Bekushiru: 2077 Nihon sakoku (2007) - News Poster


Full Trailer For Fumihiko Sori’s Ichi!

You know what I love about Twitch readers? They have great taste, by which I of course mean taste very similar to my own, and so I know that when I head away from home for a few days - as I just did, traveling to Fantasia - I can count on them to find all the good stuff that I don’t have the time to go looking for myself. Such as what happened right now, when I received an email from regular reader Raku pointing out the full theatrical trailer for Fumihiko Sori’s Ichi.

Sori, of course, is the much loved director of Ping Pong and Vexille and this film is his re-envisioning of the classic Zatoichi story with a young girl replacing the older man as the wandering, sword wielding, blind masseur. I had the chance to catch this in the market at Cannes and while
See full article at Screen Anarchy »


Locarno International Film Festival

LOCARNO, Switzerland -- Robots are threatening the world in Fumihiko Sori's enjoyable Japanese anime romp Vexille, and they're even more dangerous when they become useless piles of junk mashed up in swirling twisters of scything metal teeth called Jags.

Digital Domain veteran Sori, whose first directing job was Ping Pong, and Haruka Handa (Appleseed) have scripted a CG animation film full of furious action as a team of uncommonly well-equipped soldiers goes to war with the androids. Anime is an acquired taste but fans will surely respond to the picture's dynamite energy. Those not already in the fold will find this one very easy to take.

It's 2077, and Japan has become a renegade nation closed to the rest of the world. Shielded from penetration by air, sea and space for 10 years, the island nation has become a dangerous mystery to the United Nations. The country's isolation resulted when it fell out with other countries over the development of robotics and its determination to continue creating them even when they were banned everywhere else.

The fear is that Daiwa Heavy Industries in Tokyo has taken its creation of human androids to extremes so the only answer is to send in a crack team of fighters to hook up with Japanese underground rebels and find out what's going on. Enter Vexille, a GI Jane and then some, whose squad uses ultra-high-tech uniforms, weapons and vehicles to rocket into battle.

It's silly fun, simplistic in its heroes and villains and sentimental in its message. British mixer Paul Oakenfold's pounding original music and tracks from such as Basement Jaxx, MIA and the Prodigy help muster the proceedings, blending well with Koji Kasamatsu's industrial sound design.

Using Japanese voices for the American characters is a bit disorienting for non-Japanese, especially as the sub-titles fairly zip along and sometimes it's hard to tell which bits of death-dealing weaponry are working for the good guys or the bad guys.

But the weapons are terrific and the CG action, which is almost constant, is inventive and cleverly thought through. In close-up, the characters are bland and washed out but once the bullets start whizzing the frame is filled with live-wire entertainment. And those vicious tornadoes of crunching jagged edges are something to see.


Shochiku presents an Oxybot production


Director: Fumihiko Sori

Writers: Haruka Handa, Fumihiko Sori

Producers: Toshiaki Nakazawa, Yumiko Yoshihara, Ichiro Takese

Production designer: Toru Hishiyama

Music: Paul Oakenfold

Editor: Fumihiko Sori


Vexille: Meisa Kuroki

Leon: Shosuke Tanhiara

Maria: Yasuko Matsuyuki

Ryo: Takahiro Sakurai

Takashi: Tetsua Kakihara

Mr. Saito: Akio Otsuka

Mr. Kisaragi: Toshiyuki Morikawa

Running time -- 109 minutes

No MPAA rating

'Vexille' next stop for Shochiku

'Vexille' next stop for Shochiku
TOKYO -- The production team behind the 2004 big-screen version of Appleseed has reunited to create Vexille, which will be released worldwide by Japan's Shochiku in the late summer.

Shochiku said Monday that it has acquired global rights to the CG-animated title, which is being directed by Appleseed producer Fumihiko Sori from a script by Haruka Handa.

Appleseed began life in 1985 as a manga that went on to spawn four volumes as well as two animated shows before the 2004 theatrical release directed by Shinji Aramaki.

The enormously popular film was released in 30 countries and sold more than 300,000 DVDs in the U.S.

Shochiku has high hopes for the title, which has a budget of about $10 million.

"The success of CG-animated films has definitely opened the market for a new breed of animated films, in terms of technology and concept," said Teruki Matsumoto, managing director of Shochiku's motion picture operations.

Set in Japan in 2067, the story centers on the country's isolation after the United Nations bans further research on robotic technology because of concerns about a threat to mankind.

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