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Mark Schilling

For Mark Schilling's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

'Your Name.': Makoto Shinkai could be the next big name in anime

Aug 31, 2016

'Your Name.': Makoto Shinkai could be the next big name in anime

Japanese animators have good reason to hate the label “new Miyazaki,” meaning successor to animation genius Hayao Miyazaki, who retired from feature filmmaking in 2013. First, it saddles them with fan expectations that their films will resemble — or imitate — the master’s. Second, ...

'Black Widow Business': Never too old for the marriage con

Aug 24, 2016

'Black Widow Business': Never too old for the marriage con

“There’s no fool like an old fool.” Yasuo Tsuruhashi’s comedy “Black Widow Business” is a feature-length illustration of this venerable saying, though it also reflects present-day trends in an aging Japan. The “fools” in question are the graying Lotharios who fall for the middle-aged ...

'Yell For the Blue Sky': High school drama never really changes

Aug 17, 2016

'Yell For the Blue Sky': High school drama never really changes

The seishun eiga or “youth film” is one Japanese genre that doesn’t travel well abroad. With only a few exceptions, these films assume a familiarity with the insular world of the Japanese high school (or, once in a while, junior high school) that outlanders ...

'Rudolph the Black Cat': Curiosity helps this little black cat

Aug 10, 2016

'Rudolph the Black Cat': Curiosity helps this little black cat

Many Japanese films for kids are entries in venerable anime series belonging to multiplatform franchises. To their target audience they are pre-sold and, in their formulas, pre-seen. And that audience is by and large domestic. One big exception is “Stand By Me Doraemon,” a ...

Momoi is on fire in her new indie film 'Hee'

Aug 3, 2016

Momoi is on fire in her new indie film 'Hee'

In her four-decade acting career Kaori Momoi has always been a free-spirited stand-out, indifferent to convention. But beneath her easygoing attitude and signature drawling delivery (which used to make me wonder what she had been ingesting before the cameras started rolling) was a thorough ...

'Shin Godzilla': The metaphorical monster returns

Aug 3, 2016

'Shin Godzilla': The metaphorical monster returns

Watching “Shin Godzilla,” Toho’s reboot of its signature monster series, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the non-Japanese fans forced to read a blizzard of subtitles for this extremely talky and densely populated film, with a break every 10 minutes or so for Godzilla ...

Our favorite monster returns to terrorize Japan in 'Shin Godzilla'

Jul 28, 2016

Our favorite monster returns to terrorize Japan in 'Shin Godzilla'

After 12 years in storage (or on Monster Island) a Japanese Godzilla is roaring again. Toho film studios has revived the world’s favorite atomic-breathed monster in “Shin Godzilla,” which is set for nationwide release today. However, a lot has changed since the big guy ...

Crowdfunding offers freedom to filmmakers

Jul 27, 2016

Crowdfunding offers freedom to filmmakers

It’s not easy making indie movies in Japan. The big studios only want commercial projects with proven fan appeal, usually based on hit manga, novels or TV dramas. Given the need, government funding schemes are paltry, with much of the money going to films ...

'Ken and Kazu': The yakuza isn't all guns and glamour

Jul 20, 2016

'Ken and Kazu': The yakuza isn't all guns and glamour

Most films about the yakuza depict its members as fully formed and distinctly different from the general run of humanity, somewhat like action figures just out of the box. The reality, as Hiroshi Shoji’s “Ken and Kazu” shows us with a gritty directness and ...