Grim universe of horror manga 'Litchi Hikari Club'

Feb 10, 2016

Grim universe of horror manga 'Litchi Hikari Club'

When I was 13, I belonged to a neighborhood gang called, ironically, “The Hoods.” We committed minor acts of vandalism as a sort of game and talked about invading the turf of a rival gang a few blocks over (but never got around to ...

The 11th edition of the Osaka Asian Film Festival

| Feb 10, 2016

The 11th edition of the Osaka Asian Film Festival

Tokyo tends to suck up all the media oxygen when it comes to film festivals and events in this country, but there’s plenty going on beyond the capital’s borders, as evidenced by the Osaka Asian Film Festival. The 11th edition of the festival, unspooling ...

J-horror master Yoshihiro Nakamura returns to form

Jan 20, 2016

J-horror master Yoshihiro Nakamura returns to form

Yoshihiro Nakamura entered the film world on a well-trodden path. After making 8 mm films while studying at Tokyo’s Seijo University and winning a prize at the 1993 Pia Film Festival — a famous incubator for young Japanese filmmakers — he worked as an ...

Ghosts go hunting for the living in 'The Inerasable'

Jan 20, 2016

Ghosts go hunting for the living in 'The Inerasable'

Have you ever walked down a corridor or into a room in the dead of night with your heart beating and your skin crawling? Something spooks you, for reasons that — in the clear light of day — seem to have to nothing to ...

Pink and Gray not just an idol film

Jan 13, 2016

Pink and Gray not just an idol film

No one likes spoilers, right? But in some films a major plot twist comes so early that the choice is to either mention it or write an entire review consisting of little more than winks and nods. For example, in Nobuhiko Obayashi’s “Exchange Students” ...

Wrestling with Japan's physically challenged, literally

Jan 6, 2016

Wrestling with Japan's physically challenged, literally

In 1994, I reviewed “Invincible Handicap” (“Muteki no Handicap”), a documentary by scriptwriter and filmmaker Daisuke Tengan about a professional wrestling group called Doglegs whose members were both physically challenged men and able-bodied volunteers. Started in 1991, the Doglegs hardly fit the template of ...

'Their Distance' explores the pain of being young and in love

Dec 30, 2015

'Their Distance' explores the pain of being young and in love

‘Honesty,” Billy Joel famously lamented in song, “is hardly ever heard.” The characters of Rikiya Imaizumi’s ensemble drama “Their Distance” (“Shiranai, Futari”) seem to have been listening: They are honest to a fault with each other about their feelings, even ones that hurt their ...