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Hajimemashite minna san....welcome to my site on my fave Japanese Pop Culture likes such as dramas, movies, magazine scans, promo events etc. Mainly concentrate on my faves...Rena Takeda... Miyu Kitamuki... Nogizaka46!....Risa Watanabe.... Nanase Nishino!.... if you're a fan at all of any of them then you've come to the right place(!) but many others are featured here besides them. Do mainly quick reviews on things I've watched, try to make the reviews brief, quick to read through with not too many spoilers, just whether they're good or bad and why I thought so plus whether you may find them enjoyable. Many, many screenshots are included from everything I've watched plus any video trailers if they're available. Hope you find something that interests you, don't hesitate to comment, arigato gozaimasu!

Also these days(mid-2017) have many posts for Korean actresses, dramas and films that are worth checking out as over the years have become a much bigger fan of Korean dramas versus the ones from Japan.

Few tidbits....
New item on the right is the 'Featured Post of the Day', will be putting some fabulous oldie posts which some of you may have missed the first time around, all will be at least one year old.

The new blog is up and running, there you will find 100% of the posts dedicated to actresses, dramas and films. That means you won't find those types of posts here any more which means you'll have to go there for posts featuring Erika Toda, Mio Imada, Tsubasa Honda, Park Min-Young and many others.

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Nao Kanzaki: Nao's weekly movie series #4....

 Don't have themes for these posts but there was a mini one last week. Do watch the same films too often so decided on watching movies I haven't viewed for a while, at least two years and for many it may have been five years since their last view. After the first film got into a gore/horror type of mode but got back to a bit of normalcy for the last two movies. You may be wondering who this woman is, she's the star of the fourth film and bet most have never heard of her.

 Dimension Travelers    1998    96 minutes

Chiharu Niyama, Yasue Sato, Satoshi Tsumabuki

 Quite an obscure, film, have no idea how I heard about or where I got the DVD from. Fairly decent film and would have been my second fave of the week if it wasn't so confusing. Satoshi is an actor most know about but the two female leads are mainly unknown though Yasue was excellent in the "Bounce Ko-Gals" movie from the previous year. She plays Mayumi who is a new student at the unnamed high school.
 Actually she's often the new girl as she has to transfer to a different school quite often. But not in the same world as Mayumi is a dimension traveler and can somehow go between the limitless dimensions out there. Every world her mother and her have been in has been destroyed, always by a spaceship named Myuto that carried nuclear fuel. In her new world Mayumi befriends Midori who somehow also has the ability to move to other dimensions. This new world is like the other ones Mayumi has lived in as it's about to be destroyed by the same ship.
 That does happen at the end but it appeared as though Mayumi and Midori were able to escape to a new world or did they? That was the most confusing part of the film which was what dimension were they in, the real world or a different one? The film was based on a novel and it may have been hard to cram all of it's contents into a 90+ minute movie. But as mentioned it was kind of an enjoyable film but it may take a few views to understand it all or perhaps reading the novel would help but have never been able to find it.

Hellevator    2004    97 minutes

 Luchino Fujisaki, Masato Tsujioka, Koji Yokokawa, Ryosuke Koshiba

 Another kind of obscure film but wouldn't doubt if a few of you have seen it. As mentioned haven't seen any of last week's films for at least two years and like a few others don't know why as this is one fine film. Lot of gore and violence but not in a sickly way, like the above may take an extra view or two to take everything in.
 This is set in a futuristic world where everyone lives underground. The main character is played by Luchino which is also her name in the film. She lives on the 138th level below the Earth's surface, she's seventeen and as the film opens she's on her way to high school which is on level four. But before she enters the decrepit elevator she threw her cigarette to the ground, near it some fuel had spilled which caused an explosion killing over a hundred people.
 That was unknown to Luchino who was in the elevator when it happened, on that elevator she encountered many odd people. But the two worst were a pair of prisoners that were being transported to a jail for their execution. They had managed to subdue their guard and were hell bent on taking their frustrations out on the five other passengers. They did create much havoc but in the end both were brutally murdered in the elevator, one of them had been shot countless times by Luchino.
 That killing and the explosion she created had led to her arrest but at the last moment she was spared by a kind guard. Instead of delivering her to the prison for her execution he brought Luchino up to level zero which was prohibited and very few knew what was there. When Luchino departed from the elevator she seemed to be in the real world as Tokyo was on the horizon and that's where the film ended. Lot more than those events took place, true that there's some brutal violence in the film but the story is quite good and all of the character's names seemed to be East European ones for some reason.

 Infection    2004    98 minutes

 Koichi Sato, Masanobu Takashima, Tae Kimura, Mari Hoshino

 Why I haven't viewed this film for so many years is a mystery as this is one of the better horror films around and quite an underrated one. It's got it all such as gore, monsters, zombie-ish people, a decent plot but no creeping girl with long black hair The setting is an old hospital which has seen much better days, the place is quickly going bankrupt and the staff is wondering if they'll be getting paid.
 Perhaps not as the director has disappeared, as a result the main two doctors aren't admitting any new patients and are planning to transfer the remaining patients to different hospitals. The entire film takes place the night before the hospital may close. An ambulance had shown up a bit late that night with a man who was about to die but the doctor Akiba refused to admit him. The man had some infectious disease, unknown to Akiba the ambulance men had lefty the patient in the ER.
 This man was secretly taken away by another doctor named Akai who wanted to discover the origin of the infection. He wasn't able to do that as the patient soon melted away into a green slime, the particles from the slime eventually became airborne as much of the hospital was infected by it. Slowly everyone began dying and by the next morning doctor Akiba was the only person still alive as the others were all killed by the strange infection.
 But were they killed by the infection? As the film ends it doesn't appear so as Akiba is slowly losing his mind, seems there wasn't an infection that killed everyone at the hospital but instead all had been killed by him! So much more happened in this film but don't want to give away too many spoilers and if you're into odd and creepy horror films then this one is recommended. I liked it so much it was my second best view of the week and the trailer for it is at the top of the post.

 Tokyo Psycho    2004    79 minutes

Sachiko Kokubu, Masashi Taniguchi, Mizuho Nakamura, Yuka Hayashi

 This film was based on a short story and also loosely on a similar event that really happened. Sachiko plays Yumiko who with Moe runs a small designing company. Odd events begin happening in Yumiko's life as she may be the target of a stalker as she's been receiving many sick packages in the mail. None are threatening her but there's been messages written in piano wire that the sender is going to marry Yumiko.
 We slowly learned that back in her teens Yumiko had been mildly stalked by a fellow student at her school named Mikuriya. He had left the high school to live in America, it was revealed it was because he had killed his parents. He's back in Japan and going by the name of Osamu, he's now engaged to Yumiko's business partner Moe. His appearance has changed as Yumiko didn't recognize him but had been creeped out just at the sight of him.
 Eventually Osamu kills his fiancee Moe who also had been pregnant. Osamu also had murdered Mika with a piano wire, she was an old high school pal of Yumiko's who had worked for a detective agency and had found the truth about Osamu/Mikuriya. Up until the end it was a fairly good eerie movie, more drama than horror. The last ten minutes though really brought the film down a bit, you would have expected the ending to be a bit depressing but instead it was a happy one as Yumiko had eventually killed her stalker Mikuriya.
 Still was a solid film but that ending could have been so much better. No screenshots from the film as I have even more pics of Sachiko who is one of the hottest Japanese gals of all time, it was impossible to take my eyes off her during the film. On the DVD's special features there was a slide show of her pics which totaled about 25 of them and they were so dazzling it was with the price of the DVD. Sachiko is semi-retired now but she merits at least one future post. She was quite popular as an actress and gravure model during the 2000's so will work on at least one for her.

 Pinocchio 964    1991    97 minutes

Haji Susuki, Onn-chan, Koji Otsubo

 Really not going to go into too much detail about this film. It's definitely one that was a bit hard to watch and now I know why it hadn't been viewed in many years. At 97 minutes it was about 25 minutes too long, parts of it were okay but overall it may give you a headache as I got one from the final twenty minutes watching an android haul around a block of concrete.
 Not much a plot but there is quite a bit of gore, people who should have been in an insane asylum and just all out wackiness including a very long vomiting scene. Hard to recommend this film though it's worth a watch if you like Japanese Cyperpunk films. That was a genre that has died out a bit but there were some really good films from the 1990's and 2000's worth checking out. The director Fukui also did "Rubbers Lover" which was so much better and one of my fave Cyperpunk films.

 Doing Time    2002    93 minutes

Tsutomo Yamazaki, Tomorowo Taguchi, Terayuki Kagawa, Yutuka Matsushige

 This was a rare film as there wasn't one second of screen time with a female, can't ever recall a film like that before. Bought this DVD over five years go, viewed the film immediately but until a few days ago had never watched it again. If you've noticed most of the films from last week have been somewhat recent ones, Japanese films have gone downhill but mainly in the last ten years.
 The setting is a prison in Hokkaido, the main focus of the film revolves around Hanawa played by Yamazaki who is one of my all time favorite actors. He was a man in his sixties who had been caught with a real gun during a fake battle game, for that he was sentenced to three years in prison. There he was put in a cell with four other prisoners, have never been to prison myself(yet) but they appear to far different than American ones.
 The prisoner's life's are very regimented as they have to live by one strict schedule. The guards don't put up with anything but there were no beatings or fights in this film. One thing which united the prisoners was food as what they served in prison were decent meals. But the prisoners loved to talk about food constantly, especially Hanawa who seemed to have a poor background but the lives of the prisoners were rarely discussed.
 All in all thought this was an excellent film, barely missed taking the second spot this week. Kind of slow at times and the beginnijng was a bit so-so but still think it's worth at least one watch, I won't wait five years again to view this film. Besides the main five characters which are in three of these pics there were also so many mini cameos by so many popular actors from that time.

 Heaven's Bookstore    2004    110 minutes

 Yuko Takeuchi, Tetsuji Tamayama, Karina, Yoshio Hrada, Teruyuki Kagawa

 Perhaps I have too many Japanese DVD's as there's no way I should have gone over two years without viewing this. Always thought it was an enjoyable film but last night's watch of it was the best one to date and it easily was my #1 film of the week.
 As you may guess by the title the film takes place in Heaven but it started out on Earth. There Kenta was an up and coming pianist with a small orchestra. Though he was talented Kenta didn't fit in well playing with others as he had very little feeling for what he was playing plus at times he appeared to make himself the focal point of the orchestra. After one lousy performance the conductor had xed Kenta and he ended up crying to himself while drinking in a bar wishing he was dead.
 The following morning when Kenta wakes up he finds out he's in.... Heaven! There it was explained to him by Yamaki that every person spends time in Heaven before they're resurrected. We all have a life span of a hundred years, so for instance if you die when you're thirty you would spend seventy years in Heaven before returing to Earth as a different person. Yamaki didn't have an official title but seemed to the boss of Heaven and it's bookstore where you could sit for readings of novels.
 While in Heaven Kenta met Shoko who was a gifted pianist and one that he had looked up to. She died at an early age but before that had to retire as a pianist due to an accident which left her deaf in one ear. While with Shoko Kenta learned more about the art of being a pianist and helped her finish a suite of music which she couldn't finish due to her injury. Yuko played Shoko and also the character of Kanako who was her niece on Earth.
 In her small town Kanako was setting up a fireworks display and it would be the first time in a decade when there woould be one. She wanted to end the show off with Wabi which is the Japanese term for loving fireworks but ran into a snag. The man who could create them was Shoko's old boyfriend, it was because of an accident he caused that made Shoko lose her hearing. Eventually the man who was Takimoto came to his senses and to everyone's surprise shot his fireworks off after the the regular show ended, kind of a tearjerker of an ending.
 So much more happened but as mentioned am not giving reviews of my watches, just a short recap and whether I liked a film or not. Highly recommend this film and glad I went from watching some over the top films to watching an interesting drama like this film was. To me Yuko is one of the prettiest women of all time, have never done a post for her but maybe I should. Her films are usually quite good, except for one drama though most of them have been only so-so. No decent trailer is on YT but do have a passable one after the pics.

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