TV and Film

The Akira Project photo
The Akira Project

CineGround unleashes The Akira Project's VFX Behind-the-Scenes video

Dec 02
// Salvador GRodiles
It's been a good while since CineGround released their live-action take on Akira, and the team is now ready to show everyone the process behind the fan trailer's VFX designs. In regard's to the actual project itself, I agree...
Yakuzambie photo

Yakuza Kick: Let's take a look at The Making of Yakuzambie

It's time go behind the scenes of Yakuzambie
Nov 27
// Salvador GRodiles
There's something interesting about witnessing a film's team talk about their experience on certain projects. Whether it's learning about the actors' thoughts on their work or the director's inspiration, I've always found th...
Garo photo

Huzzah: More Garo installments are heading your way

The Year of Garo lives on
Nov 24
// Salvador GRodiles
Ladies and gentlemen. I seems that we're in for an amazing Thanksgiving Week, as a bunch of Garo project get announced during the Garo: Golden Wolf Thanksgiving event. Since next year is going to be the franchise's 10th anni...
Yakuzambie photo

Garage Hero's Yakuzambie short is now on YouTube

Yakuza Kick!
Nov 17
// Salvador GRodiles
Halloween may be over, but that doesn't mean that we can't watch a few zombies get killed on screen. Since Garage Hero uploaded Yakuzambie on their YouTube channel, we can now experience this moment, as we see a Yakuza membe...
Dragon Ball Z photo
Dragon Ball Z

A New Dragon Ball Z film is expected next year

Toriyama writing story
Nov 14
// Hiroko Yamamura
The new issue of V Jump has announced information that a new Dragon Ball Z film will be released on April 25th of 2015. There's very few details at this time, besides the fact very exciting fact that Akira Toriyama will be de...
Naruto news photo
Naruto news

The Last: Naruto The Movie will be 'a love story'

Get your fanfiction ready
Nov 10
// Josh Tolentino
The main plot of Naruto may be over, but that won't be stopping this ninja train. No, sir. After all, there's still the upcoming film, The Last: Naruto The Movie to take into account. And if you're in the crowd that igno...
Cannon Busters photo
Cannon Busters

LeSean Thomas' Cannon Busters project looks amazing

More adventure shows is always a good thing
Nov 06
// Salvador GRodiles
While Western animation doesn't fall under Japanator's usual coverage, LeSean Thomas' (Boondocks, Black Dynamite: The Animated Series) recent Kickstarter project, Cannon Busters, has a few people who been in the anime indust...
Gun Caliber photo
Gun Caliber

Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition to stream on YouTube for the third time

It's time for a second Encore!
Nov 05
// Salvador GRodiles
Don't you love it when a great performance gets an encore? While these opportunities only happen once after the big show, Garage Hero is making an exception, as Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition's getting a third limited stream on...
Fury photo

Let a Girls und Panzer girl take all the tension out of Fury

A tank movie for tank otaku
Nov 03
// Josh Tolentino
[Update: It seems Kadokawa's taken down the video. We'll update the post with a new source as soon as we can find one.] Far be it from me to tell people how to promote things, but the way Brad Pitt's new war movie Fury, abou...
Kikaider Reboot photo
Kikaider Reboot

Switch On: Generation Kikaida to release Kikaider Reboot in North America

I'm dreaming of a Robotic Christmas
Nov 01
// Salvador GRodiles
I don't know about you, but 2014 has been a good year for toku fans, since Zyuranger is heading to North America, and two Ultra shows are currently streaming on Crunchyroll, To top off things off, Generation Kikaida/JN Produc...
Yakuzambie photo

Yakuzambie's teaser looks like a bloody good time

Just in time for Halloween
Oct 29
// Salvador GRodiles
Halloween is around the corner, and Garage Hero has uploaded a quick trailer for Bueno's (Gun Caliber) short known as Yakuzombie, that pits a Yakuza against a horde of zombies. Silly enough, the whole fiasco started whe...
Garm Wars photo
Garm Wars

Garm Wars: The Last Druid looks amazing

Pure eye candy
Oct 28
// Hiroko Yamamura
Momoru Oshii screened his latest live-action Production I.G. film, Garm Wars: The Last Druid this week at The Tokyo International Film Fest. The amazing looking film is actually his first English language outing for the vete...
Mighty Boy photo
Mighty Boy

Quick Reminder: Mighty Boy short film is streaming on FIBABC

An Urasawa-related reminder has arrived
Oct 20
// Salvador GRodiles
I may not have read any of Naoki Urasawa's (Monster, 20th Century Boy, Pluto) works, but there's something neat about seeing a group people creating a short film based on one his stories. In this case, a Spanish team have dec...
Fujiyama Ichiban photo
Fujiyama Ichiban

Taiyo! Fujiyama Ichiban's first episode goes live

Los Angeles' villains are cowering in fear
Oct 01
// Salvador GRodiles
I may be late to the festivities again, but I thought that it was interesting to share part one of Fujiyama Ichiban's first episode. To those who aren't familiar with the solar-powered samurai, the show's main character is L...
Hayate photo

Ninja Vanish! Garage Hero's Hayate project gets its own page

Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!
Aug 27
// Salvador GRodiles
As Garage Hero continues to work hard on completing Gun Caliber, the team has gone ahead and created a page for Hayate: Asakusa's Ninja Hero, a ninja-themed tokusatsu project that's aimed towards children. At the moment, the ...

Impressions: Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition

Aug 16 // Salvador GRodiles
In a world where many heroes have lost their way of justice, Gun Caliber focuses on Soma, a mild-mannered individual who works at a Smartball Parlor. Actually, the film’s main protagonist isn’t that mild-mannered at all, since he’s a perverted womanizer who loves to consume drugs and alcoholic beverages. Despite Soma’s dirty habits, the man is capable of transforming into the gunslinging warrior known as Gun Caliber, a hero that loves to shoot evil in the dick. Even though Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition presents itself as comedic movie with tons of vulgar jokes, the film surprisingly contains a story that manages to shed some light on Soma’s true character. At first sight, Soma felt like he was going to be a straight up jerk that only cares about pleasuring himself. However, once the film transitions into its real premise, the movie gives us a brief glimpse at Soma’s tragic past, which might explain why he became the washed up hero that he is today. While the guy’s past isn’t fully explored in the movie, one of the film’s charms is seeing Soma regain his will to fight a great evil when it seemed that all hope was lost. All in all, it's a nice little touch that makes Gun Caliber different from your usual hero flick, as we see a guy who's hated by the masses attempt to do something right for a change. Of course, the film’s first act focused on the comedic elements. Each joke revolves around drugs, booze, boobs, sex, and heavy cursing. Throughout this entire moment, Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition shows its viewers how corrupt the film’s heroes have become through various pranks, skits, and perverted segments without pulling any punches. Surprisingly, a majority of the movie’s humor has a Western feel to it, which allows for the film's humor to be accessible to many viewers while they're getting acquainted with Gun Caliber’s setting. That being said, the timing behind each joke'll ensure that the film's audience will crack up -- unless if you aren’t into raunchy jokes. Combined with the movie’s main villains, Skulldier, and a series of funny yet over-the-top action sequences, Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition brings an atmosphere that feels like a parody of the original Kamen Rider series with a sprinkle of campy elements that managed to contribute to some of the film’s great aspects. From Gun Caliber’s suit to the Skulldier’s monsters, the movie’s simplistic design choices makes it seem like it came from the 70s, which adds to the film’s campy elements. While the film's running on a small budget, one could tell that Bueno and Garage Hero put a lot love into Gun Caliber's creation. Watching Soma in action is a blast, due to his tendency to fight with firearms, along with the fact that he uses a finisher where he kicks his opponents in the groin. On top of that, the rest of the movie's action sequences are well-choreographed to the point where each scene gives off a dynamic and/or comedic feel. Thanks to these elements and more, Gun Caliber's team has ensured that the fights'll pull you in from start to finish. Overall, Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition does a great job in delivering a hilarious tale that transitions nicely into a more personal story. Even though the film’s official soundtrack was absent during the stream, we’re treated to some established tunes like “Rocks” by JAM Project, which added a humorous feeling to the scenes that they were used in. I mean, it’s hard to take a fight seriously when you hear “SUPA ROBO” being shouted out constantly during a climatic showdown. One thing for sure, Bueno and Garage Hero have an interesting movie series on their hands. Unfortunately, the movie ends on a cliff hanger, so we’ll have to wait for the next installment to see how Soma’s story’ll conclude. All in all, Gun Caliber’s team have laid down some great bits for the sequel, so it'll be neat to see where Bueno and Garage Hero’ll take the series next. Anyway, if you don’t mind being exposed to raunchy jokes, then you should give Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition a shot. Who knows, you might start seeing Soma as a man who has the potential to become a great hero to older toku fans everywhere. [Catch Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition on YouTube (link NSFW) from August 15th through the 17th]
Impressions photo
Brought to you by Yu-Dai
Being a hero can be a very tough job, since you’re forced to be on the look out for villainous activities at all times. On top of that, vacations are nonexistent, due to evil's inability to sleep. While these policies c...

Studio Ghibli shutting down...sort of

Aug 03 // Josh Tolentino
Though this may come as a surprise to the average fan, especially considering Ghibli's latest film, When Marnie Was There is still in theaters in Japan, rumors that Ghibli was to close its doors have been moving through the channels among industry watchers. And even then, this isn't a death entire for the studio. According to Suzuki (and let's emphasize that none of this has actually happened yet), Ghibli will continue on, mainly to manage the studio's existing properties and trademarks. It'll also keep a small crew on hand to support founder Hayao Miyazaki's projects, as well as continue to support its "Momonoma" division. Momonoma is a special freelance group run by Yoshiyuki Momose to create music videos, commercials, and other small projects. What could be getting the axe is its Animation Production department, which is both the root of the problem and the core of Ghibli as it existed for many folks today. The issue is that without a big luminary like Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takehata to keep big movie projects flowing - and unlike most animation studios, Ghibli's output is almost entirely exclusive to feature films - its staff of long-term employees is too expensive to just keep around doing nothing. As such, Ghibli would restructure, reverting to a more freelance-centric system, not unlike it did things prior to producing Porco Rosso. Thus it's best to think of the move as more of a reboot for the studio, as it opts to wait for new projects to come in rather than scramble for work just to keep the lights on. Perhaps it's best to think of the restructuring as a short break rather than a true closure. Suzuki himself said: "On what to do with Studio Ghibli's future, it is by no means impossible to keep producing [movies] forever. However, we will take a pause to consider where to go from here." In the meantime, the optimist could look forward to a possible new flood of talented animators and producers formerly exclusive to Ghibli entering the more traditional anime industry (despite its mainstream recognition, Ghibli was always the exception rather than the rule) and lending their own creativity to other studios.  At this point it's really wait-and-see, though there's no doubt that if or when these changes take place it'd be the end of an era...for this particular iteration of Studio Ghibli. [Via Catsuka, IGN, ANN and others]
RIP Studio Ghibli photo
More of a reboot, really
It looks like a number of rumors swirling around the internet have just been confirmed: The legendary production house Studio Ghibli - they of a large proportion of anime films worth watching - might shutting down. The announ...

TMNT photo

So I guess the Ninja Turtles are Japanese Kappa, now?

Yokai in a half-shell
Jul 22
// Josh Tolentino
That seems to be the story Paramount have gone with in their new "Legend of the Yokai" trailer for this year's big Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, opening on August 8th. According to the stylized animations and ster...
Japan Cuts 2014 Roundup 3 photo
Japan Cuts 2014 Roundup 3

Japan Cuts Roundup: The Devil's Path, The Pinkie, and Greatful Dead

No clever amalgamation this time...
Jul 18
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
It's been a little while since my last one of these, and I'm sorry about that. But I haven't actually died or anything, and there's still more to come! With just three days left in the festival (tonight included), some of the...
Japan Cuts 2014 Roundup 2 photo
Japan Cuts 2014 Roundup 2

Japan Cuts Roundup: The Mole Song's Snow White Murder Case

Social media's kind of the worst
Jul 11
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
Japan Cuts has officially begun. Last night, the festival kicked off with the latest Takashi Miike film to hit our shores, The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji, and then Sion Sono's Why Don't You Play in Hell, which I've alr...

Japan Cuts Roundup: Why Don't You Play the Eternal Zero in Hell?

Jul 09 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]32822:4044:0[/embed] Why Don't You Play in Hell? (地獄でなぜ悪い Why don’t you play in hell?)Director: Sion Sono Official Synopsis: A tribute to old-school yakuza cinema and shoe-string amateur filmmaking based on a screenplay Sion Sono wrote 17 years ago. The Fuck Bombers, a group of film geeks led by Hirata (Hiroki Hasegawa), try to turn brawler Sasaki (Tak Sakaguchi) into their new Bruce Lee but are nowhere near making their action masterpiece. An ambush set up by a yakuza clan comes to a gory end in the home of boss Muto (Jun Kunimura) with only one man, Ikegami (Shinichi Tsutsumi), surviving. When Mitsuko, the Mutos' young daughter, makes an unexpected entrance, Ikegami is instantly smitten. Ten years later, she has become one sultry mean mess of a girl (Fumi Nikaido). Determined to make Mitsuko a star, her father gives Hirata a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make his movie, with the yakuza as film production crew and the Bombers joining the "real" action--the ultimate sword battle between the Muto and Ikegami clans.  Thoughts: I have trouble believing that there will be another film at Japan Cuts as amazing as Why Don't You Play in Hell?. Sion Sono's latest is also his best, and it's a wild and crazy celebration of life, the universe, and filmmaking. Verdict: Marry it. [Read the full review here!] [embed]32822:4045:0[/embed] The Eternal Zero (Eien no Zero | 永遠の0)Director: Takashi Yamazaki Official Synopsis: As infuriating in its ideological and political black holes as it is exhilarating in visual artistry, The Eternal Zero follows a young man who, as he investigates the life and times of his grandfather, a reluctant kamikaze pilot during the Pacific War, goes from troubling revelations to shocking truths about heroism, history and his own family. Adapted from a hugely popular novel by Naoki Hyakuta, the film tells the tale of tokkotai ("special section," or kamikaze) pilot Kyuzo Miyabe in flashbacks that progressively reveal his alleged cowardice in battle actually concealed a specific moral philosophy of survival. From the cruelties of war to breathtaking airborne battles, this kinetic, emotionally intense, but also politically ambivalent film will leave no one indifferent. Thoughts: I wouldn't expect a Japanese person to like an American film about the atomic bomb. By the same token, if you're an American you shouldn't expect to like this film about a kamikaze pilot. I'm not that patriotic, but I still found it intensely disturbing to watch a film's protagonist participate in Pearl Harbor and then complain that it didn't go far enough. But even if you aren't an American, The Eternal Zero has nothing for you. It's emotionally manipulative (although it doesn't actually succeed in eliciting emotion), visually unimpressive, and about an hour too long. One of the only films that has ever bored me to tears. Verdict: Skip it. [Read the full review here!] [embed]32822:4046:0[/embed] R100 Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto Official Synopsis: R100 starts as one of those humdrum, realistic, slice-of-life Japanese dramas about a lonely, single father. But this boring furniture salesman hires an exclusive gentleman’s bondage club to torment him. They dispatch dangerous dominatrixes at random to torture him as he goes about his everyday routine, and he soon realizes that life doesn’t come with a safeword. Dominatrixes are beating the tar out of him at work, at home, on the street, and in his dying wife’s hospital room. He tries to stop the contract, but is informed that the more he begs for mercy, the more they can tell he’s actually turned on. And that’s when the movie’s genre gets tortured out of shape, and by the time the end credits roll it’s become a deadpan parody of square Japanese action movies of the 1960s. You’ll have no clue as to how it got from point A to point B, but the journey is so insane that you won’t mind. This is one of the funniest movies of the year, with something profound to say about the pursuit of pleasure, girl gangs, dominatrix armies, and total bondage warfare. Thoughts: R100 made a man eat his shirt because it was so crazy, and I can understand why. Verdict: See it. [Read the full review here!] [embed]32822:4047:0[/embed] Fuku-chan of FukuFuku Flats (Fukubuku no Bukuchan | 福福荘の福ちゃん)Director: Yosuke Fujita Official Synopsis: Tatsuo Fukuda—or Fuku-chan, as his many buddies have affectionately nicknamed him—lives a modest happy-go-lucky existence running a team of painters/decorators. Walking through life with an all-around positive attitude, he is surrounded by friends during and after work hours. Despite this charmed existence and his kind-hearted nature, Fuku-chan has no luck with women, in whose company he feels almost pathologically awkward. One day, aspiring photographer Chiho Sugiura (Asami Mizukawa) comes back into his life and accursed memories of a nasty high-school prank flood back, reminding him of the trauma that forever destroyed his male mojo and ambitions to get cozy with the fairer sex. Although many things have changed, can they still be friends? Is it possible that they could be more? A film with a heart as big as its lead actress’ smile, it’s not to be missed. Thoughts: Fuku-chan is just a wonderful story. The main characters are all really interesting, which is good because the entirety of the film is just watching them interact. The actual narrative is generic romantic comedy fare, but the leads have excellent chemistry and make the whole thing a joy to watch. It's brilliantly funny, though it's not a laugh-a-second sort of story. There's a lot of pleasant quiet moments that blend with the over-the-top comedy that make the film feel a lot less bizarre than it actually is. Verdict: See it. [Read the full review here!]
Japan Cuts 2014 Roundup 1 photo
Plus NYAFF stragglers R100 and Fuku-chan of FukuFuku Flats
Tomorrow marks the official start of the 2014 Japan Cuts film festival, which means today starts our official roundup series. We're kicking things off with two of the biggest films to play at the festival, Sion Sono's brillia...

Japan Cuts 2014 photo
Japan Cuts 2014

Three cheers for the 2014 Japan Cuts Film Festival!

The best reason to live in New York City returns
Jul 07
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
Hello everyone! Welcome to the third annual announcement of the Japan Cuts film festival by a Flixist writer. For those who don't know, Japan Cuts is the biggest Japan-focused festival in North America, and it has returned wi...
Arpeggio of the Blue Stee photo
Arpeggio of the Blue Stee

Arpeggio of Blue Steel heads to the big screen next year

Can you handle the maritime cuteness?
Jun 30
// Hiroko Yamamura
I was a bit shocked with myself, that my favorite anime of last year was actually the sci-fi/moe mash-up, Arpeggio of Blue Steel. Usually, I base my initial interests off two things, either mecha design or character design. W...
Lupin III photo
Lupin III

The new Lupin live-action trailer is here!

I'm not sure how I feel about this yet
Jun 26
// Hiroko Yamamura
The live adaption of the classic anime thief Lupin III, is set to hit theaters in Japan on August 30th, but you don't have to wait that long to get a glimpse. There's a new trailer making its rounds, and this time the video ...
Unforgiven photo

Ken Watanabe does Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven

Can't wait until they do Dirty Harry!
Jun 12
// Josh Tolentino
Japanator's about more than anime, don't you know! It's also about watching dignified hunks like Ken Watanabe do a samurai take on Clint Eastwood's 1992 western Unforgiven, and that's exactly what this is.  Yurusarezaru...
The Akira Project photo
The Akira Project

The Akira Project is out: Watch the whole thing here

May 10
// Josh Tolentino
Well, that was quick. Just last week CineGround's crowdfunded adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's masterpiece was giving folks a peek behind the curtain, but after a few days, it looks like this weekend was the day to unleash th...
Akira photo

The Akira Project teases behind-the-scenes goodness

And it actually looks good!
May 03
// Josh Tolentino
Hollywood isn't the only party trying get some hot Akira live-action, err...action. The Canadians are, too! Montreal-based production outfit CineGround is hard at work on The Akira Project, an effort dedicated to doing ...
Bestsellers photo

The Bestsellers: Thermae Romae heats up Japan

The top charts for the week of May 3rd
May 03
// Brad Rice
Japan's love affair with bath houses proves to dominate once again, as Thermae Romae II takes second place in the Japanese box office, behind Disney powerhouse Frozen. The first Thermae Romae movie did incredibly we...
Anime photo

Gainax's Aoki Uru set for 2018

That's a long ways away
May 03
// Elliot Gay
Last year, Studio Gainax announced that they were finally returning to their Aoki Uru film project. A sequel to the classic Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, the film was initially conceived of in 1992, but for a va...
Rurouni Kenshin photo
Rurouni Kenshin

2nd and 3rd Rurouni Kenshin films get a full length trailer

Kyoto is on fire
May 02
// Elliot Gay
I was a big fan of the first live action Rurouni Kenshin film. It had pacing problems, but on the whole, I felt that it did a strong job of capturing the tone of the manga while adapting the material in a way that worked for...

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