As you may have noticed, over the past few days, the streaming option along with many of our films have disappeared.
We at Japan Flix have decided to discontinue the streaming service to shift our focus from our delivery method to the content itself. In other words, we our concentrating our efforts on finding and acquiring never-before-seen Japanese films like Tomie Vs. Tomie and Shisei: The Tattooer.
Japan Flix’s collection is currently available on iTunes and Zune. In the coming months, we will be working on expanding our selection and making them available on more platforms.
It has been a terrific experience developing a brand new streaming service. While our hope to provide something that other services didn’t, didn’t exactly pan out, we enjoyed the process and learned many things about what Japanese film fans truly care about.
Now, we’re really excited to get back to our core and focus on the movies. Stay tuned for exciting news as we announce new films and new platforms here on our blog!
I recently wrote an article about how only certain types of Japanese movies make it to Western audiences. I argued that it’s because of big bad companies. Those one percenters. They select films based solely on the bottom line. They’re only going to import Japanese films they know will do well based on past experience. I went on to say that Japan Flix, since it’s a small company of like-minded individuals, tries to introduce films that have cultural value.
Which is why I am going to introduce you to the film Zombie Ass.
This ridiculous horror flick is literally about zombies coming out of the toilet and spewing all kinds of shit and mayhem from their asses.
“1968, they came from the grave. 2002, they came from viruses. 2012, they come from the toilet.” A bunch of high school kids enter a secluded village for an intensive diet involving swallowing a parasite supposedly effective for losing weight. Something goes wrong and soon people are being chased by zombies, there’s crap, vomit, blood everywhere, and some forced plot gives us gratuitous nudity.
These films take ideas you thought were cool in middle school like ninjas, geisha, zombies, machine guns, yakuza, girls, etc. and mix them together in outrageous combinations. The stunts, special effects, even acting are done in earnest, but you just can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous everything is.
Hollywood tried to have a go at it, like with Snakes on a Plane, but they can’t achieve the success that Japan has. There’s too much restraint. Snakes has the appropriate situational comedy, but a huge budget and good actors reduce the “camp” factor. Japan can do it right because they aren’t trying to be campy, they just are.
No country other than Japan could make such kinds of films that so many people appreciate. It’s a unique cultural export that I’m proud of. I’m proud of Zombie Ass.
Here’s another trailer. This one tries to sell the sex aspect. You don’t need to understand Japanese to get the humor. That’s the beauty of potty jokes isn’t it?
Zombie Ass comes out in theaters in Japan tomorrow, February 24th. Expect to see this in your local campy theaters, if not in your favorite DVD store or maybe here on Japan Flix sometime in the next year or two.
As the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. The idea that there are two diverging classes of people, upper and lower, is an old one. It’s an idea that also applies to business and products. It’s an idea that can clearly be applied to Japanese cinema.
Recently, the excellent website Wildgrounds published a piece containing segments of an interview with Takashi Miike on the state of the Japanese film industry and “discouraging” would be the word I’d use to describe it. Then again, maybe Miike is wrong.
The gist of Miike’s take on the Japanese film industry is that production committees are committed to “safe bets,” resulting in an uninspiring cinema. The way he sees it, it’s only going to get worse. I agree with that idea when applied to larger films – the big getting bigger and safer. However, I also think that a combination of forces such as the slumping economy, the national debt, and a more disenfranchised populace will work around the committee system that larger Japanese systems are beholden to. In fact, the Japanese new new wave was born under similar circumstances after the bubble economy of the 80′s burst.
Throughout the 90′s into the 00′s, Japan was the center of the filmic universe. On top of the creative and intersting horrors that defined Japanese live-action cinema to the rest of the world for the better part of a decade, directors such as Takashi Miike, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Hirokazu Koreeda, and Takeshi Kitano really hit their stride. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Kitano’s, A Scene at the Sea.
It’s a fact that when societies have faced severe circumstances, they find new and inspiring ways to express themselves. And I for one, am looking forward to the next wave of young Japanese filmmakers who’ll inspire me.
If you’re looking for a cute little comedy to watch, check out FLY! Heibon na Kiseki coming out in theaters in Japan in March.
Fly is an adorable-looking rom-com about Mitsuo, an introverted factory worker who’s never had a real relationship with a girl. He carries a picture of Nanami, a girl in the office who he secretly has a crush on.
One day, Mitsuo discovers a spaceship and the green-skinned, white-haired alien inside. Shikata the alien, like Mitsuo, is a “loser” who similarly bares a crush on a girl he never has a chance with. Hilarity ensues as the two understand and find solace in each other.
Expect the typical plot twists and turns such as Shikata’s capture by the government and, of course, Mitsuo and Nanami’s deepening relationship.