VIZ Pictures Licenses Combat Action Comedy Film BATTLE LEAGUE HORUMO
Zany Action Film Based on Best-Selling Novel Will Screen at Several North American Film Festivals this Summer
Source: VIZ Media, MediaLab press releases
Official Movie Site: horumo.jp (Japan), horumo.com (US)
Special Thanks to Evelyn Dubocq and Erik Jansen
VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ Media, LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, has been extremely busy of late. They recently acquired the North American theatrical and DVD rights to the NTV/Toho films K-20: THE FIEND WITH TWENTY FACES and 20TH CENTURY BOYS trilogy. Today VIZ announced they have licensed Shochiku’s combat action-comedy KAMOGAWA HORUMO − BATTLE LEAGUE IN KYOTO (Kamogawa Horumo) and will be releasing it in North America as BATTLE LEAGUE HORUMO.
Based on the best-selling fantasy novel Kamogawa Horumo written by Manabu Makime, the live-action BATTLE LEAGUE HORUMO takes audiences on a wild adventure that blends the breathtaking backdrop of Kyoto with the bizarre legend of “Horumo.” After failing the entrance exam and enduring two years of cram school, Akira Abe (Takayuki Yamada) finally gets accepted to the prestigious Kyoto University. One day while on his way home with a friend, Akira meets a senior who invites them to a welcome party hosted by his club called the Azure Dragon. With nothing to lose, they decide to go for the free food, but while there Akira meets Kyoko Sawara (Sei Ashina), a beautiful girl with a perfect nose, and he falls head over heels for her. Now smitten, Akira goes in to persuade his friend to join the club with him in the hope that he can get closer to the girl of his dreams.
At first, the club appears to be an ordinary social group, but the new members soon discover the mysterious 1000 year-old tradition of the “Horumo” battle upheld by the four universities of Kyoto. The battle is fought between 10 players from each team who each manipulate an army of 100 spirits (referred to as Oni) to fight their opponents. The members each go through rigorous training to achieve fluency in the Oni language as well as learn the indefinable gestures that are required to complement it. Let the battles begin!
BATTLE LEAGUE HORUMO features stunning visual effects that vividly bring the Oni spirits to life and were created by the renowned Gonzo animation studio, which also produced animated features like AFRO SAMURAI, BRAVE STORY, and BASILISK.
BATTLE LEAGUE HORUMO was directed by Katsuhide Motoki (KITARO, KITARO AND THE MILLENNIUM CURSE, 10 PROMISES TO MY DOG). The film stars Takayuki Yamada, who is well-known for his role as the awkward bumbling Otaku young man in TRAIN MAN: DENSHA OTOKO (also available from VIZ Pictures), along with actress Chiaki Kuriyama, who appeared in the Japanese horror film JU-ON, BATTLE ROYALE, and made her Hollywood debut in director Quentin Tarantino’s KILL BILL VOL.1.
BATTLE LEAGUE HORUMO opened in Japan on April 18, 2009. The film will receive a special screening at the 2009 Fantasia Festival in Montreal, Canada, one of North America’s largest film festivals happening July 9-27. It will also screen at the 2009 Fantastic Fest, taking place in Austin, TX, September 24 – October 1, and finally at the 2009 Hawaii International Film Festival which takes place October 15-25. For more details, visit viz-pictures.com.
“VIZ Pictures is very proud to announce the licensing of BATTLE LEAGUE HORUMO,” says Seiji Horibuchi, President and CEO of VIZ Pictures. “The fast-paced action combined with some elements of comedy and a hint of romance will make BATTLE LEAGUE HORUMO a fun film experience for a variety of fans. We look forward to announcing more information about the DVD release of the film shortly, but invite audiences to enjoy the movie at several notable film festivals happening throughout North America this summer!”
About VIZ Pictures, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Pictures, Inc. licenses and distributes selective Japanese live-action films and DVDs, with focus on Japanese “kawaii (cute) and cool” pop culture. VIZ Pictures strives to offer the most entertaining motion pictures straight from the “Kingdom of Pop” for audiences of all ages, especially the manga and anime generation, in North America. Some titles include DEATH NOTE, 20TH CENTURY BOYS, and TRAIN MAN: DENSHA OTOKO. VIZ Pictures is also the producer of NEW PEOPLE, a part of the J-Pop Center Project, a unique entertainment destination bringing Japanese pop culture through film, art, fashion, and retail products. For more information please visit viz-pictures.com or newpeopleworld.com.
For more information on BATTLE LEAGUE HORUMO please see the earlier coverage here on SciFi Japan: