Friday, October 3, 2014

2015 Ghibli Calendars out

Each year  I buy the Studio Ghibli Art Frame Calendar. This is a large wall calendar with more images than there are months, the 2014 calendar had 20 images. The images are separate prints that you mount in a frame. The calendar is designed so you tear off each months as it passes. What I do is fold the month up on top of the frame and place the picture in front of it. At first you need to put something behind the pictures to hold them in place. After 6 or 7 months they stay in place on their own due to the number of months that have passed.

Where to get these calendars?

Well you could order them through Amazon or the US Kinokuniya stores but that will cost you about $50.00. A cheaper rate is to order from CD Japan for roughly $28.00. Order now and you will have it in time for the new year. Order extras and you have Christmas gifts.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Directed by Anno, Produced by Ghibli

I have added a new live action movie to my recommended title lists.

This one is Shiki-Jitsu  the second live action movie directed by Anno Hideaki, who is better known for his animated work, and produced by Studio Kajino, a branch of Studio Ghibli.

I was very impressed with this work which won an award for Best Artistic Contribution at the 13th International Film Festival in Tokyo.

Shiki-Jitsu, which came out in 2000, has yet to receive a DVD release in the U.S. but the Japanese region 2 DVD has English subtitles. I link to the CD Japan page for the movie in the web page entry.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Turtles No Ninjas

I have added two titles to my recommended title list for live action movies. While they are Japanese films they have no ninjas, but they do have turtles.

What are these shelled films?

They are:

Gamera: The Giant Monster


Bushido Man

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sleepy Edits of Life

I have just added a 12 films series to my recommended live action movie list.

This is the famous Sleepy Eyes of Death series staring kabuki actor Ichikawa Raizō as Nemuri Kyoshiro. While there were many films series made regarding Nemuri Kyoshiro the films with Ichikawa Raizō are among the most famous.

I have also done a major edit to the recommended pages. When an individual is credited with two or more titles in the Creators - Those Behind the Works I Recommend page I will have links from those titles back to that person's entry. This is handy as some creators work in more than one medium and it is a good way to track down some works involving the same person.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Bad Sleep Well

The latest title I have added to my recommended live action movie list is The Bad Sleep Well , one of Kurosawa's most powerful films.

I have a special liking of his films set in contemporary Japan as they have an edge of social commentary that enhances the story.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fools on the road

Many of you are familiar with Jippensha Ikku's comedic classic Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige known in the West as Shank's Mare. If not you are in for a treat if you decide to read the book.

My latest addition to my recommended title lists is a movie adaptation of, or more accurately a movie inspired by the story of two travelers on the road in Edo Period Japan. In this case there are three travelers, and that just adds to the humor.

This is Yajikita Dochu Teresuko - Hana no Oedo Ban. The main reason I bought this movie is that Yaji is played by Nakamura Kanzaburō, one of my favorite actors. This particular movie has yet to get a U.S. release but the Japanese DVD has excellent subtitles.

This funny and gentle film is a worthy addition to any serious collection of Japanese cinema.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Kabuki Revenge

Again I post a recommended live action film in my recommended title lists.

This time one that hits several buttons for me:

1. Set in the Edo Period.

2. Involves kabuki.

3. Directed by Ichikawa Kon

The film is his 1963 classic Revenge of a Kabuki Actor. This one I especially recommend as one of his best films.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Great Yokai War

Again I post about a great film in my recommended title lists.

Miike Takashi developed a reputation for shocking and at time violent movies. However the man's skills go far beyond that and one great example is The Great Yokai War a great kid's film about a ten year old who ends up going on a great adventure.

This is a great movie that would be a great addition to any great video collection.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sazen and Sazen

Again I post about a film and a remake, actually about two films in my recommended title lists that themselves are excellent, and very different, remakes of an earlier film.

These are two Tange Sazen films released on DVD as Sazen and The Secret of the Urn. The first of these two is out of print in Japan and has yet to be released in the U.S. The second is still available on DVD in the U.S.

Both films are highly enjoyable and are different enough from each other to be both worth watching as well as buying.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sanjuro and Sanjuro

I have added two new films to my recommended title lists.

The first is Kurosawa Akira's classic lone swordsman film Sanjuro with Mifune Toshiro in the title role. The second is the 2007 remake of the same film, Tsubaki Sanjuro, with Oda Yuji playing the title role. The remake is very much a scene for scene redoing of the film, it uses the same script by Kikushima Ryuzo, Oguni Hideo, and Kurosawa Akira. This fidelity to the original film works rather well.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Scrambled Recommendations

I have added a three film science fiction anime feature series and the three novels it was based on to my recommended titles listings.

These are for the Mardock Scramble novels, released in English as one large volume, and the three animated features of the same name.

An interesting read and viewing, plus Hayashibara Megumi does a great playing the main role in the anime. I hope folks will find these interesting.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


I have added another recommended title to my live action movie recommendation lists. This one is Dora-Heita, directed by Ichikawa Kon. If you are looking for a fun character driven film set in the Edo Period this is a good choice.

Still not convinced? Check out who co-wrote the screenplay: Ichikawa Kon, Kinoshita Keisuke, Kobayashi Masaki, Kurosawa Akira.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Japanese Animation Guide: The History of Robot Anime

Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs has published a report on super robots written by nime critic Ryusuke Hikawa. An English translation was done by Matt Alt.

The original and translation are available at:

I've downloaded it an put it on my iPad for commute reading.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Scoundrel of a Barber

I have just added a new title to my recommended live action movie page. This one a recording of a kabuki play Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachijō - Kamiyui Shinza.

Nakamura Kanzaburō XVIII, one of my favorite actors in kabuki and movies, is so good as the villainous main character that you want to grab the nearest stick and smash him on the head with it. The play was written by Kawatake Mokuami  who also scripted the masterpiece Shiranami Gonin Otoko 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mizuki x 4

I have added four manga by Mizuki Shigeru to my recommended manga page.

These are:
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths
Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan

It is good to finally be getting works in English by this modern giant of the manga world.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Planes of The Wind Rises

Last night I saw The Wind Rises in San Francisco, the Sundance Kabuki has it in three theaters. Two for the subtitled version and one for the English re-dub.

Some of the more unusual planes we saw in the movie were real.

Caproni Ca.60.

Caproni Ca.90.

Junkers G.38.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lotsa Lupin

I have created a section on my recommended anime page devoted to various Lupin III anime.

Titles I recommend in the section include:

Lupin the 3rd: First TV Series [1971-1972]

Lupin the 3rd: The Mystery of Mamo [1978]

Lupin the III: The Castle of Cagliostro [1979]

Lupin the 3rd: The Fuma Conspiracy [1987]

Lupin the 3rd: Crisis in Tokyo [1998]

Lupin The 3rd Episode 0: The First Contact [2002]

Lupin the 3rd: Green vs Red [2008]

Lupin the Third: Woman Called Fujiko Mine [2012]

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Truly Wild

I have added the 2011 movie Wild 7 to my Recommended Japanese Live Action Cinema page.

This is a fun action film and very inexpensive from Japan, under $17.00 for the Blu-ray and under $11.00 for the DVD.

If you are a fan of the original manga, the anime, or totally new to the title consider this one as a fun action movie to add to your collection.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ghibli anime not available in the U.S.

I have just added three releases of Studio Ghibli anime that are not available in the U.S. to my Recommended Anime list.

These are:

Ghibli ga Ippai Special Short Short
- a collection of shorts by the studio and a subsidiary.

Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru, a.k.a. I Can Hear the Sea)
- a wonderful slow paced film that is one of my favorites.

Only Yesterday (Omohide Poro Poro)
- The Disney corporation acquired this title back in the mid 1990s and still has no plans for a U.S. release.

Only Yesterday is the only one out on both Blu-ray and DVD. Given how more of the Ghibli works are coming out on Blu-ray it may only be a mater of time before they are all on tha format.

Soon I plan to add more of the Ghibli documentaries to the recommended lists. For a list of Studio Ghibli titles I have on the recommended list check the listing on the Creators - Those Behind the Works I Recommend page.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fukasaku and Katsu fun

I am adding several new additions to my list.

The first part are all directed by Fukasaku Kinji, one of my favorite directors.

These are:

- Battle Royale

- Battle Royale II: Requiem

- Swords of Vengeance: Fall of Ako Castle

- Yakuza Papers: Battles Without Honor and Humanity

Then a famous series staring Katsu Shintaro

- Zatoichi

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

High School and College, Three Views

I have added some new titles to my recommended lists. In this case anime, manga and live action.

All of them take place in a school setting, either High school or college.

These are:

From Up On Poppy Hill (anime feature)

Genshiken (anime TV series and manga series).

The Way to Fight (Live action movie)

All of these are excellent works with The Way to Fight having been a very pleasant surprise.