Lupin III (ルパン三世) live action full trailer!

The full live-action trailer for the upcoming Ryuhei Kitamura directed Lupin III (ルパン三世) has dropped and it looks amazing and fun and I want to see this movie even though it’s not out in Japan until August 30th and who knows when it will hit the states. It’s got a killer cast and a killer director, which should equal a killer film!

The live-action film will star Shun Oguri as Lupin III, Meisa Kuroki as Fujiko Mine, Tetsuji Tamayama as Daisuke Jigen, Go Ayano as Goemon Ishikawa XIII, and Tadanobu Asano as Inspector Koichi Zenigata. It’s directed by Ryuhei Kitamura and it looks like a Ryuhei Kitamura adventure film!

Official site

Live-action Lupin III looks amazing!

Lupin III ルパン三世 Live Action
Lupin III Live Action

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Lupin III (ルパン三世), it’s a long-running manga series written and drawn by Monkey Punch (a pen name) about master thief Arsène Lupin III, who is the grandson of Maurice Leblanc’s gentleman thief Arsène Lupin (and Monkey Punch didn’t get permission to use Arsène Lupin, which lead to rights problems outside of Japan until Arsène Lupin entered public domain in France.) The series has run since 1967, and has spawned numerous anime series, films, OVAs, live-acton television shows, and a 1974 live-action film entitled Lupin III Strange Psychokinetic Strategy (ルパン三世 念力珍作戦). And the big news is the new live-action film directed by Ryuhei Kitamura (of Godzilla: Final Wars fame) that comes out August 30th.

The live-action film will star Shun Oguri as Lupin III, Meisa Kuroki as Fujiko Mine, Tetsuji Tamayama as Daisuke Jigen, Go Ayano as Goemon Ishikawa XIII, and Tadanobu Asano as Inspector Koichi Zenigata. And thanks to some recently release publicity images, you can see they are going for a style that’s similar to the classic character styles and looks fantastic. Hopefully the film will live up to the art and be a great ride!

Shun Oguri trained for 10 months to do the action sequences as Lupin III, and the filming locations are across Asia, with some local stars thrown in for box office juice. I’ve never watched any of the anime or read the manga, but this looks and sounds cool enough from the promotional material that it’s on my “must watch” list, especially since Ryuhei Kitamura is directing and Tadanobu Asano is in it!

via itMedia and AsianWiki

Space Battleship Yamato

Space Battleship Yamato

aka Space Battleship ヤマト aka Supesu Batorushippu Yamato

Written by Shimako Sato
Story by Yoshinobu Nishizaki
Directed by Takashi Yamazaki

With the remake trains heading at full speed down the tracks of the movie world, it is only natural that popular franchises like Space Battleship Yamato would become one of the train stations. Space Battleship Yamato (宇宙戦艦ヤマト) was an anime series begun in 1974, it features a continual story arc and was followed up by several sequel series and films and lawsuits. Released in the west as Star Blazers, the anime gained a faithful cult following overseas as well as home. I’ve never seen Star Blazers, though it’s popular enough I’ve become familiar with the concept. Earth under attack by powerful aliens, a lone ship sent on a desperate mission. And that ship just happens to be built in the hull of the infamous World War II battleship Yamato.

This reboot of Space Battleship Yamato takes some cues from the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. More than some cues. Okay, it’s almost a carbon copy of Battlestar Galactica. From the 9-11 inspired opening destruction of Earth’s fleet (which rings way more hollow and is an interesting look at 9-11 from a non-American country) to the characters with templates lifted wholesale (including gender swaps!) to the made up story of hope to inspire a journey across the galaxy, deja vu will deja vu your deja vu. Space Battleship Yamato owes almost its entire existence to Battlestar Galactica, which is odd considering it has a whole original canon to use.

The general concept of the original cartoon using the Yamato was a reference to the final mission of the battleship, which was generally seen as a brave but futile effort to defend Japan before the inevitable defeat. Yamato was seen as a metaphor for the Japanese Empire, double-downed by the name Yamato being a poetic name. Space Battleship Yamato borrows this line of thinking, even going so far as to spell it out to the audience. But the liberal borrowing of concepts and themes from Battlestar Galactica muddies the water. After the Yamato is launched, it becomes a series of episodes with the theme of sacrifice for the greater good. Susumu Kodai has a chip on his shoulder against Captain Okita, believing he abandoned his brother to die. Yuki Mori thinks Kodai leaving the military was abandoning his duty. Kodai violates orders to try to save crew members, endangering the entire ship, but later learns that you can’t avoid Kobayashi Maru forever and sometimes people have to die. Even the ending of the film works on this concept of sacrifice, from the cast thinning to the final actions of Kodai. Characters die, and the survivors will spend far too long thinking about the death in the middle of the action. Time is of the essence, people! These reactions are meant to emphasize the sacrifices, but are so overdone they become distracting. Oddly enough, this focus on duty and sacrifice above all else gives Space Battleship Yamato themes that mimic the thinking of the time of the real battleship Yamato.

The mixed messages cause Space Battleship Yamato to flounder around and lose the emotional punches it needed. I am not familiar enough with the original show to know if it was similarly muddled. The liberal borrowing from another source is also a big red mark against it. The visual effects are wonderful, especially considering the lower budget. It is a nice looking film. But looks are only skin deep, and Space Battleship Yamato is like one of those hollow chocolate bunnies. You know it should be filled with chocolate, but it just isn’t, and it’s not what you wanted.

Susumu Kodai (Takuya Kimura) – Former fighter squad leader (the Black Tigers) who left the service, only to come back into action for the Yamato mission. His best friend is an analyzer, basically an iPhone. Lost his brother in the Gamilas ambush. Definitely not Lee Adama.
Yuki Mori (Meisa Kuroki) – Expert Cosmos Tiger fighter pilot who is always prepared. Definitely not Starbuck. Meisa Kuroki was also in Assault Girls.
Captain Juzo Okita (Tsutomu Yamazaki) – Old grizzled captain of the Yamato. Gruff but recognizes potential in people. Able to make tough decisions. Lost his son to the Gamilas forces. Definitely not Bill Adama.
Gamilas (CGI and Masato Ibu) – Aliens who start attacking Earth for unknown reasons. Then tries to stop the humans when they fight back. Desla is the named Gamilas, who are both individuals and a collective mind.

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Assault Girls (Review)

Assault Girls

aka Asaruto garuzu

Written and Directed by Mamoru Oshii

Hot chicks shooting up giant sand whales in a post apocalyptic future should be an easy sell. Except for the fact the film isn’t really about that and is instead just a video game level. The film is short as heck, but that doesn’t stop it from being filled with lots of padding from the worst opening narration experience since Alone in the Dark to many scenes of people just walking in the desert.

Add the above to the fact the women speak badly accented English muffled behind breathing masks and we got a film that is more annoying than anything else. Luckily, parts of the film are just in Japanese, and thanks to our impatient nature we have the import DVD cuz we aren’t gonna wait for it to finally get around to having an official US release. But at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!

The film is connected to Mamoru Oshii’s 2001 film Avalon, as the game the players are playing is Avalon(f), and there are references to other established canon from the Avalon film. Mamoru Oshii is probably best known in the west for directing Ghost in the Shell, one of the films that everyone who was into anime talked about all the time until I started ignoring everyone who was into anime. Now I just ignore everyone, because I’m too cool for school ::puts on shades::

Instead of being cool and dealing with the fact there is a movie filled with hot chicks fighting monsters, Assault Girls instead tries to impress us, then tries to give us a feast for the eyes, and finally delivers the goods. Except the only impression is of boring psychobabble, the feast for the eyes is more like a famine, and the goods arrive late and in small quantities. I can’t recommend enough that you don’t bother with Assault Girls. The best thing I can say about it is that it was mercifully short. But don’t take my word for it, follow along for yourself!

Gray (Meisa Kuroki) – Player 0251, spends much of the film cruising around in her jet and posing in the desert. Finally gets around to organizing the Assault Girls into a raiding party. It is almost as if she forgot how MMORPGs work. (She is probably really a male 43 year old divorced Lowes employee with Aspergers.) Meisa Kuroki is a Japanese model/actress who is starting to hit the big time.
Lucifer (Rinko Kikuchi) – Player 0666, who rarely speaks and spends most of her scenes dancing. Can transform into a bird so she’s probably a big fan of Animorphs. (She’s probably really an 11 year old boy with Aspergers.) Rinko Kikuchi was nominated for an Oscar. And now she’s in this. Holy Linda Hunt, Batman!
Colonel (Hinako Saeki) – Player 0266, a friend of snails. Always dressed in red, so you can tell the girls apart. Or maybe it is like Power Rangers… Anyway, she commands a robot thing at one point, something we can all aspire to. I command robots all the time (this is actually true) because my job is awesome. (She’s probably a male 57 year old website designer with Aspergers)
Jager (Yoshikazu Fujiki) – Player 538, what the hell is a dude doing in my Assault Girls? Get the heck out of here, you creep!
Sand Whales (CGI) – This particular Sand Whale is Desert 22 Flag – Madara – who is the end boss the Assault Girls and Scruffy Dude are hunting. Complete with rocket launchers like all real sand whales.
Snail (Isao NO. 1- 5) – Five snails played the snail that becomes the focus of our heroes as the movie drifts into more and more boring territory. Sadly, one snail is eaten, it is unknown it was a real snail, but probably.
Random Dog (Pasta) – Why not have a dog randomly in one brief scene for no reason? It makes as much sense as everything else in this flick! Also bonus statue photo!

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Another Assault Girls Trailer

Assault Girls

UPDATE: Read our review of Assault Girls here!

The trailer for Mamoru Oshii’s Assault Girls has landed. The true story of a post-apocalyptic future where three hot Japanese girls hunt sand worms. Okay, maybe it’s not true. Yet! Gray (Meisa Kuroki), Lucifer (Rinko Kikuchi), and Colonel (Hinako Saeki) get into a world of trouble when a new super-giant worm shows up. Sort of like when that happened in Beetlejuice. He was the ghost with the most, baby.
Source: NipponCinema
Official site

Assault Girls trailer

Assault Girls

UPDATE: Read our review of Assault Girls here!

Japanese girls vs giant sand worms in the post-apocalyptic future. NipponCinema brought the trailer to the outside world.

Plot: In the aftermath of global thermonuclear war, the Earth’s surface has been turned into a desert battlefield. Three beautiful female hunters: Gray (Meisa Kuroki), Lucifer (Rinko Kikuchi), and Colonel (Hinako Saeki) traverse the barren landscape armed with powerful assault rifles to fight a group of deadly sand-dwelling monsters called “sunakujira” (sand whales). When the the epic battle eventually seems to be coming to an end, the sparkle of muzzle flash dies down and assault ship flies overhead. Suddenly, a gigantic super mutation called “Madara Sunakujira” attacks.
Mamoru Oshii directs and it hits theaters in Japan in December, no word on if it will show up in the US.

previous story here
thanks to Avery for the head’s up