Tanaka's gentle and loving approach and Terajima's superb portrayal of his character take you along on an amazing trip, full of endearing, funny and warm moments.
The film consists of nothing but memorable scenes, contains some genuinely laugh out loud funny moments and slaps on a stylish finish to make the package complete
It's certain to disappoint a few zombie fanatics who end up watching this without knowing what to expect, but people who've grown tired of the grovelling undead may find a welcome reboot of the genre.
It seems Tanaka is back where he belongs, after going through some rougher patches in the late 00's. Chasuke's Journey is visually stunning, well acted, original and most of all unique.
Bunny Drop is a lovely film with lots to smile about. Wonderfully acted, creatively visualized and aptly scored, you can't really go wrong with this one.
It was more than 10 years since I first watched this film and so I wasn't quite sure if it would still hold up after all this time.
The good stuff
An oldskool Tanaka. Different stories intersect to tell a bigger plot, some scenes have a tendency to venture off into a direction of their own and there's an underlying layer of dark comedy that keeps things interesting. It's not Tanaka's best film, but he's so skilled that he can make a film like this extremely entertaining without having to make a real effort. Good fun.
Kanikosen is a solid come-back for Tanaka. Visually impressive, boasting a superb setting and a strong cast.
Dancing Mary is a superb blend of so many genres that it's nearly impossible to categorize. Fantasy, horror, crime, comedy and drama seamlessly mix together to tell a beautiful story about a long-lost romance that ended in tragedy. The cinematography is beautiful, the editing is excellent. Add a great score and a fine cast and you have another Tanaka masterpiece.
Another quality Tanaka film. More in line with Bunny Drop, combining drama and comedy to great effect. Mr. Long also introduces some crime elements, though they are very limited. Well shot, perfectly acted, dramatically impeccable. It's not as unique as some of his other films, but well worth a watch.
Trademark Tanaka film. Drive is quirky and frivolous, not held back by rigid plot conventions and sporting a killer cast that knows how to deal with the dry comedy on display. The film has aged a little, but it still feels fresh and easygoing. Tanaka is one of Japan's hidden gems, Drive may not be his best film, but it's still better than most of its peers.
Tanaka's latest is pretty peculiar, though also one of his lesser films. It starts off as a sweet but slow drama, only to take a drastic turn during the final half hour. Tanaka is known for the way he can quickly switch between different genres, so that's not really the issue. It's just that the (longer) drama segment is a bit pedestrian.
When Hamada arrives late to a school meeting, he sees how Hari, a freshman student, is bullied quite harshly by her classmates. The bullying grows worse and Hamada decides to protect the girl to the best of his ability. The two enjoy each other's company, but Hamada is about to find out that Hari hides a dark secret.
The performances are solid, the drama is decent, but decent isn't good enough for Tanaka. Maybe if the bullying part had been reduced a little the balance would've ended up more satisfactory. The ending is pretty great though, it's there that Tanaka's talents surface again, but it's too little, too late to make this a true masterpiece.