Geek It! Spotlight: CtrlGeekPod’s Top 10 picks for Sydney Japanese Film Festival 2016

It’s that exciting time of the year again! From horror to sci-fi to drama, the Japanese film industry offers a versatile selection of films that will attract viewers of all ages. Unlike a majority of Hollywood films, there is just something about Japanese films that makes them unique. Is it their comedic value? Or is it their daring personality to be bold and completely left-field? 

This year, we’re ecstatic to see what the Japanese film industry has in store for its fans. To celebrate the launch of the SYDNEY JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL 2016 (November 17-27th), we choose our TOP 10 JFF flicks that we can’t wait to watch!

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Just like any high school student, Erika simply wants to be accepted by her peers. So when she lies about having a boyfriend to impress her classmates, Erika must find a way to prove it. Luckily, Kyoya was very understanding about the situation and decides to help Erika. Little did she know that she has made a deal with the devil. Faced with the prospect of having her lies exposed, Erika is blackmailed into becoming Kyoya’s dog in exchange for the façade. But despite Kyoya’s remarks and insults, Erika begins to discover that Kyoya isn’t black-hearted as he likes to act. Will there be a happy ending for Erika?

As huge fans of the anime series, we absolutely cannot wait to see Wolf Girl and Black Prince. Just based on the trailer alone, Fumi Nikaido and Kento Yamazaki are perfect as Erika and Kyoya … our shoujo fangirling senses are already tingling! 

For more info about Wolf Girl and Black Prince:


Budding writer Yuki (Tsubasa Honda) has always looked out for her friend, Atsuko (Mizuki Yamamoto). However, when the manuscript of Yuki’s first novel is stolen and plagiarised, she becomes emotionally withdrawn. The two young women slowly drift apart and ends up finding new acquaintances: Atsuko is drawn in by a classmate who preys on men for money, while Yuki meets a high school boy who shares her interest in witnessing death.

Unbeknownst to Yuki, Atsuko begins to question her own mortality—she volunteers at a nursing home hoping that witnessing someone’s death will stop her from taking her own life. Based on Kanae Minato’s novel ‘Shoujo‘, we are very intrigued by the poetic and philosophical nature of Night’s Tightrope.

For more info about Night’s Tightrope:


Friendship, wits, intuition, and rivalry — immerse yourself in the thrilling world of karuta!

Meet Chihaya, Taichi and Arata. Bounded by their passion for competitive karuta, these childhood friends were living the karuta dream until they got separated by various circumstances. Now teenagers, the three friends are taking on different paths. But Chihaya’s love for karuta never wavered. Determined to start a karuta team at her school, Chihaya must recruit enough members to start the club. Since classical poetry isn’t exactly cool, will Chihaya succeed her mission? 

We’ve been waiting for Chihayafuru to hit Australia for awhile now so we’re ecstatic that the films will be showing at this year’s JFF! To be quite frank, we’re quite obsessed with actress Suzu Hirose right now. Not only has she scored this role as Chihaya, but she’s also won the role of Kaori in the upcoming Your Lie in April live-action film. We cannot wait to see what she has in store for us! 

For more info about Chihayafuru:


Nanami is a timid substitute teacher working in Tokyo. Unable to find her place in life, her only solace comes through her interactions on social media. So when she decides to tie the knot with a man she met online, she soon realises how few relationships she possesses. In desperation, she hires an entrepreneur, Amuro, who arranges actors to stand in as her family. However, not all was well after Nanami’s wedding as her life begins to spiral out of control. With no one to call on, all she could do was rely on Amuro.

While the concept of the film is not entirely original, A Bride for Rip Van Winkle is a deep film that reflects on the (good and sad) beauties of life. For more info about A Bride for Rip Van Winkle:


Satoru Fujinuma is a manga artist struggling to find inspiration and motivation in life. However, he’s not an ordinary human. With the ability called ‘revival’, he is able to relive moments preceding life-threatening incidents over and over until they’re resolved.

So when his mother is suddenly murdered, he becomes the primary suspect. On the spur of the moment, ‘revival’ sends him back to the year 1988. Transporting back to when Satoru was only ten years old, he remembers that this was the year that a classmate would be found dead in a few days time. How does his classmate’s death link with his mother’s death though? To save his mum, Satoru must discover the truth behind these children’s deaths – no matter how many revivals it takes.

After Erased the anime’s successful stint, the Erased hype is back again in live-action form. Featuring Tatsuya Fujiwara (Battle Royale, Death Note) as older Satoru, we hope this live-action film will capture the same spirit as the anime. 

For more info about Erased


One night, university student Kubo hears odd noises over the tatami of her new apartment. Troubled, she writes to a renowned horror novelist to help solve the mystery. Sensing a lingering spirit, the pair investigates previous tenants and landowners, and it turns out that there has been a dark history of tragedies over the last few decades.

Directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura (Prophecy and The Snow White Murder Case), The Inerasable is a blend of horror and mystery that is sure to entertain fans of the horror genre.

For more info about The Inerasable


After losing both his job and girlfriend, things aren’t looking too great for Korean expat Yong Woon. However, a chance meeting in Okinawa catapults him into a teaching role at a Korean language school. It is there where he later meets Sakura, a single mother who is desperate to improve her language skills in order to keep her job at a travel agency. Sympathising with her struggles, Yong Woon decides to help her and ends up falling in love with her. 

Featuring Korean popstar Yesung in his first Japanese movie role, My Korean Teacher looks to be a charming rom-com that will trigger laughs and tears. For more info about My Korean Teacher


Ever wondered what your cat gets up to when you’re not around? Stay-at-home cat Rudolf has always longed to roam the streets of his little neighbourhood. Unfortunately, his thirst for adventure finds him lost and miles away from home. With the help from a street cat known as Gottalot, Rudolf quickly discovers that he has a lot to learn about the world.

A strong reminder of Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life of Pets, we cannot wait to see Rudolf the Black Cat. Unlike many of Japan’s traditionally animated films, this film is produced with cgi for the entire film — a rare cinematic treat!

For more info about Rudolf the Black Cat:


Takuji Kameoka is a lonely 37-year-old veteran actor who has never had a big break despite being highly praised by directors and co-actors. Juggling film shoots and auditions, Kameoka spends his time drifting from one day to the next. Is he really just a luckless actor, or an accidental genius thespian?

Starring veteran actors Ken Yasuda and Kumiko Aso, and some of Japan’s biggest names such as Shota Sometani (BAKUMAN; Kabukicho Love Hotel) and Tsutomu Yamazaki (Kakekomi; Tampopo), The Actor is a comedy that offers a glimpse into the behind-the-scene workings of Japanese film shoots, theatre productions, and the lives of emerging actors.

For more info about The Actor:


In a post-apocalyptic world, surviving humans are divided into two groups: the genetically superior Nox who live in darkness, and the weaker Curio who remain unevolved. The Nox have superseded Curios in every aspect of society, despite their weakness to sunlight. They live technologically advanced lives within gated settlements, while the Curio live their lives in open country villages.

Yuu and Tetsuhiko are two best friends living in the Curio village. But when Tetsuhiko is sick of the sub-par conditions and desperately wants to become a Nox, Yuu wants nothing to do with them. Both, however, desire a change – for themselves and their village. A suspenseful drama about humanity at the brink of desperation, The Sun is a sci-fi film that follows the same suit as Hollywood’s Hunger Games, The Host, and The Divergent. 

For more info about The Sun:


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