Whether it's the kaleidoscopic fashion sense, the perky personalities, the wide-eyed pint-sized girls, or the eccentric storyline, Japanese films have long been an enchantment to many. As the Japanese Film Festival 2012 draws closer, we bring together a compilation of the top seven Japanese films most favoured by the Malaysians based on our very own poll conducted amongst the movie going community. And just like these enthusiastic fans, we are very much eager to see these films make it to our big screens, sooner, later, or perhaps again!
One Piece Film Z
Those who follow every "One Piece Film" should know by now that its twelfth movie, "One Piece Film Z" will be released on 15 December 2012. Produced by Toei Animation and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda, the film is set in the New World, where the Straw Hat Pirates will come into a battle against a former Marine Admiral named Z over the Dyna Stone. Will the new animated feature film be able to beat the fans' favourite, "Strong World"? Be sure to find out in three months time if it hopefully makes it here!
If Doraemon doesn't ring a bell somewhere within you, then you might have come from a different planet. Oh, correction. You might not have been in existence at all because the whole universe and dimension recognizes the talking robotic cat with the special pocket. Our schoolteachers may have confiscated the comic books, but that couldn't stop us from bonding with the blue cat and reminiscing every episode played throughout our childhood.
A detective manga series written and illustrated by Gosho Aoyama, "Detective Conan" comic book is the usual sight among the hands of Malaysian primary and secondary school students alike. It follows the adventures of a prodigious young detective named Jimmy Kudo, who, by some accident turned into an adult after being poisoned. The film is an animated feature and to date has 3 movies under its belt!
A film adaptation from a novel written by Kinji Fukasaku, the film tells a disturbing twist of students forced by the government to kill each other in the name of survival. Due to such controversy, the film has been banned from several countries. Despite so, "Battle Royale" has been regarded as one of Fukasaku's best films ever made, and is often times being compared to Suzanne Collin's "The Hunger Games".
It's pretty common for most popular Japanese films to be based on manga series, with "Death Note" being no exception to that. Following the tale of a college student named Light Yagami (played by Tatsuya Fujiwara of "Battle Royale" fame), the story comes into a twist when he discovers 'Death Note', a notebook where if a person writes someone's name on it while picturing his face, the person named in the book will die. Not surprisingly, the first film, which was released in 2006, became a massive hit worldwide, even pushing Hollywood's "The Da Vinci Code" into second place.
Also another film directed by Takashi Miike, Crows Zero is one of his most commercial films, which places its limelight on hormonal driven young boys who fight their way in trying to gain others' approval and admiration. It may be a typical high school story, but its timeless and tragic tale of teenage rebellion makes it relatable to today's youths.
Translated as "The Curse" or "The Grudge", Ju-On has been one of the most talked about Japanese horror films for its many disturbing images. This film has also been remade by Hollywood film producers, that managed to reach to our screens as "The Grudge" starring Sarah Michelle Gellar which so quickly came to a flop for being an almost verbatim copy. After all, who can top the Japanese filmmakers when it comes to horror?
Cinema Online, 12 September 2012