-represented at the American Film Market. Exhibitors included the major studios Toho, Shochiku, Kadokawa, Toei, and Nikkatsu, as well as Nippon Television Network, Tokyo Broadcasting System, Gold View, Pony Canyon, Fuji Television, Gaga Communications, and Geneon. Approximately 25 different Japanese productions were screened at AFM, with dozens more advertised. The following article takes a look at some of the Japanese movies screened and promoted at AFM 2008, with information and advertising art courtesy of the studios attending this year`s event. SciFi Japan will present more detailed reports on many of these films in the near future.

    Gold View Co., Ltd.

    REIGO: THE DEEP-SEA MONSTER VS THE BATTLESHIP YAMATO (Shinkaiju Reigo) Science-Fiction Domestic Distribution: InterMedia Co., Ltd., May 10, 2008 International Sales: Gold View Co., Ltd. Japanese with English Subtitles, 95 minutes Official Movie Site: REIGO No AFM Screening; Rough-Cut Shown at 2005 AFM In the midst of World War II, the battleship Yamato, the pride of the Japanese navy, joins with the main squadrons of the Combined Fleet in the South Seas. Ensign Takeshi Kaido is one of the officers serving on the Yamato at the front lines of the naval war. His childhood sweetheart, Chie Kojima awaits his return back in their seaside hometown. Unsure of what the future may bring, Kaido went off to war without publicly declaring his love for Chie Kojima (Mai Nanami). But he still carries her photo in his coat pocket, always. While lurking in the waters off the Truk Islands, the crew of the Yamato spot what is believed to be an enemy submarine and fire on it. The attack is a success, however what sinks to the sea bottom is not a submarine at all but a massive mysterious creature that will later bring disaster upon the fleet... Director: Shinpei Hayashiya; Writers: Shinpei Hayashiya, Keita Toriumi; Producers: Yuki Asada, Show Tsuchida; Cast: Taiyo Sugiura, Yukijiro Hotaru, Susumu Kurobe, Ukon Ichikawa

    Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.

    Kadokawa`s film selection included their new movie SAMURAI GANGSTERS. © 2008 Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.

    SAMURAI GANGSTERS (Jirocho Sangokushi) Drama, Comedy, Action/Adventure Domestic Distribution: Kadokawa Pictures, Released September 20, 2008 International Sales: Kadokawa Pictures Japanese with English Subtitles, 126 minutes Official Movie Site: jirocho-movie AFM Screening: Wednesday, November 5, 7:00pm at Fairmont 5 People respect him. Enemies fear him. Women adore him. Witness Jirocho and his loyal gang battle to become Japans swordfighting legends! A struggling gambler named Jirocho, leaves his wife and his hometown of Shimizu to learn the skills of professional gambling. Three years later, Jirocho returns home to find his wife has several new suitors. Genzo Murakami`s historical novel Jirocho Sangokushi was adapted into nine films produced by Toho from 1952-1954, and an additional four films from Toei from 1963-1965. Now actor/director Masahiko Tsugawa (nephew of Masahiro Makino, director of those earlier films) brings the classic tale back to the big screen in SAMURAI GANGSTERS. Director: Masahiko Makino; Writer: Sumio Omori; Producers: Hikaru Suzuki, Tadahisa Sakamoto; Cast: Kiichi Nakai, Kyoka Suzuki THE SCISSORS MASSACRE (Kuchisake Onna 2) Horror Domestic Distribution: Kadokawa Pictures, Released March 22, 2008 International Sales: Kadokawa Pictures Japanese, 98 minutes Official Movie Site: Prequel to the horror hit THE SLIT-MOUTHED WOMAN. After a high school student`s face is disfigured with acid she is reborn as a vengeful and murderous ghost. Director: Kotaro Terauchi; Writers: Kotaro Terauchi and Karoruko; Cast: Rin Asauka, Yuki Kawamura, Akihiro Mayama

    Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV)

    International sales flyer for 20TH CENTURY BOYS. Photo courtesy of NTV. © 2008

    20TH CENTURY BOYS (20 Seiki Shonen) Drama, Science-Fiction, Thriller Domestic Distribution: Toho, Released August 20, 2008 International Sales: Nippon Television Network Corporation Japanese with English Subtitles, 142 minutes Official Movie Site: 20th Century Boys AFM Screening: Thursday, November 6, 10:00am at AMC Loews Broadway 2 A year before Expo `70— an event indicating Japan`s progress and bright future— an elementary schoolboy named Kenji Endo built a secret hideout in a vacant lot with his friends. One of their secret activities included writing the Book of Prophecies. In the book, they fantasized that they fight villains who plot to conquer the world and bring about doomsday. Years pass. In 1997, Kenji runs a convenience store. He`s given up his dream of being a rock star to look after his niece after his sister has disappeared. One day, his ordinary life turns upside down when an old classmate dies mysteriously and his neighbor family disappears. Around the same time, there`s a lot of talk about a religious cult and its mysterious leader, Friend. A strange chain of events follows, which exactly duplicates the events described in the Book of Prophecies. Friend`s intention seems to be to fulfill the doomsday prophecy. And Friend is most likely one of the kids they used to play with... but who? Will we survive to see the 21st Century? The destiny of mankind is now on the verge of doom! 20TH CENTURY BOYS is the first of three live-action films based on the award-winning manga created by Naoki Urasawa. The second movie is scheduled for January 2009 with the part three planned for late summer of next year. Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi; Writers: Takashi Nagasaki, Yusuke Watanabe, Naoki Urasawa, Yasushi Fukuda; Producers: Nobuyuki Iinuma, Ryuji Ichiyama, Morio Amagi; Cast: Toshiaki Karasawa, Etsushi Toyokawa, Takako Tokiwa

    K-20: LEGEND OF THE MASK (K-20: Kaijin Niju-Menso Den) Action/Adventure- World Premiere Domestic Distribution: Toho, December 20, 2008 International Sales: Nippon Television Network Corporation Japanese with English Subtitles, 137 minutes Official Movie Site: K-20 AFM Screening: Friday, November 7, 8:30am at AMC Loews Broadway 2, Saturday, November 8, 7:00pm Fairmont 3 1949. In the fictional capital city of "Teito" the aristocrats continue to thrive since the 19th Century, and there is a wide gap between rich and poor. In the city, there are rumors about a mysterious thief, who only steals from the rich in the most incredible ways. People call him K-20, short for "Kaijin Niju-Menso" (the Phantom Thief with 20 faces). One day, a circus acrobat Heikichi Endo (Kaneshiro Takeshi) is deceived by a mysterious old man and arrested as K-20. The old man turns out to be K-20 himself! Heikichi manages to escape from jail and decides to hunt down the real K-20 to prove his innocence. Meanwhile, K-20 sets his eyes on heiress Yoko Hashiba (Takako Matsu), who is the fiance of Akechi Kogoro, the famous detective who arrested Heikichi. Heikichi happens to rescue Yoko from K-20 and convinces Yoko and Kogoro that he is not the real criminal. He joins them to fight against K-20, using his incredible physical ability. In the non-stop battle with K-20, the true identity of the thief is revealed! K-20: LEGEND OF THE MASK is based on a novel by So Kitamura and features characters created by acclaimed mystery writer Edogawa Rampo. The visual effects are by Takashi Yamazaki (RETURNER, ALWAYS 2). Director: Shimako Sato; Writer: Shimako Sato; Producers: Seiji Okuda, Shuji Abe; Cast: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Takako Matsu, Toru Nakamura

    252: SIGNAL OF LIFE (252: Seizonsha Ari) Action/Adventure, Drama Domestic Distribution: Warner Bros. Japan, December 6, 2008 International Sales: Nippon Television Network Corporation Japanese with English Subtitles, 133 minutes Official Movie Site: 252 AFM Screening: Saturday, November 8, 8:30am at AMC Loews Broadway 1, Monday, November 10, 7:00pm Fairmont 1 A few weeks after a gigantic earthquake struck Tokyo, the temperature of the Pacific Ocean suddenly increased and caused a tremendous typhoon! The largest typhoon ever to hit Japan heads towards Tokyo with devastating force. The tidal wave generated by the typhoon covers the coastal city area with water. The Tokyo Fire Department dispatches its elite rescue unit, Hyper Rescue, and their sonar picks up a signal from underwater. Beneath the ground, in one devastated subway station, there is someone sending out a code which is known to rescuers only: 252 252 "We have survivors! In the extreme situation, a rescue party tries to save the survivors at the risk of their own lives. In the face of death, a daring rescue operation is to be carried out, intersecting with many dramas of family, love, pride, and human life. Director: Nobuo Mizuta; Writers: Nobuo Mizuta, Yoichi Komori, Hiroshi Saito; Producers: Takahiro Salute, Atsuyuki Shimoda; Cast: Hideaki Ito, Masaaki Uchino

    EVANGELION: 1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE is the first of four new feature films. Photo courtesy of NTV. © 2007 Khara/Gainax

    EVANGELION: 1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE Animation, Action/Adventure, Science-Fiction Domestic Distribution: KlockWorx and Studio Khara, September 1, 2007 International Sales: Nippon Television Network Corporation Japanese with English Subtitles, 98 minutes Official Movie Site: No AFM Screening In the global disaster `Second Impact`, half the human population of the earth was killed. 15 years later, a 14 year-old boy, Shinji Hikari, saw a giant creature when he came to Tokyo-3 to visit his father. The unknown creature was called an `Angel`, and it started attacking the city and the army. Shinji was caught in the crossfire and was saved by a woman, Misato. She took him to a paramilitary organization `NERV`, and there he met his father Gendo Hikari, the commander of NERV. Gendo showed his son an enormous mecha called `Evangelion`, and demanded the boy use it to fight the Angels. At first, Shinji refused to be the pilot of Evangelion, but gradually changed his mind and accepted his fate. How does the boy fight for the world`s future? Gendo knows the secrets behind Evangelion, but just watches his son struggle. The first of four films in the "Rebuild of Evangelion" movie series. Closing film for Pusan International Film Festival. Directors: Kazuya Tsurumaki, Masayuki, Hideaki Anno; Writer: Hideaki Anno; Producer: Toshimichi Otsuki; Cast: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Kotono Mitsuishi

    Popular characters from DEATH NOTE return in L: CHANGE THE WORLD. Photo courtesy of NTV. © 2008 [L] Film Partners

    L: CHANGE THE WORLD Drama, Science-Fiction, Thriller Domestic Distribution: Warner Bros. Japan, February 9, 2008 International Sales: Nippon Television Network Corporation Japanese with English Subtitles, 129 minutes Official Movie Site: L-movie No AFM Screening IN the follow-up to the international hit DEATH NOTE films, the last foe of L is a new death, created by man. Using the Death Note Light Yagami attempted to become Kira, the God of a criminal-free new world. To solve the Kira Case, the brilliant L leaves his home in Los Angeles to confront the mass murderer in Japan. By L`s ultimate sacrifice, the Kira Case is closed, but L loses his most trusted partner, Watari. After Watari`s death, L takes on the task of solving the remaining cases in his partner`s file. As all the cases are solved, a gift addressed to Watari arrives. The gift is a little boy. L learns that the child is the only survivor of a Thai village that was exterminated. L also discovers that a huge conspiracy, utilizing a deadly new virus, was behind the tragedy. Meanwhile, L has another visitor. A girl named Maki tells L that she has brought something her father told her to deliver to Watari. As L realizes the item the girl brought is, indeed, the Death in question, pursuers are closing in. Protecting the two children, L must use both mind and body to solve the horrendous case. And he only has 6 days left to live. Director: Hideo Nakata; Writer: Hirotoshi Kobayashi; Producers: Nobuhiro Iizuka, Tadashi Tanaka; Cast: Kenichi Matsuyama, Youki Kudoh, Mayuko Fukuda

    THE SKY CRAWLERS (Sukai Kurora) Animation Domestic Distribution: Warner Bros. Japan, August 2, 2008 International Sales: Nippon Television Network Corporation Japanese, 122 minutes Official Movie Site: No AFM Screening The story takes place in another possible now - a world that has eradicated war and finally attained peace. However, this prolonged state of peace created demand for a new kind of war. A war happening elsewhere, that could be seen on TV or read in the papers - in order to get a feeling of reality. Private war contractors enlist fighter pilots to perform their services in an endless war as entertainment. They called these pilots Kildren. Innocent-looking teenagers in appearance, Kildren never age into adulthood, and live in a state of eternal adolescence until the day they drift gracefully through the endless skies. One day, pilot Yuichi Kannami arrives to his newly assigned airbase. He has only vague memory of his past. The only two things he recalls are that he is a Kildren and how to operate a fighter plane. A woman is keeping an eye on Yuichi. She is Suito Kusanagi, the base commander. A Kildren herself, Suito behaves as if she`s been waiting to meet Yuichi for a long time. Perplexed, Yuichi is nevertheless gradually attracted by her. All pilots at the base have to confront the most invincible enemy ace, known as Teacher. His trademark is a black puma painted on the nose of his plane. Who really is Teacher? What does Suito know about Yuichi`s past? What are the secrets behind the Kildren? Director: Mamoru Oshii; Writer: Chihiro Itou; Producer: Tomohiko Ishii; Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, Ryo Kase MW Thriller Domestic Distribution: Gaga Communications, 2009 International Sales: Nippon Television Network Corporation Japanese Official Movie Site: MW-Gyao No AFM Screening; Now in Post-Production 16 years ago, there was an incident that killed all inhabitants on an island. The fact was covered up overnight by the authorities. Everything was supposedly blown over by fully prepared concealment activities. However, there were two boys who happened to survive by a twist of fate. One boy, Michio Yuki, became an incredibly beautiful and very clever person who plots revenge on the government. The other boy, Yutaro Garai became a priest who pursues peace and justice. Evil and justice. Darkness and light. They shared the same past, but it brought them to be complete opposites of each other. Yuki learns about MW, the horrible chemical weapon which caused the incident years ago. He is able to obtain the weapon, and launches his plan of terminating all mankind along with himself. Based on the 1976 manga by the legendary Osamu Tezuka. The theatrical release of MW will commemorate the 80th anniversary of Tezuka`s birth. Director: Hitoshi Iwamoto; Writers: Haruo Kimura, Tetsuya Oishi; Producer: Shinzo Matsuhashi; Cast: Hiroshi Tamaki, Takayuki Yamada

    Shochiku Co., Ltd.

    International sales flyer for the Kitaro sequel KITARO AND THE MILLENNIUM CURSE. Photo courtesy of Shochiku. © 2008 Kitaro Film Partners

    KITARO AND THE MILLENNIUM CURSE (Gegege no Kitaro Sennen Noroi Uta) Fantasy, Action/Adventure Domestic Distribution: Shochiku Co., Ltd., July 12, 2008 International Sales: Shochiku Co., Ltd. Japanese with English Subtitles, 119 minutes Official Movie Site: AFM Screening: Friday, November 7, 7:00pm at LeMerigot 2, Saturday, November 8, 7:00pm at Fairmont 1 Young women disappear one after another in drizzling rain. They all hear the "cursed song" of the Cage Song before they vanish into thin air. Kitaro and his friends investigate these mysterious cases when they meet Kaede Hiramoto, a high school girl who finds herself involved in this mystery. With the help from the librarian of Yokai Library, they find out that the curse was caused by an evil Yokai that was released from 1,000 years of sealing. To save Kaede, they are to gather the 5 ancient musical instruments and perform the ritual to seal the evil Yokai again, which has to be done within 48 hours! In search for the ancient instruments, Kitaro and his buddies depart for three different points that the ancient map indicates Kitaro & Kaede head to "sky", the sacred mountain in Hakone, Cat-girl and Ratman head to "land", Mt. Takao, and Sand Witch and Old Cry Baby head to the "ocean" off the coast of Miura peninsula. Will Kitaro be able to stop the curse, protect Kaede and the human beings from the evil Yokai, and also, overcome his destiny? Director: Katsuhide Motoki; Writer: Mitsuhiko Sawamura; Producer: Yoshitaka Ishizuka; Cast: Kie Kitano, Eiji Wentz

    English language ad for Guilala`s comedy comeback MONSTER X STRIKES BACK. Photo courtesy of Shochiku. © 2008 Guilala Production Committee

    MONSTER X STRIKES BACK- ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT! (Guilala no Gyakushu / Toyako Summit Kiki Ippatsu) Science-Fiction, Black Comedy, Action/Adventure Domestic Distribution: Tornado Film, July 26, 2008 International Sales: Shochiku Co., Ltd. Japanese with English Subtitles, French, English, German, 98 minutes Official Movie Site: guilala AFM Screening: Wednesday, November 5, 1:00pm at LeMerigot 3, Sunday, November 9, 7:00pm at Fairmont 3 On July 7th, 2008, at Lake Toya in Hokkaido, Japan, the G8 Summit is being held by the 8 leaders of the world in the international conference hall by the lake. The main agenda of the Summit was environmental issue. Meanwhile, China`s Mars Probe crashed into Sapporo city, which is only 50km away from Lake Toya. The monster "Guilala" appeared from the crash site, and destroys the city of Sapporo. Even though the Japanese government suggests to cancel the Summit, the American President decides to stay and fight against the monster, making other leaders follow. Now the G8 Summit has changed into "Space Monster Task Force Headquarters". Staking the prestige of their countries, the world leaders plan and execute their strategic operations, such as the "Great Roman" tactics, and the deadly poisoning by the Russians. However, they all end in failure and finally a nuclear weapon is about to be launched, putting the world under even greater danger. When the world is close to its destruction, two journalists find a key to defeat the monster Guilala... A legendary giant called "Take-Majin" is summoned to fight the monster. Will the world ever see peace again? Director: Minoru Kawasaki; Writer: Masakazu Migita; Producer: Shinobu Suzuki; Cast: Natsuki Kato, Kazuki Kato, Beat Takeshi

    Zatoichi gets a makeover in the new film ICHI. Photo courtesy of Shochiku. © 2008 ICHI Film Partners

    ICHI Action/Adventure Domestic Distribution: Shochiku Co., Ltd., October 25, 2008 International Sales: Shochiku Co., Ltd. Japanese/English, 118 mins. Official Movie Site: ichi-movie No AFM Screening The famed Zatoichi returns to the screen... this time as a woman. Ichi is a sole goze (blind woman singer) carrying only a shamisen (Japanese stringed instrument) and a walking stick, traveling on her own to find the man who has brought her up and cared for her as a child. People try to take advantage of the fact that she is blind, but Ichi fights back with her unusual skill with swords, using the sword hidden inside her walking stick. A man named Toma who tries to save Ichi from the Banki-to gang, but ends up showing his awful skills in swordplay and is instead rescued by Ichi. Ichi and Toma come upon ae village controlled by the Banki-to gang, led by the inhuman heartless Banki. They also run into Toraji, who is the successor of the Shirakawa yakuza family trying to keep order in the village. Toma offers to help, but Ichi is uninterested until she finds that Banki might know the man she has been looking for. Now the deadly battle is about to begin! Screened at SITGES Festival Internacional de Cinema de Catalunya and Orient Express - Casa Àsia. Director: Fumihiko Sori; Writer: Taeko Asano; Cast: Haruka Ayase, Takao Osawa, Shidou Nakamura, Yosuke Kubozuka, Akira Emoto

    International sales flyer for the J-Horror adaptation SHRILL CRIES OF SUMMER. Photo courtesy of Shochiku. © 2008 R07/Oyashirosama-P

    SHRILL CRIES OF SUMMER (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni) Thriller, Horror, Suspense Domestic Distribution: Phantom Film, May 10, 2008 International Sales: Shochiku Co., Ltd. Japanese/English, 106 mins. Official Movie Site: higurashi-movie No AFM Screening Early summer, Keiichi had just moved to a remote mountain village. As he becomes close friends with a group of girls, he was enjoying his life in the village. However when he starts to become suspicious that Rena, Mion and the others that Keiichi trusted may be deeply involved in successive murders that occur every summer, the situation around Keiichi gradually starts to turn. As if the girls` characters had completely changed, a sewing needle is found in his food, he is chased by mysterious men, and is involved in an accident which could have killed him. He could no longer trust anyone, and then... One mystery leads to another, bringing out a shockingly bloody ending!!! Director: Ataru Oikawa; Writer: Ataru Oikawa; Producer: Takeshi Oikawa; Cast: Gouki Maeda, Rin Asuka

    Toei Co., Ltd.

    DEATH NOTE star Tatsuya Fujiwara launches a potential new action franchise with CHAMELEON. Photo courtesy of Toei. © 2008 CHAMELEON Film Partners

    CHAMELEON Action/Adventure Domestic Distribution: Toei Co., Ltd., July 5, 2008 International Sales: Toei Co., Ltd. Japanese with English Subtitles, 97 minutes Official Movie Site: AFM Screening: Wednesday, November 5, 9:00am at AMC Santa Monica 1 When Goro briefly appears before Keiko, she imagines he is a chameleon. To Keiko, who leads a lonely life as a dubious fortune teller on the streets of Tokyo, Goro seems just like her. In fact, Goro is the leader of a gang of swindlers. One day, after successfully tricking another would-be bride out of her wedding funds, they witness a group of men kidnapping a middle-aged man in a parking garage. Instinctively, Goro records the event with his cell phone camera. Soon, strange men begin shadowing Goro and his team. Goro sees a TV news report of a cabinet minsiter who is under questiioning for accepting bribes. When the camera cuts to a photo of a missing witness to the crime who is supposed to testify, they recognize the man who was abducted from the garage. As the mysterious men begin killing off the members of Goro`s team one by one, Goro decides to take matters into his own hands.

    Takashi Miike explains quantum pshysics in GOD`S PUZZLE. Photo courtesy of Toei. © 2008 God`s Puzzle Production Committee

    Director: Junji Sakamoto; Writer: Shoichi Maruyama; Producer: Mitsuru Kurosawa; Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Asami Mizukawa GOD`S PUZZLE (Kamisama no Pazuru) Science-Fiction, Comedy Domestic Distribution: Toei Co., Ltd., June 7, 2008 International Sales: Toei Co., Ltd. Japanese with English Subtitles, 135 minutes Official Movie Site: kami-puzzle AFM Screening: Friday, November 7, 8:30am at AMC Loews Broadway 2 In this sci-fi love fantasy a college dunce and female teenage genius challenge the great enigma of universe creation. From Director Takashi Miike (SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO, CROWS ZERO) and Producer Haruki Kadokawa (YAMATO, SANJURO). While an intelligent university student travels to India on a spiritual quest his brother Motokazu-- a less intellectual aspiring musician-- takes his place in a particle physics class. During the class, a beautiful science prodigy named Saraka argues that with the proper equipment man can create a whole new universe. The professor aks Motokazu and Saraka to prove the theory, and Saraka takes the challenge to heart... with disastrous and comic results. Director: Takashi Miike; Writer: Masaru Nakamura; Producer: Haruki Kadokawa; Cast: Hayato Ichihara, Mitsuki Tanimura

    International sales flyer for the horror tale OROCHI- BLOOD. Photo courtesy of Toei. © 2008 Orochi Film Partners

    OROCHI- BLOOD (Orochi) Fantasy, Horror Domestic Distribution: Toei Co., Ltd., September 20, 2008 International Sales: Toei Co., Ltd. Japanese with English Subtitles, 107 minutes Official Movie Site: orochi-movie AFM Screening: Thursday, November 6, 9:00am at AMC Loews Broadway 1 In 1950, a mysterious young girl named Orochi comes to the mansion of the Monzen family seeking shelter from a storm. She goes to work there as a housekeeper. The owner of the house is Aoi Monzen, the greatest star of the silver screen. She has two pretty daughters, Kazusa and Risa. But the Monzen family has a deep, dark secret: the women of the family may be beautiful to all eyes, but once they pass the age of 29 that beauty crumbles, and gradually they become hideous, rot away, and die. In the attic, a room in which Orochi is ordered never to go, lies the ruined body of Aoi`s mother... Director: Norio Tsuruta; Writer: Hiroshi Takahashi; Producer: Gen Sato; Cast: Yoshino Kimura, Mitsuki Tanimura, Noriko Nakagoshi

    Hiroshi Abe has fun battling aliens and monsters in THE SWORD OF ALEXANDER. Photo courtesy of Toei. © 2007 THE SWORD OF ALEXANDER Production Committee.

    THE SWORD OF ALEXANDER (Taitei no Ken) Comedy, Science-Fiction Domestic Distribution: Toei Co., Ltd., April 7, 2007 International Sales: Toei Co., Ltd. Japanese, 110 minutes Official Movie Site: No AFM Screening Samurai, Ninja, Monsters and even Aliens from Outer Space... all fight yo obtain the legendary ultimate power! A few decades into the reign of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Yorozu Genkuro is on a great journey. Genkuro carries a great sword on his back: the Sword of Alexander... one of three sacred treasures made from an unearthly metal called orichalcum that crants the possessor great power. There are two more such treasures; the Skanda Thunderbolt and the Judas Cross. Legends claim that whoever possesses all three will be given power to reign over the entire world. Genkuro saves the life of Mai, a beautiful princess being hunted by assassins. Mai and her ninja bodyguard Sasuke join Genkuro`s quest. Mai begins to act strangely after being possessed by Ran, an alien who came to earth in search of orichalcum. Another alien called Daksha attempts to thwart Ran`s plan by obstructing the heroes` journey in a variety of forms. Genkuro smirks, "It`s wondrously strange!" Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi; Writer: Akira Amasawa; Producer: Masayuki Aoyagi; Cast: Riki Takeuchi, Kankuro Kudo, Kyoko Hasegawa, Hiroshi Abe

    Toho Co., Ltd.

    Advertisement for Toho’s movie lineup at AFM. © 2008 Toho Co., Ltd.

    DETROIT METAL CITY (Detoroito Metaru Shitei) Comedy Domestic Distribution: Toho Co., Ltd., August 23, 2008 International Sales: Toho Co., Ltd. Japanese with English Subtitles, 104 minutes Official Movie Site: go-to-dmc AFM Screening: Thursday, November 6, 1:00pm at AMC Santa Monica 1, Monday, November 10, 1:00pm at AMC Santa Monica 1 The story is about a pure-hearted 23-year-old boy (Kenichi Matsuyama of DEATH NOTE and L), who cherishes French pop/bossa nova music, happens to be a member of a Death Metal band "Detroit Metal City" (DMC) and turns out to be its charismatic vocalist under the fictitious name of "Johannes Klauser II". Intending to become a pop celebrity, he makes a triumphant debut as the Death Metal vocalist, and the story hilariously describes his array of woes until he finally faces off on stage against the legendary and world-renowned Death Metal vocalist "Jack IL Dark" (played by Gene Simmons of KISS). Director: Toshio Lee; Writer: Mika Omori; Producers: Yuka Higuchi, Genki Kawamura; Cast: Kenichi Matsuyama, Gene Simmons THE HOMELESS STUDENT (Homeless Chugakusei) Comedy, Drama Domestic Distribution: Toho Co., Ltd., October 25, 2008 International Sales: Toho Co., Ltd. Japanese with English Subtitles, 116 minutes Official Movie Site: homeless AFM Screening: Thursday, November 7, 3:00pm at Mann Criterion 4, Monday, November 10, 3:00pm at Mann Criterion 6 Based on the instant best-seller autobiography (over one million copies sold only two months after publication) by Hiroshi Tamura from the comedy duo Kirin, the film depicts a boy`s adolescent life, filled with love and warmth, tears and laughter, suddenly prompted by an unpredictable incident. Hiroshi, an 8th grader, comes home to find his family has been evicted. His father announces "Everybody dismissed!" and the family members go their separate ways. Separated from his brother and sister, homeless Hiroshi struggles to live at a nearby park, unexpectedly discovering all the love that surrounds him. Director: Tomoyuki Furumaya; Writers: Tomoyuki Furumaya, Noriko Goto; Producers: Sigeji Maeda, Yoshihiko Taneda, Hisashi Usui, Toshiie Tomita; Cast: Teppei Koike, Yuko Tanaka

    Tokyo Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS)

    A popular manga is brought to the big screen as IKIGAMI: THE ULTIMATE LIMIT. Photo courtesy of TBS. © IKIGAMI: The Ultimate Limit Production Committee

    IKIGAMI: THE ULTIMATE LIMIT (Ikigami) Thriller, Drama- International Premiere Domestic Distribution: Toho Co., Ltd., September 27, 2008 International Sales: Tokyo Broadcasting System, Inc. Japanese with English Subtitles, 133 minutes Official Movie Site: ikigami-movie AFM Screening: Friday, November 7, 8:30am at AMC Santa Monica 1 A place, somewhere, that bears a strong resemblance in history and environment to Japan. The country`s return to prosperity after defeat in war is due to a certain law, a pillar of the state: the Special Law for the Maintenance of National Prosperity. All children are vaccinated, and one in every thousand is injected with a capsule that will shatter near the heart and kill them before their 25th birthday. Only the government knows who has been given these capsule, so everyone learns to appreciate each day of life. These sacrificial victimes bring stability to the state. 24 hours before a capsule will shatter, an official of the Ministry of Health and Welfare brings a letter announcing impending death, an ikigami. Those who receive this ikigami letter have 24 hours of absolute freedom to do anything and everything they want. Kengo Fujimoto has made his way through university and taken a job with the Ministry. He now delivers the ikigami letters.

    Masahiro Nakai plays a WWII soldier on trial for injuring an American POW in the world premiere of I`D RATHER BE A SHELLFISH. Photo courtesy of TBS. © 2008

    Director: Tomoyuki Takimoto; Writers: Hiroyuki Yazu, Akimitsu Sasaki, Tomoyuki Takimoto; Producer: Kazuya Hamana; Cast: Shota Matsuda I`D RATHER BE A SHELLFISH (Watashi wa Kai ni Naritai) Drama- World Premiere Domestic Distribution: Toho Co., Ltd., November 22, 2008 International Sales: Tokyo Broadcasting System, Inc. Japanese with English Subtitles, 139 minutes Official Movie Site: AFM Screening: Saturday, November 8, 8:30am at AMC Loews Broadway 2, Sunday, November 9, 8:30am at AMC Loews Broadway 1 1944, in the depths of World War II. Toyomatsu Shimizu is a completely typical barber from a remote seaside town who lives frugally but happily with his wife Fusae and their 5 year-old son. Eventually, though, the army beckons and he is drafted. One day an officer on the battlefield orders him to kill a captured American soldier. Although Toyomatsu lacks the spirit to kill the man, and only wounds him in the arm, the victorious Americans will not accept this, and Toyomatsu is arrested and tried as a war criminal. And he receives the cruelest sentence possible... Director: Katsuo Fukusawa; Writer: Shinobu Hashimoto; Producer: Katsuaki Setoguchi; Cast: Yukie Nakama, Masahiro Nakai

    Toho and TBS partner for the virus thriller PANDEMIC. Photo courtesy of TBS. © 2008

    PANDEMIC (Kansen Rettou) Thriller, Science-Fiction Domestic Distribution: Toho Co., Ltd., January 17, 2009 International Sales: Tokyo Broadcasting System, Inc. Japanese, 133 minutes Official Movie Site: kansen-rettou No AFM Screening; Now in Post-Production A killer virus stalks Japan... January 2011: Tsuyoshi Matsuoka is a young doctor working in the Emergency Center of a Municipal General Hospital outside Tokyo. One of his patients, Manabe, exhibits flu-like symptoms but all tests come back negative. Manabe`s condition quickly worsens... he suffers multiple organ failure, bleeds from his eyes and nose, goes into massive convulsions, and dies. More and more patients are brought in with the same symptoms. All die. Avian influenza is discovered at a nearby chicken farm and the media goes into a frenzy. Thefarm is identifed as the source of a new flu, and the infection starts to spread throught Japan. Dr. Eiko Kobayashi, a World Health Organization Medical Officer, is dispatched to to take charge of the Municipal General Hospital. She was also an instructor at Tsuyoshi`s university, where the two doctors were lovers. Eiko announces the hospital will be quarantined. She delivers strict orders to the staff and treats the patients in an extremely business-like manner. Her attitude offends the humanitarian Tsuyoshi and evokes resistance from the hospital staff. As the mysterious infection wreaks havoc, the isolated hospital turns into a war zone. Director: Takahise Zeze; Writer: Takahise Zeze; Producer: Takashi Hirano; Cast: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Rei Dan

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