Makoto Shinkai’s YOUR NAME.「君の名は。」hits North American cinemas April 7th from Funimation Films

Makoto SHINKAI’s award-winning block-busting animated feature, currently in special IMAX release in Japan, will arrive in domestic cinemas in both its original Japanese with English subtitles as well as dubbed English.

From Funimation:

Separated By Distance
Connected By Fate

Makoto Shinkai’s latest masterpiece, Your Name. has quickly risen as one of the top anime films in the world. Award winning and under consideration for an Oscar, this number-one film is finally coming to North American theaters on April 7th, presented in both Japanese with English subtitles and English dub.

This release will also include the newly dubbed English soundtrack recorded by the Japanese band, Radwimps—which has not been debuted in any previous theatrical release!

Keep an eye on Funimation Films’ Your Name. site for further details and advance tickets.

All Brand New! An Important Film of Our Age Starring Russ Tamblyn, Kumi Mizuno, and… Kipp Hamilton?

Tokusatsu Tuesdays is a regular feature relating to Japanese special effects entertainments and their associated whatsits, and a bridge, so to speak, between Eiga · Bouei and its sister site, Exploderbutton.com


Just a short write-up for all of you this Tuesday. The artwork shared below comes courtesy of a trade ad Toho placed in the September 14th 1966 issue of the industry publication Motion Picture Herald, in which it serves as the back cover image (which is great, as it means I didn’t have to dismember the entire mag just to get a decent picture of it). The sharp two-tone design is a variation on the key poster image Toho produced to advertise the film to international buyers, and which served as the basis for the final theatrical poster art in territories like France and Spain.

The film itself should need little introduction. 1966’s 「フランケンシュタインの怪獣 サンダ対ガイラ」War of the Gargantuas, the kind-of sort-of sequel to the prior year’s 「フランケンシュタイン対地底怪獣バラゴン」Frankenstein Conquers the World, received significant distribution both in theaters and on television worldwide and remains one of the best-known and beloved of Toho’s special effects productions. Toho have a fine all-region Blu-ray available, albeit in Japanese only, and an inexpensive domestic DVD is available which features both the Japanese and American versions.

Toho’s international key art speaks well for the film’s charms – two monsters locked in a duel to the death, the military amassed against them and the fate of a city in the balance. The film’s opening attraction – a malevolent giant octopus – even makes an appearance. Perhaps my favorite thing about the piece, however, is how also-ran guest star Kipp Hamilton finagles a third-place credit, right behind genuine stars Russ Tamblyn and Kumi MIZUNO. Hamilton appears briefly to regale audiences with War of the Gargantuas‘ enduring anti-classic lounge tune “The Words Get Stuck in my Throat“, before running afoul of a not-so-jolly green giant. The lamentable number is shared, below the ad, in its DEVOlved version.

Makoto Shinkai’s 5 CENTIMETERS PER SECOND「秒速5センチメートル」to Blu-ray from Discotek Media this February

Discotek Media will release the 2007 film to Blu-ray on February 28th. The disc, which presents the film in Japanese with English subtitles or in dubbed English, is available for pre-order through Amazon.com and other outlets. A standard DVD, released by Discotek label Eastern Star in 2015, is also available.

From Discotek:

At what speed must I live in order to see you again? The modern-day anime classic and brainchild of rising star Makoto Shinkai, 5 Centimeters Per Second, presented to you as never before. Witness the story of Takaki, a young man on a journey from Tokyo to reunite with his childhood best friend, Akari. Feel his emotions superimposed on the gorgeous. heavily researched and impressively animated backdrops of Japan as he travels by train to see her. Join Takaki on a voyage into three interconnected tales of love and lost innocence that span the minutes and months of their lives. 5 Centimeters Per Second, the speed at which cherry blossoms fall from the trees, reminiscent of the pace of life as our lives intermingle.

5 Centimeters per Second is directed by Makoto SHINKAI (The Garden of Words), whose latest feature Your name. has taken Japanese audiences by storm four the last five months. Your name. is in the midst of a special 2-week IMAX engagement, and is expected in North American release from Funimation Films later this year.

WOLF GUY 「ウルフガイ 燃えろ狼男」 lives! To Blu-ray in the UK / US this Spring from Arrow

In a bombshell of an announcement for fans of elusive ’70s exploitation, Arrow Video have revealed that they’ll be releasing Toei’s seldom seen 1975 action oddity Wolf Guy to Blu-ray and DVD in the United States and United Kingdom at the end of April.

From the Arrow announcement:

Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba is a martial arts “manimal” in the ultra-70’s, 100% bizarre mixture of horror, action and sci-fi that is Wolf Guy, one of the rarest and most sought-after cult films produced by Japan’s Toei Studio. Based on a manga by Kazumasa Hirai (creator of 8 Man), and never before released outside of Japan, it’s a genre film classic waiting to be discovered and a completely unclassifiable trip into phantasmagoric funk.

Chiba stars as Akira Inugami, the only survivor of a clan of ancient werewolves who relies on his supernatural powers to solve mysterious crimes. After a series of bloody killings perpetrated by an unseen force, Inugami uncovers a conspiracy involving a murdered cabaret singer, corrupt politicians, and a plot by the J-CIA to harvest his blood in order to steal his lycanthropic powers! At the same time, Inugami also discovers the truth behind his family heritage, and that he may not be the last of his kind.

Directed by B-movie genius Kazuhiko Yamaguchi (Sister Streetfighter, Wandering Ginza Butterfly, Karate Bear Fighter), Wolf Guy truly is one-of-a-kind, with Chiba in full effect as the part-man, part-wolf, all-karate action hero and a collection of familiar 1970’s Toei actors in support. Violence, action, nudity, real surgical footage, and a psychedelic musical score all work together to create an unforgettable trip to the heights of Japanese cinematic weirdness.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
• High Definition digital transfer
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
• Original uncompressed mono audio
• New optional English subtitle translation
• New video interview with actor Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba
• New video interview with director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
• New video interview with producer Tatsu Yoshida
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Wes Benscoter

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Patrick Macias and a history of Japanese monster movie mashups by Jasper Sharp

Wolf Guy can be preordered now through Amazon.co.uk, and Stateside preorders are expected to be up and running soon.

Lily Franky stars in new teaser trailer for Yukio Mishima adaptation BEAUTIFUL STAR 「美しい星」

GAGA have dropped a new teaser trailer for the anticipated film adaptation of Yukio MISHIMA’s 1962 novel Beautiful Star 「美しい星」. The film is co-written and directed by Pale Moon‘s Daihachi YOSHIDA (The Kirishima Thing), and stars Lily Franky (Like Father, Like Son), Kazuya KAMENASHI (Joker Game), and Ai HASHIMOTO (Parasyte).

The film is expected to hit cinemas in May 2017.

Keiichi Hara’s MISS HOKUSAI 「百日紅」to North American Blu-ray from Universal in March

Fresh from a limited theatrical release through GKids last fall, Production I.G’s animated historical drama Miss Hokusai (adapted from the manga by Hinako SUGIURA) will soon find a more permanent home courtesy of a Blu-ray release from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

From the Gkids website:

From award-winning director Keiichi Hara (Colorful) and Japanese powerhouse Production I.G (creators of Ghost in the Shell) comes a remarkable story of the daughter behind one of history’s most famous artists.

As all of Edo flocks to see the work of the revered painter Hokusai, his daughter O-Ei toils diligently inside his studio. Her masterful portraits, dragons and erotic sketches – sold under the name of her father – are coveted by upper crust Lords and journeyman print makers alike. Shy and reserved in public, in the studio O-Ei is as brash and uninhibited as her father, smoking a pipe while sketching drawings that would make contemporary Japanese ladies blush. But despite this fiercely independent spirit, O-Ei struggles under the domineering influence of her father and is ridiculed for lacking the life experience that she is attempting to portray in her art. Miss Hokusai‘s bustling Edo (present day Tokyo) is filled with yokai spirits, dragons, and conniving tradesmen, while O-Ei’s relationships with her demanding father and blind younger sister provide a powerful emotional underpinning to this sumptuously-animated coming-of-age tale.

The dual-format Universal Blu-ray / DVD set will present Miss Hokusai in both its original Japanese as well as dubbed English, and is set to include a making-of featurette, trailers, as well as a digital copy. The disc streets on March 7rd, and is available for preorder through Amazon.com and other retailers.

Miss Hokusai 「百日紅」 was directed by long-time Crayon Shin-Chan alum and Colorful director Keiichi HARA from a screenplay by Colorful‘s Miho MARUO (The Dog of Flanders).

Makoto Shinkai’s YOUR NAME.「君の名は。」expanding to IMAX from 1/13 through 1/26

Toho’s megalithic animated hit Your Name. 「君の名は。」 will be expanding its influence to the IMAX screen for a limited 2-week engagement in select Toho Cinemas. A runaway smash since its release in late August, Your Name. is currently second only to 2001’s Spirited Away (director Hayao MIYAZAKI, Studio Ghibli) as the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time.

Stateside fans will have to wait a little longer to see Your Name., though a release through Funimation Films is expected later this year. Your Name. recently won in the Best Animation category at the 42nd LAFCA Awards, and is expected to be a strong Oscar contender.

A full listing of the film’s impending IMAX engagements is available from TohoYour Name. is written and directed by Makoto SHINKAI (5 Centimeters per SecondChildren who Chase Lost Voices).

Sion Sono’s ANTIPORNO 「アンチポルノ」: New Trailer from Nikkatsu

Nikkatsu have dropped a new trailer for Sion SONO’s much-anticipated feature Antiporno 「アンチポルノ」, the fourth film from the studio’s Roman Porno Reboot project to see theatrical release. Ami TOMITE (Tag) and Mariko TSUTSUI (The Land of Hope) star.

Antiporno hits theaters on January 28th with a rating of R18+. As with other series entries, an R15+ edition will also screen on BS Sky Perfect! from the same date.

Kikuchi’s GENOCIDE: Music for Insects to War By

Tokusatsu Tuesdays is a regular feature relating to Japanese special effects entertainments and their associated whatsits, and a bridge, so to speak, between Eiga · Bouei and its sister site, Exploderbutton.com


Out of the string of grim and out-there sci-fi horrors Shochiku Company produced at the tail end of the 1960s, perhaps the grimmest and most out-there of them all was 1968’s 「昆虫大戦争」 Genocide.

A sort of precursor to the ecologically-minded nature-gone-wild horrors of the 1970s, Genocide finds a small island in the South Pacific serving as ground zero for clandestine biological warfare experiments, a wrong-man murder mystery, simmering Vietnam-era East-West tensions, and an apocalyptic revolt of the insect world as well. Drug-addled soldiers descend into trauma-fueled murder frenzies, fifth-columnist hotel managers letch, and scientists elucidate insidious insect intent from out of a groovy psychotropic haze, all while a lost H-bomb ticks ever more ominously away.

Needless to say, Genocide had an awful lot on its plate.

The production boasts plenty of talent with recent experience in Shochiku sci-fi – director Kazui NIHONMATSU, a long-time assistant director for the company best known for 1967’s one-of-a-kind kaiju goof-off The X From Outer Space, X‘s effects supervisor Keiji KAWAKAMI (The Thick-Walled Room), X and Goké Bodysnatcher From Hell photographer Shizuo HIRASE, as well as X-actor Keisuke SONOI (Affair of the Heart), Goké co-star Kathy Horan, and long-time scenarist and Goké scribe Susumu TAKAKU (The Blood Sword of the 99th Virgin). Chief among the returning staff however, for the sake of this article at least, is prolific composer Shunsuke KIKUCHI, who had been tasked with Goké‘s score just a few months prior.

Kikuchi’s work on Genocide is marked by his usual trademarks (staccato low-brass for action and extended muted brass for suspense and atmosphere, with ecstatic ascending motifs to punctuate the major plot beats), but it is also possessed of a nuance and subtlety not typically expected of the composer.

The latter is evident from the very beginning, with the main title’s more emphatic strains complemented by a Vertigo-esque layer of violins and flutes and the first tentative appeals towards Genocide‘s melancholic love theme. The theme reveals itself in full for Joji and Yukari (love theme), a restrained minute and 43 seconds whose judicious blend of high and mid-range strings perfectly evoke the fated nature of the two lovers – Joji, in over his head with a mysterious foreign mistress and jailed for murders he did not commit, and Yukari, faced with the prospect of raising their unborn child on her own.

As Yukari is to the greater film, Kikuchi’s bittersweet love theme is a glimmer of hope and humanity amidst Genocide‘s overwhelming gloominess, receiving plaintive reprises all the way through to the film’s doom-ridden finale. In Mankind’s Final Sunrise the theme emerges tentatively from a plume of nuclear destruction, a single violin with increasingly rich harmonized accompaniment, but its resolution is cut short by Ending‘s resounding and atonal piano din.

Cinema-Kan’s restored CD release of Genocide‘s score makes it easier to appreciate Kikuchi’s work than ever before. The film’s eccentric narrative seems to have compelled him towards more variety than his scores typically achieve, from the bright chords and jungle-trotting exoticism of Jungle Search to the insectine woodwinds and mounting tonal chaos of Revived Fear. Cinema-Kan went back to the original 6mm tape recordings to build this 42 minute release, which collects the film’s music in total for the first time ever, and with excellent sound to boot – Kikuchi’s laser brass is crisp and clear, free of the distortion I’ve become accustomed to hearing with it.

In addition to the requisite liner notes (in this case a heavily illustrated booklet complete with film credits, release notes, a listing of Genocide‘s past LP and CD releases, track-specific commentary, and a biographical section on the composer) Cinema-Kan offer a few on-disc surprises as well. The incidental music heard over the radio in the film is present in full, and what a weird mix it is. Lobby BGM is in the light chamber music style, while Radio Music 1 is pure glitzy pop, electric guitar and all. Radio Music 2 and are different still, lurid and torchy numbers to compliment the seediness of the hotel bar they’re overheard in. Listeners get a couple of bonus tracks as well – a percussion-only alternate take for Jungle Search, and a recording of the isolated music from the film’s trailer.

Cinema-Kan’s CD release of Genocide is available now, through third-party sellers at Amazon.com and directly through Amazon.co.jp and elsewhere. The film itself is available on DVD, with English subtitles, through the Criterion Collection’s Eclipse sub-label as part of the four-film set When Horror Came to Shochiku.

ONE PIECE FILM: GOLD at Minneapolis’ own Lagoon Cinema in limited engagement from January 10th

The latest cinematic installment in the megalithic One Piece saga will be on-screen in Minneapolis, starting tomorrow evening. The Lagoon Cinema, in conjunction with Funimation Films, will hold three screenings of One Piece Film: Gold from tomorrow through the 17th – January 10th at 7pm, January 14th at 12pm, and January 17th at 7pm.

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 is presented with English dubbed dialogue. Advance tickets are available now through the Lagoon Cinema website.

Meiko Kaji retrospective from The Japan Society this February

Just in time for Valentine’s Day and in celebration of the iconic star’s 70th birthday in March, New York’s Japan Society will present Cruel Beauty: A Romantic Weekend with Meiko Kaji from February 10th through the 12th. The five-film retrospective is guest curated by producer Marc Walkow (The ABCs of Death), and features a selection of works from the height of the actor’s career.

Festivities begin with New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss’s Head (director Kinji FUKASAKU, Toei, 1975) on February 10th, continue with Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance (director Toshiya FUJITA, Toho, 1974) and Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter (director Yasuharu HASEBE, Nikkatsu, 1970) on February 11th, and conclude with Eiga · Bouei favorite Blind Woman’s Curse (director Teruo ISHII, Nikkatsu, 1970) and Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable (director Shunya ITŌ, Toei, 1973) on February 12th. Tickets are $13 per film ($10 for seniors / students, or $9 for Japan Society members), or $50 for an all access pass ($35 seniors / students, $30 Japan Society members).

Details, a full schedule, and tickets are available through the Japan Society site. Trailers for the films follow below. Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance is out on Blu-ray / DVD from The Criterion Collection, while Stray Cat Rock: Sex HunterBlind Woman’s Curse and Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable are out on Blu-ray / DVD from Arrow Video.