San Francisco gets their first Japanese film festival in July and includes live-action Rurouni Kenshi

rurouni kenshin1

Japan Film Festival of San Francisco is the first fully-dedicated Japanese film festival in…San Francisco. It will include some notable movies like the the live-action Rurouni Kenshin (which I thought was a great movie), Space Battleship Yamato, and Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower. There are 15 live-action and anime films (mostly either making their San Francisco premiere or US premiere), and the event will take place at the New People Cinema starting Saturday, July 27th, through Sunday, August 4th. The best thing is that these movies will have their original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles.

Check out the movies and their trailers below, and check out the JFFSF site for more info.


Sunday, July 28th, 6:30pm & Thursday, August 1st, 4:00pm

“A new live-action film adaptation of creator Nobuhiro Watsuki ‘s samurai manga that has sold over 57 million copies, been translated in 23 countries, and also inspired a popular animated series. Rurouni Kenshin follows the adventures of a slight and mild-mannered young man who was once an assassin working for anti-Shogunate forces but vows to abandon killing following Meiji revolution in Japan, and devotes his sword-wielding talents to helping others.”


Sunday, August 4th, 3:20pm

“A stunning live-action adaptation of the famed space opera originally created by Leiji Matsumoto that laid the foundation for the entire Japanese science fiction anime genre. A brave young crew journeys into space on a fateful trip to save the human race as it teeters on the brink of extinction. Five years have passed since the alien Gamilas first began assaulting Earth with radiation bombs in 2194. Most of the human race is now gone. Susumu Kodai (Takuya Kimura) joins other survivors of the Earth Defense Force in the mighty Space Battleship Yamato in search of a device that can restore the devastated planet. Although director Takashi Yamazaki first gained prominence with his heartwarming film, Always: Sunset on Third Street, his background is in science fiction and his talents for VFX shine in this acclaimed film based on one of Japan’s greatest sci-fi properties.”

Wolf Children

“From the visionary, award-winning creator of Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Mamoru Hosoda, comes a beautiful tale of love and triumph. 19 year old Hana finds herself falling in love with a wolf-man and over the years becomes the mother of two half wolf/ half human children. Ame, born on a rainy day and Yuki, born in the snowy winter must move with their mother to a rural town to hide the secret of their mysterious lineage.”


Saturday, July 27th, 7:00pm

“Written and directed by Miwa Nishikawa, who’s SWAY and Dear Doctor were screened at numerous film festivals around the world, Dreams for Sale is a richly evocative drama about a couple that lose everything in a fire and attempt to make a fresh start by swindling others. Wife Satoko (Takako Matsu) and her husband Kanya (Sadawo Abe) run a small eatery in a corner of Tokyo, but on the 5th anniversary of its opening, a fire erupts in the kitchen and burns the place to a cinder. In desperate need of cash, Satoko and Kanya embark on a hilarious and heartwarming marriage scam in an attempt to put their lives back on track.”


Sunday, August 4th, 1:10pm

“Sion Sono’s award-winning masterpiece is based on Minoru Furuya’s manga “Himizu,” named for a species of a Japanese mole. Set after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, all 14-year-old Yuichi Sumida (Shota Sometani) wants is to live a decent life. But his environment keeps dragging him into the mud. Keiko Chazawa (Fumi Nikaido), a classmate of Yuichi, harbors a severe crush on him and sticks around despite being berated by him. One day, the yakuza comes by Yuichi’s home and tells him to pay off his father’s debt. Yuichi already heartbroken by his mother’s abandonment and abuse from his father nears a tipping point. A string of incidents occurs that brings Yuichi’s world to a screeching halt. Is there light at the end of the tunnel?”


Saturday, August 3rd, 4:20pm

“Sakuran director Mika Ninagawa’s live-action adaptation of the eponymous shojo manga by Kyoko Okazaki utilizes brilliantly colored visuals to depict the descent of an outwardly perfect but inwardly unstable star that reigns over the entertainment world. Top model Liliko (Erika Sawajiri) captivates the public with her beauty that is the envy of all who look upon her. However, her appearance has been entirely engineered through plastic surgery. Complications arise from the numerous operations and begin to eat away at Liliko both physically and psychologically, sending her into a downward spiral.”


Saturday, July 27th, 1:30pm

“With the appearance of the famous “Zero Yen” architect, Kyohei Sakaguchi, the documentary, How to Build a Mobile House, makes its U.S. premiere in his favorite city, San Francisco! Screening attendees will also be invited to his free workshop to build a Mobile Green House with him during the J-POP Summit Festival. Kyohei’s numerous books include “Tokyo Zero Yen House, Zero Yen Life,” inspired by the exuberant creativity of street dwellers. This documentary delves into the roots of dwelling, and living, through the unique activities of this architect who “does not build.” Sakaguchi, who devised a nest-like abode that fits the size of the human body, apprentices himself to a Tama River Robinson Crusoe who actually lives on a riverbed. The film depicts the completion of a mobile house for only $260.00 in materials.”

Hunter X Hunter: Phantom Rouge

“HUNTER x HUNTER: Phantom Rouge is based on the mega-hit manga series by Yoshihiro Togashi, author of Yu Yu Hakusho, selling over 60 million copies worldwide. With an original script written for the film, it reveals the early life of main characters Clapica and Gon.”


Saturday, July 27th, 4:20pm & Tuesday, July 30th, 7:00pm

“Directed by Takashi Miike, Lesson of the Evil is a twisted psycho thriller based on a bestseller novel by Yusuke Kishi. Hasumi is a popular teacher among students at Shinko Academy, a private high school, and well respected by the faculty and the PTA. However, a student named Reika feels something menacing lurking beneath his shining reputation. While Hasumi brilliantly solves one problem after another, from a teacher-student sexual harassment to group cheating to bulling, he starts to take control of the school. As the problems go away, Reika becomes uneasy about the way they are solved. Tsurii, an unpopular teacher in the school, despises the popular Hasumi and starts investigating Hasumi’s past and discovers that Hasumi is a real psycho.”


Friday, August 2nd, 7:00pm & Saturday, August 3rd, 1:10pm

** Featuring special in-person appearance by Director Shinsuke Sato
“Library Wars is based on the bestselling novel and manga series by Hiro Arikawa. Set in the year 2019 in Japan, a new law is passed to crack down on free expression, which allows for the government to create an armed force to find and destroy objectionable printed material. Meanwhile, to oppose this oppressive crackdown, the Library Force is created. The Library Force includes instructor Atsushi Dojo (Junichi Okada) and Iku Kasahara (Nana Eikura), who work to protect the libraries. A fierce battle soon ensues between these two groups.”

Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower

“The Rogue Ninja Mukade is about to be caught by Naruto’s team when he summons forth the power of the LeyLine – an ancient underground channel of chakra. Naruto gets caught up in the chakra and is sent back in time to the city of Loran, known for its thousand towers. There he encounters the future Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, on a top-secret mission, and the Queen of Loran, Sarah, whose rule is threatened by Mukade. Will Naruto be able to return to his own time, and can a chance encounter in the past save the future?”


Thursday, August 1st, 7:00pm & Saturday, August 3rd, 7:00pm

“J-Pop artist Kazunari Ninomiya (Gantz, Oscar –nominated for Letters from Iwo Jima), stars in Platinum Data, the biggest film to be released n Japan in 2013 and directed by Keishi Ohtomo (Rurouni Kenshin). Ryuheo Kagura (Kazunari Ninomiya) is an exceptional scientist working at the National Police Agency’s Special Analysis Research Institute. After solving series of complex criminal cases, he is assigned to investigate the murders of several people connected to the newly developed DNA forensics. Yet, when the faint trace of evidence left at the scene is analyzed through the DNA forensic system, it identifies himself as the offender. With no such memory, he decides to flee and the pursuer becomes the pursued. Is Kagura guilty or innocent? Should he trust in science, or in himself? Does he represent hope for humanity or despair? Platinum Data holds the key…”

Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning

“From the visionary, award-winning creator of Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Mamoru Hosoda, comes a beautiful tale of love and triumph. 19 year old Hana finds herself falling in love with a wolf-man and over the years becomes the mother of two half wolf/ half human children. Ame, born on a rainy day and Yuki, born in the snowy winter must move with their mother to a rural town to hide the secret of their mysterious lineage.”

Resident Evil: Damnation

“Resident Evil: Damnation is the sequel to Resident Evil: Degeneration, a feature-length computer-animated horror film based on the popular game produced by Capcom. The story revolves around biological weapons used in a European war zone, and sees the return of Leon S. Kennedy as the protagonist. The film was released as a digital download on Xbox Live, Zune and PlayStation Network in 2012, and will come to the big screen for the first time in the US!”

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John Nguyen
John Nguyen 10448 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.