15th Japanese Film Festival adds ‘Ninja Kids!!!’,’In His Chart’ and ‘Star Watching Dog’

NINJA KIDS!!! Takashi Miike

15th Japanese Film Festival (2011)Last month, we announced six films that would be debuting in Australia at the 15th Japanese Film Festival, and now JFF15 can add three more titles to that list: Takashi Miike’s Ninja Kids!!!, Yoshihiro Fukagawa’s In His Chart and Tomoyuki Takimoto’s adorable-looking Star Watching Dog.

JFF15 also announced dates for Perth (29 September – 7 October), Brisbane (1-4 November) and Canberra (9 – 20 November).

Ninja Kids!!! (忍たま乱太郎, 2011, Dir: Takashi Miike) – With the brilliant 13 Assassins about to be released in Australia, and the brand-new Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai making quiet noise at festivals around the world, that crazy cat Takashi Miike continues his pattern of two films a year with the slightly more kiddie-oriented Ninja Kids!!! Those exclamation marks are in the title, by the way. Based on a long running Japanese TV show, Rantaro the Ninja Boy, it sees a young Rantaro, the last of a line of failed ninja, attend a ninja school in a hope to break the cycle. According to JFF, “Rantaro and his fellow ninjas-in-training are placed in whacky absurd scenarios, encountering a circus of colourful characters”. It’s Miike, of course it will be whacky.

In His Chart (神様のカルテ, 2011, Dir: Yoshihiro Fukagawa) – Based on an award-winning novel by a young doctor, Sosuke Natsukawa, the film follows Dr. Ichito Kuriharai (Sho Sakurai, Yatterman) who works at a frantic clinic and dreams of moving to a bigger hospital where he can spend more time with his wife Haruna (Aoi Miyazaki, Solanin) and also specialize. Aoi Miyazaki is a bit of a megastar in Japan, and her legion of fans have made her a sensation. This looks like another slice-of-life film that the Japanese do incredibly well, and are always a hit with the festival crowds.

Star Watching Dog (星守る犬, 2011, Dir: Tomoyuki Takimoto) – Speaking of festival favourites, everybody likes a dog movie, desho? Get the tissue boxes ready as the film follows the story of a master and his dog, found lying dead together in Hokkaido. It is clear the dog died much later than the master. Caseworker Kyosuke sets out on a journey to discover the man’s identity, and the bond that kept them together. Will be sure to evoke memories of Hachiko and A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies. 

The 15th Japanese Film Festival begins in Adelaide as of this year’s OzAsia Festival. JFF15 will travel to Perth from 29 September to 7 October, then Brisbane on 1 to 4 November and Canberra from 9 to 20 November. It then moves to Sydney from 17 to 27 November 2011, before taking on Melbourne from 29 November to 6 December 2011.

Star Watching Dog

The Reel Bits is the cinema arm of DVD Bits. Richard can be found on Twitter @DVDBits. The Reel Bits is also @The_ReelBits