Shinichiro Ueda had the great luck to direct a once-in-a-career hit, the 2018 zombie comedy “One Cut of the Dead.” Propelled by overwhelmingly positive word-of-mouth, it earned more than a thousand times its ¥3 million budget. This bonanza didn’t make Ueda rich — like most directors here, he didn’t receive a share of the film’s profits — but it did give him a carte blanche of sorts for subsequent projects.

His follow-ups — the three-part omnibus “Aesop’s Game” and the comedy “Special Actors” — tried to recapture the madcap energy of “One Cut of the Dead,” but failed to capture its massive audience.

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