Here are some films you can enjoy now in socially distanced cinemas in Japan (or bookmark these links for a safer time in the hopefully-very-near future).
- [Deep breath] “Demon Slayer — Kimetsu no Yaiba — The Movie: Mugen Train” has become the third-highest-grossing film ever in Japan, its distributors said Tuesday. The anime had racked up ¥25.91 billion ($248 million) and drawn more than 19 million viewers across Japan as of Monday, overtaking a certain 2010 Disney animation and hot on the heels of a film about a very big boat.
- Masaharu Take’s “Underdog” is a boxing film turned epic. Presented in two parts, it runs for a whopping 276 minutes. That’s a test of endurance, but it’s worth it, reckons Mark Schilling. Take has said in interviews that Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” was a big influence on the film — and it shows, particularly in the boxing scenes.
- First conceived by manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka during his edgy early-1970s period, “Tezuka’s Barbara” has now been brought to the screen by the artist’s son, Macoto Tezka. Who is Barbara? A booze-guzzling manic pixie dream girl, literary muse, sex object, sorceress — that’s who. The film is one of the most aesthetically striking movies to hit Japanese theaters this year, writes James Hadfield. But …
- “Any Crybabies Around?” is the first theatrical feature by acclaimed short film director Takuma Sato. The “baby” is protagonist Tasuku, a native of rural Akita Prefecture, adult in age but still a foolish, irresponsible kid at heart. A drunken naked TV appearance makes him a national laughingstock and hometown pariah. Can he redeem himself? The film is worth watching to find out, writes Schilling.
- When we first see Yoko, the young heroine of “Me & My Brother’s Mistress,” she’s taking photos of her older brother emerging from a love hotel with someone who definitely isn’t his fiancee. Though the ensuing plot sounds like something out of a daytime TV drama, the film constantly subverts expectations, writes Hadfield. This smartly written indie comedy is on limited release, so catch it if you can.