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2015 Japanese Film Festival Touring Australia and New Zealand

posted on by Jon Hayward
All films and events for the 2015 Japanese Film Festival across Australia and New Zealand have been announced and tickets made available for many of the screenings;

The Japanese Film Festival is on again over October and November in Australia and New Zealand. The principal program will cover nine different locations over Australia which started with the JFF Classics screenings in Sydney on the 3rd of October and will continue through Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Fremantle, Adelaide, Sydney and Paramatta until the conclusion in Melbourne on the 6th of December.

The JFF is also running a mini program which began in Darwin in August and continued onto Hobart, Bunbury, Cairns, Townsville, Christchurch, Wellington and will conclude in Auckland in November.

A promotional video for the festival can be viewed below;

There is a lot of screenings for this year's festival so you are better off viewing the JFF website for accurate and up-to-date information, the full rundown of festival dates and locations can be viewed here. A list of where the festival will be running it's major events is as follows;

  • 14 – 18 Oct: Canberra - Capitol Cinemas Manuka
  • 21 – 25 Oct: Brisbane - Event Cinemas Brisbane City Myer Centre
  • 28 Oct – 1 Nov: Perth - Hoyts Carousel
  • 29 Oct – 1 Nov: Fremantle - Hoyts Millennium
  • 30 Oct – 8 Nov: Adelaide - Mercury Cinema
  • 5 – 15 Nov: Sydney - Event Cinemas George St
  • 6 – 15 Nov: Parramatta - Event Cinemas Parramatta
  • 26 Nov – 6 Dec: Melbourne - ACMI & Hoyts Melbourne Central

While there is a diverse and interesting range of Japanese cinema on offer, we have limited our list to both Animated films and films adapting Anime and / or Manga;

Images © 2014-2015 Hinako Sugiura•MS.HS
/ Sarusuberi Film Partners

Miss Hokusai

It's 1814 and the city of Edo is one of the most populated homes of peasants, samurai, townsmen, merchants, nobles, artists, courtesans, and maybe even supernatural beings. Two residents are the highly accomplished artist Tetsuzo and his talented 23-year-old daughter O-Ei. Tetsuo gains worldwide acclaim as Katsushika Hokusai, but few would know "Miss Hokusai," the daughter who assisted him uncredited.

The film by Keiichi Hara (Summer Days with Coo, Colorful) adapts Hinako Sugiura's acclaimed historical manga Sarusuberi (literally: Crape Myrtle). Anne Watanabe stars in the role of O-Ei, daughter of acclaimed ukiyo-e painter Hokusai.

Other cast members include: Yutaka Matsushige (live-action Kodoku no Gourmet television series, live-action Detective Conan movie), Gaku Hamada (live-action Space Brothers movie), Kengo Kōra (The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, live-action Solanin movie), Jun Miho (live-action Dragon Zakura television series), Shion Shimizu (Ganbare! Lulu Lolo - Tiny Twin Bears), Michitaka Tsutsui (live-action Kiki's Delivery Service (movie), Kumiko Asou (Colorful, live-action Casshern movie, live-action Space Brothers movie), and Danshun Tatekawa.

Hinako Sugiura made her manga debut in 1980 in the experimental magazine Garo and made her mark with intricately researched historical stories about Japan's Edo period. Her unique storytelling won the Japan Cartoonists' Association Award in 1984 and the Bunshun Manga Award in 1988. She serialized Sarusuberi in Manga Sunday magazine (Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha, Ltd.) from 1983 to 1987. She passed away in 2005 at the age of 46.

Miss Hokusai made its North American premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, which ran from July 14-August 5. The film received the Sequences Award for best Asian feature film, the Satoshi Kon Award for best animated feature film, and the Gold Audience Award for best animated feature film. The film also won the Jury Award in the Official Feature Film Competition at the 39th Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June.

Miss Hokusai opened in Japan on May 9, and Production I.G is handling worldwide distribution and sales. Anime Limited will release the film in British cinemas in October-November before releasing it on Blu-ray Disc and DVD. EUROZOOM has licensed the film in France, and the company began screening the film on September 2.

We currently do not know of any distributor in Australia for Miss Hokusai.

The film will screen in Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Parramatta, Sydney and Melbourne, you can see more details on when and where here.

Patema Inverted

Spending her entire life living in a endless underground world of tunnels and shafts, Patema enjoys exploring the untold depths of her world, everywhere but the forbidden "danger zone". However Patema's curiosity gets the better of her and despite her caretaker's best wishes she ventures forth into the zone and finds a young boy, Eiji, standing on the ceiling. It turns out that Eiji is from another world and together they will discover a secret that will turn their respective worlds upside down.

Originally a four-part 7-minute ONA series called Patema Inverted: Beginning of the Day, a theatrical adaptation was announced on Christmas Day 2012. Yasuhiro Yoshiura went onto create the screenplay and direct the adaptation at Purple Cow Studio Japan. The film won both the Judge's award and the audience award at Edinburgh's Scotland Loves Animation festival in October 2013 and following on from their theatrical release, UK licensee Anime Limited ran a Kickstarter to fund the "Patema Inverted - Ultimate Edition". GKIDS has licensed Patema Inverted for North America.

Patema Inverted was screened as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival last year with a Q & A from director Yasuhiro Yoshiura. Hanabee licensed the movie for Australia and it was released in December 2014, you can purchase the DVD or Blu-ray on their website.

The film will be screened as part of the JFF Mini program in Bunbury, Cairns and Townville, you can see more details here.

© 2015 “The Case of Hana & Alice” Film Partners

The Case of Hana & Alice

"Alice has just moved to a new town, and already wishes she could leave. After hearing mysterious rumours of a classmate's disappearance at the hands of “Judas”, Alice realises her new bedroom once belonged to the missing boy. But Hana, the shut in from next door, is convinced that he's still alive." - JFF Website

Hana to Alice Satsujin Jiken (The Case of Hana & Alice) will tell the story of how the two female high school leads in the first Hana & Alice live-action film met. 51-year-old film director Shunji Iwai (All About Lily Chou-Chou, Swallowtail Butterfly) conceived, wrote, and directed the original 2004 live-action film.

The original film depicted the first love and friendship of two high school girls, and it was the breakthrough performance for both actresses. The two lead actresses of Hana & Alice, 29-year-old Yū Aoi (live-action Rurouni Kenshin films, Tekkonkinkreet, Redline) and 27-year-old Anne Suzuki (Steamboy, Pokémon 4Ever, live-action Initial D), will reprise their roles of Alice and Hana respectively as voice actresses in the anime film.

Iwai not only directed the film but also wrote the screenplay and composed the soundtrack.

The film will screen in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Parramatta and Melbourne, you can see more details on when and where here.

©Shirow Masamune・Production I.G/
All Rights Reserved.

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie

Ghost in the Shell: New Movie (Kōkaku Kidōtai Shin Gekijō-ban) leads on from Ghost in the Shell Arise as the prime minister is assassinated. Now it's up to Major Motoko Kusanagi and Public Security Section 9 to discover the true nature of the murder.

Kazuchika Kise (Ghost in the Shell Arise chief director) served as chief director at Project I.G. and also designed the characters. Tow Ubukata (Ghost in the Shell Arise screenplay) handled the screenplay and Cornelius scored the film's music. Kazuya Nomura (Robotics;Notes, Sengoku Basara - Samurai Kings: The Movie director) served as director and Tooru Ookubo (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex key animation) took the position of chief animation director. The film will feature the cast from Ghost in the Shell Arise, with voice talents Maaya Sakamoto, Ikkyuu Juku, Kenichirō Matsuda, Tarusuke Shingaki, Shunsuke Sakuya, Takurou Nakakuni, Youji Ueda, Kazuya Nakai, and Miyuki Sawashiro listed.

The film was released in Japan in June this year.

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie will be screened in Sydney, Parramatta and Melbourne with a themed screening event to encourage cosplay happening in Sydney on the 9th of November, you can see the details here.

©2015 "Library Wars -LM-" Movie Project

Library Wars: The Last Mission

"The near future in Japan, in the age officially known as ‘Change for the Better’.

It is a time in which the expression of thought is censored, and the media is tightly controlled. Bearing up under a harsh regimen of instruction under the terrifying Atsushi Dojo, Iku Kasahara is now a full-fledged member of the Library Defense ‘Task Force’, and divides her time between hard physical training and regular library work. Dojo and the rest of the Task Force are ordered to guard a public exhibition featuring ‘The Handbook of Library Law’, a book widely seen as the symbol of freedom, of which there is only one existing copy. The assignment seems easy enough, but this is in fact a trap designed to wipe out and thus disband the Task Force and restore a twisted society to the correct moral path.

Can Dojo and his unit defend both an invaluable book and themselves? The members of the Task Force must put their lives on the line in the greatest battle they have ever faced: The Last Mission." - JFF Website

The cast members from the first film are reprising their roles: Junichi Okada as Atsushi Dojo, Nana Eikura as Iku Kasahara, Kei Tanaka as Mikihisa Komaki, Sōta Fukushi as Hikaru Tezuka, Chiaki Kuriyama as Asako Shibasaki, Kōji Ishizaka as Gen Nishina, Naomi Nishida as Maki Origuchi, and Jun Hashimoto as Ryūsuke Genda. Eikura notes that she did not have many action scenes in the first film, but she will have more in the sequel. Fukushi teased that the sequel will develop Hikaru Tezuka's love life.

Director Shinsuke Satō (Gantz, Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror, The Princess Blade, Sand Chronicles) is returning for the sequel, and he began shooting the sequel in mid-December.

The first film opened in Japan in April 2013. It screened at Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival, in San Francisco at the J-Pop Summit Festival, and in Los Angeles at the L.A. EigaFest.

The novel series already inspired three manga series (two in the shōjo magazine LaLa, and another in the male-oriented Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh), a television anime series, and an anime film Toshokan Sensō: Kakumei no Tsubasa (Library War: The Wings of Revolution) in 2011. The first live-action film spawned its own series of Library "mini" Wars shorts.

Library Wars: The Last Mission will be screened in Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Paramatta and Melbourne, you can view the details here.

Images © 2015 "Princess Jellyfish" Film's Partners

Princess Jellyfish

"What do you get when you combine five awkward women, a beautiful cross-dressing man, and a jellyfish obsession?

Tsukimi Kurashita (Rena Nouen) is a jellyfish otaku who has moved to Tokyo to become an illustrator. She lives in an old dormitory called Amamizu-kan with other otaku women who are all just as awkward as herself and have an aversion to pretty, trendy women.

Whilst trying to save a jellyfish at a pet shop, Tsukimi meets a beautiful and stylish girl named Kurako (Masaki Suda) – who turns out to be the local politician's cross-dressing son, Kuranosuke. Disguised as Kurako, Kuranosuke strikes an unlikely friendship with Tsukimi and her band of misfits.

However, the ladies of Amamizu-kan suddenly find themselves in the midst of a redevelopment battle as property developers threaten to knock down their dormitory. With the help of Kuranosuke, Tsukimi and the girls try to save their home from redevelopment… But what could five awkward otaku women, a cross-dresser, and an obsession of jellyfish possibly do?!" - JFF Website

Taisuke Kawamura (Himitsu no Akko-chan, Nodame Cantabile: The Final Score Part II) directed the film off a script by Toshiya Ono (Watashi no Yasashikunai Sempai, Gatchaman Crowds, tsuritama, Suite Precure). Kumiko Iijima worked on the costumes for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu before designing the costumes for this movie.

The film opened in Japanese theaters on December 27 2014.

Akiko Higashimura's original manga inspired the 2010 Princess Jellyfish television anime series. Higashimura launched the manga in Kiss, Kodansha's manga magazine for female readers, in 2008, and Kodansha published 2.7 million copies as of the 14th compiled book volume in September. The manga also received two prequel chapters in Kodansha's Kiss magazine.

Princess Jellyfish will have screenings in Canberra, Brisbane, Fremantle, Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, Parramatta and Melbourne, for full details please click here.

Images ©2015 Fuji Television Network,
Shueisha, J Storm, TOHO,
Robot ©Yusei Matsui/Shueisha

Assassination Classroom

Class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School is the lowest of the low, rejected by their school as the outcasts and poor achievers they must attend class in a rickety run-down school house in the middle of nowhere while the rest of the school looks down on them.

However their extra-curricular activity is stranger than most, each and every day they are tasked with assassinating their school teacher, the seemingly invincible yellow tentacled alien monster known as Koro-sensei. And if they do not manage to place a black mark over their teacher before graduation he will destroy the earth.

Fortunately for Class 3-E, Koro-Sensei is a encouraging teacher, well trained in the art of assassination and more than happy to help speed along his demise.

Adapted from Yūsei Matsui's original Shonen Jump manga of the same name, Eiichirō Hasumi (Umizaru films, Wild 7) directed the film and Tatsuya Kanazawa (Saru Lock The Movie, Lucky Seven) wrote the script. Filming began on site at an abandoned elementary school in the suburbs in Japan's Kanto district in August 2014, and wrapped up in mid-October 2014. The film premiered in Japan in March this year and opened at #1 with some surprising attendance statistics, 90% of viewers were female and 58% of the viewers were teenagers.

Matsui launched Assassination Classroom in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 2012, and Shueisha published the 13th volume on Wednesday, March 4. The series ranked number seven in Japan's top-selling manga for 2013, and currently has more than 11 million copies in print. The series already inspired an event anime in 2013, and also inspired a television anime series that premiered in January and will follow with a second season and live-action sequel in 2016.

Madman Entertainment licensed the anime adaptation and you can watch the series on AnimeLab now.

Assassination Classroom will be screened in Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, more details are up on the JFF website.

© 2015 “BAKUMAN。” Film Partners


Moritaka Mashiro spends his days in class drifting through school, determined to graduate and follow the crowd. But when class genius Akito Takagi realises that Mashiro has amazing artistic talent he conscripts Mashiro to team up and create the greatest manga Shonen Jump has ever seen. But Mashiro is well aware of the perils that await a mangaka due to his uncle dying while pursuing the dream, not to mention the rivals, editors and promise of true love that stand before them. Will Takagi and Mashiro fail in the hard world of manga or will they make their dreams come true?

The film adapts Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata's original manga about two friends who decide to become manga creators, aiming to serialize their manga in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.

Takeru Satoh (Kamen Rider Den-O, Beck, Kanojo wa Uso o Ai Shisugiteru, Ryōmaden, Rurouni Kenshin) will play Moritaka Mashiro, a boy who aspires to be a manga artist, and Ryunosuke Kamiki (Howl's Moving Castle, Summer Wars, The Secret World of Arrietty, The Princess and the Pilot) will play his classmate and story collaborator Akito Takagi. The film follows Moritaka and Akito as they walk the path to becoming manga creators. Nana Komatsu plays the heroine Miho Azuki.

Hitoshi Ōne (Moteki, Koi no Uzu/The Vortex of Love) directed the film. Obata emphasized that he is not just credited as a creator of the film's concept, but also as a staff member directly involved in the production. His own art will appear in the film as the various manga that Moritaka draws.

Bakuman. opened in Japan on the 3rd of October premiering in the #1 spot, selling 184,263 tickets for 251,607,900 yen (about AUD$2.9 million) over 323 screens in its opening weekend. Bakuman. was knocked out of the top spot by Library Wars: The Last Mission in it's second weekend.

Bakuman. will be the opening film for the JFF legs in Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, The JFF website has the full details here.

© Setona Mizushiro / Shueisha ©2015 A Fuji Television Network, SHUEISHA and TOHO

Poison Berry in My Brain

Nōnai Poison Berry centers on Ichiko Sakurai, a 30-something-year-old woman who falls in love with a younger man named Saotome, who she meets at a drinking party. Her inner thoughts are portrayed as a meeting of five people, including a girl in gothic lolita clothes and an old man.

Yuichi Sato directed the adaptation with Yōko Maki as the lead character Ichiko Sakurai, Yūki Furukawa as her love interest Saotome and Sonha as the editor Ochi. The film premiered in Japan in May 2015.

Mizushiro launched the series in Shueisha's Chorus women's magazine in 2009, and continued the series when the magazine relaunched as Cocohana. The series was ranked among the top 20 manga for female readers by Takarajimasha Inc.'s Kono Manga ga Sugoi! 2013 guidebook, and it won a jury selection prize at the 17th Japan Media Arts Festival Awards in 2013. The fourth compiled volume shipped in September.

Tokyo Pop released Mizushiro's X-Day manga in 2003, Go! Comi finished releasing her After School Nightmare manga in 2009, JManga published part of her Dousei Ai manga, and Viz Media is releasing her Black Rose Alice manga. Mizushiro's series Un chocolatier de l'amour perdu (Shitsuren Chocolatier), which ended last year with a total of nine volumes, received a live-action TV drama adaptation.

Poison Berry in my Brain will be screened in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, more information can be found at the JFF website.

© 2015 "PROPHECY" Film Partners © Tetsuya Tsutsui/SHUEISHA


"Newspaper Man (Toma Ikuta) is an online terrorist who starts a major crime wave, involving violent acts meant to punish and humiliate members of society who prey on the weak. After each attack, he posts videos online in order to expose these rotten individuals and their wrongdoings. It catches the attention of Inspector Yoshino (Erika Toda), a cybercrime police detective, who starts an investigation that grows into a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase." - JFF Website

Toma Ikuta stars as the leader of the mysterious terrorist group, the "Newspaper Men," while Erika Toda plays Yoshino, the elite police officer pursuing the leader. The other members of the terrorist group include Ryōhei Suzuki as Kansai, Gaku Hamada as Nobita, and Yoshiyoshi Arakawa as Metabo. Yoshihiro Nakamura (The Booth, Kaibutsu-kun) is directing the film.

Based on a original manga by Tetsuya Tsutsui, the manga revolves around the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Cyber ​​Crime Division in its pursuit of a criminal. One day, a man with a newspaper mask publishes a video online of a food processing factory set ablaze. The division labels the terrorist the "Newspaper Man" and tries to discover the motives behind his crimes.

The series launched in Jump X magazine from in 2011 and ended August 2013. The third volume was released in Japan September 2013. Vertical, Inc. licensed the series for North America and released the first volume in November 2014.

The film premiered in Japan in June this year.

Prophecy will be screened in Sydney and Melbourne, details can be found here.

© 2015 "No Longer Heroine" Film Partners © Momoko Kōda / SHUEISHA

No Longer Heroine

"Hatori (Mirei Kiritani) is in love with her childhood friend Rita (Kento Yamazaki) and expects to be together with him. In her head, she is the perfect heroine to Rita in their own little love story. But her world starts crashing down when he starts dating another girl.

Devastated, Hatori desperately tries to work her way back into the picture but it seems that fate has other plans – Kousuke (Kentaro Sakaguchi), the most popular boy in school, has his eyes on her… Is another fairy-tale waiting for her?" - JFF Website

Adapting Momoko Kōda's shōjo manga "Heroine Shikkaku", No Longer Heroine was directed by Tsutomu Hanabusa (High School Debut, Handsome Suit, Sadako 3D). The film opened in September this year where it topped Attack on Titan: End of the World at the box office in it's second weekend. The original manga ran in Shueisha's Bessatsu Margaret magazine from 2010 to 2013, and Shueisha published 10 compiled book volumes.

No Longer Heroine will screen in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, full details and tickets can be found here.

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