New Japanese Films to Catch at Fantasia 2018
Author: Keith Aiken
Source: Fantasia Festival
Special Thanks to Nicole Richardson and Ted Geoghegan
The 33nd Fantasia International Film Festival kicks off today (July 12) and runs through August 1 at the Concordia Hall Cinema, the Cinémathèque québécoise and the McCord Museum in Montreal. With more than 130 feature films to choose from, there’s something for cinephiles of every tastes. Here are some of the Japanese movies sure to interest readers of SciFi Japan…
AJIN: DEMI-HUMAN (亜人, Ajin, 2017)
9:40 PM Friday, July 27, Auditorium des diplômés de la SGWU (Théâtre Hall)
Kei (Takeru Satoh, RUROUNI KENSHIN Trilogy, INUYASHIKI) becomes a medical intern in order to save his ill sister, Eriko (Minami Hamabe, YO-KAI WATCH THE MOVIE 2016). One day he is killed in an accident, but as an immortal human known as an Ajin, he comes back to life immediately afterward. Chased by the government and turned into a guinea pig for inhuman experiments, Kei is confronted by Sato (Go Ayano, GATCHAMAN, PUNK SAMURAI SLASH DOWN), an Ajin terrorist who hates humans.
Katsuyuki Motohiro (the BAYSIDE SHAKEDOWN series) directed this live-action adaptation of the popular manga by Sakurai Gamon.
BLEACH (ブリーチ, Buriichi, 2018)
6:30 PM Monday, July 23, Auditorium des diplômés de la SGWU (Théâtre Hall)
11:45 AM Saturday, July 28, Auditorium des diplômés de la SGWU (Théâtre Hall)
One of the most anticipated Japanese films of the year is BLEACH, director Shinsuke Sato’s (GANTZ, GANTZ II: PERFECT ANSWER, DEATH NOTE Light up the NEW world) adaptation of the hit supernatural manga by Tite Kubo.
High school student Ichigo Kurosaki (Sota Fukushi, KAMEN RIDER FOURZE) is able to see ghosts. His life is shattered when he and his family become targets of the monstrous evil spirits called Hollows who devour human souls. Rukia Kuchiki (Hana Sugisaki, BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL), a “Soul Reaper”, tries to protect Ichigo’s family but is seriously injured during the battle. As a last resort, she transfers her powers to Ichigo… but this power should never be shared with humans.
For more on BLEACH, please check out the film’s press notes here on SciFi Japan.
INUYASHIKI (いぬやしき, 2018)
9:20 PM Monday, July 23, Auditorium des diplômés de la SGWU (Théâtre Hall)
1:00 PM Tuesday, July 24, Salle J.A. De Sève
BLEACH wasn’t Shinsuke Sato’s only manga adaptation of 2018. This past April Toho released INUYASHIKI, which reunited Sato with Gantz creator, Hiroya Oku.
Ichiro Inuyashiki (Noritake Kinashi), an utterly forgettable salaryman diagnosed with terminal cancer, has a freak accident with a UFO which somehow transforms his body into a machine with superhuman powers. The incident also transforms high school student Hiro Shishigami (Takeru Satoh, AJIN: DEMI-HUMAN), who decides to use his newfound powers to hurt others and spread chaos.
For more on INUYASHIKI, please check out the film’s press notes here on SciFi Japan.
FIREWORKS (打ち上げ花火、下から見るか？横から見るか？, Uchiage Hanabi, Shita Kara Miru ka? Yoko Kara Miru ka?, 2017)
12:00 PM Sunday July 22, Auditorium des diplômés de la SGWU (Théâtre Hall)
Directed by Akiyuki Shinbo and Nobuyuki Takeuchi, FIREWORKS — aka FIREWORKS, SHOULD WE SEE IT FROM THE SIDE OR THE BOTTOM? — is the newest film from producer Genki Kawamura (YOUR NAME).
Popular girl Nazuna (Suzu Hirose), unhappy over her mother’s decision to remarry and leave their countryside town, plans to run away and has secretly chosen her love-struck classmate Norimichi (Masaki Suda) to accompany her. When things don’t go as planned, Norimichi discovers that a glowing multi-color ball found in the sea has the power to reset the clock and give them a second chance to be together. But each reset adds new complications and takes them farther and farther away from the real world — until they risk losing sight of reality altogether.
PUNK SAMURAI SLASH DOWN (パンク侍、斬られて候, Panku Samurai Kirarete Soro, 2018)
7:00 PM Saturday, July 28, Auditorium des diplômés de la SGWU (Théâtre Hall)
Gakuryu Ishii (GOJOE, ELECTRIC DRAGON 80000V) directed this feature film adaptation of the novel by Ko Machida. Go Ayano (AJIN: DEMI-HUMAN) stars as Junoshin Kake, a ronin whose “little” bluff triggers a secret samurai mission. As the secrets pile up, the ten men involved try to guess each other’s ulterior motives. Who will live to see mission’s end?
For more on PUNK SAMURAI SLASH DOWN, please check out the film’s press notes here on SciFi Japan.
DESTINY: THE TALE OF KAMAKURA (DESTINY 鎌倉ものがたり, Destiny Kamakura Monogatari)
12:00 PM Sunday July 15, Auditorium des diplômés de la SGWU (Théâtre Hall)
From 2005-2012, director Takashi Yamazaki adapted Ryohei Saigan’s Sunset on Third Street as the blockbuster trilogy ALWAYS- SUNSET ON THIRD STREET, ALWAYS- SUNSET ON THIRD STREET- 2 and ALWAYS- SUNSET ON THIRD STREET- 3, which topped the box office and won more than a dozen Japanese Academy Awards. Last year, Yamazaki and much of the production crew for ALWAYS 3 reunited to bring another hit Saigan manga, Kamakura Monogatari, to cinemas in DESTINY: THE TALE OF KAMAKURA.
Mystery author Masakazu Isshiki (Masato Sakai, GOLDEN SLUMBER) and his new bride Akiko (Mitsuki Takahata, RAGE) move to Kamakura, a place where humans and supernatural creatures live side-by-side in harmony. But when Akiko goes missing, Masakazu realizes he must journey into the netherworld to save her.
For more on DESTINY: THE TALE OF KAMAKURA, please check out the film’s press notes here on SciFi Japan.
PENGUIN HIGHWAY (ペンギン・ハイウェイ, Pengin Haiuei, 2018)
12:15 PM Sunday July 29, Auditorium des diplômés de la SGWU (Théâtre Hall)
Fantasia presents the international premiere of PENGUIN HIGHWAY, the first feature-length anime film from Studio Colorido.
Based on the novel by Tomihiko Morimi (Night is Short, Walk on Girl), PENGUIN HIGHWAY is the story of Aoyama, a studious 4th grader who takes an interest in “The Lady”, a beautiful neighbor who goes to dental school. When many penguins suddenly appear in their land-locked town, Aoyama suspects there is some connection between them and The Lady.
About the Fantasia International Film Festival
Since its inception in 1996, the Fantasia International Film Festival is now recognized as the largest and most influential event of its kind in North America, a leader on the genre film scene and one of the country’s most popular film festivals. With a varied programming and an emphasis on the imaginative cinema of Asia, Europe and the Americas, Fantasia’s offerings range from unique and powerful personal visions to international commercial crowd-pleasers rarely seen in North America.