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DVD/Blu-ray Review: Branded To Kill – A Film By Seijun Suzuki

August 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Packed with wild ideas incorporating some of the most imaginative killings you’ll ever see on celluloid!

Branded to Kill Arrow FilmsDelirious, violent and bizarre, the perverse 1967 cult crime thriller Branded to Kill is widely regarded as being director Seijun Suzuki’s magnum opus, influencing major filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, John Woo and Martin Scorsese. It stands out as being both a nonsensical and exceptional piece of film art that has to be seen to be believed.

Jo Shishido plays professional hitman Goro Hanada aka No 3 Killer, the third best killer on the best killers list, who gets sexually aroused whenever he smells and eats freshly cooked rice – a fetish hated by his Read more…

DVD/Blu-ray Review: Jormungand – The Complete First Series

August 13, 2014 Leave a comment

One of the most highly anticipated anime series of 2014!

Jormungand Complete First SeriesThe story follows the escapades of Jonah, Lehm, Valmet and Lutz who all work for Koko Hekmatyar, an arms dealer who needs someone like Jonah on her team. Koko works with the HCLI an international shipping corporation who secretly deals in the arms trade. As she works with them, she sells weapons in secret in several countries while trying to avoid the local police as her work is regarded as illegal. Her team she is always seen with are bodyguards who were found in the military, but her newest colleague has another motive for joining them. He wants to find where the Read more…

Dressed to Impress – Netsuke And Japanese Men’s Fashion

An exhibition at the British Museum in Room 3 supported by The Asahi Shimbun. 19 June – 17 August 2014

Netsuke of a Chinese boy holding a mask for a lion dance. Unsigned, Japan, early 1800sTo coincide with the publication of the British Museum’s new book, ‘Netsuke: 100 miniature masterpieces from Japan’, by Noriko Tsuchiya, the museum is hosting a small exhibition, ‘Dressed to Impress: Netsuke and Japanese men’s Fashion’ sponsored by the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

As traditional Japanese men’s clothing had no pockets personal effects had to be carried in containers (inrō) hung from the belt (obi). To hang the inrō from the obi a long cord (himo) was threaded Read more…

Theatre Review: ‘Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki’ (The Ghost Tale Of The Wet Nurse Tree)

The Heisei Nakamura-za company performs Kabuki at the Lincoln Centre Festival, NYC!

Heisei Nakamura-za Photo by ShochikuThe Lincoln Centre Festival performance of the Kabuki play ‘Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki’ (The Ghost Tale of the Wet Nurse Tree) took place in NYC from 7th – 12th July 2014 at the Rose Theatre. Having inherited the dream of their father Nakamura Kanzaburō XVIII, who sadly passed away in December 2012, the performance run was dedicated to him by his sons Nakamura Kankurō VI and Nakamura Shichinosuke II. Kanzaburō helped establish the Heisei Nakamuraza, a portable Read more…

DVD Review: Chrome Shelled Regios Collection 1

The world of tomorrow is an arid wasteland!

Chrome Shelled Part 1In the future we wonder what might happen if we become invaded by beings who want to ravage the world we try to live in, and Chrome Shelled Regios is one of many from anime history. The characters drive the story, and there are a good few that the viewer might care about, but others they may not as their personalities haven’t been fleshed out enough. It tells the story of several survivors of a future earth that has suffered the effects of living  with mutated beasts called Filth Monsters, (in the anime it translates as Contaminoids) and we see the story through the eyes of these survivors who have Read more…

DVD Review: Shady – A Film By Ryohei Watanabe

May 13, 2014 2 comments

 Watanabe manages to evoke the depression associated with being alone at school!

Shady DVD cover (Image: ©Third Window Films)High school life is a daunting time for older teens, but in Shady director Ryohei Watanabe successfully illustrates how bad it can get. The loneliness aspect is a large issue in most Japanese movies about school life and this is a good example of how an isolated person can be influenced by someone else. Here Misa Kumada and Izumi Kiyone are two girls who share the same pain of being loathed and bullied but for different reasons. Misa is seen as an unattractive girl who is the subject of much hatred while Izumi is the pretty girl everyone wants to be and as a result envies.  Misa sits at her desk and hides her Read more…

Anime Review: Ayatsuri Sakon aka Puppet Master Sakon

March 19, 2014 1 comment

Based on the manga series Karakurizōshi Ayatsuri Sakon written by Masaru Miyazaki!

Ayatsuri Sakon puppet-master-sakon-3If you love a good murder mystery anime, definitely check out Ayatsuri Sakon otherwise known as “Puppet Master Sakon.” Despite its airing in 1999, this anime continues to be one of my favorites even today.

Ayatsuri Sakon follows a young man named Sakon Tachibana. Sakon hails from a family famous for Bunraku, which is a traditional form of Japanese puppet theatre. Despite being the grandson of the great Bunraku master, Tachibana Zaemon, Sakon manages to remain a Read more…

DVD Review: Another Complete Collection (2012)

March 10, 2014 1 comment

A twelve episode series based on the novel by Yukito Ayatsuji.

Another DVD coverThere are some animes that hit you so hard, you will never forget them. They take you through twists and turns, and no matter how many times you think you’ve figured out what’s happening and what will happen, each time you are wrong. When it’s all over, you find out you were dead wrong. Another is one of those animes.

This show is the animated version of the manga that was illustrated by Hiro Kiyohara. Both works are Read more…

Anime Review: Hakuoki

March 2, 2014 2 comments

Yukimura Chizuru’s father holds the key to Japan’s bloodshed. She must find him!

Hakuoki  anime seriesThe Hakuoki series, which includes two seasons and a third season that acts as a prequel, is a romantic take on historical characters and events, with a bit of vampire/mysticism thrown in for good measure. The mystical nature of the show is not an unusual turn for anime to take, but this series manages to be both intriguing and action-packed while remaining Read more…

Review: Hunter x Hunter (2011)

February 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Remake of the 1999 TV series of Hunter x Hunter based on the manga by Togashi Yoshihiro!

Hunter x Hunter*Spoiler alert: I’ve tried to not reveal too many key details about the show here, but if you’re just starting the series and are trying to learn more about it, be aware that I have given a few big surprises away.* !

Even though the original anime series Hunter x Hunter came out in 1999, it’s easy to see why it remains Read more…

Book Review: The Thief By Fuminori Nakamura

December 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Translated by Satoku Izumo and Stephen Coates.

The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura translated by Satoku Izumo and Stephen Coates Nishimura is a seasoned pickpocket, weaving through Tokyo’s crowded streets, in search of potential targets. He has no family, no friends, no connections… But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when his old partner-in-crime reappears and offers him a job he can’t refuse. Suddenly, Nishimura finds himself caught in a web so tangled and intricate that even he might not be able to escape.

When seen on the bookshelf the cover of black printed letters on bright yellow jumps out so it’s impossible to miss. The effect it has is perfect, and Read more…

DVD/Blu-ray Review: It’s A Beautiful Day (Kuso subarashii kono sekai)

November 20, 2013 2 comments

An Asian/American horror film directed by Kayoko Asakura!

It's a Beautiful daySet in California, It’s a Beautiful Day (‘Kuso subarashii kono sekai’), directed by Kayoko Asakura (‘Hide and Seek’), is an infusion of Asian and American horror with ample gory and brutal moments involving disfigurement that will gratify the most hardened splatter fan.

Ah-Jung, played by Kkobbi Kim, is a Korean student studying in America. She’s been invited by her Japanese friend Takako (Amagi Chika) to accompany her and a group of four other Japanese students on a trip to Read more…

Art Exhibition: Kabuki – Japanese Theatre Prints

November 11, 2013 3 comments

Come face to face with Kabuki theatre’s most famous characters!

Miya, from the series Tokaido gojusan-tsugi no uchiVenue: National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Date: 4th October 2013 – 2nd February 2014

The opening up of Japan to the rest of the world after Commodore Perry’s 1853 visit sparked a craze in the West for Japanese art and design. Called Japonisme it began in the late 1850s and peaked with and after what is considered by some the most pivotal event in the history of Japanese art in the West; the exhibition of Sir Rutherford Alcock’s collection of Read more…

DVD Review: Vampire Princess Miyu The Complete Collection 6-Discs

July 8, 2013 2 comments

Shape-shifting monsters and vampires roam the Earth to unleash their darkness upon the human race!

Vampire Princess Miyu Collection DVD coverThe original story was written and illustrated by Toshiki Hirano and Narumi Kakinouchi for Tokyopop manga in the US, and it stands as the first of Tokyopop’s mangas to be released as an anime. Viewers will notice that the first disc doesn’t have any opening or closing credits to give the impression of a longer featurette, but after this disc, they decided to use the episodic style which many are now familiar with. For viewers this first disc will be seen as a piece of anime Read more…

Netsuke Exhibitions In London And Budapest

July 5, 2013 6 comments

All great art should evoke reaction and the netsuke in these collections certainly are evocative!

Sennin with snake cat 11

Invented in 17th century Japan netsuke are miniature sculptures carved in a variety of mediums such as ivory, wood and bone that were used to secure the cords attached to small boxes, sagemono (the most popular of which were called inrō) which were hung from the sash, or obi, of a kimono and in which were Read more…

DVD Review: Ga-Rei-Zero Collection

June 2, 2013 2 comments

A prequel to the popular manga by Hajime Segawa!

Ga-Rei-Zero CollectionThis anime series comes with an extra tag line of will you kill someone you love, because of love? And that is an interesting question to ask, even after seeing the first couple of episodes. Love can mean anything here, friendship, the love of being in a relationship, or the love of a brother or sister. The first disc is more about Toru, Kagura and Yomi, as their love for each other is what can be either their salvation or their undoing.

Ghost Hunt could be the nearest series to this one with its team of paranormal investigators going deeper into the dangerous world of spirits, Read more…

Book Review: From The Fatherland, With Love By Ryu Murakami

A major new novel by the critically acclaimed author of Coin Locker Babies!

From the Father Land with LoveIn a possible worst-case scenario, Murakami has plunged Japan into despair as North Korea has made its move to attack and take over Fukuoka, holding the people hostage. The North Korean government plots to invade and start with three plans of action; one consisting of nine commandos sneaking into Japan to occupy certain areas, two happens two hours later with a drop of four SOF air companies who will take over the beachhead, while three has a hundred and twenty thousand troops landing on Hakata Bay, and the name of the operation is From the Fatherland, with Read more…

DVD Review: Nura – Rise of The Yokai Clan Season 1 Part 1

April 22, 2013 3 comments

Based on the manga by Hiroshi Shibashi

Nura coverJapan is reputedly one of the most haunted countries in the world and the TV anime Nura – Rise of the Yokai clan makes use of a wide selection of demons (yokai) from Japanese folklore and places them in modern day Tokyo.

Life can be tough for most humans but spare a thought for good-natured twelve-year-old Rikuo Nura who has to deal with being a quarter demon. Rikuo may seem like a normal schoolboy but he lives amongst yokai who belong to the Nura clan which is led by his grandfather, the Supreme Commander of the Night Parade of One Hundred Demons. With Rikuo’s Read more…

Music Review: Raychell “L>R”

The eagerly anticipated debut album from Japan’s hottest new singing sensation!

Release date: 24 April 2013

Raychell - album sleeve  CD + DVD

This dazzling assortment of songs which consists of a mixture of styles from rock to dance confirms that Raychell is a singer – songwriter of immense talent who is equally comfortable performing ballads as she is up-tempo songs. Her vocal skills are outstanding. She can make a simple tune sound full of meaning and an intricate melody sound easy on the Read more…

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