Everyone’s an otaku under the skin – so match your obsession to the new Japanese movie that’s right for you
Japanese Film Festival puts the vibrant Japanese culture under the spotlight every year with all the best new movies from Japan.
Curated by the Japan Foundation, the 2016 festival plays at ACMI and Hoyts Melbourne Central. And if you need some help choosing your films, just refer to our handy guide below – your festival experience will be wrapped up neatly as a geisha’s kimono.
If you like J-horror, see: Creepy
Creepy is the new film from leading Japanese horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure). A former police detective (Hidetoshi Nishijima) reopens a cold case in which three members of a family disappeared.
If you like sushi, see: Tsukiji Wonderland
This documentary explores the biggest fish market in the world in Tokyo, where over 400 types of seafood are sold every day. Go behind the scenes, see the notorious fugu, and hear from world famous chefs including Jiro Ono and Rene Redzepi.
If you like card games, see: Chihayafuru Part 1
Adapted from a popular manga, this is the story of friends bound by their love of karuta – a traditional Japanese card game based on classic poetry.
If you like Godzilla, see: Godzilla
Yep – the original 1954 monster mash that started the kaiju genre is back on the big screen as part of the main program. Nuclear radiation has created an out-of-control, giant monster, and it’s definitely not a man in a suit busting up small cardboard buildings. OK it is.
If you like Japanese fetishes, see: HK2: The Abnormal Crisis
Kyusuke (Ryohei Susuki) turns into the superhero Hentai Kamen whenever he puts a girl’s panties over his face. You may recall this um, colourful character from the 2013 comedy HK: The Forbidden Hero. He’s back in a sequel that sees every pair of panties in Japan mysteriously vanish...
If you like sake, see: Kampai! For the Love of Sake
Meet three passionate people deeply involved in the world of Japanese rice wine – two master brewers and an expert sake assessor – in this documentary on one of Japan’s biggest exports.
If you like cat cafés, see: Rudolf the Black Cat
Like a Japanese riposte to The Secret Life of Pets, this animated film follows the adventures of a naïve house cat who gets lost in the big city.
If you like samurai, see: Sanada Ten Braves
The Toyotomi clan prepare to fight off the Tokugawa shogunate with the help of General Sanada, who secretly uses a group of ten misfit warriors to win his legendary battles.
If you like manga, see: Terraformars
Mars has been terraformed but now it has a cockroach problem. Fifteen criminals are sent to the red planet to exterminate them, only to find that the insects have evolved into something terrifying. The new film from the prolific Takashi Miike is based on a popular manga series.
If you like karaoke, see: Sing My Life
This high concept comedy has a grandmother magically transformed into her 20-year-old self and joining her grandson’s rock band to fulfil her dreams of a singing career.