Kaiju, Giant Robots and Blind Swordspersons

The American Film Market 2008 features a slew of Japanese films, many of which are definite Backbrain material. Apart from Monster X Strikes Back — Attack the G8 Summit (aka Guilala no Gyakushu / Toyako Summit Kiki Ippatsu; directed by Minoru Kawasaki), the long-anticipated 20th Century Boys (aka 20 Seiki Shonen); dir. Yukihiko Tsutsumi),

20th Century Boys poster

and a rather intriguing comedy from Takashi Miike — God’s Puzzle (Kamisama no Pazuru), which is about a couple of university students studying particle physics who cause humorous havoc by attempting to prove the proposition that with the proper equipment man can create a whole new universe — the AFM is screening:

Reigo: The Deep-Sea Monster vs the Battleship Yamato (aka Shinkaiju Reigo; dir. Shinpei Hayashiya):

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…

Reigo poster

Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (anime; dir. Kazuya Tsurumaki, Masayuki, Hideaki Anno)

The first of four feature-length films in the “Rebuild of Evangelion” series of “remakes” of the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. I’m really looking forward to this one.

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, sees a giant creature when he comes to Tokyo-3 to visit his father. The unknown creature is called an ‘Angel’, and it starts attacking the city and the army. Shinji is caught in the crossfire and saved by a woman, Misato. She takes him to a paramilitary organization ‘NERV’, and there he finds his father Gendo Hikari, the commander of NERV.

Gendo shows his son an enormous mecha called ‘Evangelion’, and demands that the boy use it to fight the Angels. At first, Shinji refuses to be the pilot of Evangelion, but gradually changes his mind and accepts his fate. How does the boy fight for the world’s future?

Gendo knows the secrets behind Evangelion, but just watches his son struggle.

Evangelion 1.0 poster

Ichi (dir. Fumihiko Sori)

Though I’m totally conflicted about Ichi (largely because the original 26 Katoichi the Blind Swordsman films starring Shintarô Katsu are among my favourite movies ever), this “updating” could be interesting as a curiosity.

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 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 a village controlled by the Banki-to gang, led by the inhuman and 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!

Ichi poster

Check out SciFi Japan’s report on these and many other Japanese films here.

  • Source: SciFi Japan via Avery
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