Masanori Murakami-directed ONE WEEK FRIENDS 「一週間フレンズ。」 feature in theaters from Shochiku in February

A feature film adaptation of Matcha HAZUKI’s beloved manga One Week Friends 「一週間フレンズ。」 is set to charm cinema-goers early next year. Previously adapted as an anime television series from Brain’s Base, which aired in the Spring of 2014, Shochiku’s live-action One Week Friends will be in Japanese theaters from February 18th, 2017.

The film stars Haruna KAWAGUCHI (Creepy) and Kento YAMAZAKI (fresh from this year’s Your Lie in April) as Kaori, a lonely high school girl seemingly doomed to forget her friends upon waking each Monday morning, and Yūki, a boy who must befriend her anew each week. Masanori MURAKAMI (1 Litre of Tears) directs. Shochiku’s new theatrical trailer for the film follows below.

Yuriko Yoshitaka to star in film adaptation of Mahokaru Numata’s YURIGOKORO 「ユリゴコロ」

Snakes and Earrings star Yuriko YOSHITAKA will headline the anticipated film adaptation of author Mahokaru NUMATA’s acclaimed 2011 novel Yurigokoro 「ユリゴコロ」. The novel (published in the US under the title Nan-Core), which won the Haruhiko Oyabu Award in 2012, follows a young man’s attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding three journals found in his family home – journals which appear to be a confession of murder.

Naota KUMAZAWA (A Short Distance RelationshipKimi ni Todoke) will direct. Yurigokoro is expected to be completed by the Summer of 2017, and is scheduled for release in September 2017.

Uncensored English trailer for Akihiko Shiota’s WET WOMAN IN THE WIND is NSFW as hell

Nikkatsu have prepared a fully English-subtitled trailer for Akihiko SHIOTA’s Wet Woman in the Wind 「風に濡れた女」, and it certainly doesn’t mince words… or images. The second film to be released as part of the Roman Porno Reboot project, the R18+ rated Wet Woman in the Wind is in Japanese theaters from December 17th 2016, and will also be broadcast on BS SKY PerfectTV in an R15+ edition. Yuki MAMIYA (Crawler in the Attic) and Tasuku NAGAOKA (Why Don’t you Play in Hell) star.

The new trailer follows below (I’ve included the creatively, colorfully censored general audience-ready Japanese theatrical trailer for comparison), and is definitely not safe for work.

New trailer for Naoko Ogigami’s CLOSE KNIT 「彼らが本気で編むときは、」

Close Knit 「彼らが本気で編むときは、」, the unconventional new family drama from writer and director Naoko OGIGAMI (Kamome Diner), now has a full trailer. The film follows a neglected 11-year old who develops a close bond with her uncle and his partner, a transwoman named Rinko.

Close Knit is both written and directed by Naoko Ogigami, and stars Tōma IKUTA (The Brain Man), Kenta KIRITANI (Beat Kids), Rinka KAKIHARA, and Mimura (Dog in Sidecar). The film is set to open in theatrical release on February 25th 2017.

New trailer for Kazuya Shiraishi’s DAWN OF THE FELINES 「牝猫たち」

The third film in Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno Reboot series now has a trailer and release date. Dawn of the Felines「牝猫たち」, from director Kazuya SHIRAISHI (Twisted Justice), will arrive in Japanese cinemas on January 14th, 2017. The film, rated R18+, will also be broadcast on BS Sky PerfectTV in an R15+ edition.

Dawn of the Felines is both written and directed by Shiraishi, and stars Satsuki MAUE, Juri IBATA, and Michie.

English-dubbed ONE PIECE FILM GOLD in theaters from Funimation Films in January

Released this past July so significant success in Japan, the thirteenth adventure in the One Piece theatrical saga will soon be setting sail on US screens. Funimation Films will screen Hiroaki MIYAMOTO’s One Piece Film Gold in a limited theatrical engagement from January 10th through January 17th 2017.

From the Funimation Films site:

The Straw Hat pirates are hitting the big screen once again in an all-new high-flying adventure! The popular series that has captivated fans all over the world unfolds a new saga in the highly anticipated movie, One Piece Film: Gold.

The glittering Gran Tesoro, a city of entertainment beyond the laws of the government, is a sanctuary for the world’s most infamous pirates, Marines, and filthy rich millionaires. Drawn by dreams of hitting the jackpot, Captain Luffy and his crew sail straight for the gold. But behind the gilded curtains lies a powerful king whose deep pockets and deeper ambitions spell disaster for the Straw Hats and the New World alike.

One Piece Film Gold will be presented in dubbed English. A home video release has not yet been announced, but will presumably follow at a later date. Funimation Films’ English-language trailer follows below.

Tetsuya Mariko’s DESTRUCTION BABIES arriving in 2017 from Third Window Films

Tetsuya MARIKO’s Destruction Babies will receive theatrical and home media distribution in the UK from Third Window Films in 2017. The film, released this Summer in Japan, snagged the Best Emerging Director award for Mariko at the 2016 Locarno International Film Festival.

From the Third Window Films website:

Taira, an unnervingly quiet delinquent teen, mysteriously leaves town right before the coming of age festival. His disappearance doesn’t worry anyone except for younger brother Shota, his only remaining family, who sets off to look for him amidst the faded downtown neon lights.

Taira aimlessly wanders through a nearby city, provoking fights with random bystanders. His violent streak intrigues high schooler Yuya who rallies him to beat up more people. As the night progresses, street-side scuffles soon turn into a sinister game, becoming even more mindless and indiscriminate. The two leave behind a trail of blood and mass confusion.

Indie director Tetsuya Mariko brings us a deceptive piece of cinema which begins like a slice-of-life story and then takes an abrupt plunge into a pit of moral ambiguity. It stars award-winning actors Yuya Yagira (Nobody Knows) and Masaki Suda (The Light Shines Only There, Princess Jellyfish) in one of their best performances in Japanese cinema this year.

Third Window’s English-subtitled trailer for the film follows below. No release date has been announced.

English-language trailer for Nikkatsu’s 45th anniversary Roman Porno Reboot

We’re getting our first English-friendly look at Nikkatsu’s much-anticipated Roman Porno Reboot project, featuring five new films from some of Japan’s top directorial talent. Nikkatsu began releasing the films just this past weekend, with Isao YUKISADA’s Aroused by Gymnopedies, and an additional film in the series will be released each month from there.

The English-subtitled trailer for Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno Reboot is below, followed by the trailers for Yukisada’s Aroused by Gymnopedies and Akihiko SHIOTA’s Wet Woman in the Wind.

「そして父になる」 Like Father, Like Son

Masaharu FUKUYAMA (Scoop!) stars as a father who learns his 6-year-old child is not biologically his own in this bittersweet family drama from writer and director Hirokazu KOREEDA (After the Storm), which was released to critical acclaim and festival accolades in 2013 and can currently be found streaming via Hulu (in Japanese w/ English subtitles). Machiko ONO (Too Young to Die!), Lily Franky (Still Deeper than the Sea) and Yōko MAKI (Poison Berry in my Brain) round out the primary players, a pair of couples contending with the revelation that their children were switched at birth.

As the original title implies (soshite chichi ni naru – roughly and then I became fatherLike Father, Like Son‘s emphasis is squarely on Fukuyama, as career-driven architect and so-so dad Nonomiya, throughout. Nonomiya’s parental anxiety is pushed to the fore once the film’s unusual narrative circumstances are put in motion – worries, in particular, that his son is not meeting his lofty expectations. That his son is revealed to be the biological offspring of a pair of distinctly working class shopkeepers provides an attractive out, an excuse that alleviates Nonomiya of his own parental responsibilities while aligning comfortably with his social prejudices. That his son exists elsewhere, estranged, means an opportunity to start over, to rebuild his family in his own blooded image, to achieve the ideal.

None of this goes as planned, of course, and as his own actions threaten to rend his family asunder Nonomiya is forced to reckon with his misplaced priorities and personal failings, to own up to his responsibility and finally become ‘dad’.

Like Father, Like Son is another tremendous work from Koreeda, a drama at once fresh and familiar and which maintains a sense of warmth and buoyancy even as it explores its darker eventualities. Koreeda’s screenwriting is as delicate as his direction, the stakes of his drama high, but its humanity palpable. Photographer Mikiya TAKIMOTO (Our Little Sister, website and portfolio here) puts the narrative’s corresponding visual preoccupations to the proverbial canvas, indelible images of economic divide – a spotless Tokyo penthouse contrasted with a choked street-level storefront, a Lexus four-door too long for its parking spot and a minivan scarcely large enough to need its own.

Fukuyama excels, in a film replete with laudable performances – you know you’re doing things right when such notables as Isao NATSUYAGI (The Land of Hope) and Jun FUBUKI (Seance) are filling out the bottom of your credited cast. Kirin KIKI (Sweet Bean) steals the picture in her brief appearances as Nonomiya’s mother-in-law, killing it at Wii tennis and waxing giddy about sweets. Still, it’s the children, leads Keita NINOMIYA and Shōgen HWANG and a handful of supporting tykes, who ultimately hold the show together. Koreeda allows Ninomiya and Hwang to behave as precisely what they are, primary school kids, and Like Father, Like Son is made all the better for it.

Like Father, Like Son is currently streaming via Hulu in Japanese with English subtitles, and is available for digital rental or purchase through Amazon.com as well. A domestic DVD edition is also available, through MPI Home Video.

Need something to watch? We’re here to help. Eiga On-demand is Eiga · Bouei’s continuing mini-guide to Japanese cinema available through digital platforms in the United States.

New restoration trailer for Tai Katō’s ZA ONDEKOZA

In commemoration of what would have been the director’s 100th birthday, Shochiku have undertaken a new restoration of Tai KATŌ’s eccentric and little-seen documentary event Za Ondekoza 「ざ・鬼太鼓座」. Filmed over the course of two years, not premiered until well after the director’s death in 1984, and once only presented in rare event screenings, Za Ondekoza has now been granted a 2k restoration from a new 4k scan.

The restored Za Ondekoza made its debut at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival in September and had its Japanese premiere at the 17th Tokyo Filmex earlier this month, and separate DVD and Blu-ray editions will arrive from Shochiku in February of 2017.

The restoration trailer follows below, and looks pretty fantastic. February can’t come soon enough.