films seen
average score
Japan - 53 years old
Alive and kicking
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Greatful Dead

Gureitofuru Deddo
2013 / 97m - Japan
Comedy, Drama, Horror
Greatful Dead poster

Uchida delivered this amazing genre bender that may leave the uninitiated a little stunned, but should be required viewing for everyone with a soft spot for Japanese genre cinema.

Life of Mariko in Kabukicho

Tantei Mariko no Shôgai de Ichiban Hisan na Hi
2022 / 116m - Japan
Life of Mariko in Kabukicho poster

The kind of oddity you'll only find in Japan. Eiji Uchida and Katayama deliver a wacky genre blend that revolves around a little café in the heart of Tokyo's red-light district. Not everything is equally successful, but there are enough ideas here to fill 3 different films and it's unlikely you'll get bored (unless genre cinema isn't your thing).

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Mariko has a little café, which serves as a cover for her detective agency. Business is booming and she gets a lot of requests, but many of them seem to relate to a runaway alien. Half of Kabukicho is hunting for the extraterrestrial, which isn't all that surprising when there's a finder's fee of five million yen.

Even though Mariko is the central character, the film spends a lot of time on her wacky clients (and her ninja boyfriend). The film offers a mix of action, sci-fi, and crime, though the fact that none of it should be taken too seriously underlines its comedic intentions. It's not quite as polished or excessive as I'd hoped, but it's great fun regardless.

Midnight Swan

2020 / 124m - Japan
Midnight Swan poster

Uchida's latest is a film about a trans woman, who takes care of her niece, a promising ballet dancer. I've been keeping track of Uchida for a while now, and he's a pretty interesting director, but it's probably no surprise that one of his more conventional films to date won him his first big prize.

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Ichika's mother isn't quite ready to take care of her daughter, so Nagisa steps in. Nagisa is transitioning to become a woman and is a bit conflicted about taking on extra responsibilities, but ultimately she wants to be there for Ichika. Taking care of a teen turns out to be quite a chore.

Midnight Swan is a nice film, but apart from its lead character it isn't all that remarkable. The drama is a bit grittier compared to more commercial films, that's about it. Proper cinematography, solid performances and a decent score make for a pleasant film, though the final half hour did get a bit too sentimental and predictable for my taste. A good film, but not really worth the accolades.

Double Mints

Daburu Mintsu
2017 / 100m - Japan
Double Mints poster

Another solid Uchida film. While few of his films are true masterpieces, Uchida almost always comes with some kind of refreshing angle. The story in Double Mints is intriguing, the acting is solid and so is the cinematography. It's a good film that had no problems holding my attention, but it stopped short of being great.

Love and Other Cults

2017 / 95m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
Love and Other Cults poster

Simple story about a boy falling for the wrong girl, but sprinkled with Uchida's unique brand of weirdness. It's a fun, vibrant and amusing film, full of quirky characters and strange twists. The drama is quite gritty, but the tone is light-hearted and uplifting.

Lowlife Love

Gesu no Ai
2015 / 110m - Japan
Drama, Romance
Lowlife Love poster

The Last Days of the World

Sekai Saigo no Hibi
2011 / 96m - Japan
The Last Days of the World poster


Chikyû de Tatta Futari
2008 / 108m - Japan
Drama, Crime
Sisterhood poster

Early Uchida that showcases the man's talent. Sisterhood is a nice mix of drama and crime cinema, not meant to change either genre forever, but offering a solid dose of appeal for fans of both niches. It earns bonus points for harboring some of that 00s grit, but overall it doesn't quite stand out enough for a higher rating.

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Yui and Ai become sisters when their parents marry. They get along very well, in part because neither one of their parents is very interested in raising them. When the marriage derails seven years later, they decide to run away from home. They end up in Tokyo, where they mess things up when they steal a briefcase from the Yakuza.

The performances are strong, the styling is on point (sporting a sepia-colored hue throughout) and the drama comes with a pleasant edge. If you've seen your share of Japanese dramas it might be a little too familiar, but it's an easy recommendation for people who haven't seen this little gem before.

Shrieking in the Rain

Ame ni Sakebeba
2021 / 101m - Japan
Shrieking in the Rain poster

Have you ever wondered how amazing it is that movies get made? Well, if you haven't, movie people are adamant about telling you, which is why they keep making movies about it. Shrieking in the Rain is yet another one of those films, with the only real difference that we're making an erotic movie now.

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Hanako Hayashi is making her first feature film, but it's turning out to be a lot more difficult than she could've imagined. The people on set all have their own agenda and the producers intervene every time the film ventures in a direction that may push the rating. Not everyone is against her though.

The fact that we're on a pinku set helps to differentiate it from a bunch of similar productions, but not enough to make it really stand out. It's a decent enough film with solid performances and some memorable moments, but I'm not the biggest fan of the self-aggrandizing that is so prevalent in this genre.


2008 / 108m - Japan
Topless poster

An early drama by Eiji Uchida. Uchida is no doubt an interesting director, but also someone who would need awhile to rise above his low budget roots. Topless has its charm and the potential is clear for all to see, at the same time it could've use a little extra polish to better bring out the core drama.

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Natsuko is a free-spirited girl who lives with her friend Koji. Natsuko is openly gay and doesn't really mind what the world thinks of that, but not everybody finds it so easy to deal with. Her girlfriend breaks up with Natsuko to go and live with a guy, meanwhile she helps out a young girl looking for her mom.

The performances are decent and the drama is nice enough, but Uchida leans a little too much on the LGBT angle. It's simply not as revolutionary as he seems to think it is. The cinematography is rather plain too and the film's structure lacks a little coherence. It's definitely a worthwhile watch, just not a stand-out film.

Black Angels

2011 / 74m - Japan
Action, Thriller
Black Angels poster